Feb. 3, 1998
Irish Home for Weekend Action With BG, Ferris State
* CCHA standings, playoff pairings to take shape over coming weeks
* Eaton, Carlson continue to make case for CCHA all-rookie honors
* Eisler plays 100th game, moves into third on Irish career saves list
* Cotnoir, Eaton emerging as top-scoring defensive tandem in the CCHA
Notre Dame (13-13-3, 8-8-3 CCHA) returns home for games vs. Bowling Green (Feb. 9) and Ferris St. (Feb. 10) ... the game with BGSU will be televised nationally by Fox Sports Net as the CCHA “Game of the Week” (consult local listings) ... Notre Dame and FSU are tied for seventh in the CCHA, with Saturday’s game to determine the season series ... Notre Dame needs to win by two-plus goals to claim the tiebreaker, after playing to a 5-5 tie and losing at FSU, 4-3 ... the Irish play six of their final nine at home ... the final five weeks will feature jockeying for the eight Central Collegiate Hockey Association Tournament spots (top four earn home ice) ... one point separates third from fifth--Miami (12-6-3/27), No. Michigan (12-8-3/27) and Ohio State (13-9-0/26)--while three points separate sixth from eighth: Lake Superior (22/12-11-4), Notre Dame (19/8-10-3) and Ferris State (19/8-9-3) ... this week’s other CCHA action: Alaska Fairbanks and MSU at Miami and OSU, W. Michigan at FSU, Michigan vs. Lake Superior (Joe Louis Arena) and BGSU at WMU.
ICE BREAKERS: Freshman D Mark Eaton has nine pts in the last five games, strengthening his case for CCHA rookie of the year ... Eaton’s 18 pts (4-14) in CCHA games rank fifth among all freshmen (first among freshmen defensemen), third among all defensemen ... Eaton’s 14 assists in CCHA play are tied for eighth among all CCHA players ... Eaton’s linemate, junior Benoit Cotnoir, ranks second among CCHA defensemen for conference scoring (7-11) ... Cotnoir’s 15 overall power-play pts (3-12) ranks fourth among all CCHA players, first among defensemen ... the Irish have played to overtime each of the past four weekends (1-2-1) ... Notre Dame is 10-7-0 away from home, 3-6-3 at home ... the Irish are tied with Michigan and Boston College as the third-youngest team in Division I hockey ... Notre Dame is the CCHA’s least-penalized team (6.14/gm) for the second straight season, allowing a CCHA-low 4.17 opponent power-play chances/gm ... the Irish are on pace to set records for team GAA (2.97) and save pct. (.892) while the team’s penalty killing (.843) is best at Notre Dame since ’75 ... top scorers: soph. C Ben Simon (8-18), jr. RW Brian Urick (13-12), sr. C Steve Noble (8-16), Cotnoir (8-15), jr. LW Aniket Dhadphale (17-5) and fr. LW Dan Carlson (9-12) ... Dhadphale is the CCHA’s sixth-leading goal scorer and tied for third in the CCHA with eight PPGs ... seven of Notre Dame’s 11 regular veterans already have posted career highs in scoring: Dhadphale, Noble, Simon, Cotnoir, soph. RW John Dwyer (3-3), soph. D Tyson Fraser (1-13) and soph. D Sean Molina (0-6) ... Urick is two pts shy of his career high (12-15 in ’95-’96) while senior C Lyle Andrusiak (6-8) is five pts off last year’s career-best (7-12) ... two sophomores still are looking to best their freshman-year totals: D Nathan Borega (1-2, 1-6 last year) and C Troy Bagne (1-2, 1-5 last year) ... Notre Dame’s 18 starting skaters have included as many as seven freshmen and six sophomores ... the Irish were picked seventh in the preseason CCHA poll ... Notre Dame is allowing 2.97 goals/gm (fifth in the CCHA) but is ninth in scoring (2.97 gpg) ... Notre Dame’s power-play has 30 goals while allowing just two opponent shorthanded goals (tied for fewest in the CCHA), for a “+28” power play ratio that ranks behind only Michigan (+37, 39/2) ... the Irish have the second-best penalty-killing ratio (-12, 19 PPGs all./7 SHG scored), behind LSSU’s “-4” (16/12) ... the Irish recently welcomed back sophomore F’s Ben Simon and Joe Dusbabek, who helped the U.S. claim fifth at the World Junior Championship in Finland (Simon had a goal and three assists) ... in Notre Dame’s wins, the Irish have owned an 18-7 third-period scoring edge while being outscored 24-7 in the final 20 minutes of the 13 losses.
