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    Third-Ranked Irish Return To CCHA Action Versus 10th-Ranked Western Michigan

    FIGHTING IRISH Freshman defenseman Robbie Russo leads Notre Dame defensemen in scoring with three goals and nine assists for 12 points.
    FIGHTING IRISH
    Freshman defenseman Robbie Russo leads Notre Dame defensemen in scoring with three goals and nine assists for 12 points.
    FIGHTING IRISH

    Jan. 11, 2012

    Notre Dame, Ind. -

    Game NotesGet Acrobat Reader

    • The Games: #3/#3 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (13-6-3/8-3-3-0) vs. #11/#10 Western Michigan Broncos (10-7-5/7-4-3-3)

    • Date/Site/Time: Friday, January 13, 2012 • Compton Family Ice Arena (5,022) • 7:42 p.m. Saturday, January 14, 2012 • Lawson Arena (3,667) • 7:05 p.m.

    • Broadcast Information: Radio: Notre Dame hockey can be heard live on Real Country 99.9 FM, starting with the pre-game show 20 minutes before the opening face off. Darin Pritchett will call the action for the Irish.Television: Friday's game will be televised live by the CBS Sports Network with Matt McConnell calling the action, Dave Starman handling the color commentary and Shireen Saski at rinkside.

    • Internet: Audio: Notre Dame will stream the audio both games live and free of charge on UND.com. Video: Saturday's game will be available at the Western Michigan website at www.wmubroncos.com/liveEvents/liveEvents.dbml?&DB_OEM_ID=4600. There is a charge to watch the game.

    Twitter: Follow the Irish icers on Twitter at ND_hockey.

    BACK IN THE CCHA: Notre Dame returns to CCHA action for the final 14 games of the 2011-12 season starting this weekend with a home-and-home series versus the Western Michigan Broncos. On Friday, Jan. 13, the two teams will meet at the Compton Family Ice Arena at Notre Dame for a 7:42 p.m. game that will be televised live by CBS Sports Network. Matt McConnell, Dave Starman and Shireen Saski will handle the play-by-play, color commentary and rinkside action. On Saturday, Jan. 14, the two teams venture north to Kalamazoo, Mich., for a 7:05 p.m. game at Lawson Arena on the Western Michigan campus. Video for Saturday's game will be streamed live on the Western Michigan website at www.wmubroncos.com/liveEvents/liveEvents.dbml?&DB_OEM_ID=4600. There is a charge to watch the game. The Irish enter the weekend series with a 13-6-3 overall record and are 8-3-3-0 in the CCHA, good for 27 points and a second-place tie with WesternMichigan. The Broncos are 10-7-5 overall and are 7-4-3-3 in the CCHA for their 27 points. Notre Dame and Western Michigan enter the weekend seven points behind first-place Ohio State with two games in hand. The teams are two points ahead of fourth-place Lake Superior (25 points) and three ahead of fifth-place Miami and Northern Michigan (27) and have played two less games than all three teams. The Irish are coming off a 4-3 win at #5/#3 Minnesota on Jan. 7 while the Broncos dropped two in a row at home to top-ranked Minnesota-Duluth on Jan. 6-7.

    IRISH VERSUS BRONCOS: Notre Dame and Western Michigan have met 78 times in the all-time series with the Broncos holding a 38-32-8 advantage in those games. At Notre Dame, the Irish are 21-13-2 against Western Michigan while at Kalamazoo, the Broncos are 24-11-6 all-time against the Irish. The teams have already met twice this season. On Nov. 15, they played at the Compton Family Ice Arena with Notre Dame taking a 3-2 win. One week later, on Tues., Nov. 22, they met at Lawson Arena with the game ending in a 2-2 overtime tie. Western Michigan earned the extra point in CCHA play as they downed the Irish, 2-0, in the shootout. Notre Dame's last win at Lawson Arena was on Feb., 25, 2010, a 3-2 victory. The last time the Broncos won in South Bend was Feb. 26, 2010, a 2-0 win in the regular-season finale at the Joyce Center.

