Jan. 18, 2012
Notre Dame, Ind. -
The Games: #6/#7 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (13-8-3/8-5-3-0) vs. #10/#10 Michigan Wolverines (14-8-4/8-6-4-1)
Date/Site/Time: Friday, January 20, 2012 Compton Family Ice Arena (5,022) 7:35 p.m.
Saturday, January 21, 2012 Compton Family Ice Arena (5,022) 7:35 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 night's game with Michigan will be televised live by NBC Sports Network with Gord Miller and Ken Hodge describing the action. Saturday's tilt with the Wolverines will be televised live by CBS Sports Network. Ben Holden, Dave Starman and Shireen Saski will provide the play-by-play and color commentary.
Internet: Audio: Notre Dame will stream the audio for both games of the Michigan series live and free of charge on the Notre Dame website at UND.com. Twitter: Follow the Irish icers on Twitter at ND_hockey.
BIG HOME SERIES: Notre Dame and Michigan meet for the only time in the regular season this weekend, January 20-21, at the Compton Family Ice Arena. Both games will start at 7:35 p.m. and will be televised nationally. On Friday, night, NBC Sports Network will provide the live action with Gord Miller and Ken Hodge calling the action. Saturday night, the game will be televised by CBS Sports Network with Ben Holden, Dave Starman and Shireen Saski calling the plays. Notre Dame comes into the weekend looking to get back on the winning track after dropping a pair of games with Western Michigan (3-2 and 3-1) last weekend. The Irish are 13-8-3 overall and 8-5-3-0 in the CCHA, good for 27 points and start the week tied for fifth with Miami in the league standings. They are one point behind fourth-place Lake Superior (28) and two behind third-place Michigan (29) with two games in hand on both those teams. The Wolverines enter the series with Notre Dame as one of the hottest teams in the nation with a nine-game unbeaten streak (7-0-2) since December 3rd. Michigan is 14-8-4 overall and has an 8-6-4-1 record in the CCHA and is 5-0-2 in its last seven conference games. Following the Michigan series, the Irish take to the road as they will travel to Fairbanks, Alaska next weekend for a pair of CCHA games with the Alaska Nanooks on Jan. 27-28. Game time both nights at the Carlson Arena is 7:05 p.m. (AT)
IRISH VERSUS WOLVERINES: Michigan is Notre Dame's oldest opponent on the ice as the two teams first met in 1921-22 and have faced off against each other 125 times with the Wolverines leading the all-time series, 70-50-5. In the last 10 meeting, the series is even at 5-5-0. Last season, the teams met three times - twice in the regular season at Ann Arbor (with Notre Dame winning, 3-1, and Michigan taking a 5-1 decision) - and in the third-place game at the CCHA Tournament with Michigan taking that verdict by a 4-2 margin at Joe Louis Arena. All-time at Notre Dame, the Irish have a 23-22-2 edge. The Irish have won two in a row at home versus the Wolverines (2009-10 season) and the last Michigan win in South Bend came on Jan. 30, 2009, a 2-1 win at the Joyce Center.
RANKINGS: Notre Dame enters the series with Michigan ranked sixth in the USA Today/American Hockey Magazine poll and seventh in the USCHO.com poll. The Irish have been ranked in both polls all 15 weeks of the 2011-12 season. Michigan is ranked 10th in both the USA Today poll and the USCHO.com rankings.
WHITE OUT NIGHT: Notre Dame hockey fans are encouraged to wear white for Friday night's game against Michigan as the game is the annual "White Out Night," the first at the Compton Family Ice Arena. Five-thousand long-sleeved t-shirts and pom pons will be given away prior to the game.
WESTERN MICHIGAN RECAP: Friday, January 13 - The Western Michigan Broncos scored twice in a 14-second span in the third period to overcome a 2-1 Notre Dame lead on the way to a 3-2 win over the Irish in front of 4,824 at the Compton Family Ice Arena on Friday night. Chase Balisy and Kyle O'Kane notched the goals for the Broncos that helped snap Notre Dame's three-game winning streak. Dane Walters opened the scoring for Western Michigan only to see the Irish take the 2-1 lead on goals by Sam Calabrese (Jr., Park Ridge, Ill.) and Austin Wuthrich (Fr., Anchorage, Alaska). The Broncos got on the scoreboard first, taking a 1-0 lead just 3:21 into the game on Walters' 10th of the season. Notre Dame would get the equalizer at 11:48 when Calabrese picked up his second of the season off the rebound of a Bryan Rust (So., Novi, Mich.) shot. The Irish scored the lone goal of the second period off some great forechecking by center T.J. Tynan (So., Orland Park, Ill.). The sophomore forced the Broncos into a turnover along the left boards and was able to center the puck to Wuthrich who whipped a shot from between the hashmarks past Slubowski for his fifth of the season and Notre Dame had its only lead of the game, 2-1. In the third period, with the man advantage, Balisy was able to tie the game with his eighth goal of the season at 12:07 as he converted a feed from Dennis Brown, beating Summerhays in front to make it 2-2. Before Balisy's goal was even announced, the Broncos took the lead just 14 seconds later at 12:21. Trevor Elias moved the puck from below the Notre Dame goal line to defenseman Dan DeKeyser at the left point. DeKeyser's big shot went off O'Kane in front of the goal and past Summerhays for his third of the season and the Broncos led 3-2. On the night, Notre Dame out shot the Broncos, 26-25. Frank Slubowski finished with 24 saves for Western Michigan while Steven Summerhays (So., Anchorage, Alaska) had 22 in the game. The Broncos were 1-for-4 on the power play while the Irish were 0-for-2.
