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    Fighting Irish

    Jan. 21, 1998

    Irish Return to Road for Big Games at BG, OSU

  • Irish take on Falons, Buckeyes after 13-day break from competition
  • CCHA standings up for grabs heading into final seven weeks
  • Dhadphale pushes goal total to 16; Karr and Eisler stay tough in nets
  • Cotnoir, Eaton key series-clinching win at Alaska Fairbanks

    Notre Dame (12-10-3, 7-7-3 CCHA) remains on the road, at Bowling Green (Sat., 7 PM) and Ohio State (Sun., 3 PM, Ohio Expo Center) ... the Irish are ending a 13-day break from competition, after posting a series win at Alaska Fairbanks on Jan. 8-10 (4-2, 2-3/OT, 5-1) ... the defensive pairing of Mark Eaton and Benoit Cotnoir combined for two goals and five assists in the final game at UAF ... the Irish return home Jan. 30 vs. Michigan and play seven of their final 11 at home ...

    The final seven weeks will feature jockeying for the eight CCHA Tournament spots (the top-four spots earn home-ice for the 2-of-3 series) ... just six points separate third from eighth place in the CCHA standings: No. Michigan (23/10-6-3), Miami (22/10-5-2), Lake Superior (20/8-7-4), OSU (18/9-9-0), Notre Dame (17/7-7-3) and Ferris St. (17/8-8-3) ... this week's other CCHA action: NMU at BG and OSU, Michigan at Miami for two games and Lake at MSU ... Notre Dame already has surpassed its victory and point total from last season (9-25-1).

    AROUND THE HORN: Notre Dame is 9-5-0 away from home and 3-5-3 at home ... the Irish are tied with Michigan and Boston College as the third-youngest team in Division I hockey ... Notre Dame remains the CCHA's least-penalized team (6.24/gm) for the second straight season, allowing a CCHA-low 4.12 opponent power-play chances per game ... the Irish are on pace to set records for team goals-against average (2.60), save percentage (.902) and penalty-killing percentage (.851) ... Notre Dame's top scorers are sophomore C Ben Simon (8-15-23), junior RW Brian Urick (11-10-21), junior LW Aniket Dhadphale (16-4-20), junior D Benoit Cotnoir (7-13-20), senior C Steve Noble (6-14-20) and freshman LW Dan Carlson (7-11-18) ... Dhadphale is the CCHA's fourth-leading goal scorer, tied for fourth with seven PPGs ... 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 ... Notre Dame is allowing just 2.60 goals per game, third-best in the CCHA behind Michigan State (1.65) and Michigan (2.24) ... the Irish rank sixth in scoring (3.12 gpg) among the CCHA teams ... Notre Dame's power-play unit has scored 25 goals while allowing no opponent shorthanded goals (the only CCHA team yet to allow a SHG), for a "+25" power play that ranks behind only Michigan (+32, 34/2) ... the Irish also have the second-best penalty-killing goal ratio (-8, 14 PPGs allowed/6 SHG scored), behind Lake Superior's "-4 (15 PPG all./11 SHG for) ... the Irish recently welcomed back sophomore forwards Ben Simon and Joe Dusbabek, who helped the United States claim fifth place at the World Junior Championship in Finland (Simon had a goal and three assists, Dusbabek two goals) ... in Notre Dame's 12 wins, the Irish have owned a 17-5 third-period scoring edge while being outscored 20-4 in their 10 losses.

    SCOUTING THE FALCONS: Bowling Green is 4-18-2 overall and last in the CCHA (2-12-2), dropping a 4-2 game to OSU on Jan. 18 ... the Falcons play host to third-place UNM on Friday before facing the Irish ... BG lost 15 letterwinners from last season's 17-16-5 team, losing its top-four scorers (including Mike Johnson, 30-32/62, and Curtis Fry, 21-45/61) ... the Falcons tied for fifth in the CCHA last season (10-12-5), defeating Lake Superior in the CCHA Tournament before losing to Michigan ... BG's top scorers are Dan Price (4-12/16), Adam Edinger (7-9/16) and Brad Holzinger (4-11/15) ...