SCOUTING BG: Bowling Green is 5-21-2 overall and last in the CCHA (3-15-2), after splitting last week at home with Lake Superior (0-1, 4-3) ...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 LSSU in the CCHA Tournament before losing to Michigan ... BG’s top scorers are sophomore F Adam Edinger (9-12/21), freshman F Chris Bonvie (10-5-15) and senior C Brad Holzinger (4-11/15) ... freshman RW Dennis Williams has played just 14 games and is out until late February with a broken ankle while sophomore D Mike Jones (3-12-15) is out with a shoulder injury suffered Saturday vs. LSSU ... the Falcons rank 10th in the CCHA for power play (.133, 23-for-173), 7th in penalty killing (.816, 133-for-163) ... BG’s 10.2 penalties per game is fifth-most most in the CCHA, 4.1/gm more than Notre Dame (6.1) ... 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 (3-10-1, 3.50, .886) has played the last 14 games (840 overall min.) ... BG’s goals (2.57) and goals allowed (4.11) per game rank 10th in the CCHA ... the Falcons are 2-8 in one-goal games, 0-3-2 in overtime, 4-2-2 when ahead at the second intermission and 4-3-2 when scoring first ... BG’s other CCHA wins: FSU (3-1), at MSU (1-0), with ties against FSU (3-3) and at UAF (2-2).
THE SERIES: Bowling Green leads the series (27-18-2) but the Irish have won four of the last five ... the series is tied 10-10-2 at Notre Dame ... Notre Dame edged BG, 2-1, on Nov. 7 and pulled out an OT win at BG on Jan. 24 (recaps 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 twice ... 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 early in the third and 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’s blueline slapshot with 2:45 left (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 ... 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 BG score by Dan Price ... Dave Faulkner and Peter Ratchuk 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 ... Faulkner pushed BG ahead 3-0 early in the second before Lorenz and Dusbabek scored in the third.
RECAPS - @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). ND 5 @BG 4/OT (1/24/98) – Brian Urick's fourth game-winning goal of the season provided the difference in overtime ... Steve Noble scored two goals and assisted on a third while Ryan Dolder netted the first goal of his career ... the Irish have won four of their last five games vs. Bowling Green, including three straight at the BGSU Ice Arena ... BG forced overtime on Chris Bonvie's two-man power-play goal with 2:44 left in the third ... Urick ended the game 46 seconds into OT, after taking a pass from Nathan Borega, skating into the right circle and sending a low shot through the legs of goalie Shawn Timm ... Forrest Karr made 30 saves while picking up his eighth career win and third at the BGSU Ice Arena ... both teams had 34 shots ... Notre Dame struck first on its seventh shorthanded goal of the season, at 6:09 of the first ... Noble led the charge down the left side and left the puck for Dan Carlson, who one-timed a shot into the net ... BG matched the Irish 42 seconds later, with a power-play goal from John Hustler ... the Irish stretched to a 3-1 lead with two goals in the first nine minutes of the second ... Noble rifled a shot in transition from the top of the left circle that snuck between Timm and the left post (5:11) ... Aniket Dhadphale set up Dolder’s goal with a pass down the left side, just as he was being smashed into the wall by a BGSU defenseman ... Dolder received the puck in stride and streaked down the left side, angling into the crease as he nudged a shot toward the goal ... Timm deflected the puck to the right side of the crease, but Dolder was able to slap the puck into the right corner of the net as he was falling backwards toward the endline (9:12) ... the Irish converted on their second two-man advantage of the night, when Noble tipped home a Benoit Cotnoir shot early in the third.