    NEXT FOR THE IRISH: Following this weekend's series with Western Michigan, Notre Dame will have a home series versus the University of Michigan on Jan. 20-21 at the Compton Family Ice Arena. Both games will be televised with the NBC Sports Network doing Friday's game at 7:35 p.m. and CBS Sports Network televising all the live action nationally on Saturday at 7:35 p.m.

    RANKINGS: Notre Dame enters the series with Western Michigan ranked third in both the USA Today/American Hockey Magazine poll and the USCHO.com poll. The Irish have been ranked in both polls all 14 weeks of the 2011-12 season. Western Michigan is ranked 11th in the USA Today poll and 10th in the USCHO.com rankings.

    AGAINST THE BEST: Looking at the USA Today Poll this week, Notre Dame has already faced seven of the top 12 teams ranked in this week's poll and the Irish are 7-3-1 against those teams. Notre Dame has faced No. 1 Minnesota Duluth (1-1), No. 2 Ohio State (1-1), No. 4 Boston College (1-0), No. 5 Minnesota (1-0), No. 6 Boston University (1-0), No. 11Western Michigan (1-0-1) and No. 12 Ferris State (1-1).

    A LOOK BACK AT LAST WEEK: Tues., January 3 - Russian Red Stars First-period goals by Anders Lee (So., Edina, Minn.) and Mike Voran (So., Livonia, Mich.) were all the Irish needed as they handed the Russian Red Stars, a 2-1 loss, in exhibition action Tuesday night at the Compton Family Ice Arena. Junior goaltender Mike Johnson (Verona, Wis.) stopped 27-of-28 shots in the win. Maxim Kvitchenko scored the lone goal for the Red Stars. Lee opened the scoring at 3:59 of the opening period and Voran scored at 7:22 for the 2-0 lead. Kvitchenko score at 4:16 of the second to snap Johnson's shutout bid. Notre Dame out shot the Red Stars, 31-28, in the game.

    Saturday, Jan. 7 - at Minnesota Golden Gophers Junior center Riley Sheahan (St. Catharine's, Ont.) scored twice and added an assist with T.J. Tynan (So., Orland Park, Ill.) and Jeff Costello (So., Milwaukee, Wis.) getting single goals as Notre Dame jumped out to a 4-1 lead and held on to defeat Minnesota, 4-3, at Mariucci Arena in the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame Game. Sophomore goaltender Steven Summerhays (Anchorage, Alaska) had a career-high 31 saves in recording his third straight win in goal for Notre Dame. Taylor Mattson, Nick Bjugstad and Zach Budish scored for Minnesota. After killing off a five-minute major penalty early in the first period, the Irish got on the scoreboard first when Tynan scored on the power play at 17:54, his eighth of the season. Minnesota tied the game, 1-1, at 9:16 of the second period when Mattson tapped in the rebound of a Ben Marshall shot for his seventh goal on the campaign. Notre Dame answered back with a pair of goals by Sheahan to take a 3-1 lead. The junior center converted a centering feed from Tynan at 14:31 on the power play for his sixth of the year to make it 2-1. Less than four minutes later at 17:53, Sheahan stripped a Gopher defenseman of the puck at the blue line and beat goaltender Kent Patterson for a short-handed goal to make it 3-1 after two periods. Sheahan then set up the fourth Irish goal of the night at 13:44 of the third when he won a face off in the right circle to Costello who whipped a wrist shot past Patterson at 13:44 for his third straight game with a goal. Minnesota made it interesting late in the game when Bjugstad scored a 6-on-4 power-play goal at 17:13 with the goaltender pulled and Budish picked up his sixth of the year just 31 seconds later at 17:44 to make it 4-3. From there, Summerhays and the Irish defense slammed the door to hold on for the first Notre Dame win at Minnesota since1980. The Gophers out shot Notre Dame, 34-30, on the night. Patterson finished with 26 saves in the game. The Irish were 2-for-3 on the power play while Minnesota was 2-for-5.

