Irish Get Back to CCHA Competition
A sold out game against Miami promises heated action.
January 8, 1999
* No. 9 Notre Dame looks to build off win at top-ranked North Dakota
No. 9 Notre Dame (10-6-2, 7-5-1 CCHA) returns to Central Collegiate Hockey Association action this week, with a Jan. 8 game at Bowling Green and a Jan. 9 tilt versus Miami (the first Irish home game since Nov. 20) ... the Miami game has been sold out for several weeks while the Jan. 30 home game vs. Michigan was sold out shortly before Christmas ... tickets remain for the Jan. 15-16 Alaska Fairbanks series while the Feb. 5 game vs. Michigan State game is close to a sellout ... Notre Dame is coming off a split at top-ranked North Dakota (1-8, 4-3), despite the absence of sophomore LW Dan Carlson (World Junior Championship) and sophomore D Ryan Clark (shoulder surgery rehabilitation).
IT'S FUN TO PLAY IN THE CCHA: An exciting Central Collegiate Hockey Association season currently finds Michigan State (10-2-2/18 pts) atop the standings, followed closely by Michigan (10-2-1/21) and surging Ohio State (9-4-2/20) ... Ferris State (8-3-2/18) stands in fourth, followed by Northern Michigan (8-8-0/16) and Notre Dame (7-5-1/15) ... each of the above six teams has been ranked among the national top 10 this season ... Bowling Green (6-6-1) is right behind the Irish while Alaska Fairbanks (4-11-0), Western Michigan (1-8-6), Miami (2-10-3) and Lake Superior (2-8-2) likely will battle for the eighth and final CCHA tournament spot ... the Irish lead the CCHA in overall power play pct. (.250, fifth in the nation among major-conference teams) while ranking second in scoring (3.50 goals/gm), third in fewest penalty minutes (19.0/gm) and fifth in defense (2.94 goals allowed/gm) but the Irish rank 11th in penalty-killing pct. (.798) ... junior C Ben Simon (9G-17A) is tied for second in the CCHA for overall scoring while senior RW Brian Urick (18G-11A) is tied for fourth.
IRISH NOTES: Notre Dame has scored just 11 goals in its last six games, with a 3-for-29 power play during that stretch (.104, compared to .292 in the first 12) ... the squad's top four defensemen have combined to miss 16 games this season ... the Irish have played well in hostile arenas during the past two seasons, with road wins vs. every CCHA team but Miami during that stretch, a pair of victories at Wisconsin, a two-game sweep at St. Cloud State and a win at North Dakota ... the Irish have allowed only two shorthanded goals in each of the past two seasons, with Ohio State accounting for all four of those goals (two on 1/25/98 and two on 12/5/98) ... Notre Dame raced out to its best start in 39 years of varsity hockey (6-0-0) and best conference start (5-0-0) in 19 seasons as a member of the WCHA (1971-81) or CCHA (1981-83, 1992- ).
PLAYER NOTES: Senior RW Brian Urick's 11 career game-winning goals are tied for third in Notre Dame history, just two behind the record held by current Irish head coach Dave Poulin ... senior LW Aniket Dhadphale (52G-42A) is eight points shy of the 100-point plateau and needs eight more assists to join Urick as two of the 28 Notre Dame players ever to total 50 goals and 50 assists in their careers ... with 18 of 35 regular-season games in the books, Urick (11G-14A) and junior C Ben Simon (9G-17A) are on pace to flirt with the 50-point mark this season, a mark reached just 25 times in Irish hockey history (last by Curtis Janicke in 1991-92) ... a 50-point season would give Urick 135 career points (now 52-58) and push him past Tom Michalek (133, 1976-80) and Don Fairholm (131, 1974-78) into 18th on the Irish career scoring list (only 13 Irish players ever have reached 150) ... Simon is averaging nearly a point per game for his career (82 in 85 games).
MATCHUP NOTES : Notre Dame (.234, .222) and Bowling Green (.165, .167) own the top two power-play units in the CCHA, both overall and in conference games only, but each ranks near the bottom in penalty-killing pct. (Notre Dame is 11th/.798 and 9th/.824 while BG is 7th/.828 and 10th/.811) ... the Irish (2nd/3.50, 1st/3.62) and Falcons (3rd/3.37, 2nd/3.46) also have proven to be among the CCHA's top scoring teams, in terms of goals per game, and are among the least penalized in conference action (BG is 3rd-lowest at 18.9 PIM/gm, ND 4th at 19.8) ... like BG and ND, Miami (10th/.815, 8th/.844) is one of the CCHA's poorer penalty-killing teams this season but the RedHawks also are the CCHA's least penalized team (18.0 PIM/gm overall, 16.0 in league games) ... Notre Dame junior C Ben Simon (9G-17A) and BG Senior C Dan Price (10G-16A) are tied for second on the overall CCHA scoring charts.
