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    Fighting Irish

    Dec. 4, 1997

    Irish Head for Home and Home Series with WMU

    • Non-Conference home-and-home with Wisconsin on deck
    • Simon, Dusbabek invited to upcoming U.S. junior national camp
    • Irish looking to get back on winning track of recent close calls

    The Notre Dame hockey team (6-6-2, 3-5-2 CCHA) will play a home and home series this week vs. Western Michigan (at WMU on Friday, Dec. 5 and at Notre Dame on Saturday the 6th) ... WMU is 7th in the CCHA standings while Notre Dame is 9th ... Notre Dame last week lost at home to Lake Superior (4-2) before playing the Lakers to a 3-3 tie ... Notre Dame's 18 starting skaters have included as many as seven freshmen and six sophomores ... the Irish were picked seventh (out of 11 teams) in the preseason CCHA coaches poll while the Broncos were picked 5th.

    THE WMU SERIES: Western Michigan owns a 24-9-2 series edge vs. Notre Dame ... the teams played to a 3-3 tie at Notre Dame early last season, in a game where the Irish trailed on three occasions, but fought back each time to earn a tie and put an end to the Broncos ten game win streak against the Irish ... Brian Urick scored two third period goals to lead the Irish ... Western Michigan goaltender Matt Barnes, stopped the first 25 Irish shots on his way to a 40 save night ... Notre Dame netminder Matt Eisler contributed with 36 saves, including three in overtime ... the Irish then won at home over WMU late in the season (5-4), bedind Neal Johson's second goal of the season at the 2:13 mark of overtime ... the Irish took a 4-2 lead in the second period on goals by Joe Dusbabek and Tyson Fraser ... Bronco Joe Corvo tallied a power play goal with just :26 remaining in the second period, and Frank Novock brought the Broncos even at 5:03 of the third period ... the Irish were outshot 35-25 by the Broncos, but Matt Eisler stopped 31 shots to pace the Irish defense ... WMU returtned the favor a day later, routing the Irish 6-1 in Kalamazoo ... WMU went 3 for 8 on the power play in that game and eliminated Notre Dame from the CCHA playoff race with the win ... the Broncos jumped out to an early lead by scoring 3 goals in the first ten minutes of the contest ... Irish goalie Matt Eisler made over thirty saves for his fourth consecutive game.

    BRONCOS NOTES: WMU's CCHA wins have come vs. BG (3-0),FSU (4-2), at OSU (3-1), at BG (8-3), and LSSU (4-3) ... the Broncos have lost to MSU (0-2), at FSU (2-4), NMU (0-3, 2-4), LSSU (1-4), and at Miami (1-2, 2-4) ... WMU's ties have come vs. Western Ontario (1-1) and at MSU (2-2) ... Bronco goalie Matt Barnes has played in every game this season, and earned a 2.34 GAA, which is fourth among CCHA goaltenders, and his .912 save percentage ties for third. (see pp. 6-7 for Irish notes).

    Tyson Fraser
    Tyson Fraser notched his first goal of the season against Lake Superior. (File Photo)

    Recap - Lake Superior Uses Strong Third Periods to Take Three Points at Notre Dame: (11/28/97, LSSU 4 @ND 2): Notre Dame jumped ahead in the second behind the first goals of the season from Tyson Fraser and Nathan Borega ... Fraser scored on the power play, after taking a pass at the top of the right circle from Aniket Dhadphale and wristing a shot through a Joe Dusbabek screen ... six minutes later, Borega scored on a wrist shot from the top of the left circle after Matt Van Arkel picked up a rebound from a Fraser shot and fed the puck to Borega ... LSSU responded with a goal 44 seconds later and tied the game just 32 seconds into the third before going ahead five minutes later ... the Lakers iced the victory with a goal at 17:16 of the third ... the teams combined for 56 penalty minutes while LSSU outshot the Irish 27-22. (11/29, LSSU 3 @ND 3): The Lakers forced overtime on a Jason Sessa power-play goal with 1:28 left to play ... LSSU jumped ahead late in the first period and went ahead 2-0 midway through the second on Sessa's first goal of the game ... Dhadphale struck late in the second and six minutes into the third, tying the game, before Brian Urick tipped in a Benoit Cotnoir shot to push the Irish in front 3-2 with 10 minutes to play ... Notre Dame had a chance to pull out the win, after LSSU's David Lambeth was whistled for interference penalty at 18:56 mark of the third, but the Irish could not convert the power play ... the Irish were 0-for-9 on the power play while LSSU converted on 2-of-5 chances ... Dhadphale and Mark Eaton both unleashed overtime shots that clanged off the pipe ... Notre Dame's Forrest Karr also robbed LSSU's Terry Marchant of a goal in OT.

