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    Fighting Irish

    Jan. 2, 1998

    Irish Return to CCHA Play at Home vs. Miami

    • Two-game home weekend to test undermanned Notre Dame squad
    • Irish look to translate road success to better home-ice record
    • Simon, Dusbabek remain in Finland with U.S. team, due back Jan. 4
    • Urick, Carlson and Noble step up at Mariucci Classic

    The Notre Dame hockey team (10-8-2, 5-5-2 CCHA) returns to Central Collegiate Action this week with a pair of home games versus Miami University (13-3-0, 8-3-0 CCHA) at the Joyce Center Fieldhouse (Jan. 2-3) ... the Irish again will be without sophomore forwards Ben Simon and Joe Dusbabek, who will be wrapping up play with the United States team at the World Junior Championship in Finland ... the games versus the RedHawks represent Notre Dame's only home action in a nine-game stretch (from Dec. 27-Jan. 25) ... the next Irish home game will be Jan. 30 against Michigan ... Miami has won the last four games against Notre Dame, with three of those games decided in the closing minutes (two in the last 40 seconds) ... Notre Dame is 4-4 in one-goal games this season, a marked improvement from its 3-12 record in one-goal games last season ... Notre Dame already has surpassed its victory and point total from last season (9-25-1) ... senior C Steve Noble has stepped into Simon's vacant spot on the first line, alongside freshman LW Dan Carlson and junior RW Brian Urick (that line scored four of Notre Dame's five goals last week versus Brown).

    AROUND THE HORN: Notre Dame is 7-4-0 away from home this season and 3-4-2 at home, with 38 of 64 goals (59 percent) coming on the road ... the Irish are tied with Michigan and Boston College as the third-youngest team in Division I hockey ... the Irish penalty-killing unit has allowed just seven more goals (12) than it has scored (5) ... Notre Dame remains the CCHA's least-penalized team (6.55/gm) for the second straight season ... the Irish are on pace to set records for team goals-against average (2.70), save percentage (.904) and penalty-killing percentage (.867) ... Notre Dame's top scorers are sophomore C Ben Simon (8-13-21), junior RW Brian Urick (8-10-18), senior C Steve Noble (5-13-18), freshman LW Dan Carlson (6-10-16) and junior LW Aniket Dhadphale (12-4-16) ... 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 and stand seventh heading into the New Year, just four points behind third-place Miami.

    THE SERIES: Miami holds a 15-5-2 edge, including a 13-1-2 mark vs. the Irish in the last 16 meetings ... three of the last four games have produced narrow Miami wins ... Notre Dame's only win vs. Miami since '83 came late in 1995-96, at Miami (5-2) ... Notre Dame senior C Steve Noble has nine career points vs. Miami (3G, 6A) ... Miami swept last year's series, winning two close games at home (2-1, 4-3) and once at Notre Dame (6-3) ... in last year's first game (10/26), Matt Eisler extended his shutout streak to over 120 minutes but Miami won on goals in the first two minutes of the third by Joe Bodnar and Ryan Brindley ... Noble's power-play goal put the Irish ahead late in the second ... Whitecotton's wraparound goal with 40 seconds left won the second meeting of 1996-97 (11/23) ... Joe Dusbabek, Terry Lorenz and Brian Urick scored for the Irish while Mark Tropper, Vitali Andreev and Copeland scored for Miami ... on Jan. 3, the Irish answered a Tom White goal with scores from Lyle Andrusiak, Dusbabek and Sean Seyferth but Miami tied the game in the second on goals by Leahy and Mark Shalawylo before winning in the third on goals from Tropper, C.J. Buzzell and Randy Robitaille.