INJURY UPDATE: Three Irish players returned in early December at Ohio State, after missing multiple games due to arm injuries: senior LW Aniket Dhadphale (4 missed), junior RW Joe Dusbabek (2) and sophomore D Ryan Clark (2) ... the Irish power play was hitting at a .321 clip during the first 10 games with Dhadphale but the Irish were just 2-for-17 (.118) on the PP during the four games without their top sniper ... Clark had shoulder surgery Dec. 23 in his home state of Colorado and remains out indefinitely while undergoing rehabilitation.
LINE CHANGE: Following the frustrating 8-1 loss at top-ranked North Dakota on Jan. 2, Notre Dame shook up its lineup and the Irish responded the next day with a 4-3 upset win ... the changes included breaking up of the nation's most dangerous threesomes-senior LW Aniket Dhadphale (9G-9A), junior C Ben Simon (9-17) and senior RW Brian Urick (11-14)-but could result in more balanced production from each of the first two lines ... Dhadphale and Urick have dropped back to the second line, combining veteran savvy with the growing talent of freshman C David Inman ... Simon has been joined by two players who he is familiar playing with: sophomore LW Dan Carlson (4-10) and junior RW Joe Dusbabek (2-5) ... the Dhadphale-Simon-Urick line combined for 22 goals and 50 points through the first 10 games (5.0 points/gm) ... the members of the current "first" line of Carlson (15-27)-Simon (22-60)-Dusbabek (16-25) have totaled 165 career points in 213 combined games ... the line of Dhadphale (52-42)-Inman (7-6)-Urick (52-58) owns 217 career points in 260 combined games ... the six members of the first two lines have combined to total 382 career points (164-218) in 473 games, for an average of 2.4 pts/gm per line. THE BG-ND SERIES: Bowling Green leads the series (27-19-3) but the Irish are 5-1-1 in the last seven ... BG holds a 17-9-0 edge at home but Notre Dame has won the last three at BGSU Ice Arena (7-5 and 5-3 in '96-'97, 5-4 last season), with current senior Forrest Karr picking up each of those wins ... Karr-who made 23 saves in the 6-2 win over BG last Nov. 23-is 4-0-0 in his career vs. the Falcons, with a 2.94 GAA and .910 save pct. ... Notre Dame's top career scorers vs. BG include: senior LW Aniket Dhadphale (10 gms, 6G-4A), junior C Ben Simon (7, 2-7), senior D Benoit Cotnoir (10, 2-5), senior RW Brian Urick (10, 3-3) and junior D Tyson Fraser (6, 0-5) ... during the 1997-98 season, Notre Dame edged BG, 2-1, on Nov. 7, pulled out a 5-4 OT win at BG on Jan. 24, and played to a 1-1 tie at home ve, the Falcons on Feb. 6 (recaps below).
THE LAST MEETING (@ND 6, BG 2; 11/13/98) - Aniket Dhadphale's first career hat trick (second by an Irish player in the last 128 games) ignited an explosive third period as Notre Dame overcame two early deficits ... Brian Urick recorded his 100th career point while Dhadphale opened the Irish scoring with his 50th career goal ... Notre Dame went ahead for good on Ben Simon's goal early in the third and put the game out of reach with three more in a six-minute span ... BG failed to capitalize on early 1-0 and 2-1 leads, with Mike Savard stopping 15 of 16 first-period shots before allowing five goals on the final 16 he faced ... Forrest Karr made 23 saves ... BG opened the scoring midway through the first but Dhadphale answered with a PPG ... BG reclaimed the lead less than two minutes later but Dhadphale's second goal tied the game heading into the third ... Simon zipped the puck around the boards for Urick, who sent a rising shot towards Savard from the right corner ... the puck grazed Savard and Dhadphale was waiting in the wings to nudge the puck into the net ... on the game-winner, Urick took Dhadphale's pass in the right corner and drilled a pass to the top of the right circle for Simon, who deposited a rising shot under the crossbar ... Benoit Cotnoir and Simon helped set up Dhadphale's third goal, from the left circle, and the Irish kept pushing in with goals by Dan Carlson and Cotnoir.
2nd: ND 2. Dhadphale (Urick, Simon) 17:11.
3rd: ND 3. Simon (Urick, Dhadphale) 3:37; ND 4. Dhadphale (Simon, Cotnoir) 10:05; ND 5. Carlson (Inman) 13:42; ND 6. Cotnoir (Henning, Dusbabek) 16:41.
Saves: BG (Savard) 15-7-4/26, ND (Karr) 9-10-4/23.
PP: BG 0-5, ND 1-3.
Pen's: BG 4 for 8:00, ND 6 for 12:00.