    The Falcons rank last in the CCHA for power play (.129, 19-for-147), 8th in penalty killing (.800, 112-for-140) ... BG's 9.8 penalties per game is fifth-most most in the CCHA, 3.6/gm more than Notre Dame (6.2) ... veteran Mike Savard (2-9-1) played the first 12 games and owns a 4.03 goals-against avg. and .865 save pct. in 730 minutes ... newcomer Shawn Timm (2-7-1, 3.44, .886) has played the last 10 games (628 overall min.) ... BG's goals (2.5) and goals allowed (4.08) per game rank 10th in the CCHA ... the Falcons are 1-6 in one-goal games, 0-2-2 in overtime, 3-2-2 when ahead at the second intermission and 4-3-2 when scoring first ... BG's CCHA wins: FSU (3-1) and at MSU (1-0), with ties against FSU (3-3) and at UAF (2-2).

    THE BG SERIES: Bowling Green leads the series (27-17-2) but the Irish have won three of the last four... BG holds a 17-6-0 edge in games vs. the Irish at home ... Notre Dame edged BG, 2-1, on Nov. 7, 1997 (recap below) ... the Irish won 7-5 at BG on Nov. 2, 1996, as Forrest Karr came off the bench for 28 saves and Lyle Andrusiak scored two timely goals ... the Irish came back from deficits of 3-0 and 4-1 ... BG scored three times in a span of 2:40 (goals by Adam Edinger, Brett Punchard, Zach Ham) to force Matt Eisler from the net 8:27 into the game ... Tim Harberts and BG's Kelly Perrault then scored before Andrusiak stole the puck at center ice for a breakaway ... Andrusiak scored again early in the third before Steve Noble forged a 4-4 tie, with Ben Simon collecting his first of three assists ...

    Terry Lorenz pushed the Irish in front and Edinger tied the game before Benoit Cotnoir sent home a blueline slapshot with 2:45 left and Aniket Dhadphale added an empty-netter ... Notre Dame's 5-2 win at BG on Nov. 22, 1996 included two goals from Brian Urick and 30 saves from Karr in his first career start ... the Irish jumped ahead in the first 10 minutes on Andrusiak's breakaway and a goal by Urick 35 seconds later ... Harberts and Urick sandwiched second-period goals around a Dan Price score for the Falcons ... Dave Faulkner and Peter Ratchuk scored to cut the lead to 4-3 late in the third but Joe Dusbabek found the empty net... BG won 3-2 at Notre Dame on Jan. 11, 1997, scoring twice in the first nine minutes on goals by Brad Holzinger and Price ... the Irish went 0-for-8 on the power play ... Faulkner pushed BG ahead 3-0 early in the second before Lorenz and Dusbabek scored early in the third.

    RECAP - @ND 2, BG 1 (11/7/97) - Aniket Dhadphale scored on the power play early in the first period before a memorable shorthanded score in the closing moments of the period from Ben Simon ... BG failed to solve Matt Eisler on its first 21 shots before Dan Price converted BG's eighth power play, with 1:50 left ... Tyson Fraser set up the first goal with a shot from the left point, Steve Noble fired the rebound back on net and Dhadphale then sent a shot past Mike Savard (4:23) ... on the second goal, BG was working the puck in the Irish zone when Mark Eaton dove to deflect a shot ... Simon skated onto the puck at the circle to Eisler's left and weaved in a large "S", angling right towards the penalty box before skirting the faceoff circle on the far side ... Simon shielded a defender through the BG zone and glided through the slot before by nudging the puck into the lower left corner as he skated by the left post (16:14).

    FRIEND OR FOE?: BG freshman F Dennis Williams played with Notre Dame junior LW Aniket Dhadphale on the Stratford Cullitons and with freshman F Chad Chipchase on Team Ontario ... Notre Dame sophomore D Sean Molina played on the Chicago Young Americans with BG sophomore F Brad Newman and in the USA Viking Cup with BG sophomore D Mike Jones ... Notre Dame sophomore C Ben Simon was a teammate of BG's Jones and freshman D Larry Hull on the Cleveland Jr. Barons ... ND freshman D Ryan Clark and BG freshman D Louis Mass played together on the Lincoln Stars.