    RECAP (11/15/97) - RedHawks edge Irish, 5-4: Adam Copeland capitalized on a giveaway and scored with 20 seconds left ... the Irish had three leads, only to see Miami quickly gain the equalizer ... Miami converted two of three power-play chances, with the last providing a 4-3 lead at the second intermission ... Gregor Krajnc picked off an attempted clear by Mark Eaton and fired the puck to Copeland for the winning goal ... Lyle Andrusiak forged the fourth tie midway through the third period, poking the puck home in a scramble at the top of the crease ... Miami went ahead 4-3 in the second, behind goals from Tim Leahy and Krajnc ...Benoit Cotnoir opened the scoring with a power-play goal five minutes into the game ... Miami tied the game 54 seconds later, when Alex Kim knocked home his own rebound ... Joe Dusbabek put the Irish ahead midway through the first period, after redirecting a Ben Simon pass inside the right post ... Miami tied the game five minutes before the first intermission, on Dan Boyle's power-play goal ... Notre Dame claimed its third lead early in the second, when Eaton sent a lead pass up the middle for Andrusiak, who nudged a backhander inside the left post.

    REDHAWKS NOTES: Miami (13-3-0 overall, 8-3-0 CCHA) stands third in the CCHA, behind Michigan (9-2-1) and Michigan State (8-2-1) ... the RedHawks are ranked fourth in the USA Today/American Hockey Magazine coaches poll and in the U.S. College Hockey Online coaches poll (the top three teams are Boston University, MSU and North Dakota ... Miami has 10 seniors and returned 18 of 22 letterwinners from the '96-'97 team that went 27-12-1 and finished second in the CCHA ... the RedHawks won last week's Denver Cup (9-6 over DU, 4-2 over New Hampshire) ... three Miami players rank among the CCHA's top-10 scorers, led by All-American D Dan Boyle and F Tim Leahy ... Trevor Prior ranks fourth in the CCHA with a 2.47 GAA ... Miami owns the CCHA's top power-play unit (.310) and ranks sixth in penalty-killing (.844) ... Miami also owns CCHA wins over OSU (3-0), UAF (11-3, 6-3), WMU (2-1/OT, 4-2), at FSU (6-2) and NMU (5-2), with other wins over Waterloo (10-2) and St. Lawrence (2-1, 6-5) ... Miami's losses have come at OSU (4-5), at Lake Superior (3-4/OT) and vs. NMU (2-3).

    FRIEND OR FOE?: Several current players from Notre Dame and Miami played together on previous teams ... they include: Notre Dame junior D Scott Giuliani and Miami senior RW Adam Copeland (Burlington Cougars), Notre Dame junior G Forrest Karr and Miami junior C C.J. Buzzell (Wisconsin Capitols), Notre Dame sophomore D Nathan Borega and Miami sophomore C Dustin Whitecotton (Vernon Vipers), Whitecotton and Notre Dame sophomore D Tyson Fraser (Team British Columbia), Notre Dame sophomore D Sean Molina and Miami sophomore F Mark Shalawylo (USA Viking Cup), Shalawylo and Notre Dame D Andy Jurkowski (Wisconsin Capitols), Notre Dame sophomore D Sean Seyferth and Miami senior D Brooke Chateau and senior F Vitali Andreev, and Notre Dame sophomore C Ben Simon and Miami junior D Josh Harrold (Cleveland Jr. Barons).

    HOMETOWN HEROES: Of the 274 players that had played for a CCHA team through the first month of the season, 56 hail from Ontario, 53 from Michigan, 20 from B.C. and 19 from Minnesota ... Notre Dame had played the most Minnesotans (seven, all forwards) while Miami had played five, Ohio State three and four other teams had played one ... Notre Dame's Minnesota natives who had played as of Nov. 16 are junior RW Brian Urick (Minnetonka), junior C Craig Hagkull (Arden Hills), sophomore F Troy Bagne (Moorhead), sophomore RW Joe Dusbabek (Faribault), freshman LW Dan Carlson (Edina) and freshman LW Jay Kopischke (Alexandria) ... junior C Neal Johnson (Edina) saw his first action of the season in last week's win over Brown while freshman G Kyle Kolquist (Duluth) has yet to play for the Irish this season ... each of the Minnesota natives last week had the chance to skate in their home state when Notre Dame took part in the Mariucci Classic at the University of Minnesota.