    LEFTY SMITH: Former Irish head coach and college hockey coaching legend, Charles "Lefty" Smith passed away on Tuesday, Jan. 3 from natural causes. The 81-year old Smith was a native of South St. Paul, Minn., and was planning on traveling with the Irish to the Hall of Fame game last weekend to attend a dinner in his honorheld by the Notre Dame Club of Minnesota. Smith started the Notre Dame hockey program in 1968 and served as head coach for 19 years, retiring in 1987 with 307 career wins. Under his tutelage, Notre Dame produced six All-Americans -- Eddie Bumbacco (1973), Bill Nyrop (1973), Jack Brownschidle (1976, 1977), Brian Walsh(1977), Greg Meredith (1980) and Kirt Bjork(1983)--and finished second in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) twice (1972-73, 1976-77). He was named WCHA coach of the year following the1972-73 season. In 1981-82, the Irish moved to the Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) where Smith guided the Irish to the Great Lakes Invitational Championship and the CCHA championship game that season. Among players on that team was former Irish head coach Dave Poulin (current vice president of hockey operations for the NHL Toronto Maple Leafs). Smith remained the head coach through the 1986-87 season and retiredwith a career record of 307-320-30. In his 19 seasons, all 126 players who played for him completed their collegiate eligibility and earned college degrees. Smith served two years as president of the American Hockey Coaches Association (AHCA) and also coached the Central team at the 1978 National Sports Festival. Eight members of that team would go on to be members of the gold-medal winning 1980 United States Olympic team. In 1992 he was inducted into the Minnesota Hockey Coaches Association Hall of Fame and in 2003 was named a "Legend of Hockey" by the Hobey Baker Memorial Award Foundation. Smith and longtime Irish assistant Tim McNeill combined to start the Irish Youth Hockey League that first brought youth hockey to the South Bend area. Born Jan. 5, 1930, Smith got his start in coaching in South St. Paul, Minn., where he was instrumental in developing the fabled South St. Paul high school program before moving to South Bend. A 1951 graduate of St. Thomas University, where he was a standout hockey and baseball player, Smith became an assistant coach at South St. Paul in 1953 and took over as head coach in 1958. He remained there until 1968, turning in a record of201-69-11 before leaving to start the hockey program at Notre Dame. Smith and his late wife Mickey (Mary McNally of New Richmond, Wis.) are the parents of seven living children (the Smiths were preceded in death by a son Greg), 16 grandchildren and five great grandchildren.

    LONG, LONG TIME: Notre Dame's 4-3 win at Minnesota on Jan. 7 was the first win for the Irish against the Gophers since Nov. 8, 1980, a 6-5 win at Williams Arena. That was the final game the two teams played as members of the WCHA. After that game, the teams have met just three times in 31 years with Minnesota taking all three games.

    HOT GOALTENDER: Sophomore netminder Steven Summerhays has started Notre Dame's last three regular-season games, winning all three starts. He also has won his last five decisions, dating back to Nov. 11 versus Alaska. In his three-game winning streak that started on Dec. 10 versus Ferris State, Summerhays has given up six goals for a 2.00 goals-against average and has stopped 83-of-89 shots for a .933 save percentage. On the year, he is 6-1-0 with a 2.69 goals-against average and a .894 save percentage.

    PRACTICE ON THE POND: Notre Dame will move its practice next Monday, Jan. 16 outdoors when they host the annual "Practice on the Pond," at Merrifield Park in Mishawaka, Ind., at 4:30 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. Free hot chocolate, prizes and autographs with the Notre Dame players will be available. Come join the fun.

    STREAKY IRISH: The first 22 games of the 2011-12 season have been made up of streaks for the Irish this season. After going 2-2 in the first four games through Oct. 15, Notre Dame reeled off an 11-game unbeaten streak (8-0-3) from Oct. 21 through Nov. 25. That streak was snapped on Nov. 26 and from there the Irish dropped four straight from Nov. 26 through Dec. 9 before snapping the run of four losses on Dec. 10 with a 4-1 win at home against Ferris State. Including that win, Notre Dame has now won three straight games.