    SCOUTING OSU: OSU (12-10-1, 9-9-0) jumped ahead of Notre Dame into sixth in the CCHA, after a 4-2 win over Bowling Green ... the Buckeyes return 15 of 22 letterwinners from their '96-'97 team that went 12-25-2 and finished seventh in the CCHA (9-16-2) ... OSU's top scorers are sophomore C Hugo Boisvert (12-17/30, sixth in the CCHA), sophomore W Eric Meloche (14-10/24, 14th in CCHA ) and junior C Chris Richards (9-14/23, 17th in CCHA) ... freshman Jeff Maund (11-5-0) has emerged in the nets, ranking fifth in the CCHA for GAA (2.67) and third in save pct. (.911) through 987 minutes ... sophomore Ray Aho (1-5-1, 2.87, .885) has played 397 minutes ... OSU ranks eighth in the CCHA for power play (.154, 20-for-130) and is tied with Notre Dame for fourth in penalty killing (.864, 114-for-132) ...

    OSU is the fifth-highest scoring team in the CCHA (3.48 goals per game) and has allowed the fourth-fewest goals (2.87/gm) ... Boisvert has six power-play goals, Meloche has netted four game-winners ... OSU is 3-4 in one-goal games, 0-1-1 in OT, 10-1-0 when ahead at the second intermission and 8-3-1 when scoring first ... OSU's other CCHA wins have come vs. Miami (5-4), at BG (5-4), NMU (5-1, 5-4), UAF (8-3, 4-0), LSSU (7-0) and FSU (5-3) ... OSU's CCHA losses: at Miami (0-3), Western Michigan (1-3), ND (2-3), MSU (1-2), Michigan (2-3/OT), at Lake Superior (3-4, 2-4) and at Mich. (2-4, 0-6). FRIEND OR FOE, II: Notre Dame sophomore D Sean Seyferth playedon the Compuware Ambassadows with OSU's Jason Selleke, Louie Colsante and Ray Aho ... Notre Dame freshman RW Ryan Dolder played with OSU's Benjo Wolke on the Twin City Vulcans.

    THE OSU SERIES: Notre Dame owns an 18-7-3 series edge over OSU but the Buckeyes won two late games at Notre Dame last season en route to earning a spot in the CCHA Tournament ... the Irish held on for a 3-2 win at OSU earlier this season, on Nov. 16, 1997 (recap below) ... the Irish won last year's first game at OSU (10/25), a 3-0 win behind Matt Eisler's 47 saves, the most ever by an Irish goalie in a shutout effort ... Joe Dusbabek and Aniket Dhadphale scored in that game before Steve Noble added the clinching empty-netter ... OSU squared the series with a 5-3 win on Feb. 7, with Chad Power scoring OSU's first two goals and assisting on the third (by Hugo Boisvert) ...

    Goals from Ben Simon and Tim Harberts yielded a 3-2 OSU lead heading into the third but Pierre Dufour and Boisvert scored in the third (as did ND's Brian Urick) ... the Irish went ahead 2-0 the next day (goals by Dusbabek, Andy Jurkowski) before OSU tied things up on goals from Jarret Whidden and Power ... OSU's Ryan Root scored to put OSU back in front before Ben Nelsen tied the game with a second-period SHG ... Root then covered the puck in the crease as the second period neared its end but Dusbabek sent the ensuing penalty shot high and wide right ... Dufour scored the game-winner seven minutes into the third. RECAP - ND 3, @OSU 2 (11/16/97) - Benoit Cotnoir and Ben Simon had shorthanded goals and Andrusiak scored on the power play as Notre Dame held on ...

    The Irish stopped seven of eight OSU power plays ... Forrest Karr made 28 saves, turning away OSU's first 23 shots ... the teams combined for 33 penalties (17 by OSU, season-high 16 by ND) ... OSU scored two third-period goals in a span of less than two minutes ... Cotnoir opened the scoring midway through the first, skating onto a deflected shot from Dan Carlson at the right circle and sending a hard shot past Ray Aho (10:29) ... Simon poked the puck away from OSU defenseman Ryan Jestadt at mid-ice and deposited a backhanded breakaway (11:33) ... Cotnoir initiated the final score with a pass to Dhadphale, who fired a shot from the left circle ... Aho deflected the shot over his left shoulder but Andrusiak was waiting at the far right post and scooped the puck into the net (15:36) ... Todd Compeau put OSU on the board with a rebound goal at 5:38 of the third and Hugo Boisvert scored on the power play at 7:27.