    Steve Noble
    Steve Noble notched four points in the win over Brown. (File Photo)

    RECAP - Irish go 1-1 at Mariucci Classic: (12/27, Northeastern 4 ND 2): Freshman D Mike Jozefowicz (2 goals) was the unlikely offensive hero as Northeastern came back from a two-goal deficit ... Notre Dame jumped ahead, with Benoit Cotnoir scoring early in the first (assisted by Bagne) before providing a second-period slapshot that was tipped home by Aniket Dhadphale ... Notre Dame lost despite a 33-32 shot advantage ... Northeastern closed the gap to 2-1 midway through the second period before using three goals in a five-minute span to surge ahead midway through the third ... Huskies goalie Marc Robitaille had 32 saves ... Notre Dame had a 53-second, two-man advantage with seven minutes to play but couldn't close the gap. (12/28, ND 5 Brown 1): Notre Dame used a four-goal outburst in the second period to blow by Brown ... the line of Dan Carlson, Steve Noble and Brian produced four goals while Forrest Karr made 26 saves ... Notre Dame outshot Brown 45-27, the most Irish shots since the opener vs. Western Ontario (55) ... Brown scored on the power play early in the final period ... Noble--who had three assists--put the Irish on the board midway through the first, on a transition slapshot inside the blueline ... Urick padded the lead, knocking home a rebounded shot from Tyson Fraser ... midway through the second, Noble fired a pass from the left corner into the slot for Carlson, who scored with a high shot to the glove side ... Troy Bagne later scored on a low rocket shot from the right-side that tucked inside the left post ... Urick capped the scoring by slapping in a deflected Carlson shot from the bottom of the right circle.

    PLAYING FOR YOUR COUNTRY: Notre Dame sophomore forwards Joe Dusbabek and Ben Simon have spent the past week as members of the U.S. team competing at the World Junior Championship in Finland ... the U.S. fell to Slovakia (6-3) before beating Kazakhstan (8-2), with Dusbabek scoring a goal in that win and Simon registering an assist ... the U.S. then lost to Russia (3-2) in the final minute before posting a 5-1 win over Switzerland, with Simon notching an assist ... the U.S. lost to the Czech Republic in quarterfinal action on Dec. 31 and will play Canada on Jan. 2, with the winner moving onto the fifth-place game (vs. the Sweden/Kazakhstan winner) while the loser will play in the seventh-place game ... Dusbabek and Simon are two of 10 current college players on the U.S. team ... Simon helped the U.S. capture the silver medal at the '96-'97 World Junior Championship in Switzerland, the best U.S. finish in the 22-year history of the tournament ... Dusbabek and Simon were among 22 players to emerge from a 28-player tryout camp ... they join MSU F Mike York as the only CCHA players on the 1997-98 U.S. junior squad ... Boston College placed three players on the national junior team, followed by Notre Dame (2) ... 18 of the junior national team members--including both Notre Dame players--competed with the U.S. in late August at the Tampere Cup in Finland ... Simon missed three Irish games last season (two losses at Princeton, 2-5 and 2-3 in OT, and a 3-6 home loss to Miami) while helping the U.S. capture the silver medal ... Simon is one of five returning forwards from that 1996-97 U.S. world junior team, joining York, former linemate Jeff Farkas, Jesse Boulerice (Mooers, N.Y.) and Toby Peterson (Colorado College) ... the U.S. also returned D Chris Hajt (Amherst, N.Y.) and Paul Mara (Belmont, Mass.) and G Robert Esche (Whitesboro, N.Y.) ... Dusbabek and Simon have faced five of their national teammates this season: Boston College's Farkas, F Brian Gionta and D Mike Mottau, MSU's York and Wisconsin F Dustin Kuk ... the other current college players on the national junior team are Minnesota F Aaron Miskovich, Peterson and Providence F Jay Leach.