    FRIEND OR FOE?: Notre Dame's Ben Simon and WMU's Joe Corvo were teammates on the U.S. silver-medal-winning team at the '97 World Junior Championships ... Notre Dame's Aniket Dhadphale played with WMU's Matt Barnes on the Stratford Cullitons ... Notre Dame's Nathan Borega and WMU's Caley Jones played on the Vernon Vipers ... Notre Dame's Sean Molina could face former Dubuque Saints teammate Matt Addessa ... Notre Dame's Sean Seyferth played with WMU's Jeff Wojcik on the Compuware Ambassadors ...Notre Dame's Ryan Clark and Bronco Chad Kline were teammates on the Lincoln Stars ... Irish defenseman Mark Eaton will face former Waterloo Blackhawk teammate Mark Wilkinson ... Notre Dame's John Dwyer could face former Dubuque Saints teammates Matt Addessa and Geoff Collard, who are both on the '97-'98 Bronco Roster.

    YOUNG GUNS: The 1996-97 Notre Dame hockey team was second-youngest in Division I, with an average age of 19 years and 11 months on Nov. 1, 1996 ... the Irish remain young in '97-'98, with an average age of 20 years and two months as of 10/28/97, according to NHL Central Scouting, which lists Harvard (19, 7) and Boston University (20, 0) as the youngest teams in the nation while Notre Dame is tied with Boston College and Michigan--as having the third-lowest average age in Division I hockey ... more than half (14) of the players on Notre Dame's 27-man roster began their careers with the Irish immediately following graduation from high school, with seven joining the program after one year of junior hockey and only six spending two years in junior hockey before joining the Irish.

    ROAD WARRIORS: Notre Dame is 4-3 away from home this season, posting big wins at St. Cloud State (4-3/ot, 4-1), then-#2 Michigan State (6-1) and Ohio State (3-2) while losing road games in the final minute at MSU (3-1, with the Spartans breaking a 1-1 tie in the final four minutes) and Miami (5-4, with Miami winning with 20 seconds left) before losing a 3-2 second-intermission lead at Ferris State (the Bulldogs won 4-3) ... the Irish have been particularly impressive during the third period of several of those road games, scoring twice to force overtime in the first game at St. Cloud, clinching the second win over the Huskies with two more third-period goals and using a four-goal, third-period flurry in the big win at Michigan State ... Notre Dame has scored 26 goals away from home on 168 shots on goal, for an average of 6.5 shots per goal (15.5 shooting pct.) ... conversely, in its seven home games, Notre Dame has scored just 20 goals on 208 shots, for an average of 10.4 shots per goal (9.6 shooting pct.).

    SPECIAL IMPROVEMENT: Despite a 1-for-17 power-play effort last week vs. Lake Superior, Notre Dame's power-play pct. (.185/15-for-81) is up considerably from last season (.127) and ranks third among CCHA teams ... the Irish have netted at least one power-play goal in 10 of the first 11 games this season (the longest PPG streak in 1996-97 was three games) ... Notre Dame ranked 4th in the CCHA for penalty killing last season (.813) and opened this season with 16 straight penalty kills before allowing a Boston College score ... the Irish then killed off 22 straight power plays, including 15 in a two-game weekend series vs. then-#2 MSU ... the team's season penalty-killing pct. now stands at .855 (59-for-69) ... the Irish record for season penalty-killing pct. was set by the 1969-70 team, which stopped 86.1 percent of opponent power plays ... the current power-play pct. (.219) is better than four of the previous five season-ending percentages (the '94-'95 team converted on 22.0 percent).

    SHARPSHOOTER: Junior left wing Aniket Dhadphale's impressive start to the 1997-98 season hints at a possible return to the form that saw him lead the Irish in goals as a freshman (13), when he converted on 18.1 percent of his 72 shots ... Dhadphale then endured a sophomore slump, scoring just five times on 109 shots (4.6 percent) ... this season, Dhadphale has doubled his sophomore goal total and ranks second in the CCHA with 10 goals, trailing only Michigan's Bill Muckalt (14) ... Dhadphale has converted in 27.8 percent of his 36 shots (an average of one goal per every 3.6 shots on goal).

    Ben Simon
    Sophomore Ben Simon leads the Irish with 16 points. (File Photo)

    SIMPLE SIMON: Notre Dame sophomore center Ben Simon has been Mr. Reliable this season, recording at least one point in 11 of 14 games this season ... he leads the Irish and ranks seventh in the CCHA with 16 points, including a season goal total (7) that is nearly double his output from 1996-97 (4), when Simon did not score a goal until the 15th game of the season ... Simon's three power-play goals equal his freshman year total while his two shorthanded goals equal Notre Dame's team total for all of 1996-97.

    STRONG DOWN THE STRETCH: Third-period production has proven to be one of the key factors in Notre Dame's first 14 games this season ... after dominating the third-period scoring earlier this season, Notre Dame now is being outscored 20-18 in the final 20 minutes ... the Irish have outscored the opposition 12-3 in the third period of the six Notre Dame wins ... in Notre Dame's six losses, the opposition has owned a 13-2 third-period scoring edge ... the Irish opened with three wins thanks to an 8-0 third-period scoring edge ... in the fourth game of the season, Boston College soared to three goals in a five-minute span to post a 3-2 win ... this trend has continued through most of the games this season, with last week's action seeing Lake Superior use three third-period goals for a 4-2 win before scoring in the final two minutes to force a 3-3 tie the next night.