    WELCOME BACK: Defenseman Stephen Johns (Wampum, Pa.) and center T.J. Tynan returned to the Notre Dame lineup last Saturday at Minnesota after missing two games (versus Boston University and Russian Red Stars) while playing for the U.S. Junior National Team at the World Junior Championships. Tynan picked up two points versus the Gophers with a goal and an assist in the game. At the World Juniors, the duo helped the U.S. to a 3-3-0 record and a seventh-place finish. Tynan finished with a goal and three assists for four points while Johns had one goal and an assist in his six games. Johns and Tynan are the 14th and 15th Notre Dame players to play for the U.S. Junior National Team.

    HOBEY BAKER CANDIDATES: Notre Dame sophomores Anders Lee (So., Edina, Minn.) and T.J. Tynan are on the list of 77 players that have been nominated for the 2012 Hobey BakerAward. Fan voting for the award has begun at hobeybakeraward.com and will continue through March 1st. Lee leads the Irish in goals this season and is second on the team in scoring with 14 lamplighters and eight assists for 22 points 22 games. Tynan is the top scorer on the Notre Dame roster with eight goals and 21 assists for 29 points and leads the CCHA in scoring and is tied for fifth in the national scoring race.

    BREAKING A TREND: After getting off to a slow start in the goal scoring department, sophomore Jeff Costello has found the mark. After notching his first goal of the season on Dec. 10 versus Ferris State, Costello has now scored goals in three straight games. His goal on Jan. 7 at Minnesota was his second consecutive game-winning goal of the season. In scoring the game winner at Minnesota, Costello snapped an Irish trend for the 2011-12 season. In the first 12 wins of the year, 12 different players had notched the game winner. Costello became the first player on the team to score a game-winning goal for the second time this season. The hard-charging left wing now has five game winners in his career.

    MONKEY OFF HIS BACK: Sophomore left wing Anders Lee finally got the monkey off his back with a pair of goals in the 5-2 win over Boston University on Dec. 31. The two-goal game was his third multiple-goal game of the season. The goal snapped a nine-game goal-scoring drought for the big left wing. His last goal came on Nov. 12, 2011 versus Alaska. Lee, who has been among the leaders all season long in goals, now has 14 for the season.

    NATIONAL LEADERS: Center T.J. Tynan and left wing Anders Lee are among the nation's leaders in goals, assists, points and points per game moving into the second half of the season. Tynan currently leads the CCHA and is tied for seventh nationally with 29 points (8g, 21a). His 1.38 points per game leads the CCHA and is tied for seventh nationally. His 21 assists are tops in the CCHA and tied for third in the nation. Lee leads the CCHA in goals with 14 and is tied for fifth nationally. He is third in the CCHA in points with 22 and his six power-play goals rank him second in the CCHA and tie him for 13th on the national level.

    
    National Scoring Race (by points):
                                GP    G    A    PTS
    Austin Smith (Colgate)      20   20   13     33
    Jack Connolly (UMD)         20   12   21     33
    Spencer Abbott (ME)         19   11   22     33
    Justin Schultz (UW)         20   11   21     32
    Mark Zengerle (UW)          20    8   23     31
    Drew Shore (DU)             22   13   17     30
    Brian Flynn (ME)            19   11   18     29
    T.J.Tynan (ND)              21    8   21     29
    Nick Bjugstad (UMinn)       21   17   11     28
    Erik Huala (UMinn)          23   10   17     27
    Matt White (UNO)            22   10   17     27
    Travis Oleksuk (UMD)        20   15   11     26
    Kyle DeLaurell (AF)         19   13   13     26
    J.T. Brown (UMD)            20    8   18     26
    Brock Nelson (UND)          21   15    9     24
    Joey Diamond (ME)           18   14   10     24
    Chris Kreider (BC)          21   13   11     24
    Jason Zucker (UD)           18   11   13     24
    Nate Schmidt (UMinn)        23    1   23     24
    Terry Broadhurst (UNO)      22   14    9     23
    Jake Hansen (UMinn)         23    9   14     23
    Lee Reimer (MSU)            22    8   15     23
    Connor Sheary (UMass)       20    8   15     23
    Chris Wagner (Colgate)      19    7   16     23
    

    CENTURY CLUB: Senior forward Billy Maday (Burr Ridge, Ill.) is on the verge of becoming the 46th player in the history of the Notre Dame hockey program to score 100 or more points in his career. Going into the Saturday's game at Minnesota, Maday needs just five more points to join the club as he has 39 goals and 56 assists for 95 points in 134 career games. He scored a goal and added an assist in the 5-2 win over Boston University and now has six goals and 11 assists for 17 points on the year.