FRIEND OR FOE?: Several players from Bowling Green and Notre Dame are former teammates: BG freshman F Dennis Williams and Notre Dame junior LW Aniket Dhadphale (Stratford Cullitons); Williams and ND freshman F Chad Chipchase (Team Ontario); BG sophomore F Zach Ham and ND sophomore RW John Dwyer (Dubuque Saints); BG sophomore F Brad Newman and ND sophomore D Sean Molina (Chicago Young Americans); BG sophomore D Mike Jones and Molina (USA Viking Cup); Jones, BG freshman D Larry Hull and ND sophomore C Ben Simon (Cleveland Jr. Barons); BG freshman D Louis Mass and ND freshman D Ryan Clark (Lincoln Stars); and BG freshman D Doug Schueller and ND freshman RW Ryan Dolder (Twin City Vulcans).
SCOUTING THE BULLDOGS: Ferris State (11-13-3, 8-9-3 CCHA) is tied with Notre Dame for seventh in the CCHA, after splitting at home last week with Northern Michigan (3-2/OT, 3-5) ... the Bulldogs were picked to finish ninth in the preseason CCHA coaches poll ... Ferris State returns 19 letterwinners from its 1996-97 team that went 11-23-3 ... the Bulldogs finished 7-18-2 in the CCHA last season and joined Notre Dame (6-20-1) as the two teams that were bumped out of the eight-team CCHA Tournament field in the final weeks by Ohio State (9-16-2) and Alaska-Fairbanks (8-18-1) ... FSU’s biggest losses from last season are All-American defenseman Andy Roach (12G, 34A) and forward Gordie Hunt (12G, 16A) ... Ferris State and Notre Dame both have just three seniors on their 1997-98 rosters (FSU’s are backup G Jeff Blashill, D Brett Colborne and D J.P. Tessier) ... FSU’s offense has been fairly spread out this season, led by junior F Joel Irwin (13-15-28), freshman C Kevin Swider (11-14-25), Colborne (4-21-25) and sophomore C Brent Wishart (11-10-21) ... FSU is averaging just 8.41 penalties per game, the second-fewest in the CCHA behind Notre Dame (6.14) ... FSU’s 3.48 goals per game ranks fifth in the CCHA while FSU ranks ninth in goals allowed (3.59) ... the Bulldogs have surged to fourth in the CCHA for overall power-play pct. (.193) but are 10th in penalty-killing (.793) ... freshman Vince Owen has emerged as FSU’s starting goaltender, ranking ninth in the CCHA for goals against avg. (3.42), plus a .876 save pct. ... Owen has played in 23 of 27 games while beating out veterans Blashill and sophomore Mike Szkodinski ... FSU’s CCHA wins have come at LSSU (6-1) and vs. W. Michigan (4-2) and Alaska-Fairbanks (7-2) ... the Bulldogs’ other losses have come against Windsor (2-3), at WMU (2-4), vs. Michigan State in Grand Rapids (1-6), at BGSU (1-3) and at Mankato St. (2-5, 5-7) ... FSU’s other tie came at BGSU (3-3).
FSU SERIES NOTES: Ferris State holds a 20-8-3 series lead over Notre Dame and has won five of the last six meetings, including a 4-3 home win on Nov. 22 (after a 5-5 tie at ND two days earlier, recaps below), plus a 5-1 win at Notre Dame last season and two home victories over the Irish a year ago (3-2, 6-2) ... in last year’s first game, Notre Dame lost despite a 39-21 shot advantage ... FSU scored three times in the second period, on goals by Geoff Bennetts, Joel Irwin and Todd Steinmetz, before tacking on third-period power-play goals by Jason Hodel and Bennetts ... Tim Harberts scored a 5-on-3 goal for the Irish early in the third ... Mike Szkodinski had 38 saves for FSU ... in the second loss, Notre Dame scored just twice on 31 shots but claimed an early 2-0 lead on goals by Brian Urick and Benoit Cotnoir ... FSU tied the game on second-period goals by Ed Kowalski and Brian McCullough before Brent Wishart scored the game-winner with seven minutes to play ... Jeff Blashill made 27 saves for FSU in the final two periods ... the final FSU win featured first-period Bulldogs goals from Brett Colborne, Wishart, Irwin and Gordie Hunt, with Hodel and Hunt scoring in the first 10 minutes of the second ... Brian McCarthy and Tyson Fraser scored later in the second period for the Irish.
