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    Fighting Irish


     

    Irish to Wrap Up Exciting Michigan Series

    Hockey returns home for single game vs. Wolverines.

    January 27, 1999

    * No. 10 Notre Dame remains in close battle for CCHA playoff home ice
    * Season series on the line versus growing rival Wolverines
    * Power play unit remains among best in the nation

    The No. 10-ranked Notre Dame hockey team (14-7-3, 11-6-2 CCHA) returns home for a single game this week, on Jan. 30, as the Irish and Michigan will add to a rivalry that has seen the last seven games of the series include five Michigan one-goal wins (two in overtime), one Irish win (4-2) and a 2-2 tie ... a two-goal Irish win would give Notre Dame the season series tiebreaker (the first two games were 2-2, 0-1) ... Notre Dame is 8-2-2 when playing its first game of a weekend but just 5-5-1 in second-day weekend games (the North Dakota series was Saturday-Sunday) while Michigan is 9-1-0 on Friday and 6-3-2 on Saturday ... the game will be carried live by South Bend-based WHME TV-46, with possible rebroadcasts to be announced by WHME.

    IT'S FUN TO PLAY IN THE CCHA: An exciting CCHA season currently finds Michigan State (14-2-4/32 pts) atop the standings, followed by Michigan (14-3-2/30) ... four points separate third from sixth: Ohio State (11-6-3/25), Notre Dame (11-6-2/24), Ferris State (10-7-3/23) and Northern Michigan (10-8-2/22) ... each of the above six teams has been ranked among the national top 10 this season ... Bowling Green (7-9-3/17) is seventh while Miami (4-13-3/11), Alaska Fairbanks (5-15-0/10), Western Michigan (2-11-6/10) and Lake Superior (4-12-2/10) are battling for the eighth CCHA tournament spot ... the top four teams will play host to first-round CCHA tournament series (March 12-14), with the winners advancing to Joe Louis Arena for the CCHA semi-finals and finals (March 19-20).

    CCHA LEADERS: The Irish lead the CCHA in overall power play pct. (.238, third in the nation among major-conference teams behind Colorado College's .268 and Denver's .252) while ranking second in scoring (3.54 goals/gm), third in fewest penalty minutes (17.9/gm) and fifth in defense (2.63 goals allowed/gm) ... the surging Irish penalty-killing unit (21 stops in last 22) now ranks eighth in the CCHA (.259) ... junior C Ben Simon ranks fifth in the CCHA for both overall and conference scoring (22G-11A/18G-11A) while injured senior RW Brian Urick (13-18/17-10) is sixth and fifth ... senior G Forrest Karr ranks sixth in the CCHA for overall GAA (2.56) and fifth in conference GAA (2.15) ... Urick and senior LW Aniket Dhadphale are tied for sixth in the CCHA with 13 goals each while Simon is tied for 12th (12) ... Simon's 20 assists are tied for third in the CCHA ... Dhadphale ranks fifth in the CCHA with five PPGs while Simon and Urick are tied for seventh with five PPGs each ... Urick is tied for third in the CCHA with four game-winning goals.

    IRISH NOTES: Nine players have combined on the 14 Irish game-winning goals ... the Michigan game has been sold out since mid-December and will be the fifth sellout in the last six Irish home games ... Notre Dame is 11-0-2 when playing with a 2nd-intermission lead, 10-4-2 when outshooting the opponent ... the Irish are 8-0-1 at home (45-15 scoring edge) and play six of the final 11 regular-season games at the Joyce Center ... the Irish are 11-2-1 in their last 14 home games, with a 63-25 scoring edge (losses to Ohio State and Michigan) ... the Irish power-play has scored on eight of its last 32 chances (.250), after an 0-for-17 slump ... Notre Dame shook up its top forward lines prior to the 4-3 win at No. 1 North Dakota ... senior LW Aniket Dhadphale and senior RW Brian Urick joined freshman C David Inman on the second ("1B") line while sophomore LW Dan Carlson and junior RW Joe Dusbabek began skating alongside junior C Ben Simon on the "1A" line (those lines were jumbled last week due to Urick's Jan. 16 hand injury) ... the Irish are 14-3-2 when Simon has at least one point, 7-1-2 when he has two-plus points and 0-4-1 when he is held off the scoresheet (not counting the Jan. 15 UAF game that he missed due to CCHA suspension) ...the Irish are 10-1-1 when both Simon and Dhadphale make the scoresheet ... Notre Dame's top four defensemen have combined to miss 25 games due to injury ... 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 ...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 ('71-'81) or CCHA ('81-'83, '92- ).