RECAPPING LAST YEAR'S SERIES:
* at ND 2, BG 1
* ND 5, @BG (OT)
* at ND 1, BG 1
SCOUTING BG: Bowling Green (10-8-1, 6-6-1 CCHA) is coming off a split at Nebraska-Omaha (4-2, 1-6) and is seventh in the CCHA ... BG returned 18 of 23 players from its '97-'98 team that finished 8-27-3 and placed last in the CCHA (6-21-3) ... top returning scorers: senior C Dan Price (14G-16A), sophomore F Chris Bonvie (12-12) and junior F Adam Edinger (9-13) ... current sophomore Shawn Timm (6-15-2, 3.77, .884) and current senior Mike Savard (2-10-1, 4.11, .866) split goaltending duties last season ... Price (10-16) currently is tied for fourth in the CCHA for overall scoring ... other top scorers are Edinger (12-12) and junior D Mike Jones (5-15) ... Savard (3.13, .890) is 9-4-0 in 806 minutes, Timm (5.11, .797) is 1-4-1 in 306 ... BG ranks second in the CCHA for overall power-play pct. (.165, 21-of-27) and seventh in penalty killing (.828, 86-of-116) ... BG is averaging 23.1 PIM/gm (third-fewest in the CCHA), ranks third in the CCHA for goals scored (3.37/gm) but is 10th in goals allowed (3.74/gm) ... other BG wins: Miami (4-2), Northeastern (5-3), FSU (2-1), NMU (6-5, 5-3), Miami (5-1), WMU (5-3), Cornell (3-2, OT) and Yale (4-1) ... other losses: Northeastern (2-4), MSU (1-7), Michigan (2-5, 2-5), NMU (1-4), Notre Dame (2-6) and UAF (5-6), with a 5-5 tie at Miami.
FRIEND OR FOE?: Several players from Bowling Green and Notre Dame are former teammates: BG sophomore F Dennis Williams and Notre Dame senior LW Aniket Dhadphale (Stratford Cullitons); Williams and ND sophomore F Chad Chipchase (Team Ontario); BG junior F Zach Ham and Irish junior RW John Dwyer (Dubuque Saints); BG junior F Brad Newman and ND junior D Sean Molina (Chicago Young Americans); BG junior D Mike Jones and Molina (USA Viking Cup); Jones, BG sophomore D Larry Hull and Irish junior C Ben Simon (Cleveland Jr. Barons); BG sophomore D Louis Mass and ND sophomore D Ryan Clark (Lincoln Stars); BG sophomore D Doug Schueller and ND sophomore RW Ryan Dolder (Twin City Vulcans); and BG sophomore F Ryan Murphy and Irish sophomore LW Dan Carlson (USA junior national team).
THE ND-MIAMI SERIES: Miami holds a 16-5-3 edge, including a 14-1-3 mark vs. the Irish in the last 18 meetings (5-0-1 in the last six) ... three of the last six games have produced narrow Miami wins ... Notre Dame's only win vs. Miami since '83 came late in 1995-96, at Miami (5-2) ... top Irish career scorers vs. Miami include senior RW Brian Urick (9 gms, 3G-5A), senior D Benoit Cotnoir (9, 2-4) and junior RW Joe Dusbabek (4, 3-0) ... senior LW Aniket Dhadphale has just two goals and no assists vs. Miami in nine career games (he has 69 points in 84 combined games vs. the other nine CCHA teams) ... junior C Ben Simon has played just three career games vs. Miami (due to gain misconduct DQ and 1997-98 World Juniors), with no goals and two assists in those games ... Irish senior G Forrest Karr is 0-2-0 vs. Miami, with a 4.54 GAA and .816 save pct. ... Miami won last year's series (5-4, 3-1, 2-2).
LAST-MINUTE MAGIC: Miami has posted three recent last-minute wins over Notre Dame: 3-2 at Notre Dame on 2/4/94 (Rene Von Lanthen scored with 0:30 left), 4-3 at home on 11/23/96 (Dustin Whitecotton, 0:40) and 5-4 at Notre Dame on 11/15/97 (Adam Copeland, 0:20) ... in fact, Notre Dame is long overdue to score a game-winner in the last minute, as the Irish are 0-11 since '91-'92 in games that have seen the game-winner scored in the final minute of regulation or OT... the last time the Irish pulled out a last-minute win was Feb. 14 ,1992, when Matt Osiecki scored with 0:55 left in OT for a 6-5 win at Kent State ... Irish head coach Dave Poulin has seen his Irish teams suffer six tough last-minute losses, the above two plus: 4-3 vs. BG on 2/10/96 (Curtis Fry, 0:51, OT); 4-3 at MSU on 12/6/97 (Mark Loeding, 0:54); 3-2 at Princeton on 12/29/96 (Scott Bertoli, 0:19, OT); and 2-1 at Michigan in a 3/14/98 CCHA playoff game (Bobby Hayes, 19:00 mark of OT).