Saturday, January 14 - Matt Tennyson and Chase Balisy scored power-play goals and Jordan Oesterle added an insurance goal to lead Western Michigan to a 3-1 win over Notre Dame on Saturday night at Lawson Arena. T.J. Tynan had the lone Irish goal, scoring on the power play in the second period. Western Michigan got the only goal of the first period, scoring on a 5-on-3 power play at 13:17 as Tennyson hammered a slap shot from the left point past Irish goaltender Mike Johnson (Jr., Verona, Wis.) for a 1-0 lead. In a penalty-filled second period, the Broncos made it 2-0 at 11:57, as Balisy put the rebound of Shane Berschbach shot past Johson for his ninth goal of the season and a 2-0 lead. Notre Dame finally got on the scoreboard at 15:46 as Tynan scored his ninth of the year on a 5-on-3 opportunity. The teams combined for 13 penalties in the middle period with the Irish getting five for 10 minutes and the Broncos eight for 19 minutes. Western Michigan got the only goal of the third period when Oesterle scored by beating Johnson under the cross bar for his second goal of the season. Defensive partner Dennis Brown picked up his third assist of the game. The Irish finished the night outshooting the Broncos by a 26-22 margin. Slubowski picked up his second win of the weekend, making 25 saves. Johnson had 19 stops for the Irish as he made his first start in a regular-season game since December 9th at Ferris State.
ROLLER COASTER RIDE: The 2011-12 season has been a series of ups and downs for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. After starting the season with a 2-2-0 mark after the first four games, the Irish went on an 11-game unbeaten streak (8-0-3) from Oct. 21 through Nov. 25. Notre Dame then lost its next four games from Nov. 26 through Dec. 9. The season took an upturn on Dec. 10 as the Irish won the first of three in a row against ranked teams (Ferris State, Boston University and Minnesota) through Jan. 7. That was followed by back-to-back losses on Jan. 13-14 to Western Michigan. Which way will Notre Dame go from here?
CCHA SWEEP: Western Michigan's weekend sweep of the Irish on Jan. 13-14 marked the first time the Irish were swept in CCHA regular-season play since Feb. 5-6, 2010 when Notre Dame dropped a pair of games at Western Michigan (7-2, 4-1). Between that sweep and last week's the Irish played 22 CCHA regular-season series without being swept.
STREAK STOPPED: Sophomore netminder Steven Summerhays saw his streak of three consecutive starts and wins stopped in the 3-2 loss to Western Michigan. He also saw his streak of five consecutive decisions that started on Nov. 11 versus Alaska come to an end. In his three-game winning streak that started on Dec. 10 versus Ferris State, Summerhays gave up just six goals for a 2.00 goals-against average and stopped 83-of-89 shots for a .933 save percentage. On the year, he is now 6-2-0 with a 2.73 goals-against average and a .893 save percentage.
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 23 games. Tynan is the top scorer on the Notre Dame roster with nine goals and 22 assists for 31 points and leads the CCHA in scoring while being and is tied for eighth in the national scoring race.
THE KIDS ARE ALRIGHT: Freshman right wing Austin Wuthrich is tied with rookie defensean Robbie Russo (Westmont, Ill.) in scoring among Irish freshmen as both players now have 12 points in their first seasons. Wuthrich picked up his fifth goal of the season in the 3-2 loss to Western Michigan and has seven assists for his 12 points. Russo has scored three goals and has nine assists for his 12 points. The duo is tied for seventh among freshmen scorers in the CCHA with Russo being the top freshman defenseman in scoring. Wuthrich was recently 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.
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 eighth nationally with 31 points (9g, 22a). His 1.35 points per game leads the CCHA and is tied for 10th nationally. His 22 assists are tops in the CCHA and are fifth in the nation. Lee is tied for the CCHA lead in goals with 14 and is tied for fifth nationally. He is eight in the CCHA in points with 22 and his six power-play goals rank him second in the CCHA and tie him for 14th on the national level.