    
    "Century Club"
        Name (Seasons)                G     A     Pts
    1.  Brian Walsh (1973-77)        89    145    234
    2.  John Noble (1969-73)         81    145    226
    3.  Eddie Bumbacco (1970-74)    103    117    220
    

    40. Tim Reilly (1981-86) 43 65 108 41. Aniket Dhadphale (1995-99) 61 44 105 42. Bob Thebeau (1982-86) 40 63 103 43. Kevin Hoene (1968-71) 50 51 101 Matt Hanzel (1985-89) 50 51 101 45. Paul Clarke (1973-77) 38 62 100 -- Billy Maday (2008- ) 39 56 95

    SLOW STARTS: For some reason, Notre Dame has shown a penchant for getting off to a slow start in games this season. In the first 22 games, the Irish have given up the first goal of the game 12 times. In those games, Notre Dame is 7-4-1.

    TURNING ON THE POWER: Over the last three games, Notre Dame has scored two power-play goals in each contest and for the season the Irish have now scored at least one power-play goal in 18 of 22 games played to date with a season-high of three power-play goals in the Nov. 11 game with Alaska. Over the last three games , the Irish are now 6-for-20 (30.0%) on the power play. Notre Dame is 24-for-112, a 21.4% success rate. That ranks the Irish first in the CCHA and 16th on the national level.

    SPECIAL TEAMS: Over the last six games, Notre Dame's penalty-killing unit has given up just four power-play goals (two at Minnesota, one to Northeastern and one to Ferris State) in 29 chances (25-for-29, 86.2%). For the season, the Irish have killed 69-of-82 opponent power plays for an 84.1% success rate. That ranks Notre Dame 9th in the CCHA and 18th nationally. The Irish have scored two short-handed goals in the first 22 games this season.

    POWER-PLAY POINT PRODUCERS: The Notre Dame roster includes five of the CCHA's top 10 power-play point producers this season. Leading the way is center T.J. Tynan who leads the conference with 15 points (4g, 11a) on the power play. He is followed in third by fellow center Riley Sheahan who has 12 power-play points (4g, 8a). Tied for fourth in the CCHA is left wing Anders Lee who has six goals and four assists for 10 points and freshman defenseman Robbie Russo (Westmont, Ill.) who has 10 points on three goals and seven assists. Senior left wing Billy Maday is tied for ninth with three goals and five assists for eight points.

    HERE COMES RILEY: While much of the attention in the scoring column has gone to T.J. Tynan and Anders Lee early in the season, a third member of the Irish attack has moved up the ranks to be third on the team and tied for fourth in the CCHA in scoring. Junior center Riley Sheahan is tied for fourth in the CCHA in scoring with 21 points on seven goals and 14 assists, all career highs in just 20 games. His 14 assists tie him for fourth best in the conference. Sheahan has the first two multiple-goal games of his career as he scored twice on Nov. 15 against Western Michigan and had a pair versus Minnesota on Jan. 7. Already this season, the 6-2, 212-pound center has six multiple-point games and now has 11 for his career. He has points in six of his last seven games with a three goals and five assists.

    ALL GOOD THINGS MUST END: Right in the middle of Notre Dame's 11-game unbeaten streak was junior goaltender Mike Johnson who had a personal-best 10-game unbeaten streak from Oct. 14 to Nov. 25. In that streak, Johnson appeared in 12 games, making 11 starts. He was 7-0-3 in 665:40 minutes, giving up 21 goals with 234 saves for a 1.89 goals-against average and a .918 save percentage. Since having the streak snapped on Nov. 26 with a 5-2 loss at Lake Superior State, Johnson has lost four in a row. In the four-game losing streak, Johnson has played 152:49, given up 13 goals and made 42 saves for a 5.10 goals-against average and a .764 save percentage. For the year he is 7-5-3 with a 2.59 goals-against and a .889 save percentage. Johnson has played just one game since the Dec. 9 loss at Ferris State and that came versus the Russian Red Stars in an exhibition game on Jan. 3. He gave up just one goal while making 28 saves in a 2-1 Irish win.