    Forrest Karr
    Forrest Karr is unbeaten in five starts between the pipes in 1997. (File Photo)

    FOLLOW THAT KARR!!: Junior Forrest Karr has combined with senior Matt Eisler to form a formidable goaltending duo for the Irish this season ... Karr is 4-0-1, posting road wins at Ohio State (3-2, 28 saves), Western Michigan (2-1, 11), Wisconsin (4-2, 14) and vs. Brown at the Mariucci Classic (5-1, 26) while earning a home tie vs. Lake Superior (3-3, 21) ... Karr ranks 2nd in the CCHA with a 1.73 goals-against avg. while his .919 save pct. is tops in the CCHA ... Karr and Eisler (2.98, .902) have helped the Irish post a 2.70 team GAA and .904 save pct., both well on pace to set Irish team records.

    FRESH START: Freshman D Mark Eaton and rookie LW Dan Carlson have made a significant impact ... the smooth-skating and heady Eaton is third on the team in plus-minus (+9) and has totaled 10 points, including nine assists ... the speedy Carlson ranks second on the team in plus-minus (+9) and has six goals and 10 assists for 16 points (fourth on the team) ... Carlson had a goal and two assists in the 5-1 win over Brown and totaled two goals and an assist in the two-game sweep of Western Michigan, including the game-winning goal at WMU (2-1) and a game-winning assist in the 4-2 home win over the Broncos ... he also had an assist and scored the late game-tying goal vs. Ferris State (5-5).

    BACK TOGETHER: Sophomores Nathan Borega and Tyson Fraser have skated together for the last eight 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 13 goals in the last six games ... the 6-2, 225-pound Borega is +3 for the season and has totaled just 12 penalties (0.61/gm) despite his physical style of play (he has just two penalties in the last 10 games) ... Fraser has an assist in 10 games this season and ranks sixth on the team in plus-minus (+5) ... Fraser's 10 assists are tied for third among all Irish players ... he has just five penalties this season and 22 in 49 career games.

    RETURN OF THE SNIPER: Junior LW Aniket Dhadphale has returned 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 more than doubled his sophomore goal total and is tied for second in the CCHA with 12 goals, trailing only Michigan's Bill Muckalt (20) ... Dhadphale has converted on 23.1 percent of his 52 shots (an average of one goal per every 4.3 shots on goal) after scoring just once per every 21.8 shots last season.

    SIMON SAYS: Notre Dame sophomore C Ben Simon has been Mr. Reliable, recording at least one point in 15 of the 18 games he has played ... Simon leads the Irish and ranks eighth in the CCHA with 21 points, including a season goal total (8) that is double his '96-'97 output (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 three shorthanded goals are more than Notre Dame's team total (2) for all of 1996-97.

    TAKING ADVANTAGE OF HIS (MAN-UP) OPPORTUNITIES: Junior D Benoit Cotnoir has totaled 48 career points (17 G, 31 A) from the blue line, with over 62 percent (5 G, 13 A) of his 29 points during the past two seasons coming on the power play.

    Brian Urick
    Brian Urick scored twice against Brown. (File Photo)

    BACK IN THE GROOVE: Junior RW Brian Urick totaled just one goal in the first 13 games this season but has added seven goals in his last seven outings, including both Irish scores in the 3-2 loss to Wisconsin and two scores in the 5-1 win over Brown ... Urick is tied for second on the team with 18 points (8G, 10 A) while he leads the team with 75 shots on goal ... Urick ranked among Notre Dame's scoring leaders the past two seasons--he shared for the team scoring lead last season (13 G, 12 A)--and has totaled 33 goals and 37 assists in 90 career games ... Urick scored on 15.1 percent of his shots during his first two seasons and owns a .107 shooting pct. this season.

    THE EISMAN COMETH: Despite some recent rough outings, senior G Matt Eisler owns a 2.98 goals-against average and .902 save pct. while leading the Irish to a .867 penalty-killing pct. ... Eisler was named the CCHA defensive player of the week, after making 63 saves and allowing just four goals in the sweep at St. Cloud State on Oct. 17-18 (4-3, 4-1) ... he had 32 saves in the 6-1 win at Michigan State and 33 in the 4-2 win over Western Michigan ... his 2.98 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 .902 save pct. is just behind Mark Kronholm's Irish record (.907, in 1970-71) ... Eisler's .879 career save pct. ranks fourth in Irish history while his 2,485 career saves rank sixth, within range of Kronholm (2,566), Bob McNamara (2,577, 1979-83) and Dave Laurion (2,600, 1978-82), the current Alaska Fairbanks head coach.

