Dec. 9, 1997
Irish Face Home and Home Series With Wisconsin
* Teams to face one another in home facilities for first time since 1981
NOTRE DAME--The Notre Dame hockey team (8-6-2, 5-5-2 CCHA)--coming off an away-and-home sweep of Western Michigan (2-1, 4-2)--again will play on an opponent's home ice before playing host to that team, when the Irish travel this week to Wisconsin (Wed., Dec. 10) before hosting the Badgers on Fri., Dec. 12 ... the Dec. 12 game will be televise by South Bend-based WHME-TV 46 (interested viewers should consult their local listings for the broadcast schedule) ... Notre Dame has vaulted into fifth place in the Central Collegiate Hockey Association with 12 points, just two behind Miami (7-2-0) and Northern Michigan (6-3-2) and only three points back of second-place Michigan (7-2-1) ... the Irish will take 14 days off from competition before playing in Minnesota's Mariucci Classic on Dec. 27-28 ... Notre Dame's 18 starting skaters have included as many as seven freshmen and six sophomores.
SEE YOU IN MADISON:
THE WISCONSIN SERIES:
CARROLL TO FACE ALMA MATER:
BADGERS NOTES: Wisconsin (7-5-0) stands fourth in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (7-3-0) after dropping a pair of home games last week to defending NCAA champion North Dakota (5-6, 0-3) ... the Badgers returned 19 of 24 letterwinners from their 1996-97 team that went 15-21-2 and finished 7th in the WCHA (15-15-2) ... Wisconsin received the 12th-most votes in this week's WMPL coaches poll and 13th-most in the USA Today and U.S. College Hockey Online polls ... Wisconsin's leading scorers are Craig Anderson (3 G, 12 A), Dustin Kuk (6 G, 5 A) and Steve Reinprecht (4 G, 7 A) ... Mike Valley has started 10 of 12 games between the pipes, going 5-5 with a 2.31 goals-against average and .924 save percentage ... Wisconsin is averaging 3.0 goals and 9.5 penalties per game ... Wisconsin owns just a 10.0 percent power-play unit through 10 WCHA games (4-for-40) but has stopped 89.1 percent of opponent powerplays in WCHA play (49-for-55) ... 16th-year Wisconsin coach Jeff Sauer has 552 career coaching victories, three shy of equaling the WCHA record set by Michigan Tech's John MacInnes (1956-82) ... Sauer also coached for 11 seasons at Colorado College before taking the job at Wisconsin ... Wisconsin's wins have come at Alaska-Anchorage (4-2, 3-1), vs. Minnesota (3-2), vs. Michigan Tech (7-2, 4-3/ot) and at Minnesota-Duluth (3-0, 4-2) ... the Badgers other losses came vs. Minnesota (2-4), at Michigan State (0-2) and at Michigan (1-2) ... Wisconsin played in the preseason exhibition College Hockey Showcase (at Michigan), beating Clarkson 7-1 and losing a 2-1 game to MSU ... Wisconsin has won five NCAA titles: 1973, 1977, 1981, 1983 and 1990.
IRISH TAKE HOME AND HOME SERIES WITH WESTERN MICHIGAN:
NOTRE DAME HOCKEY - making strides
1996-97 1997-98 Change Wins 9-25-1 8-6-2 Winning pct. 27.1% 53.1% +26.0% One-goal games 15 (3-12) 7 (4-3) Goals per game 2.63 3.19 +0.56 Shots per game 27.2 26.8 -0.4 Shooting pct. 9.7% 11.9% +2.2% Opponent shots/gm 31.8 27.9 +3.9 Shot margin -4.6 -1.1 +3.5 Power-play pct. 12.7% 17.9% +5.2% Power-play goals/gm 0.66 0.94 +0.28 Shorthanded goals/gm 0.06 (2) 0.25 (4) +0.19 Penalties per game 8.69 6.94 +1.75 Penalty-killing pct. 81.3% 86.3% +5.0% Goals-against-avg. 3.73 2.75 +0.98 Save pct. 88.2% 90.4% +2.2% Goal margin -1.11 0.50 +1.61 Shorthanded goals allowed/gm 0.20 (7) 0.00 (0) +0.20 1st period goals/gm 0.66 (23) 0.94 (15) +0.28 1st period goal margin -0.46 (23-39) +0.31 (15-10) +0.77 3rd period goals/gm 0.94 (33) 1.19 (19) +0.25 3rd period goal margin -0.26 (33-42) -0.06 (19-20) +0.20 Ahead at 1st intermission 4-5-0 (.444) 6-0-0 (1.00) +.556 Ahead at 2nd intermission 6-2-0 (.750) 6-3-1 (.650) -.100
16-GAME CHECKUP: With 16 games in the books, the Irish can point to many statistical trends that show significant progress from the 1996-97 campaign ... in fact, Notre Dame has improved or remained on the same pace in most of the 23 categories listed above ... the most significant offensive improvements have come in the areas of goals per game (up 0.56), shooting pct. (up 2.2%), power-play pct. (up 5.2%) and power-play goals per game (up 0.28) ... noteworthy improvements on the defensive end include the 86.3 percent penalty-killing unit (up 5.0%), a 2.75 goals against average (0.98 better than last season) and just 6.94 penalties per game (1.75 fewer than in '96-'97) ... Notre Dame already has twic as many shorthanded goals (4) than the Irish totaled in all of 1996-97 (2) .. .the Irish are 4-3 in one-goal games this season, after going 3-12 a year ago ... Notre Dame has won all six games this season when leading at the first intermission, after going just 4-5-0 in 1996-97 after posting a first-intermission lead.