    THE QUARTERBACK: Freshman defenseman Robbie Russo has quickly become the quarterback of the Notre Dame power play in his rookie season. The talented blueliner is tied for fourth on the team in power-play points with three goals and seven assists for 10 points. The point total ties him for fourth among all CCHA scorers and he is the top scoring defenseman among CCHA defensemen on the power play. For the year, Russo has played in all 22 games for Notre Dame and leads the defense in scoring with three goals and nine assists for 12 points. He picked up his second multiple-point game of the season with two assists in the 5-2 win over Boston University on Dec. 31. Russo is tied for 9th among defensemen in the CCHA in scoring and is the top rookie point getter among freshmen blue liners.

    THE KID IS ALRIGHT: Freshman right wing Austin Wuthrich (Anchorage, Alaska) is second to Robbie Russo in scoring among Irish freshmen as he now has 11 points on four goals and seven assists. That ties him for sixth on the team in scoring. He is currently tied for eighth among CCHA freshmen in scoring with 11 points. The 6-1, 196-pound forward now has five points (1g, 4a) in his last six games. He is currently ranked 73rd among North American skaters in the NHL Central Scouting's mid-term rankings. Wuthrich is also the answer to a Notre Dame trivial pursuit question - Who scored the last goal in the Joyce Center? Austin Wuthrich at 18:35 of the third period on Oct. 15.

    MAKING THE MOST OF A CHANCE: Freshmen forwards Garrett Peterson (Manhattan, Ill.) and Peter Schneider (Vienna, Austria) saw extended playing time in the win over Boston University due to T.J. Tynan being with the U.S. Junior National Team and Austin Wuthrich sidelined with an injury. The duo responded with the first multiple-point games of their careers versus the Terriers. Peterson had a goal and an assist in the 5-2 win while Schneider assisted on two goals.

    PAT ON THE BACK: Senior center Patrick Gaul (Pittsburgh, Pa.) is in the midst of his best season with the Irish as his assist versus Boston University on Dec. 31, gives him career highs in goals (2), assists (5) and points (7). In 20 games this season, Gaul has seven points after scoring just three points (a goal and an assist) in the first 48 games of his career.

    OVERTIME MAGIC: Five of Notre Dame's nine games during the month of November ended in overtime. In those games, the Irish were 2-0-3. Prior to the 2-2 tie with Western Michigan on Nov. 22, the Irish defeated Boston College, 3-2, in overtime. They also have an overtime win against Alaska (Nov. 12) and ties at Northern Michigan (Nov. 4-5). The tie with Western Michigan extended Notre Dame's unbeaten streak in overtime to 26 games (7-0-19) with the streak going back to March 21, 2008 when the Irish lost in overtime (2-1) to Miami in the CCHA semifinals. The Irish have not lost a CCHA regular-season game in overtime since a Jan. 8, 2005, 2-1 loss at Lake Superior. Last season, Notre Dame was 2-0-5 in overtime and this year the Irish are 2-0-3.

    EVEN SLOWER STARTS: Notre Dame has trailed 2-0 in games six times this season and has rallied in three of them to be 3-3-0 in those contests. On Oct. 8 at Minnesota-Duluth, the Irish trailed 2-0 in the second period and rallied for a 5-3 win. On Oct. 14, Notre Dame trailed Ohio State, 2-0 in the first at home and came-from-behind to win 5-2. The following night, the Irish gave up two first-period goals and trailed 4-0 after two before scoring three in the third for a 4-3 loss. On Nov. 11, Alaska took a 2-0 lead 6:53 into the first period only to see Notre Dame rally for the 5-4 victory. On Dec. 2, the Irish trailed Northeastern, 2-0, early in the first period, 4-0, at the first intermission and 6-0 before scoring late in the second period. The Irish lost that game, 9-2. The sixth time came on Dec. 9 when the Irish fell behind at Ferris State, 3-0, after two periods on the way to a 4-1 loss.

     

     

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