RECAPPING LAST YEAR'S SERIES:
* at Miami 5, ND 4
* Miami 3, at ND 1
* at ND 2, Miami 2
MIAMI NOTES: Miami is 4-13-4 overall and 2-10-3 in the CCHA, after a 7-2 loss to Colgate and a 4-3 overtime win over St. Lawrence at the Syracuse Tournament ... the RedHawks are 10th in the CCHA and currently in a four-team battle for the last CCHA tournament spot ... Miami returned just 18 of 28 letterwinners from last year's team that went 19-14-4, finished fifth in the CCHA (14-12-4) and lost at NMU in the first round of the CCHAs ... Miami's top returning scorers were junior Dustin Whitecotton (8G-24A), sophomore Alex Kim (15-11) and junior Gregor Kranjc (11-15) ... junior Ian Olsen was 5-4-2 last season, with a 3.38 GAA and .876 save pct. ... Miami is the CCHA's least-penalized team (18.0 overall PIM/gm) but ranks eighth overall in both scoring (2.62 goals/gm) and defense (3.67 allowed/gm), sixth in power-play pct. (.139) and 10th in penalty-killing pct. (.815) ... top scorers this season: sophomore Jason Deskins (11-8), junior Mark Shalawylo (6-10) and Kim (7-8) ... Olsen is 2-12-4 with a 3.47 GAA and .882 save pct. in 1,075 minutes (junior Andy Marsch is 2-1-0 with a 3.55 and .856 in 203 minutes) ... other wins: Providence (5-3), WMU (7-4) and OSU (4-1) ... other losses: BG (2-4, 1-5), NMU (2-3, 2-5, 3-4), New Hampshire (1-4), UAF (2-3, 2-5), MSU (0-5), Michigan (0-1) and St. Cloud (4-5) , with ties vs. BG (5-5), WMU (1-1) and St. Cloud (4-4).
FRIEND OR FOE?: Several current players from Notre Dame (9) and Miami (8) played together on previous teams ... they include: Notre Dame senior G Forrest Karr and Miami senior center C.J. Buzzell (Wisconsin Capitols); Notre Dame junior D Nathan Borega and Miami junior C Dustin Whitecotton (Vernon Vipers); Whitecotton and Notre Dame junior D Tyson Fraser (Team British Columbia); Irish junior D Sean Molina and Miami junior F Mark Shalawylo (USA Viking Cup); Shalawylo and ND junior D Andy Jurkowski (Wisconsin Capitols); Irish junior C Ben Simon and Miami senior D Josh Harrold (Cleveland Jr. Barons); ND sophomore RW Matt Van Arkel and Miami junior G Andy Marsch (Team Illinois); Irish sophomore C David Inman and Miami freshman D Mike Tedesco; and ND freshman G Jeremiah Kimento and a pair of Miami freshmen D's: Paul Nejezchled and Ken Marsch (Danville Wings).
THE TRAVELLERS: Notre Dame is nearing the end of an 11-week stretch in which the Irish will play just three games at home and 10 on the road, in eight different cities: Kalamazoo, Mich.; Boston, Mass. (2); Ann Arbor, Mich.; Grand Rapids, Mich.; Columbus, Ohio; Grand Forks, N.D. (2); and Bowling Green, Ohio ... the current 11-week stretch included five off-weekends for the Irish (Oct. 31-Nov. 1, Nov. 27-28, Dec. 11-12, Dec. 18-19 and Dec. 25-26) ... on the flip side, Notre Dame will then play nine of the ensuing 14 games at home before ending the regular season with a pair of games at Miami.
CARLSON RETURNS: Notre Dame sophomore LW Dan Carlson (Edina, Minn.) was named to the 22-player team that represented the United States at the World Junior Championship, Dec. 26-Jan. 4 in six Manitoba cities ... the USA opened with 6-3 losses to Finland and the Czech Republic before dropping a tough 3-2 game to Slovakia and beating rival Canada, 5-2 ... the USA wrapped up play with wins over Switzerland (5-4) and Belarus (7-2), with Carlson scoring a key tying goal (4-4) in the win over Switzerland ... Irish freshman C David Inman (Toronto, Ont.)-who owns joint citizenship-was among four players cut from the squad, following a Dec. 14-17 tryout camp at the Ann Arbor (Mich.) Ice Cube facility ... Carlson missed Notre Dame's series at No. 1 North Dakota ... the final 22-player roster featured seven returnees from the 1997-98 U.S. team that finished fifth at the World Junior Championship in Finland ... current Notre Dame junior forwards Ben Simon and Joe Dusbabek were members of last year's U.S. junior team, with Simon also skating on the 1996-97 U.S. team that claimed the World Junior silver medal in Switzerland ... the 5-10, 190-pound Carlson ranks fourth on the Irish squad with 13 points (4 goals, 9 assists), including two PPGs, one GWG and the team's only SHG of the season ... he ranked among the CCHA top freshman scorers in '97-'98 with 11 goals (three power-play, three shorthanded) and 17 assists ... the final junior national team roster included 14 current college players, with six hailing from teams in the CCHA ... in addition to Carlson, the CCHA players included two from Michigan State (G Joe Blackburn and F Adam Hall), Michigan D Jeff Jillson, Bowling Green F Ryan Murphy and Lake Superior State F Mike Vigilante ... the eight other college players included two each from Wisconsin and Maine and one each from Boston College, Minnesota, Colorado College and Boston University.