FRIEND OR FOE, PART II?: Several current players from Notre Dame and Ferris State played together on previous teams ... they include: FSU senior D Brett Colborne and ND senior C Lyle Andrusiak (Notre Dame Hounds Junior A); FSU sophomore F Rob Kozak and ND’s Andrusiak (Yorktown Mallers); FSU junior RW Geoff Bennetts, senior G Jeff Blashill and junior LW Ken Sergott and ND junior C Craig Hagkull (Des Moines Buccaneers); FSU freshman C Kevin Swider and ND sophomore D/LW Andy Jurkowski (Omaha Lancers); and FSU sophomore LW Brian McCullough and ND sophomore D Sean Molina (Chicago Young Americans).
ND-FSU RECAP (5-5, 3-4) - Notre Dame’s Dan Carlson scored the with 4:41 left in the third period to force overtime in a back-and-forth series-opening game at the Joyce Center ... Notre Dame spotted FSU a 2-0 first-period lead before claiming leads of 3-2 and 4-3 ... the Irish surged ahead in the second period behind Jay Kopischke’s first career goal and a pair of man-up scores from defenseman Benoit Cotnoir ... Aniket Dhadphale pushed the Irish ahead, 4-3, with an early third-period goal but the visitors surged back in front after scoring twice in a 64-second span ... Notre Dame’s Matt Eisler had 23 saves and stopped the biggest overtime scoring chance, making a sprawling save on a shot between the circles from Brian McCullough ... Ben Simon assisted on three Irish goals ... the next day at Ferris, the Bulldogs pulled out the comeback win, despite a second-period hat trick by Notre Dame freshman Chad Chipchase ... Chipchase’s hat trick is the first by a Notre Dame player in 81 games, a streak that stretches back to a four-goal performance by Brian Urick against Alaska-Fairbanks in October of 1995 ... Notre Dame held leads of 2-1 and 3-2 but FSU pulled out the win Brent Wishart’s pair of goals in the final period ... Steve Noble assisted on each of Chipchase’s goals, including the second that came just nine seconds after the first.
NOBLE MAN: Senior Steve Noble has provided clutch play this season, including a goal and four assists over four games while filling in for Ben Simon as the first-line center (when Simon was at the World Juniors ... Noble is third on the team with 24 points, including 16 assists (second to Simon’s 18)... he has eclipsed his previous 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 five finalists for the national Hockey Humanitarian Award (the winner will be announced on April 3 during the NCAA championship weekend in Boston, Mass.).
EATON, CARLSON MAKE ALL-ROOKIE PUSH: D Mark Eaton and LW Dan Carlson have emerged as two of the top freshmen in the CCHA ... the smooth-skating and heady Eaton is fifth on the team in plus-minus (+3) and has 19 pts, including 14 assists (all in CCHA play, a team-best) ... Eaton has nine pts in the last five games, including the PPG that forced OT at Michigan and two goals and two assists in the 5-1 win at UAF ... Eaton’s 18 pts (4-14) in league games rank fifth among all CCHA freshmen (first among freshmen defensemen) and second among all defensemen, behind Miami All-American Dan Boyle (10-10) and tied with Irish junior Benoit Cotnoir (7-11) ... Eaton’s 14 assists in CCHA play are most among all the league’s defensemen and tied for eighth among all CCHA players, behind the forward group of OSU’s Hugo Boisvert (20), Lake’s Terry Marchant (18), OSU’s Chris Richards (17), Miami’s Tim Leahy (17) and Dustin Whitecotton (17) and Michigan’s Bill Muckalt (16) and Bobby Hayes (16) ... the speedy Carlson is fourth on the team in plus-minus (+7) and has nine goals and 12 assists for 21 points (sixth on the team), including 14 pts in his last 15 games ... Carlson had a goal and assist in the OT game at Michigan, a goal and two assists in the 5-1 win over Brown and two goals and an assist in the two-game sweep of WMU, including a game-winning goal (2-1) and game-winning assist (4-2) ... he had an assist and scored the late game-tying goal vs. Ferris State (5-5), chipped in a goal and assist to the series-clinching win at UAF (5-1) and scored a shorthanded goal in the 5-4 overtime win at Bowling Green.