    PLAYING FOR YOUR COUNTRY: Notre Dame's Joe Dusbabek and Ben Simon have been named to the 28-player roster that will participate in the 1998 U.S. National Junior Team Camp, Dec. 14-18 in Hackensack, N.J. ... following the camp, 22 players will be selected to the U.S. team which will compete in the 1997-98 World Junior Championship, Dec. 25-Jan. 3 in Finland ... Dusbabek and Simon are two of 13 current college players among the camp invitees and join Michigan State forward Mike York as the only players invited who currently play for a CCHA school ... Simon helped the U.S. capture the silver medal at the 1996-97 World Junior Championship in Switzerland, the best U.S. finish in the 21-year history of the tournament ... Simon is one of eight returning players from that team who will participate in the upcoming camp.

    Central Collegiate Hockey Association Standings

     
        TEAM (overall record)       W   L   T  PTS  GF  GA  PEN Power Play  Penalty-Kill.
     1. Michigan State (13-1-2)     7   1   1   15  52  25  141 (8) 13.7%   (1) 90.1%           
     2. Northern Michigan (7-4-3)   6   3   2   14  53  44  151(11) 10.8%  (11) 78.0%
     3. Michigan (11-3-1)           6   2   1   13  55  37  138 (1) 20.4%   (7) 83.7%       
     4. Miami University (9-1-0)    6   1   0   12  53  26   94 (1) 35.7%   (6) 84.6%
     5. Ferris State (4-7-3)        4   4   3   11  47  50  122 (6) 16.9%   (9) 78.6%  
     6. Lake Superior (4-6-3)       3   4   3    9  45  45  138 (5) 17.2%   (2) 88.9%
     7. Western Michigan (5-7-2)    4   7   1    9  33  35  143 (7) 16.5%   (4) 86.1%  
     8. Ohio State (7-6-1)          4   5   0    8  45  40  118 (7) 16.5%   (3) 88.8%
     9. Notre Dame (6-5-1)          3   5   2    8  45  41  104 (3) 18.5%   (5) 85.5%
    10. Alaska Fairbanks (4-9-1)    3   8   1    7  54  71  164 (3) 18.5%  (10) 78.5%   
    11. Bowling Green (2-10-1)      1   7   2    4  43  67  173 (9) 14.0%   (8) 80.4%

    National Hockey Polls

    USA Today/American Hockey Magazine Coaches Poll
        
     1. Michigan State (6; 13-1-2)      95
     2. Boston University (3;  9-1-0)   92
     3. North Dakota (5-2-1)            72
     4. Miami (1; 9-1-0)                69      
     5. New Hampshire (10-3-0)          49
     6. Colorado College  (7-3-2)       41
     7. Michigan (11-3-1)               38
     8. St. Cloud State (8-3-2)         25
     9. Boston College (11-4-0)         22
    10. Cornell (6-1-1)                 19

    Others receiving votes: Wisconsin (10), Yale (8), Maine (4), Providence (2), Colgate (1), Princeton (1).

    U.S. College Hockey Online Coaches Poll 
        
     1. Michigan State (23; 13-1-2)     288
     2. Boston University (3; 9-1-0)    266
     3. North Dakota (4; 5-2-1)         225
     4. Miami (9-1-0)                   187     
     5. New Hampshire (10-3-0)          167     
     6. Colorado College  (7-3-2)       132
     7. Michigan (11-3-1)                93
     8. Boston College (8-3-0)           70
     9. Cornell (6-1-1)                  64     
    10. St. Cloud State (8-3-2)          62
        Wisconsin (7-3-0)                62

    Others receiving votes: Yale (26), Princeton (4), Colgate (3), Maine (1).

    WMEB Media Poll
        
     1. Michigan State (7; 13-1-2)  94      
     2. North Dakota (3; 5-2-1)     93      
     3. Boston University (9-1-0)   85
     4. Miami (9-1-0)               71
     5. Colorado College (7-3-2)    53
     6. New Hampshire (10-3-0)      43
     7. Boston College (8-3-0)      33
     8. Michigan (11-3-1)           29
     9. Cornell (6-1-1)             22
    10. Wisconsin (7-3-0)           16

    Others receiving votes: Maine (6), St. Cloud State (3), Yale (1), Colgate (1).

    WMPL Coaches Poll
        
     1. Michigan State (8; 13-1-2)      128
     2. Boston University (1; 9-1-0)    119
     3. North Dakota (1; 5-2-1)         107
     4. New Hampshire (10-3-0)           82
     5. Colorado College (7-3-2)         72
     6. Miami (9-1-0)                    71
     7. Michigan (11-3-1)                68
     8. Boston College (8-3-0)           51
     9. Cornell (6-1-1)                  48
    10. Wisconsin (7-3-0)                43

    Others receiving votes: St. Cloud State (33), Yale (12), Princeton (10), Minnesota (10), Providence, Northern Michigan, Clarkson, Maine, Northeastern, Mankato State, Rensselaer.

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