    PLAYER NOTES: Senior RW Brian Urick's 13 career game-winning goals are tied for first in Irish history with current Irish head coach Dave Poulin ('78-'82) ... Urick has 116 points (54G-62A) in 133 career games ... senior LW Aniket Dhadphale (56G-42A) is two points shy of the 100 career points and needs eight assists to join Urick as two of the 28 Irish players ever to total 50 goals and 50 assists ... junior C Ben Simon (12-20) could flirt with 50 points this season, a mark reached just 25 times in Irish hockey history (last by Curtis Janicke in 1991-92) ... Simon is averaging nearly a point per game for his career (88 in 90 games) while his 12 goals this season nearly match his total from his first two seasons (13) ... sophomore D Ryan Clark has missed the last eight games (rehab. from Dec. 23 shoulder surgery) ... sophomore LW Dan Carlson missed the Jan. 2-3 split at No. 1 North Dakota while playing with Team USA at the World Junior Championship.

    INJURY UPDATE: Senior RW and captain Brian Urick is out indefinitely with a cracked bone in his hand, suffered late in the Jan. 16 UAF game ... in his four seasons with the Irish, Urick has totaled 116 points (54-62A) while playing in 133 of the first 134 games of his career:including 74 straight ... ironically, the only previous game that Urick had missed came on the heels of a game misconduct penalty vs. UAF on Jan. 18, 1997 (he was forced to sit out the Jan. 24 game vs. St. Cloud State, a 5-2 win) ...junior D Ryan Clark has missed the last eight games, after Dec. 23 shoulder surgery in his home state of Colorado, and remains out indefinitely while rehabilitating ... junior D Tyson Fraser has missed the last four games due to nagging injuries but could return to action this week ... three Irish players returned from arm injuries in early December at OSU: senior LW Aniket Dhadphale (4 gms missed), junior RW Joe Dusbabek (2) and Clark (2) ... the Irish power play hit at a .321 clip in the first 10 games with Dhadphale but the Irish were 2-for-17 (.118) without him.

    THE SERIES: Michigan leads 51-37-3 and is 30-2-1 in its last 33 vs. the Irish (12-1-1 in last 14) ... Notre Dame's CCHA playoff win at UM last season halted a 13-game Irish losing streak at Yost Ice Arena ... Notre Dame ended an 18-game overall losing streak vs. UM with a 6-3 home win on Feb. 25, 1995 ... the Irish are 0-10-1 in the regular-season vs. UM in the past four seasons ... the last seven games of the series have included five one-goal wins by Michigan (two in OT), a 4-2 win for the Irish and a 2-2 tie ... top Irish career scores vs. Michigan: senior RW Brian Urick (14 gms, 3G-4A), junior C Ben Simon (11, 1-6), senior LW Aniket Dhadphale (12, 4-1) and sophomore LW Dan Carlson (8, 2-3).

    RECAPPING THIS YEAR'S SERIES

    @ND 2, MICHIGAN 2 (10/14): Ben Simon came through with the key 3rd-period goal while Notre Dame played without injured Aniket Dhadphale ... Notre Dame enjoyed a 36-22 edge in shots but Josh Blackburn had 34 saves while his teammates converted 2-of-4 PPs ... the Irish missed a golden chance in the 3rd, when Sean Ritchlin was whistled for a five-minute major and game misconduct disqualification for hitting from behind ... David Inman scored midway through the 1st, after crisp passes from Joe Dusbabek and Tyson Fraser ... Inman skated between the circles and faked a shot before beating Blackburn ... Michigan gained the equalizer a minute later, when Dave Huntzicker banged a shot from the center of the blue line off the left post ... the Wolverines took the lead midway through the 2nd, on a play set up by Mike Van Ryn's shot from the top of the left circle ... Forrest Karr put his glove on the puck as it sailed through the crease area but Mark Kosick was in position at the far right post for the tap-in ... Simon scooped in a PPG 26 seconds into the 3rd, after Brian Urick fired a shot from the left circle and Dusbabek kept the rebound alive in the slot.

       
    MICHIGAN    1   1   0   -   2
    NOTRE DAME  1   0   1   -   2
    
    1st: ND 1. Inman (Dusbabek, Fraser) 10:05; UM 1. Huntzicker (Kosick, Comrie), PP, 11:05.

    2nd: UM 2. Kosick (Van Ryn, Huntzicker), PP, 11:17.

    3rd: ND 2. Simon (Dusbabek, Urick) 0:26.