    DUS STILL DUE: Sophomore RW Joe Dusbabek--who is missing four games while at the World Junior Championship--failed to score during the first eight games (18 shots) this season, before redirecting a pass from classmate Ben Simon for a 2-1 Irish lead in the 5-4 loss at Miami on Nov. 15 ... after sharing for the team scoring lead last season (13 G, 12 A), Dusbabek was looking to use that goal at Miami as a jumpstart but he has not scored in the last nine games (16 shots) ... his longest goal drought last season was six games, en route to finishing as runner-up for CCHA rookie of the year ... he has eight assists for the season but has just four in the last 15 games, giving him only five points since posting two assists in each win at St. Cloud State on Oct. 17-18 ... he has scored on just 2.8 percent of his 36 shots (averaging just 2.0 shots/gm), after ranking third on the 1996-97 Irish with a 15.5 percent shooting accuracy ... Dusbabek has managed just two or fewer shots in 14 games and has five-plus shots just once (seven, in 2-1 win over BG).

    THIRD PERIOD KEY: Third-period production has been crucial in Notre Dame's games this season ... after dominating the third-period scoring earlier this season, Notre Dame now is being outscored 26-20 in the final 20 minutes ... the Irish have outscored the opposition 13-5 in the third period of the 10 Notre Dame wins ... conversely, in Notre Dame's eight losses, the opposition has owned a 17-3 third-period scoring edge ... in the last 14 games, Notre Dame has been outscored 21-7 in the third period ... the Irish opened with three wins thanks to an 8-0 third-period scoring edge but, in the fourth game, Boston College soared to three goals in a five-minute, third-period span to post a 3-2 win ... that trend has continued through several games this season, with Lake Superior using 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 ... most recently, Northeastern scored three goals in a five-minute stretch during the final period to complete a 4-2 comeback win over the Irish.

    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.

    ROAD WARRIORS: Notre Dame is 7-4 away from home this season, posting wins at St. Cloud State (4-3/ot, 4-1), #2 Michigan State (6-1), Ohio State (3-2), Western Michigan (2-1) and Wisconsin (4-2) while beating Brown (5-1) at last week's Mariucci Classic ... the Irish have lost road games in the final minute at MSU (3-1, with MSU 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) and failing to hold a 2-0 lead on Northeastern at the Mariucci Classic ... Notre Dame has been particularly impressive during the third period of several 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 38 goals away from home on 311 shots on goal, for an average of 8.2 shots per goal (12.2 shooting pct.) ... conversely, in its nine home games, Notre Dame is just 3-4-2 and has scored just 26 goals on 259 shots, for an average of 10.0 shots per goal (10.0 shooting pct.).

    PENALTY-KILLING PLUS: Notre Dame's penalty-killing unit has scored one goal for every 2.4 it has allowed this season, totaling five shorthanded goals while allowing 12 opponent power-play scores ... the five shorthanded goals are more than double the Irish total from all of 1996-97 (2), with sophomore C Ben Simon scoring three of the SHG's while junior D Benoit Cotnoir and freshman LW Dan Carlson have netted the others ... Notre Dame's "-7" penalty-killing effort this season is best in the CCHA, ahead of two teams that are "-8": Lake Superior (13 PPG allowed/5 SHG) and Ohio State (13/5) ... the other CCHA teams break down as follows: Michigan State (-9), Western Michigan (-12), Michigan (-13), Miami (-14), Northern Michigan (-18), Ferris State (-20), Bowling Green (-20) and Alaska Fairbanks (-22).