National Scoring Race (by points): GP G A PTS Jack Connolly (UMD) 22 13 23 36 Austin Smith (Colgate) 22 22 13 35 Drew Shore (DU) 23 15 20 35 Spencer Abbott (ME) 21 12 23 35 Mark Zengerle (UW) 22 9 24 33 Brian Flynn (ME) 21 12 20 32 Justin Schultz (UW) 22 11 21 32 Nick Bjugstad (UMinn) 23 19 12 31 T.J.Tynan (ND) 23 9 22 31 J.T. Brown (UMD) 22 11 19 30 Matt White (UNO) 24 11 18 29 Travis Oleksuk (UMD) 22 15 13 28 Erik Huala (UMinn) 25 10 18 28CENTURY 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 Michigan series, Maday needs just four more points to join the club as he has 39 goals and 57 assists for 96 points in 137 career games. He now has six goals and 12 assists for 18 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 220ONWARD TO VICTORY: Irish hockey fans will have two opportunities this week to catch "Onward To Victory - Notre Dame Hockey," a one-hour feature that gives viewers a look at the Notre Dame hockey program including retrospectives from its early days to its current status as one of the top college hockey programs in the nation. The show will air on the NBC Sports Network on Thursday, Jan. 19 at 9:30 p.m. and again on Saturday, Jan. 21 at 2:00 p.m. The show, produced by Emmy Award-winning NASCAR Media Group for Notre Dame's Fighting Irish Digital Media, gives a glimpse of how Notre Dame's hockey program began and where it has come from during its 44-year history as a Division I program. The feature also follows the current team and its move from the old Joyce Center Rink to the new, state-of-the-art Compton Family Ice Arena and the "Dedication Game," on Nov. 18 - a thrilling 3-2 overtime win against third-ranked Boston College. The NBC Sports Network is available in more than 75 million homes across the country, including Comcast channel 68 and 174 (HD), DirecTV channel 603, and Dish Network at Channel 151. Check your local cable listings for the NBC Sports Network in your area.
TURNING ON THE POWER: With a power-play goal in the 3-1 loss at Western Michigan, Notre Dame has now scored at least one power-play goal in 19 of its 24 games this season. The Broncos were able to hold the Irish to just one ppg on nine chances last weekend. Prior to that, Notre Dame had three consecutive games with two power-play goals, going 6-for-20 (30.0%) in that span. Over the last five games, the Irish are 7-for-29 (24.1%) with a man advantage. For the year, Notre Dame is 25-for-121, a 20.7% success rate. That ranks the Irish first in the CCHA and 17th on the national level.
SPECIAL TEAMS: Against Western Michigan, three of the six goals given up by Notre Dame were power-play goals as the Broncos were 3-for-9 in the series. For the season, the Irish have killed 75-of-91 opponent power plays for an 82.4% success rate. That ranks Notre Dame 9th in the CCHA and 28th nationally. The Irish have scored two short-handed goals in the first 24 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 16 points (5g, 11a) on the power play. He is followed in third by fellow center Riley Sheahan (Jr., St. Catharine's, Ont.) who has 12 power-play points (4g, 8a). Tied for fifth 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 (Burr Ridge, Ill.) is tied for ninth with three goals and six assists for nine points.
HERE COMES RILEY: While much of the attention in the scoring column has gone to T.J. Tynan and Anders Lee, 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 11th 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 seventh 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.
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 five in a row. In the five-game losing streak, Johnson has played 210:58, given up 16 goals and made 61 saves for a 4.55 goals-against average and a .792 save percentage. For the year he is 7-6-3 with a 2.63 goals-against and a .887 save percentage. Johnson made his first regular-season start since Dec. 9 on Jan. 14 in the 3-1 loss at Western Michignan. He made 19 saves in the game. His other start since the streak started 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.
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.
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 24 games, the Irish have given up the first goal of the game 14 times. In those games, Notre Dame is 7-6-1.
BREAKING A TREND: After getting off to a slow start in the goal scoring department, sophomore Jeff Costello (So., Milwaukee, Wis.) 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.
WELCOME BACK: Defenseman Stephen Johns (Wampum, Pa.) and center T.J. Tynan returned to the Notre Dame lineup on Jan. 7 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 has picked where he left off in the first half as he has four points (2g, 2a) in his three games since returning to the Irish lineup. 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.
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. He is tied for the team lead among defensemen with three goals and nine assists for 12 points. Russo is among the top 11 rookie scorers in the CCHA along with Austin Wuthrich (5g, 7a) and is the leading scorer among freshmen defensemen in the league. 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.