SIMON THE SCORER: Junior C Ben Simon-who has points in 14 of 18 games this season and already has equaled his sophomore goal total (9)-ranks second in the CCHA overall scoring charts (9G-17A) while his 20 points in CCHA play (8-12) are tied for the league lead with linemate Brian Urick (8-12) and two Northern Michigan players: Buddy Smith (2-18) and J.P. Vigier (14-6) ... Smith (5-22) is the overall scoring leader, just a point ahead of Simon and Bowling Green's Dan Price (10-16) ... Simon scored a memorable goal 17 seconds into the third period of the 7-1 win over Western Michigan, slanting in from the right and tucking the puck inside the left post-his first goal in 13 games (he had endured 31 shots on net without a goal) ... Simon has excelled at setting up his teammates (60 assists in 85 career games) but owns just 22 career goals on 221 shots (10.0 shots per goal), with the goal vs. WMU signaling a breakthrough goalscoring season for the player who totaled 166 goals in four prep seasons (including 45 goals in 50 games as a senior with the Cleveland Jr. Barons) ... Simon is averaging just 5.2 shots per goal this season (47 shots), compared to 13.4 shots per goal during his first two seasons (13 goals, 174 shots).
SCHEDULE OF CHAMPIONS: Notre Dame's 1998-99 schedule includes five teams that have combined for seven of the first nine NCAA titles during the 1990s: Wisconsin (1990), Northern Michigan ('91), Lake Superior ('92, '94), Michigan ('96, '98) and North Dakota ('97) ... the Irish do not face recent NCAA champs Maine ('93) or Boston University ('95) this season.
STREAKY SEASON: Notre Dame opened with a six-game winning streak but recently lost five straight before the 4-3 win at North Dakota.
TURN BACK ON THE POWER: Notre Dame's power play opened at .321 clip but the Irish are just 4-for-38 (.105) during the past six games, due in part to the absence of senior LW Aniket Dhadphale (first four games) and sophomore RW Joe Dusbabek (who took Dhadphale's spot on the first unit before missing two games prior to the OSU trip due to injury) ... despite the dropoff, the overall power-play pct. (.234) would rank best by an Irish team playing as a member of the CCHA or WCHA since the 1981-82 season (.303) ... the .234 Irish mark also is on par with the CCHA-best effort by Michigan State in '97-'98 (.233) .... for comparison, Notre Dame owned just a .127 power-play pct. in '96-'97 and a .176 PP mark last season ... power-play goals have helped provide the decisive margin this season in wins over Ferris State (5-3, 2 PPGs), Lake Superior (403, 4 PPGs) and Northeastern (4-3, 3 PPGs) while the Irish netted three PPGs in the 5-5 tie at Boston College ... eight different Irish players have notched a PPG this season, led by four each from Dhadphale, senior RW Brian Urick and junior C Ben Simon ... the other PPGs have come from sophomore LW Dan Carlson (2), freshman C David Inman (2), sophomore LW Chad Chipchase (2), sophomore RW Matt Van Arkel (3) and Dusbabek ... the primary power-play unit has included Dhadphale, Simon and Urick, with Carlson and either senior D Benoit Cotnoir or junior D Tyson Fraser at the point ... that first unit has 16 PPGs, with Dusbabek scoring with the first group at Lake Superior (while Simon was in the penalty box) and Chipchase scoring vs. Ferris State.
HOME IMPROVEMENT: After a 3-6-3 start at home in '97-'98 (in which the Irish were outscored 39-31), Notre Dame finished strong at home, going 3-2-0 in its final five home games with an 18-12 scoring edge ... in its last 11 home games, Notre Dame is 8-2-1 with a 49-22 scoring edge (two 7-1 wins and a 9-5 win) ... the recent home losses came to Michigan (1-0, goal in first minute) and eventual NCAA semifinalist Ohio State (5-3) while the ties were vs. Bowling Green in 1997-98 (1-1) and Michigan this season (2-2).
EASY AS 1-2-3: Notre Dame has received steady production in all three periods, with 16 goals in the first period, 25 in the second and 22 in the third ... during the first six games, the Irish owned an 8-1 scoring edge in the first period (16-14 overall) ... the Irish also own a 25-17 edge in the second period but have struggled defensively in the third, with an even 22-22 ratio (compared to 41-31 over the first two periods) ... during the 1997-98 season, Notre Dame owned a 37-27 first-period scoring edge and went 11-4-1 in games with a first-intermission lead ... the Irish were even more dominant last season in the second period (51-35) but lost five games when leading at the second intermission (16-5-2), due in large part to being outscored 49-37 in the final period.