    Saves: UM (Blackburn) 9-12-10-3/34, ND (Karr) 6-4-8-2/20.

    PP: UM 2-4, ND 1-5.

    Pen: UM 9 for 37:00, ND 6 for 12:00.

    @MICHIGAN 1, ND 0 (11/21/98) : A freak goal off the leg of Ritchlin provided the night's only scoring, as neither team managed a power-play goal despite five chances for the Irish and six for the Wolverines ... Karr totaled 25 saves while Blackburn stopped all 16 Irish shots ... Notre Dame nearly tied the game with 13 minutes left, when Benoit Cotnoir found a streaking Urick with a pass down the right side ... Michigan was caught in a mental lapse, as a defenseman left the ice prior to the pass but nobody took his place ... Urick skated in free on Blackburn but his rising shot clanged hard off the right post ... on the game's only goal, Scott Matzka fired a shot from the top of the circle to Karr's right and the puck kicked off Ritchlin before flying by Karr's left leg.

    NOTRE DAME  0   0   0   -   0
    MICHIGAN    0   1   0   -   1
    
    2nd: Michigan 1. Ritchlin 2 (Matzka) 10:40.

    Saves: ND (Karr) 10-7-8/25; UM (Blackburn) 4-6-6/16.

    PP: ND 0-5, UM 0-6.

    Pen: ND 9 for 21:00, UM 9 for 18:00

    THE '97-'98 SERIES: Over the three games, UM owned a 7-1 scoring edge in the 1st period ... UM scored 13 goals on 90 shots (.144), the Irish 6-on-100 (.060) ... ND jumped ahead nine minutes into the first game, when Jay Kopischke scored off assists from Tyson Fraser and John Dwyer ... UM stretched to a 4-1 lead:behind two goals from little-used Krikor Arman and one each by Bobby Hayes and Mark Kosick ... the next night, UM pulled Marty Turco with a 4-1 lead and Notre Dame rallied to tie the game with 3rd-period goals vs. Gregg Mallicke by Dan Carlson, Matt Van Arkel and Mark Eaton ... Steve Noble appeared to score with 0:23 left in regulation but the referee had blown the play dead for a faceoff ... Greg Crozier's third goal of the game provided the margin in OT while Matt Herr and Bobby Hayes helped UM jump ahead 2-0 midway through the 1st ... in the series finale, Muckalt scored 32 seconds into the game and Turco made 35 saves for his 14th career shutout (Notre Dame owned a 35-19 shot advantage).

    THE '98 PLAYOFF SERIES: Notre Dame made its first CCHA Tourney appearance since '95 ... Michigan led for just 14 minutes ... Notre Dame ended an eight-game losing streak in the CCHAs while posting its first postseason victory since 1982 ... Notre Dame's win represented just the sixth time in 127 CCHA playoff games that a #7-#10 seed has upset a team seeded five-plus spots higher ... the 79-minute second game is fifth-longest in CCHA playoff history and longest in nine years. GAME 1 (4-2): Notre Dame received goals from unlikely players while Matt Eisler made 30 saves and stopped a 3rd-period penalty shot by CCHA leading scorer Bull Muckalt ... Mark Eaton converted a pass from Dan Carlson for a 1-0 Irish lead at 5:25 of the 1st ... the Irish added an early goal in the 2nd, when John Dwyer flicked home a high shot from the slot ... Ryan Dolder pushed the Irish ahead 3-0 after taking a drop pass from Carlson and scoring on a high shot ... the Irish took a 4-0 lead into the second intermission, when Nathan Borega scored his second goal of the season on a PP shot from the top of the right circle ... Michigan owned a 17-6 shot advantage in the 3rd, scoring an odd-man-rush goal by Justin Clark (5:56) and a shorthanded score by Andrew Merrick (18:42).

    GAME 2 (1-2, OT): Bobby Hayes' goal 19 minutes into OT capped a wild game ... Notre Dame jumped ahead midway through the 1st, on Carlson's third SHG of the season by Carlson, but Michigan tied the game with 0:07 left in the 2nd, on Muckalt's PPG ... the Wolverines dominated the 3rd and OT, outshooting the Irish 20-8 ... with under three minutes left in regulation, Aniket Dhadphale found himself in a scramble at the top of the crease and fired two open shots, but Turco saved one while the other clanged off the crossbar ... Chris Fox and Dale Huntzicker set up the rebound shot by Hayes from the bottom of the left circle ... Hayes flicked the puck past Eisler and it glanced off Irish defenseman Benoit Cotnoir ... Eisler's 11 stops in OT included several tough kick saves ... Carlson took a pass from Steve Noble at 8:23 of the 1st, flicking a backhander past Turco into the right side ... UM gained the equalizer after a pass from Turco to John Langfeld, who was stationed at the far right point ... with the Irish in a line change, Langfeld moved the puck to Mark Kosick, whose pass set up Muckalt's goal in the slot over Eisler's left shoulder (19:53).