    UAF RECAP: ND 5 @UAF 1 (1/10/98) - The defensive pairing of Benoit Cotnoir and Mark Eaton combined for two goals and five assists while Notre Dame scored four power-play goals ... the Irish used a 51-20 shot advantage to cap a 120-62 series shot edge ... Forrest Karr improved to 5-1-1, with 19 saves ... the teams combined for 76 penalty minutes (UAF had 44) ... Ian Perkins stopped 46 shots (he had 110 saves, 10 goals allowed in the series) ... Aniket Dhadphale put the Irish on the board early in the second, a 4-on-4 goal set up by Cotnoir and Nathan Borega, with Dhadphale sending a shot from the top of the left circle (1:04) ... the Irish went ahead 2-0 at 12:12 of the second, on Brian Urick's power-play shot from the right circle (set up by Cotnoir and Eaton) ... UAF scored moments before the second intermission (19:25) ...

    The Irish stretched to 4-1 with power-play goals in a two-minute stretch midway through the third ... Eaton scored on a two-man advantage wrister from the slot (8:18) ... Dan Carlson--who combined with Ben Simon to assist on Eaton's first goal--then took a pass from Eaton and sent a slapshot from the right point that bounced off Perkins and found the net (10:26) ... Eaton closed the scoring with two minutes to play, on a power-play shot from the left point (set up by Cotnoir). @UAF 3 ND 2/OT (1/9/98) - Chris Kirwan's goal with 45 seconds left in OT lifted UAF to the comeback win ... Perkins knocked the puck to Kevin Epp, who sent a long pass up the middle... Kirwan skated onto the puck for the breakaway, beating Matt Eisler (4:15) ... Notre Dame owned a 37-25 shot advantage but Perkins made 17 saves in the third, three in overtime ...

    Notre Dame opened to a 1-0 lead when passes from Simon and Sean Molina set up Urick, who skated untouched into the left side of the slot (6:55) ... UAF tied the game four minutes later, on Eon McFarlane's shot from the left point .... John Dwyer scored with two seconds to play in the second (assisted by Molina) ... UAF tied the game early in the third, on a Sean Fraser power-play goal (2:58). ND 4 @UAF 2 (1/8/98) - Dhadphale scored twice while Eisler made 15 saves for the win ... the Irish surged ahead in the second, when Molina sent a sharp pass to Dwyer, whose slapshot from the right was tipped in by Noble (5:32) ...

    Dhadphale pushed the Irish ahead 26 seconds later, after Lyle Andrusiak sent a pass into the middle for Dhadphale, who faked one defenseman and went around another before flicking the shot over Perkins' glove hand (5:58) ... UAF tied the game later in the second but the Irish went back ahead on the power play, after a crisp pass from Tyson Fraser to Cotnoir ... Dhadphale was camped in the slot and flicked home Cotnoir's rebounded shot for the 3-2 lead (17:18) ... with Perkins on the bench for a 6-on-4, the Irish scored shorthanded when Cotnoir led a 3-on-2 break and fired into the empty net (19:21).

    A NOBLE MAN: Senior Steve Noble has provided clutch play for the Irish this season, including a goal and four assists over four games while filling in for Ben Simon as the first-line center (Simon was at the World Junior Championship) ... Noble is tied for third on the team with 20 points, including 14 assists (second to Simon's 15)... he has equaled his career-high in points (20), set in 1995 -96 (5G, 15A) ... a second team Academic All-American as a junior and recent Rhodes Scholar finalist, Noble is one of 14 players currently being considered for the national Hockey Humanitarian Award (finalists are to be announced in mid-January).

    BACK IN THE GROOVE: Junior RW Brian Urick had just one goal in the first 13 games this season but has added 10 goals in his last 12 outings, including both Irish scores in the 3-2 loss to Wisconsin, two scores in the 5-1 win over Brown, a goal in the 2-2 tie with Miami and a pair of goals at UAF ... Urick is second on the team with 21 points (11G, 10 A) while he leads the squad with 100 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 36 goals and 37 assists in 95 career games ... Urick scored on 15.1 percent of his shots during his first two seasons and owns a .110 shooting pct. this season.

    FOLLOW THAT KARR!!: Junior Forrest Karr has combined with senior Matt Eisler to form a formidable goaltending duo this season ... Karr is 5-1-1, with road wins at Ohio State (3-2, 28 saves), Western Michigan (2-1, 11), Wisconsin (4-2, 14), Alaska Fairbanks (5-1, 19) 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 1.80 goals-against avg. while his .913 save pct. also ranks second (MSU's Chad Alban is 1.60, .920) ... Karr and Eisler (2.86, .9020 have helped the Irish post a 2.60 team GAA and .902 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 fifth on the team in plus-minus (+5) and has totaled 14 points, including 11 assists ... the speedy Carlson is tied for third on the team in plus-minus (+9) and has seven goals and 11 assists for 18 points (sixth on the team), including two goals and two assists in the 5-1 win at UAF ... 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) and chipped in a goal and assist to the series-clinching win at UAF (5-1).