DUDE LOOKS LIKE A SCORER: Senior LW Aniket Dhadphale (pronounced Uh-NEE-kett Dod-FALL-ee) has become one of the most well-known-and often mispronounced-names in the CCHA due to his scoring prowess ... with pronunciations ranging from "Dudepole" to "Daffapail", Dhadphale has kept P.A. announcers on their toes by totaling 34 goals and 19 assists during the past two seasons (55 games).
REDEFINING MAN DOWN: During its last 30 games, Notre Dame has played without at least one of its top defensemen 25 times and managed to go 13-10-2 in those games (four losses to Michigan, three to Ohio State, one to North Dakota) ... the top four defensemen have missed a combined 16 games this season due to injury, yet the Irish remain in the national polls and are on pace to set the school record for goals-against average (2.92) ... Notre Dame is 2-2-1 in the only games during the last 30 when senior Benoit Cotnoir, juniors Tyson Fraser and Nathan Borega and sophomore Ryan Clark all have been in the lineup (6-2 vs. BG, 2-2 vs. Michigan, 9-5 vs. WMU, 3-4 and 1-4 at OSU) ... the games missed by Irish defenseman during the last 30 break down as follows: Cotnoir (2), Fraser (13), Borega (15) and Clark (4, out indefinitely for rest of '98-'99 ) ... two of those players have been sidelined during the same game nine times over the last 30, with the Irish owning a solid 6-3-0 mark in those games ... lost in the injury woes is the absence of '98 CCHA rookie of the year Mark Eaton, who passed up the rest of his college eligibility when he signed as a free agent in the summer with the Philadelphia Flyers.
RETURN OF THE ROAD WARRIORS: Notre Dame has proven to be unfazed by playing on the road in hostile arenas over the past two seasons-most recently in the 5-5 tie at No. 1 Boston College, the 1-0 loss at Michigan and the 4-3 win at North Dakota-as the Irish are 17-16-1 away from home during that stretch, with the 16 losses including 10 by one goal ... the Irish own a 109-106 scoring edge in those 34 road games ... in '97-'98, Notre Dame posted wins at St. Cloud State (4-3/OT, 4-1), Michigan State (6-1), Wisconsin (4-2), Northern Michigan (3-1) and Michigan (4-2)-in addition to losing three one-goal games at Michigan (two in OT) one-goal games at Miami, Ferris State, Alaska Fairbanks (OT) and Lake Superior (OT) ... after opening '98-'99 with a 2-1 win at Wisconsin's dedication game for the Kohl Center (which drew nearly 14,000 fans), the Irish posted wins at Ferris State (5-3) and Lake Superior (4-3)-giving Notre Dame victories in every opposing CCHA building except Miami's Goggin Ice Arena over the past two seasons ... Notre Dame's most recent CCHA road trip produced a forgettable pair of losses to Ohio State at the OSU Ice Arena (3-4, 1-4).
MORE ROAD STRENGTH: The Irish are 6-1-1 when playing non-conference away games during the past two seasons, winning twice last season at St. Cloud State and once at Wisconsin before this season posting a 2-1 win at Wisconsin, a 5-5 tie at Boston College, a 4-3 win at Northeastern and a split at North Dakota (1-8, 4-3).
SO MUCH FOR PLUS-MINUS: Despite outscoring the opposition by 10 goals, Notre Dame is just +46 because a good portion of its goals (22 of 63) have come on the power play while the opponents have totaled 31 non-power-play goals.
GETTING COMPETITIVE: Notre Dame finished '97-'98 by going 4-4-0 in its final eight games vs. CCHA teams (four vs. Michigan, three vs. Northern Michigan and one at sixth-place Lake Superior) ... that stretch included a sweep of NMU (4-3, 3-1, 5-2), an OT loss at Lake Superior (2-1), a 4-2 win over Michigan and three one-goal losses to Michigan (1-0, 2-1 in OT and 4-3) ... the Irish held a 21-17 overall scoring edge in those games, allowing just 2.1 goals per game ... in its last 20 games vs. CCHA teams, Notre Dame is 10-9-1, including a 9-7-1 mark in the regular season.
URICK LEADS THE WAY: Senior RW and team captain Brian Urick is heading into the final stretch of his stellar four-year career at Notre Dame ... Urick, who notched his 50th career goal and an assist in the series finale vs. WMU on Nov. 20, saw his early four-game goal streak ended vs. OSU (equaling his career-high) but he still has 25 points in 18 games (11G-14A) ... Urick is tied for fourth in the CCHA for overall scoring and is one of four players tied for the scoring lead in CCHA games only (8-12) ... he leads the Irish in plus-minus (+19), has just nine penalties and owns 51 goals and 59 assists in 129 career games ... Urick's first of two assists in the Nov. 13 Bowling Green game made him the 27th Notre Dame player to reach the 100-point plateau ... over the past two seasons, Urick has 59 points (26-33) in 59 games, a team-best +34, only 58 penalty minutes and seven of the team's 28 game-winning goals ... his 11 career game-winning goals ties Urick with Paul Regan (1969-73) for third in Irish history behind Dave Bankoske (12, 1988-93) and current Irish head coach Dave Poulin (13, 1978-82).