FRIEND OR FOE?: All three of Notre Dame's goaltenders are former teammates of players on Wisconsin's current roster ... Notre Dame senior Matt Eisler played with Wisconsin senior winger E.J. Bradley at Cantebury Prep ... Irish junior Forrest Karr, a native of DeForest, Wis., was a prep teammate of Wisconsin junior defenseman Tom Rothering at Edgewood High School ... Irish freshman Kyle Kolquist played with Wisconsin freshman winger Andy Wheeler at Duluth (Minn.) High School ... additionally, Notre Dame sophomore defenseman Sean Molina played on the Chicago Young Americans with Wisconsin sophomore defenseman Jeff Dessner and Badgers' freshman winger Kevin Granato ... Wisconsin sophomore winger Dustin Kuk will join Notre Dame sophomore forwards Ben Simon and Joe Dusbabek as three of the 28 players invited to the upcoming U.S. National Junior Team Camp, Dec. 14-18 in Hackensack, N.J.
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 5-3 away from home this season, posting wins at St. Cloud State (4-3/ot, 4-1), then-#2 Michigan State (6-1), Ohio State (3-2) and Western Michigan (2-1) ... the Irish have lost 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) ... Notre Dame has 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 28 goals away from home on 194 shots on goal, for an average of 6.9 shots per goal (14.4 shooting pct.) ... conversely, in its eight home games, Notre Dame has scored just 24 goals on 234 shots (9.8 shots per goal, 10.3 shooting pct.).
A FRESH START: Freshmen defenseman Mark Eaton and left wing Dan Carlson have made a significant impact for the Irish this season ... the smooth-skating Eaton leads the Irish in plus-minus (+10) and has totaled 10 points, including nine assists (tied for second on the team) ... the speedy Carlson has totaled five goals and six assists this season ... Carlson had two goals and an assist in last week's action vs. Western Michigan, including the game-winning goal at WMU (2-1) and a game-winning assist in the 4-2 home win ... he also had an assist and scored the late game-tying goal in the 5-5 game with Ferris State.
BACK TOGETHER: Sophomores Nathan Borega and Tyson Fraser have skated together for the last four games, after spending the bulk of their freshman season as a defensive tandem ... in their first game back together, Fraser and Borega scored both Irish goals in the 4-2 loss to Lake Superior ... they have helped Notre Dame allow just six goals in the last three games ... Borega is +2 for the season (even the last four games) and has totaled just 10 penalties despite his physical style of play ... Fraser has recorded an assist in seven games this season and is +3 (he has just five penalties this season and 22 in 45 career games).
JUMP START: Notre Dame is 6-0-0 this season when leading at the first intermission, after going just 4-5-0 last season when ahead after the first 20 minutes of play.
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 is tied for third in the CCHA with 10 goals, trailing only Michigan's Bill Muckalt (17) and Michigan State's Mike York (11) ... Dhadphale--who had just one shot in last week's WMU series--has converted on 27.0 percent of his 37 shots (an average of one goal per every 3.7 shots on goal)
SIMPLE SIMON: Notre Dame sophomore center Ben Simon has been Mr. Reliable this season, recording at least one point in 12/13 of 16 games ... he leads the Irish and ranks eighth in the CCHA with 18 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 (left) 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.
IRISH OPEN WITH CHALLENGING FIRST-SEMESTER SCHEDULE:
TAKING ADVANTAGE: Junior defenseman Benoit Cotnoir has totaled 43 career points (16 G, 30 A) from the blue line, with nearly 63 percent (5 G, 12 A) of his 27 points during the past two seasons coming on the power play.