    SHOWING DISCIPLINE: 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 squad (8.69/gm) ... through 20 games this season, the Irish again are the CCHA's least-penalized squad, totaling 131 penalties for an average of just 6.55 per game--while posting a 2.70 team goals-against average that would blow away the existing Irish record (3.40, in 1987-88) ... the Irish have allowed just 12 opponent power-play goals, second-fewest in the CCHA behind Michigan State's 10 ... Notre Dame has totaled four or fewer penalties in eight games this season and averaged just 4.50 penalties/gm over the past six outings ... after Notre Dame, the CCHA's least-penalized teams this season are: Michigan State (8.75), Miami (8.88), Ferris State (9.26), Michigan (9.40) and Ohio State (9.78) ... the CCHA's most-penalized teams are Alaska Fairbanks (10.90), Northern Michigan (10.33), Western Michigan (10.30), Lake Superior (10.24) and Bowling Green (10.20) ... hard-hitting Irish sophomore D Nathan Borega has just 12 penalties this season (two in the last 10 games) and less than one per game in his career (43 in 55 games) ... other disciplined Irish skaters include: senior C Steve Noble (four penalties in '97-'98, 20 in last 54) and sophomore D Tyson Fraser (five penalties in '97-'98, 21 in 49 career games) ... junior RW Brian Urick struggled with untimely penalties his first two seasons (58 in 70 games) but has just five penalties this season.

    SPECIAL IMPROVEMENT: Despite a 4-for-50 power-play effort (.080) in its last nine games, Notre Dame's season power-play pct. (.162/18-for-111) is up considerably from last season (.127) and ranks sixth among CCHA teams ... the Irish netted at least one power-play goal in 10 of the first 11 games, including each of the first seven (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 .867 (78-for-90), fourth-best in the CCHA ... the Irish record for season penalty-killing pct. was set by the 1969-70 team, which stopped 86.1 percent of opponent power plays.

    HOLD ON TO THAT LEAD: Notre Dame is 8-2-0 this season when leading at the first intermission (with losses to Boston College and Northeastern), after going just 4-5-0 last season when ahead after the first 20 minutes ... half of Notre Dame's eight losses this season have come after the Irish held a lead at the second intermission, as Notre Dame is 8-4-1 in games when leading after 40 minutes (losses to Boston College, Ferris State, Lake Superior and Northeastern).

    GO-TO-GROUP: Notre Dame head coach Dave Poulin remarked before the season that the Irish likely would not have a 30-goal scorer and would need to count on several players for timely goals ... although junior LW Aniket Dhadphale (12 goals) and sophomore C Ben Simon (8) have set early paces for 20-25 goal seasons, the Irish truly have relied on balanced--and sometimes unexpected--scoring, as seen in freshman Chad Chipchase's hat trick in the 4-3 loss at Ferris State ... the team's #2-#6 scorers all have between 14-18 points, while six players have between 5-8 goals ... three players--Simon and senior C Lyle Andrusiak--have come through with a pair of game-winning goals while junior RW Brian Urick has three GWGs and three other players have scored one game-winner (Dhadphale, senior C Steve Noble and freshman LW Dan Carlson) ... after Simon's 21 points (8-13), Notre Dame's top goal-scoring threats have come from Urick (8-10), Dhadphale (12-4), Noble (5-13), Carlson (6-10), junior D Benoit Cotnoir (6-8) and Andrusiak (6-4) ... three other players have compiled high assist numbers: freshman D Mark Eaton (1-9), sophomore D Tyson Fraser (1-10) and sophomore RW Joe Dusbabek (1-8).

    FEELING A DRAFT: Notre Dame matched Boston College with the most players selected in the 1997 NHL draft (four): Ben Simon (5th rd, Chicago), Joe Dusbabek (7th rd, San Jose), Jay Kopischke (8th rd, L.A.) and Ryan Clark (9th rd, N.Y. Islanders) ... Notre Dame has seven former NHL draft picks on its roster (second to Michigan's nine among CCHA teams), with the others being senior C Steve Noble (St. Louis Blues), junior RW Brian Urick (Edmonton Oilers) and junior LW Aniket Dhadphale (San Jose Sharks).