    GAME 3 (3-4): Notre Dame jumped ahead 2-0 but Michigan rallied behind three PPGs ... Scott Matzka's shot from the left endline (5:55 of the 3rd) held up as the game-winner and gave Michigan its only sustained lead of the series ... Notre Dame jumped ahead with a 1st-period tap-in goal by Eaton ... the Irish stretched to 2-0 in the 2nd, when Dhadphale knocked the puck into the right side of the net ... UM began its comeback on a rebound goal by Mark Kosick (7:39) and tied the game five minutes later on Bubba Berenzweig's PPG ... Hayes won a right-side faceoff and Berenzweig emerged with the puck at the right endline before burying a tough-angle shot inside the far left post ... UM's goal at 4:17 of the 3rd allowed the Wolverines to play with the lead for the first time in the series but the Irish tied the game 0:14 later ... Langfeld gave UM the 3-2 lead, nudging home a pass from Muckalt ... Simon then set up Dolder's second goal of the series with a pass to Chad Chipchase, who sent a shot in transition from the left side ... the puck bounced into the air at the top of the crease, with Dolder deflecting it off his chest and knocking it into the open net.

    SCOUTING THE WOLVERINES: Michigan (17-5-3, 14-3-2 CCHA):which plays at league-leader Michigan State on Jan. 29:is second in the CCHA, after posting a 5-4 win at Bowling Green and a 1-1 tie at Ohio State ... the Wolverines returned 20 of 25 letterwinners from the 1997-98 NCAA champion team that finished 34-11-1 and placed second in the CCHA regular season (22-7-1) ... UM's biggest losses were 1997-98 CCHA leading scorer Bill Muckalt (32G-35A) and all-time NCAA goaltending victory leader Marty Turco (125 career wins, 2.16 GAA last season) ... top returners include senior D Bubba Berenzweig (8G-11A), senior W Greg Crozier (12G-10A) and senior C Bobby Hayes (21G-23A) ... Michigan ranks fifth in the CCHA for scoring (2.96 goals/gm), second in defense (2.04 goals allowed/gm), fourth in power-play pct. (.157) and fifth in penalty-killing pct. (.868) but is averaging the second-most penalty minutes per game (25.4) ... top Michigan scorers this season include freshman F Mike Comrie (13G-13A, 9th-leading scorer in the CCHA), sophomore LW Josh Langfeld (11-9) and sophomore C Mark Kosick (7-13) ... freshman G Josh Blackburn is 17-4-3 with a 1.95 GAA (second in the CCHA) and .914 save pct. while playing all but 105 minutes for Michigan in the nets ... other wins: LSSU (2-0), Niagara (6-5), @UAF (6-1, 2-1), BG (5-2), UAF (6-3), MSU (2-1), ND (1-0), @Minnesota (3-2), @Miami (1-0), @BG (5-2), NMU (6-1), Michigan Tech @GLI (4-1), FSU (3-2, 4-3), WMU (6-3) and BG (5-4) ... other losses: Niagara (1-2), NMU (1-6), MSU @GLI (1-3), @OSU (0-1), @FSU (0-4) ... other ties: @ND (2-2), @Wisconsin (1-1).

    FRIEND OR FOE?: Several Notre Dame and Michigan players are past teammates: ND senior C Craig Hagkull and UM sophomore F Bill Trainor (Des Moines Buccaneers); ND junior RW John Dwyer and UM junior D Kevin Magnuson (Dubuque Saints); ND junior D Tyson Fraser and UM junior D Sean Peach (Team BC); ND junior D Andy Jurkowski and UM sophomore F Scott Matzka (Wisconsin Capitals); ND junior D Sean Seyferth and UM senior C Bobby Hayes and senior RW Dale Rominski (Compuware Ambassadors); ND sophomore LW Chad Chipchase and UM sophomore D Mike Van Ryn (Team Ontario); ND sophomore D Ryan Clark and UM sophomore F Josh Langfeld (Lincoln Stars); and Irish freshman C David Inman and Michigan freshman G Kevin O'Malley (Wexford Raiders).