BLUELINE THREAT: Junior D Benoit Cotnoir’s 23 pts (8-15) rank third among all CCHA defensemen behind Miami’s Dan Boyle and FSU’s Brett Colborne ... his 15 power-play pts (3-12) ranks fourth in the CCHA, behind Michigan’s Bill Muckalt (11-14) and Mark Kosick (3-14) and MSU’s Sean Berens (9-7) ... Cotnoir has six pts (1-5) in the last five games, including three assists in the 5-1 win at UAF ... he has 57 career points (19 G, 38 A) from the blue line, with over 63 percent (5 G, 19 A) of his 38 points during the past two seasons coming on the power play.
IN THE GROOVE: Junior RW Brian Urick had one goal in the first 13 games but has 12 goals in his last 16, including both Irish scores in the 3-2 loss to Wisconsin, two in the 5-1 win over Brown, one in the 2-2 tie with Miami and the OT game-winner at Bowling Green (5-4) ... Urick ranks second on the team with 25 pts (13-12) and leads the squad with 119 shots ... Urick ranked among Notre Dame’s scoring leaders the past two seasons--he shared for the team scoring lead last season (13-12)--and has 38 goals-39 assists in 99 career games ... Urick scored on 15.1 percent of his shots during his first two seasons and owns a .109 shooting pct. this season.
DOUBLE TROUBLE: Junior Forrest Karr and senior Matt Eisler have formed a formidable goaltending duo this season ... Eisler, who owns a 3.09 GAA and .896 save pct., was named CCHA defensive player of the week, after making 63 saves and allowing 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 MSU and 33 in the 4-2 win over WMU ... his 3.09 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 .896 save pct. ranks behind Mark Kronholm’s Irish record (.907, in 1970-71) and John Peterson’s .899 mark in 1976-77 ... Eisler’s 39-save performance last week at Michigan (in his 100th career game) gave him 2,602 career saves, moving him into third place at Notre Dame past Kronholm (2,566), Bob McNamara (2,577, 1979-83) and Dave Laurion (2,600, 1978-82), the current UAF head coach ... Dick Tomasoni (2,756, 1968-72) ranks second on the Irish career saves list, behind ’90 grad Lance Madson (3,519) ... Eisler’s 5,594 career minutes rank second in Irish history behind Madson (6,901) ... Karr is 6-2-1, with road wins at OSU (3-2, 28 saves), WMU (2-1, 11), Wisconsin (4-2, 14), UAF (5-1, 19), vs. Brown at the Mariucci Classic (5-1, 26) and at BG (5-4/OT, 30) while earning a home tie vs. LSSU (3-3, 21) ... after a rough 7-2 loss to Michigan, Karr ranks 4th in the CCHA with a 2.60 goals-against avg. while also owning an .886 save pct. (MSU’s Chad Alban is 1.57, Michigan’s Marty Turco 2.26 and OSU’s Ray Aho 2.29) ... Karr and Eisler have helped the Irish post a 2.97 team GAA and .892 save pct., both well on pace to set Irish team records.
BACK TOGETHER: Sophomores Nathan Borega and Tyson Fraser have skated together for 16 of the last 17 games, after spending the bulk of their freshman season as a tandem (Fraser did not play in the 3-1 loss to Miami on 1/2) ... in their first game together, Fraser and Borega scored in the 4-2 loss to Lake Superior ... the 6-2, 225-pound Borega has just 15 penalties (0.52/gm) despite his physical style (six penalties in last 19 games) ... Fraser has an assist in 13 games and is sixth on the team in plus-minus (+2) ... his 13 assists are fifth on the team and he has just seven penalties (24 in 57 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 17 scores through 29 games, the sixth-most goals in the CCHA behind Michigan’s Bill Muckalt (26), MSU’s Sean Berens (23), MSU’s Mike York (20) ,Michigan’s Bobby Hayes (18) and OSU’s Eric Meloche (18) ... Dhadphale has converted on 19.1 percent of his 89 shots (an average of one goal per every 5.2 shots per goal) after scoring just once per every 21.8 shots last season.