    THE PRE-CCHA DAYS: Nearly 40 percent of the 272 players that had played for a CCHA team this season (as of Nov. 11) are products of either the United States Hockey League (54) or the North American Hockey League (52) ... Ferris State an Miami each had used eight former USHL players as of Nov. 11 while Notre Dame had played seven: junior C Craig Hagkull (Des Moines Buccaneers), junior G Forrest Karr (Wisconsin Capitols), sophomore D Sean Molina (Dubuque Fighting Saints), freshman D Ryan Clark (Lincoln Stars), freshman RW Ryan Dolder (Twin City Vulcans) freshman D Mark Eaton (Waterloo Blackhawks) and freshman LW Jay Kopischke (North Iowa Huskies) ... Ohio State (9) and FSU (7) had featured the most NAHL players while Notre Dame has one--sophomore C Ben Simon (Cleveland Junior Barons) ... 20 former high school or prep players (that went directly to college) had skated for a CCHA team through the first month of the season, with Michigan accounting for seven of those players while Notre Dame had five: senior G Matt Eisler, junior RW Brian Urick, sophomore C Troy Bagne, sophomore RW Joe Dusbabek and freshman LW Dan Carlson ... Notre Dame's other nine players who had seen action as of Nov. 11 include two each from: the Midwest Junior B League (senior C Steve Noble and junior LW Aniket Dhadphale, both from the Stratford Cullitons), the Provincial Junior A League (junior D Scott Giuliani/Burlington Cougars and freshman RW Matt Van Arkel/Milton Merchants), the Saskatchewan Junior A League (senior C Lyle Andrusiak/Notre Dame Hounds and junior D Benoit Cotnoir/Weyburn Red Wings) and the British Columbia Junior Hockey League (sophomore D Tyson Fraser/Royal City Outlaws and sophomore D Nathan Borega/Vernon Vipers ... freshman F Chad Chipchase played for the Waterloo Siskins of the Western Ontario League.

    NOTRE DAME HOCKEY - making strides (all improvements indicated by "+")
                                  1996-97         1997-98           Change
    Wins                          9-25-1          10-8-2            +1
    Winning pct.                    27.1%           55.0%           +27.9%
    One-goal games                  15 (3-12)        8 (4-4)    
    Goals per game                   2.63            3.20           +0.57
        
    Shots per game                  27.2            28.5            +1.3
    Shooting pct.                    9.7%           11.2%           +1.5%
    Opponent shots/gm               31.8            28.1            +3.7
    Shot margin                     -4.6            +0.4            +5.0
    Power-play  pct.                12.7%           16.2%           +3.5%
    Power-play goals/gm              0.66            0.90           +0.24
    Shorthanded goals/gm             0.06 (2)        0.25 (5)       +0.19   
    Penalties per game               8.69            6.55           +2.14
    Penalty-killing pct.            81.3%           86.7%           +5.4%
    Goals-against-avg.               3.73            2.70           +1.03
    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)       0.95 (19)      +0.29
    1st period goal margin          -0.46 (23-39)   +0.40 (19-11)   +0.86
    3rd period goals/gm              0.94 (33)       1.00 (20)      +0.06
    3rd period goal margin          -0.26 (33-42)   -0.30 (20-26)   -0.04
    Ahead at 1st intermission       4-5-0 (.444)    8-2-0 (.800)    +.356
    Ahead at 2nd intermission       6-2-0 (.750)    8-4-1 (.654)    -.096

    20-GAME CHECKUP: As they head into the New Year, the Irish can point to many statistical trends that show significant progress from the 1996-97 campaign ... Notre Dame has improved or remained on the same pace in most of the 23 categories listed above, including a winning pct. (.550) that is double that of last season (.271) ... the most significant offensive improvements have come in the areas of goals per game (up 0.57), shot margin (up +5.0/gm), shooting pct. (up 1.5%), power-play pct. (up 3.5%) and power-play goals per game (up 0.24) ... noteworthy improvements on the defensive end include the 86.7 percent penalty-killing unit (up 5.4%), a 2.70 goals against average (1.03 better than last season), a 90.4 save pct. (up 2.2) and just 6.55 penalties per game (2.14 fewer than in '96-'97) ... Notre Dame already has more that twice the shorthanded goals (5) it totaled in all of 1996-97 (2) and owns a 19-11 first-period scoring edge (the opponents outscored the Irish 39-23 last season) ... the Irish are 4-4 in one-goal games this season, after going 3-12 a year ago, and 8-2-0 when leading at the first intermission (4-5-0 last season).