    BACK TOGETHER: Sophomores Nathan Borega and Tyson Fraser have skated together for 12 of the last 13 games, after spending the bulk of their freshman season as a tandem (Fraser did not suit for the 3-1 loss to Miami on Jan. 2) ... in their first game back together, Fraser and Borega scored in the 4-2 loss to Lake Superior ... they have helped Notre Dame allow just 21 goals in their last 10 games together ... the 6-2, 225-pound Borega has totaled just 12 penalties (0.48/gm) despite his physical style (just three penalties in the last 15 games) ... Fraser has an assist in 11 games this season and ranks sixth on the team in plus-minus (+3) ... Fraser's 11 assists are tied for fourth among all Irish players ... he has just seven penalties this season and 24 in 53 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 nearly equaled his freshman and sophomore totals combined, with 16 scores through 25 games, the fourth-most goals in the CCHA behind Michigan's Bill Muckalt (25) and MSU's Sean Berens (20) and Mike York (18) ... Dhadphale has converted on 21.1 percent of his 76 shots (an average of one goal per every 4.8 shots per 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 17 of the 21 games he has played ... Simon leads the Irish and is tied for 17th in the CCHA with 23 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 54 career points (18 G, 36 A) from the blue line, with over 62 percent (5 G, 17 A) of his 35 points during the past two seasons coming on the power play.

    EISMAN COMETH: Despite some recent rough outings, senior G Matt Eisler owns a 2.86 goals-against average and .900 save pct. while leading the Irish to a .864 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 2.86 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 .900 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 2,539 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.

    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 30-25 in the final 20 minutes ... the Irish have outscored the opposition 17-5 in the third period of the 12 Notre Dame wins ... conversely, in Notre Dame's nine losses, the opposition has owned a 20-4 third-period scoring edge ... in the last 19 games, Notre Dame has been outscored 25-12 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 while Miami used two third-period goals for a 3-1 win over the Irish ... the Irish iced the series win at UAF (5-1) with a three-goal outburst in the third.

    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 9-5-0 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), W. Michigan (2-1), Wisconsin (4-2) and Alaska Fairbanks (4-2, 5-1) while beating Brown (5-1) at the 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 turned in four big third periods on the road, 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, using a four-goal, third-period flurry in the big win at Michigan State and scoring three times in the final 20 minutes to win at UAF (5-1) ... Notre Dame has scored 49 goals away from home on 431 shots on goal, for an average of 8.8 shots per goal (11.4 shooting pct.) ... conversely, in its 11 home games, Notre Dame is just 3-5-3 and has scored just 29 goals on 335 shots, for an average of 11.6 shots per goal (8.7 shooting pct.).

    PENALTY-KILLING PLUS: Notre Dame's penalty-killing unit has scored one goal for every 2.3 it has allowed this season, totaling six shorthanded goals while allowing 14 opponent power-play scores ... the six shorthanded goals are three times 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 has two and freshman LW Dan Carlson has one ... Notre Dame's "-8" penalty-killing effort this season is second-best in the CCHA, behind Lake Superior (11 SHG, 15 PPG allowed) ... the other CCHA teams break down as follows: Ohio State (-10) Michigan State (-12), Michigan (-14), Miami (-16), Western Michigan (-22), Ferris State (-24), Bowling Green (-26), Northern Michigan (-27) and Alaska Fairbanks (-33)

    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 25 games this season, the Irish again are the CCHA's least-penalized squad, totaling 156 penalties for an average of just 6.24 per game--while posting a 2.60 team goals-against average that would blow away the existing Irish record (3.40, in 1987-88) ... the Irish have allowed just 14 opponent power-play goals, tied with MSU for fewest in the CCHA ... the Irish have allowed just 4.12 opponent power-play chances per game (lowest in the CCHA) and 103 total opponents PP chances (Miami has the second fewest, at 126) ... Notre Dame has totaled four or fewer penalties in 11 games this season and has averaged just 4.73 penalties/gm over the past 11 outings ...