BALANCING ACT: Notre Dame's 63 goals have come from 16 players, with six combining on the first seven ... junior C Ben Simon owns 17 of the team's 102 assists and senior right wing Brian Urick has 14, with 17 other players also setting up Irish goals this season ... only one of the 18 starting skaters-junior D/LW Andy Jurkowski-has yet to register a point ... additionally, the 10 Irish game-winning goals have come from eight different players (Simon and Urick have two each).
FOLLOW THAT KARR!: Senior G Forrest Karr has provided strong leadership between the pipes, allowing just 23 even-strength goals in 18 games ... Karr's impressive debut as the Irish starter includes posting a 2.83 season goals-against average that ranks seventh in the CCHA ... his strong first half of the season places Karr within striking distance of the Irish season record for GAA (2.70), set last season by Matt Eisler ... Karr's career record now stands at 18-17-3, including 16-9-3 over the past two seasons ... Karr owns a solid 2.89 GAA during the past two seasons (78 GA, 1,621:25) while his career GAA of 3.22 (117 GA, 2,168:48) would best the Irish record set by Eisler (3.66) ... Karr's impressive effort on the road during the past two seasons has yielded an 11-7-1 record and a 3.04 GAA (54 GA, 1,067:16), with two losses coming at Western Michigan, one vs. FSU at Van Andel Arena, two in early December at Ohio State and one at top-ranked North Dakota ... Karr posted his first career shutout with 16 saves in the Oct. 23 home win over then-No. 9 Ohio State (3-0), improving his career record to 3-3-0 versus national top-10 teams (wins at Bowling Green as a sophomore and at Wisconsin earlier this season) ... his record vs. top-10 ranked teams now stands at 4-5-2 after a 5-5 tie at former No. 1 Boston College, a 2-2 tie vs. No. then-7 Michigan, a 1-0 loss at then-No. 8 Michigan and the split at current No. 1 North Dakota (1-8, 4-3) ... like many of his teammates, Karr has a history of playing well in hostile arenas, with wins at Wisconsin last year and this year, three career wins at Bowling Green, a win over Ohio State as a junior at the Ohio Expo Center, and solid efforts this season at Boston College (5-5), Michigan (0-1, 25 saves) and North Dakota (4-3, 35 saves).
IRISH SIGN CHIN, NIELSEN: The Notre Dame hockey team signed two Illinois natives-right wing Michael Chin (Urbana) and defenseman Evan Nielsen (Evanston--to national letters of intent during the fall signing period ... the addition of Chin and Nielsen would give the 1998-99 Irish roster six players from Illinois, with the others including current junior defenseman Sean Molina (Skokie), junior right wing John Dwyer (Winnetka), sophomore right wing Matt Van Arkel (Richton Park) freshman goaltender Jeremiah Kimento (Palos Hills) ... Notre Dame is set to lose six seniors from the current squad, including four regular members of the starting lineup ... those players include team captain and RW Brian Urick, LW Aniket Dhadphale D Benoit Cotnoir and G goaltender Forrest Karr.
The 6-2, 200-pound Chin, who graduated from Urbana High School in May of '98, was the third-leading scorer in the USHL as of mid-December, with 23 goals and 15 assists while helping the Des Moines (IA) Buccaneers post a record of 22-2 ... he spent '97-'98 as a member of the United States under-18 national team in Ann Arbor, Mich., where he was a teammate of current Irish freshman C Brett Henning among the program's 28 forwards ... in 28 games with the national program, Chin totaled seven goals and three assists before joining Henning as two of 14 forwards to make the U.S. playoff roster ... Chin previously played for the Shattuck St. Mary's Midget AAA team (based in Faribault, Minn.) during 1996-97, after playing two seasons for the Illinois-based Northwest Chargers.
Nielsen began his second season at The Taft School (Watertown, Conn.) in early December, after spending his first two years at Evanston (Ill.) High School .. .during his junior season, the 6-2, 195-pound Nielsen had seven goals and six assists while helping Taft place 10th in New England with a record of 14-8 ... during the summer of '97, he was selected as the best defenseman at the prestigious annual Hockey Night in Boston, where he played as a member of the Midwest all-star team that finished as runner-up ... Nielsen, who played with the Chicago Young Americans as a seventh and eight grader and was named "best team player" at Evanston as a sophomore, had an invitation to train with the U.S. under-18 national team this season but elected to return to Taft ... like Chin, he has past experience playing in the U.S. select-16 and select-17 festivals.