    Central Collegiate Hockey Association Standings

    TEAM (overall record)               W   L   T PTS   GF  GA  PEN  Power Play  Penalty-Kill
      1.  Michigan (15-4-1)             9   2   1  19   76  48  175   (3) 20.9%   (7) 83.3%         
      2.  Michigan State (16-2-2)       8   2   1  17   64  32  188   (9) 14.7%   (1) 90.7%         
      3.  Miami University (13-3-0)     8   3   0  16   82  45  142   (1) 31.0%   (6) 84.4%
          Northern Michigan (9-6-3)     7   4   2  16   64  57  186  (11) 10.4%   (9) 80.4%
      5.  Lake Superior (7-7-3)         6   5   3  15   57  60  174   (4) 17.4%   (2) 88.5%
      6.  Ferris State (6-10-3)         5   6   3  13   67  70  176   (2) 21.4%  (10) 79.4%  
      7.  Notre Dame (10-8-2)           5   5   2  12   64  54  131   (6) 16.2%   (4) 86.7%
          Ohio State (9-8-1)            6   7   0  12   62  51  176   (8) 15.2%   (3) 87.1%
      9.  Alaska Fairbanks (5-12-2)     4  11   1   9   64  89  207   (5) 16.4%  (11) 78.8%             
          Western Michigan (5-13-2)     4  11   1   9   43  61  206   (6) 16.2%   (5) 84.5%  
     11.  Bowling Green (4-14-2)        2   8   2   6   51  78  204  (10) 12.7%   (8) 82.1%

    National Hockey Polls

    USA Today/American Hockey Magazine Coaches Poll (12/29)
     1. Boston University (7; 11-1-2)   96
     2. Michigan State (3; 16-2-2)      93
     3. North Dakota (10-3-1)           88
     4. Miami (13-3-0)                  70      
     5. New Hampshire (13-4-1)          46
     6. St. Cloud State (12-4-2)        41
     7. Michigan (15-4-1)               40
     8. Colorado College  (11-5-2)      32
     9. Yale (8-3-0)                    19
    10. Boston College (11-6-2)         14

    Others receiving votes: Providence (4), Northeastern (3), Colgate (2), Cornell (2).

    U.S. College Hockey Online Coaches Poll (12/30) 
     1. Boston University (21; 11-2-2)  290
     2. Michigan State (6; 16-2-2)      273
     3. North Dakota (2; 10-3-1)        227
     4. Miami (13-3-0)                  209     
     5. New Hampshire (13-4-1)          179     
     6. St. Cloud State (1; 12-4-2)     147
     7. Michigan (14-4-1)               129
     8. Colorado College  (11-5-2)       78
     9. Yale (9-3-0)                     58
    10. Northeastern (10-5-2)            19

    Others receiving votes: Colgate (13), Wisconsin (11), Providence (7), Clarkson (4), Boston College (3), Northern Michigan (2), Ferris State (1).

    WMPL Coaches Poll (12/16)
     1. Boston University (4)   124
     2. Michigan State (3)      118
     3. North Dakota (3)        114
     4. New Hampshire            97
     5. Miami                    80
     6. Michigan                 73
     7. Colorado College         69
     8. St. Cloud State          48
     9. Providence               45
    10. Yale                     39

    Others receiving votes: Boston College (33), Wisconsin (20), Colgate (19), Cornell, Princeton, Clarkson, Northeastern, Michigan, Ohio State.

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