LOKING TO GET BACK IN THE GRROVE: Former Minnetonka High School teammates Brian Urick and Joe Dusbabek have had their struggles this season lighting the lamp, after sharing the Notre Dame scoring lead last season (both had 13 goals and 12 assists) ... Dusbabek's only goal this season came on Nov. 15 at Miami, when redirected a pass from Ben Simon in the first period for a 2-1 Irish lead ... Dusbabek failed to score on his first 20 shots of the season while enduring a career-long goalless streak of eight games (he also has not to scored a goal in the last seven games) ... Dusbabek, who is tied for fifth on the Irish this season with seven assists, was runner-up for CCHA rookie of the year last season, when he converted on 15.5 percent of his 84 shots ... his current shooting pct. stands at .030 (1-for-33) and he has managed just two or fewer shots in 12 games this season (he totaled seven shots vs. Bowling Green) ... Urick has notched a goal in each of the past two weekends (vs. Lake Superior and Western Michigan) but still has converted on just 7.3 percent of his team-high 55 shots (four goals) ... Urick is tied for second on the team with nine assists, with three of those coming in the 6-1 win at Michigan State ... Urick has ranked among the Irish scoring leaders throughout his career, totaling 29 goals and 36 assists over the course of 86 career games ... he scored on 15.1 percent of his shots during his first two seasons.
WHERE ARE YOU FROM?: Nearly 40 percent of the current 271 players that had played this season for a CCHA team (as of Nov. 11) are products of either the United States Hockey League (54) or the North American Hockey League (52) ... Ferris State and Miami each had used eight former USHL players as of Nov. 11 while Notre Dame had played seven ... Ohio State (9) and Ferris State (7) had featured the most former NAHL players while Notre Dame has one: sophomore C Ben Simon (Cleveland Junior Barons) ... 20 former high school or prep school players had skated for a CCHA team this season, with Michigan accounting for seven of those players while Notre Dame had five (the Irish players are sophomore RW Troy Bagne, freshman LW Dan Carlson, senior G Matt Eisler, sophomore RW Joe Dusbabek and junior RW Brian Urick).
PENALTY-KILLING PROVIDES ADDED PLUS: Notre Dame's penalty-killing unit has scored one goal for every 2.5 it has allowed this season, totaling four shorthanded goals while allowing just 10 opponent power-play scores ... the four shorthanded goals are double the Irish total from all of 1996-97 (2), with Ben Simon scoring two of the SHG's and Benoit Cotnoir and Dan Carlson netting the others ... Notre Dame's "-6" penalty-killing effort this season is tied with Ohio State (5 SHG, 11 PPG allowed) as best in the CCHA ... the other CCHA penalty-killing units stack up as follows, based on shorthanded goals scored minus power-play goals allowed: Western Michigan (-7), Lake Superior (-8), Michigan State (-8), Michigan (-10), Miami (-12), Ferris State (-16), Northern Michigan (-17), Bowling Green (-19) and Alaska Fairbanks (-20) ... Notre Dame is the only CCHA teams that has yet to allow a shorthanded goal this season.
GO-TO GROUP: Notre Dame head coach Dave Poulin remarked before the season that the Irish did not have a 30-goal scorer and would need to rely on several players for timely goals ... although junior LW Aniket Dhadphale (10 goals) and sophomore C Ben Simon (7) have set an early pace for 20-plus goals, the Irish truly have relied on balanced scoring--as recently seen by freshman Chad Chipchase's hat trick in the 4-3 loss at Ferris State ... the seven game-winning goals have come from five different players (two each by Ben Simon, Lyle Andrusiak and Brian Urick, one by Steve Noble and Dan Carlson) ... after Simon (7 G, 11 A), the Irish feature 10 players with between 8-13 points.
PENALTY DROP: After ranking among the CCHA's most-penalized teams in 1994-95 (11.59 penalties/gm) and 1995-96 (11.33), Notre Dame last season became the conference's least-penalized team (8.69 penalties per game) ... through 16 games this season, the Irish again are the CCHA's least-penalized squad, totaling 11 penalties for 6.9 per game ... Notre Dame's current penalty average is the lowest by an Irish squad since the 1987-88 team averaged 6.4/gm ... Notre Dame's hard-hitting sophomore D Nathan Borega has been whistled for just 10 penalties this season--none in the last four games--and less than one per game in his career (41 in 51 games) ... other disciplined skaters include senior center Steve Noble (two penalties in '97-'98, 18 in last 50) and sophomore D Tyson Fraser (five penalties in '97-'98, 21 in 45 career games) ... junior RW Brian Urick struggled with untimely penalties in his first two seasons (totaling 58 in 70 games) but has just four penalties in 1997-98 ... sophomore D Sean Molina and freshman D Ryan Clark each have totaled just two penalties this season.