SIMON SAYS: Notre Dame sophomore C Ben Simon--who has not scored a goal since returning from the World Juniors (7 gms)--has a point in 19 of the 25 games he has played ... Simon leads the Irish and is tied for 17th in the CCHA with 25 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.
DISCIPLINED D.: 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 29 games this season, the Irish again are the CCHA’s least-penalized squad, totaling 178 penalties for an average of just 6.14 per game--while posting a 2.97 team goals-against avg. that would blow away the existing Irish record (3.40, in 1987-88) ... the Irish have allowed just 19 opponent power-play goals, third-fewest in the CCHA behind MSU (14) and Lake Superior (16) ... the Irish have allowed just 4.17 opponent power-play chances per game (lowest in the CCHA) and 121 total opponents PP chances (Ferris State has the second fewest, at 140) ... Notre Dame has totaled four or fewer penalties in 12 games this season and has averaged just 4.93 penalties/gm over the past 15 outings ... after Notre Dame, the CCHA’s least-penalized teams this season are: FSU (8.41), MSU (8.52), Miami (8.58) and Michigan (9.45) ... the CCHA’s most-penalized teams are WMU (11.28), UAF (10.75), Lake Superior (10.74), NMU (10.29), BG (10.18) and OSU (9.96) ... hard-hitting Irish sophomore D Nathan Borega has just 15 penalties this season (six in the last 19 games) and less than one per game in his career (46 in 64 games) ... other disciplined skaters: senior C Steve Noble (seven penalties in ’97-’98, 23 in last 61), sophomore D Tyson Fraser (seven, 23 in 57 career gms), sophomore D Sean Molina (3, one in last 22), freshman D Ryan Clark (4, two in last 22) and freshman D Mark Eaton (11, 5 in last 23 gms) ... junior RW Brian Urick struggled with penalties his first two seasons (58 in 70 gms) but has just seven this season (one per every 4.1 gams).
THIRD PERIOD KEY: Third-period production has been crucial this season ... after dominating third-period scoring early this season, Notre Dame now is being outscored 36-29 in the final 20:00 ... the Irish have outscored the opposition 18-7 in the third period of their 13 wins ... in Notre Dame’s 13 losses, the opposition has owned a 24-7 third-period edge ... prior to the three-goal, third-period outburst the forced OT at Michigan, Notre Dame had been outscored 31-13 in the third period of the previous 22 games ... the Irish opened with three wins thanks to an 8-0 third-period scoring edge but, in the fourth game, B.C. 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 and Ohio State scored twice in the third for a 5-3 win ... 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 10-6-0 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), Alaska Fairbanks (4-2, 5-1) and Bowling Green (5-4/OT) 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), failing to hold a 2-0 lead on Northeastern at the Mariucci Classic and losing in overtime at Michigan (5-4) ... Notre Dame has turned in five 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, scoring three times in the final 20 minutes to win at UAF (5-1) and scoring three goals to force OT at Michigan ... Notre Dame has scored 61 goals away from home on 529 shots on goal, for an average of 8.7 shots per goal (11.5 shooting pct.) ... conversely, in its 12 home games, Notre Dame is 3-6-3 and has scored just 31 goals on 366 shots, for an average of 11.8 shots per goal (8.5 shooting pct.).
PENALTY-KILLING PLUS: Notre Dame’s penalty-killing unit has scored one goal for every 2.7 it has allowed this season, totaling seven shorthanded goals while allowing 19 opponent power-play scores ... the seven shorthanded goals are nearly four 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 and freshman LW Dan Carlson both have two ... Notre Dame’s “-12” penalty-killing effort this season is second-best in the CCHA, behind Lake Superior’s -4 (12 SHG, 16 PPG allowed) ... the other CCHA teams break down as follows: Ohio State (-12), Michigan State (-12), Michigan (-19), Miami (-20), Western Michigan (-27), Ferris State (-28), Bowling Green (-28), Northern Michigan (-29) and Alaska Fairbanks (-35).