    After Notre Dame, the CCHA's least-penalized teams this season are: Miami (8.64), Michigan State (8.58), Northern Michigan (8.64), Ferris State (8.87) and Michigan (9.60) ... the CCHA's most-penalized teams are Western Michigan (11.28), Alaska Fairbanks (10.81), Lake Superior (10.50), Ohio State (9.87) and Bowling Green (9.79) ... hard-hitting Irish sophomore D Nathan Borega has just 12 penalties this season (three in the last 15 games) and less than one per game in his career (43 in 60 games) ... other disciplined Irish skaters include: senior C Steve Noble (six penalties in '97-'98, 22 in last 59) and sophomore D Tyson Fraser (six penalties in '97-'98, 22 in 53 career games) ... junior RW Brian Urick struggled with untimely penalties his first two seasons (58 in 70 games) but has just seven penalties this season.

    SPECIAL IMPROVEMENT: Despite a power-play slip leading up to the UAF series, Notre Dame converted 5-of-16 power-play chances at UAF, including 4-of-9 in the series-clinching win ... Notre Dame's season power-play pct. (.182/25-for-137) is up considerably from last season (.127) and ranks fifth 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 .864 (89-for-103), fourth-best in the CCHA ... the Irish are on pace to best the team record for season penalty-killing pct., set by the 1969-70 team (.861).

    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 ... five of Notre Dame's nine losses this season have come after the Irish held a lead at the second intermission, as Notre Dame is 10-5-2 in games when leading after 40 minutes (losses to Boston College, Ferris State, Lake Superior, Northeastern and Alaska Fairbanks).

    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 (16 goals), junior RW Brian Urick (11) and sophomore C Ben Simon (8) have set paces for high goal totals, 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 top six scorers all have between 18-23 points, while five players have between 6-8 goals ...

    Two players--Simon and senior C Lyle Andrusiak--have come through with a pair of game-winning goals while Urick has four GWGs and three other players have scored one game-winner (Dhadphale, senior C Steve Noble and freshman LW Dan Carlson) ... after Simon's 23 points (8-15), Notre Dame's top goal-scoring threats have come from Urick (11-10), Dhadphale (16-4), Noble (6-14), Carlson (7-11), junior D Benoit Cotnoir (7-13) and Andrusiak (6-7) ... two defensemen have compiled high assist numbers: freshman Mark Eaton (3-11) and sophomore Tyson Fraser (1-11).

    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).

    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 recently had the chance to skate in their home state when Notre Dame took part in the Mariucci Classic at the University of Minnesota.

    ** PLAYING FOR YOUR COUNTRY: Notre Dame sophomore forwards Joe Dusbabek and Ben Simon spent Dec. 25-Jan. 3 as members of the United States team that claimed fifth place at the World Junior Championship in Finland ... the U.S. opened with a 6-3 loss to Slovakia 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 (4-1) but beat Canada in the playbacks (3-0, with Dusbabek scoring the second goal) before topping Sweden 4-3 for fifth place, with Simon recording an assist and then scoring the game-winner (to put the U.S. ahead 4-2 midway through the second period) ...

    Simon finished with four points in the seven games (1G, 3A) while Dusbabek had two goals ... Dusbabek and Simon were 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 joined 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) ... 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 was one of five returning forwards from that 1996-97 U.S. world junior team.

    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 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 players that went directly to college had skated for a CCHA team through the first month, with Michigan accounting for seven of them 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: Midwest Junior B (senior C Steve Noble and junior LW Aniket Dhadphale, both from the Stratford Cullitons), Provincial Junior A League (junior D Scott Giuliani/Burlington Cougars and freshman RW Matt Van Arkel/Milton Merchants), Saskatchewan Junior A (senior C Lyle Andrusiak/Notre Dame Hounds and junior D Benoit Cotnoir/Weyburn Red Wings) and British Columbia Junior (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.