THE EISMAN COMETH ... AND TAKETH AWAY: Despite some recent defensive breakdowns in front of him, senior goaltender Matt Eisler (West Milford, N.J.) owns a 2.90 goals-against average and .905 save percentage in 1997-98 while leading the Irish to their 86.3 percent penalty-killing effort ... Eisler was named the CCHA defensive player of the week after making 63 saves and allowing just four goals in the two-game sweep at St. Cloud State (Oct. 17-18) and his 32 saves helped the Irish run away with the 6-1 win at Michigan State on Nov. 1 ... most recently, Eisler's 32 saves helped the Irish post a 4-2 home win over Western Michigan ... Eisler's 2.90 GAA ranks fifth among CCHA netminders with 600-plus minutes while his .905 save pct. also is fifth among CCHA goalies with 600-plus minutes ... Eisler's current 2.90 GAA would rank third in Irish history--behind John Barry's 2.00 in 1968-69 and Chris Cathcart's 2.83 in 1970-71--while his .905 save pct. is just behind Mark Kronholm's existing Irish record (.907, in 1970-71) ... Eisler's .879 career save pct. ranks fourth in Irish history while his 2,432 career saves rank sixth, within range of Kronholm's fifth-place total (2,566), fourth-place Bob McNamara (2,577, 1979-83) and third-place Dave Laurion (2,600, 1978-82), the current head coach at Alaska-Fairbanks ... Eisler has carried the Irish to a 2.75 season goals against average that would blow away the existing team record of 3.40, set in 1987-88 ... the current team save pct. (.904) likewise is well ahead of the Irish record of .891 (set in 1976-77).
Central Collegiate Hockey Association Standings TEAM (overall record) W L T PTS GF GA PEN Power Play Penalty-Kill. 1. Michigan State (14-2-2) 8 2 1 17 56 28 158 (9) 13.5% (1) 91.2% 2. Michigan (12-3-1) 7 2 1 15 62 37 145 (2) 20.6% (6) 84.6% 3. Miami University (10-2-0) 7 2 0 14 62 32 110 (1) 35.4% (7) 83.1% 4. Northern Michigan (7-4-3) 6 3 2 14 53 44 151 (11) 10.8% (10) 78.0% 5. Ohio State (9-6-1) 6 5 0 12 57 43 157 (7) 16.7% (2) 87.9% 6. Notre Dame (8-6-2) 5 5 2 12 51 44 111 (4) 17.2% (5) 86.3% 7. Ferris State (4-8-3) 4 5 3 11 49 56 129 (5) 17.1% (11) 77.0% 8. Lake Superior (5-7-3) 4 5 3 11 49 55 157 (5) 17.1% (3) 87.5% 9. Western Michigan (5-9-2) 4 9 1 9 36 41 152 (8) 15.7% (4) 87.1% 10. Alaska Fairbanks (4-11-2) 3 10 1 7 57 83 189 (3) 18.4% (9) 78.8% 11. Bowling Green (3-13-2) 2 8 2 6 46 71 188 (10) 12.6% (8) 81.1%
National Hockey Polls
USA Today/American Hockey Magazine Coaches Poll 1. Boston University (7; 11-1-0) 96 2. Michigan State (3; 14-2-2) 88 3. North Dakota (7-2-1) 81 4. New Hampshire (12-3-0) 63 5. Miami (1; 10-2-0) 48 6. Michigan (12-3-1) 44 7. Colorado College (8-4-2) 41 8. St. Cloud State (9-3-2) 28 9. Boston College (10-5-0) 15 10. Providence (10-3-1) 14 Others receiving votes: Colgate (13), Yale (13), Cornell (4), Wisconsin (2). U.S. College Hockey Online Coaches Poll 1. Boston University (20; 11-1-0) 287 2. Michigan State (5; 14-2-2) 255 3. North Dakota (5; 7-2-1) 253 4. New Hampshire (12-3-0) 190 4. Miami (10-2-0) 158 6. Colorado College (8-4-2) 142 7. Michigan (12-3-1) 141 8. St. Cloud State (9-3-2) 76 9. Yale (8-2-0) 43 10. Providence (10-3-1) 35 Others receiving votes: Boston College (31), Colgate (20), Wisconsin (9) Northeastern (7), Rensselaer (3). WMEB Media Poll (N.A.) WMPL Coaches Poll 1. Boston University (4; 11-1-0) 124 2. Michigan State (3; 14-2-2) 118 3. North Dakota (3; 7-2-1) 114 4. New Hampshire (12-3-0) 97 5. Miami (10-2-0) 80 6. Michigan (12-3-1) 73 7. Colorado College (8-4-2) 69 8. St. Cloud State (9-3-2) 48 9. Providence (10-3-1) 45 10. Yale (8-2-0) 39 Others receiving votes: Boston College (33), Wisconsin (20), Colgate (19) Cornell, Princeton, Clarkson, Northeastern, Michigan, Ohio State.