Dave Poulin: "These players meet two crucial needs, providing a proven goalscorer and a skilled defenseman. What's nice about recruiting this year is that we know our personnel better and have a clearer idea what we need. ... Michael is a great goalscorer who has an inate sense of scoring. We will have a considerable scoring void by losing Urick and Dhadphale, so he will play an important role. He is a big kid with great hands who positions himself well and has a great sense of knowing where to go. ... Evan is a very skilled defenseman and strong skater who has good size and plays smart on the ice. Adding Evan and Michael reinforces the fact that we've been able to attract some quality players from Illinois over the past couple of years and there's no question that there has been a big increase in the talent level in Illinois."
CURRENT HOCKEY POLLS
U.S. COLLEGE HOCKEY
ONLINE POLL (1/4)
USA TODAY / AMERICAN HOCKEY MAGAZINE POLL (1/4)
CCHA PRESEASON COACHES POLL
'98-'99 CCHA Standings
NOTRE DAME HOCKEY - Making Strides
(all improvements indicated by a "+"; italics = non-improvement)
Shots per game 27.2 30.8 +3.6 28.8 -2.0
Shooting pct. 9.7% 10.1% +0.4% 12.1% +2.0%
Opponent shots/gm 31.8 27.6 +4.2 27.3 +0.3
Shot margin -4.6 +3.2 +7.8 +1.5 -1.7
Power-play pct. 12.7% 17.6% +4.9% 23.4% +5.8%
Power-play goals/gm 0.66 (23) 0.95 (39) +0.29 1.22 (22) +0.27
Shorthanded goals/gm 0.06 (2) 0.22 (9) +0.16 0.06 (1) -0.16
Penalties per game 8.69 6.37 +2.32 8.67 -2.30
Penalty-killing pct. 81.3% 84.3% +3.0% 79.8% -4.5%
Goals-against-avg. 3.73 2.75 +0.98 2.92 -0.17
Save pct. 88.2% 89.8% +1.6% 89.2% -0.6%
Goal Margin -1.11 +0.29 +1.40 +0.56 +0.27
S'handed goals allowed/gm 0.23 (7) 0.07 (3) +0.16 0.11 (2) -0.04
1st period goals/gm 0.66 (23) 0.90 (37) +0.24 0.89 (16) -0.01
1st period goal margin -0.46 (23-39) +0.24 (37-27) +0.70 +0.11 (16-14) -0.13
3rd period goals/gm 0.94 (33) 0.90 (37) -0.04 1.22 (22) +0.32
3rd period goal margin -0.26 (33-42) -0.29 (37-49) -0.03 +0.00 (22-22) +0.29
Ahead at 1st intermission 4-5-0 (.444) 11-4-1 (.719 ) +.275 6-1-1(.813) +9.4%
Ahead at 2nd intermission 6-2-0 (.750) 16-5-2 (.739) -.011 8-0-1(.944) +20.5%
Shots per game 27.2 30.8 +3.6 28.8 -2.0 Shooting pct. 9.7% 10.1% +0.4% 12.1% +2.0% Opponent shots/gm 31.8 27.6 +4.2 27.3 +0.3 Shot margin -4.6 +3.2 +7.8 +1.5 -1.7
Power-play pct. 12.7% 17.6% +4.9% 23.4% +5.8% Power-play goals/gm 0.66 (23) 0.95 (39) +0.29 1.22 (22) +0.27 Shorthanded goals/gm 0.06 (2) 0.22 (9) +0.16 0.06 (1) -0.16 Penalties per game 8.69 6.37 +2.32 8.67 -2.30
Penalty-killing pct. 81.3% 84.3% +3.0% 79.8% -4.5% Goals-against-avg. 3.73 2.75 +0.98 2.92 -0.17 Save pct. 88.2% 89.8% +1.6% 89.2% -0.6% Goal Margin -1.11 +0.29 +1.40 +0.56 +0.27 S'handed goals allowed/gm 0.23 (7) 0.07 (3) +0.16 0.11 (2) -0.04
1st period goals/gm 0.66 (23) 0.90 (37) +0.24 0.89 (16) -0.01 1st period goal margin -0.46 (23-39) +0.24 (37-27) +0.70 +0.11 (16-14) -0.13 3rd period goals/gm 0.94 (33) 0.90 (37) -0.04 1.22 (22) +0.32 3rd period goal margin -0.26 (33-42) -0.29 (37-49) -0.03 +0.00 (22-22) +0.29
Ahead at 1st intermission 4-5-0 (.444) 11-4-1 (.719 ) +.275 6-1-1(.813) +9.4% Ahead at 2nd intermission 6-2-0 (.750) 16-5-2 (.739) -.011 8-0-1(.944) +20.5%