    October
        10  WESTERN ONTARIO W, 5-1
        17  at St. Cloud State  W, 4-3 (OT)
        18  at St. Cloud State  W, 4-1      
        24  BOSTON COLLEGE  L, 2-3
        31  *#2 MICHIGAN STATE^ L, 1-5
    November
        1   *at #2 Michigan State   W, 6-1      
        7   *BOWLING GREEN^ W, 2-1      
        8   *at Michigan State  L, 1-3
        15  *at #5 Miami University L, 4-5      
        16  *vs. Ohio State#    W, 3-2      
        20  *FERRIS STATE   T, 5-5
        22  *at Ferris State    L, 3-4      
        28  *LAKE SUPERIOR  L, 2-4      
        29  *LAKE SUPERIOR  T, 3-3  
    December
        5   *at Western Michigan    W, 2-1      
        6   *WESTERN MICHIGAN   W, 4-2      
        10  at Wisconsin    W, 4-2      
        12  WISCONSIN (WHME-TV) L, 2-3
        Mariuccci Classic (at Univ. of Minnesota)       
        27      vs. Northeastern    L, 2-4      
        28  vs. Brown   W, 5-1  
    January
        2   * #4 MIAMI UNIVERSITY   L, 1-3      
        3   * #4 MIAMI UNIVERSITY   T, 2-2      
        8   *at Alaska-Fairbanks    W, 4-2
        9   *at Alaska-Fairbanks    L, 2-3 (OT)     
        10  *at Alaska-Fairbanks    W, 5-1      
        24  *at Bowling Green       7:00 p.m. 
        25  *vs. Ohio State#        3:00 p.m.       
        30  *MICHIGAN               7:00 p.m.         
        *at Michigan                7:00 p.m.           
    February
        6   *BOWLING GREEN^         7:00 p.m.
        7   *FERRIS STATE           7:00 p.m.       
        13  *OHIO STATE             7:00 p.m.       
        14  *at Western Michigan^   7:00 p.m.   
        20  *at Northern Michigan   7:00 p.m.
        21  *at Lake Superior       7:00 p.m.
        27  *NORTHERN MICHIGAN      7:00 p.m.
        28  *NORTHERN MICHIGAN      7:00 p.m.
    March
        7   *MICHIGAN   7:00 p.m.
        13-15   CCHA Quarterfinals  TBA         (at home sites, best 2-of-3)    
        19  CCHA Semifinals 5:00/8:30 p.m.          (Joe Louis Arena)
        21  CCHA Championship   7:30 p.m.
            (Joe Louis Arena)
    * = Central Collegiate Hockey Assoc. game
    # = at Ohio Expo Center (Columbus, OH)
    ^ = CCHA/FoxNet Game of the Week
    Central Collegiate Hockey Association Standings
      
    TEAM (overall record)               W   L   T   PTS GF  GA  PEN Power Play  Penalty-Kill.
        1.  Michigan (20-4-1)           14  2   1   29  99  56  208 (2)  20.6%    (6) 84.2%       
        2.  Michigan State (20-3-3)     12  3   2   26  94  43  199 (4)  20.4%    (2) 89.3%           
        3.  Northern Michigan (12-8-4)  10  6   3   23  84  79  205 (10) 13.5%   (10) 77.6%
        4.  Miami University (15-5-2)   10  5   2   22  98  64  155 (1)  26.2%    (3) 86.5%
        5.  Lake Superior (11-9-4)      8   7   4   220 81  80  212 (9)  14.8%    (1) 90.3%
        6.  Ohio State (12-10-1)        9   9   0   18  80  66  201 (8)  15.4%    (4) 86.4%
        7.  Notre Dame (12-10-3)        7   7   3   17  78  65  136 (5)  18.2%    (4) 86.4%
            Ferris State (8-12-3)       7   8   3   17  80  85  183 (3)  20.5%    (9) 79.7%  
        9.  Alaska Fairbanks (7-17-2)   6   16  1   13  80  121 234 (6)  16.6%   (11) 76.9%      
        10. Western Michigan (5-18-2)   4   14  1    9  57  91  238 (7)  16.3%    (7) 81.6%  
        11. Bowling Green (4-18-2)      2   12  2    6  62  98  221 (11) 12.9%    (8) 80.0%
    US College Hockey Online Coaches Poll (1/19)
        1.  North Dakota    (26; 16-3-1)    292
        2.  Michigan State  (2; 18-3-3)     261
        3.  New Hampshire   (1; 16-4-1)     232     
        4.  Michigan        (19-4-1)        210
        5.  Boston University (1; 14-4-2)   191
        6.  Boston College  (15-5-2)         99
        7.  Miami           (15-6-1)         96      
        8.  Wisconsin       (13-6-3)         90
        9.  Yale            (13-4-0)         77
        10. St. Cloud State (14-6-2)         56
        Others receiving votes: Colgate (27), Colorado College (11), Northeastern (6), 
        Minnestoa-Duluth (1),  Northern Michigan (1).
    

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