SPECIAL IMPROVEMENT: Despite a power-play slip prior to the UAF series, Notre Dame has converted on 27 percent (10-of-37) of its power plays in the last seven games ... Notre Dame’s season power-play (.190/30-for-158) is up considerably from last season (.127) and ranks fifth in the CCHA ... 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, including 15 in a two-game weekend series vs. then-#2 MSU ... the team’s season penalty-killing pct. now stands at .843 (128-for-154), fifth-best in the CCHA ... the Irish could challenge the team record for season penalty-killing pct., set by the 1969-70 team (.861) ... Miami (1st/4th), MSU (3rd/2nd) and Notre Dame are the only CCHA teams ranked among the top five for power play and penalty killing.
HOLD ON: Notre Dame is 8-2-0 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 13 losses this season have come after the Irish held a lead at the second intermission, as Notre Dame is 11-5-2 in games when leading after 40 minutes (losses to Boston College, Ferris State, Lake Superior, Northeastern and Alaska Fairbanks).
GO-TO-GROUP: Notre Dame has relied on several players for timely goals ... although junior LW Aniket Dhadphale (17 goals) and junior RW Brian Urick (13) 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 21-26 points, while five players have between 6-9 goals ... two players--Simon and senior C Lyle Andrusiak--have come through with a pair of game-winning goals while Urick has a team-high four GWGs and three other players have scored one game-winner (Dhadphale, senior C Steve Noble and freshman LW Dan Carlson) ... after Simon’s 26 points (8-18), Notre Dame’s top goal-scoring threats have come from Urick (13-12), Dhadphale (17-5), Noble (8-16), Carlson (9-12), junior D Benoit Cotnoir (8-15) and Andrusiak (6-8) ... two defensemen have compiled high assist numbers: freshman Mark Eaton (5-14) and sophomore Tyson Fraser (1-13).
FEELING A DRAFT: Notre Dame matched B.C. with the most players selected in the ’97 NHL draft (four): Ben Simon (5th rd, Chicago), Joe Dusbabek (7th, San Jose), Jay Kopischke (8th, L.A.) and Ryan Clark (9th, N.Y. Islanders) ... Notre Dame has seven former NHL draft picks (second to Michigan’s nine in the CCHA), with the others being senior C Steve Noble (St. Louis), junior RW Brian Urick (Edmonton) and junior LW Aniket Dhadphale (San Jose).
IRISH SIGN CORNELIUS, INMAN: Notre Dame signed D Sam Cornelius (Edina, Minn.) and C David Inman (Toronto, Ont.) during the fall early signing period ... Cornelius, a former prep teammate of Notre Dame freshman LW Dan Carlson, should provide a boost to an Irish defense that currently includes two juniors, five sophomores and two freshmen ... a strong skater noted for his physical play and offensive ability, the 6-0, 190-pound lefthander scored the game-winning overtime goal in the state semi-finals as a junior for Edina HS vs. Hill-Murray HS ... Cornelius was named to the Minnesota all-state-tournament team and was invited to the USA Hockey select-17 camp ... Inman is known for smooth playmaking and vision on the ice ... the 6-1, 185-pound lefthander helped Team Ontario capture the gold medal at the Under-17 World Hockey Challenge in Red Deer, Alberta ... currently a member of the Wexford Raiders, Inman totaled 32 goals and 56 assists in 43 games during 1996-97, earning rookie of the year and scholastic player of the year awards.
29-GAME CHECKUP: 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. (.500) that is nearly double that of last season (.271) ... the most significant offensive improvements have come in the areas of goals per game (up 0.54), shot margin (up +8.1/gm), power-play pct. (up 6.3%) and power-play goals per game (up 0.38) ...noteworthy improvements on the defensive end include the 84.3 pct. penalty-killing unit (up 3.0%), a 2.97 goals against avg. (0.76 better than last season), an 89.2 save pct. (up 1.0) and just 6.14 penalties per game (2.55 fewer than in ’96-’97) ... Notre Dame has nearly four times as many shorthanded goals (7) than it totaled in all of 1996-97 (2) and owns a 24-23 first-period scoring edge (the opponents outscored the Irish 39-23 last season) ... the Irish are 5-6 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) ... the third period has yielded the only negative changes in the above categories, as the Irish are being outscored 36-29 in the final period and are just 11-5-2 when holding a second-intermission lead.