    IN A ZONE: After failing to score on its first 33 shots vs. Miami on Jan. 9, Notre Dame scored two goals in each of eight straight periods: vs. Miami (1), UAF (6) and at NMU (1) ... in its last 13 periods, the Irish have 18 goals.

    LETTING IT FLY: Since returning to CCHA action, Notre Dame has outscored its opponents 22-10 and outshot the opposition 208-144 (average of 35-24) during the last six games.

    SPECIAL TEAMS SURGE: The renewed Irish power play had converted 8-of-27 power-play chances (.296) before going 0-for-5 in the loss at Lake Superior ... the surging Notre Dame penalty-killing unit has stopped 21 of 22 opponent PPs (.955) in the last five games.

    IRON MEN: Just four Irish skaters (plus senior G Forrest Karr) have appeared in all 24 games this season: freshman C's David Inman and Brett Henning, sophomore LW Chad Chipchase and junior D Andy Jurkowski.

    NEARING THE CENTURY MARK: Senior LW Aniket Dhadphale's goal last week at NMU leaves him two points shy of 100 for his career (56G-42A, 126 gms) after a sophomore slump (5G-16A), Dhadphale has 57 points in 61 games over the past two seasons (38G-19A) his shooting pct. as a sophomore was .046 (5G, 109 shots), compared to .217 last season (25, 136) and .228 this season (13, 57) his 22 career PPGs are tied for 8th in Notre Dame history, two behind former All-American Brian Walsh (1973-77) ... just four Irish players ever have totaled more than 25 career PPGs.

    TWO BELLS: Dhadphale notched just his second multiple-goal game of the season in the Jan. 15 win over UAF (he had his first career hat trick vs. Bowling Green on Nov. 13) he has 10 career multiple-goal games, including six as a junior and two as a freshman.

    PP EXPERT: Senior D Benoit Cotnoir has been a vital part of Notre Dame's power play throughout his career Cotnoir has set up PP scores by 17 different Irish teammates over the past four seasons, including 11 by classmate Aniket Dhadphale in 127 career games, Cotnoir owns 35 career PP assists to go along with nine PPGs his 44 career PP points account for 54% of his career point total (81) while 63% of his career assists have come on the PP (35 of 56) in the last two seasons, Cotnoir has 22 PP points (5G-22A) and just 18 non-PP points during that stretch.

    FROM THE BLUE LINE: Cotnoir's 81 career points (24G-57A) rank 9th in Notre history among defensmen, eight behind All-American Bill Nyrop (17-72, 1970-74) ... Cotnoir needs 19 more points to become the sixth Irish defenseman ever to reach 100 career points.

    FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH?: Junior RW Joe Dusbabek is looking to rediscover his freshman-season scoring touch that produced a team-best 13 goals and helped him finish as runner-up for CCHA Rookie of the Year since that high-scoring rookie season (13G-12A, 35 games), Dusbabek has just four goals and 20 points over his last 42 games (1G-3A in the last four).

    DISCIPLINED AGGRESSION: Junior D Nathan Borega epitomizes Notre Dame's philosophy of playing hard-hitting hockey while limiting penalty minutes the 6-2, 225-pound Borega has made a name for himself as one of the hardest hitters in the CCHA yet has totaled just six penalties in 16 games played this season for his career, Borega has totaled just 53 penalties in 85 games, including 22 in 44 games over the past two seasons Notre Dame has ranked among the least-penalized teams in the CCHA for the past three seasons, averaging 8.69 penalties/gm in 1996-97, 6.37 last season and 8.33 this season (compared to a league-worst 11.31 in the first season of the Dave Poulin era, 1995-96).

    JURKO STEPS IN: Junior D Andy Jurkowski has been one of the more unsung heroes for Notre Dame this season Jurkowski is one of just four Irish skaters who have appeared in all 24 games this season and has bolstered an Irish defense that has been forced to cope with the loss of 1998 CCHA Rookie of the Year Mark Eaton (a free agent signee by the Philadephia Flyers) and repeated injuries to the top four defensemen Jurkowski, who also has played left wing during his Irish career, has totaled just four penalties in 24 games this season while helping put the Irish on pace for a team-record goals-against average (currently 2.60).

    WHO'S HOT: Junior C Ben Simon (7 pts in last 6 gms, pts in 18 of 23 gms) ... sophomore LW Chad Chipchase (5 pts in last 5 gms) ... senior RW Brian Urick (three straight 2-pt gms) ... senior D Benoit Cotnoir (9 pts in last 7 gms) ... sophomore LW Dan Carlson (5 pts in last 6 gms).

    WHO'S DUE: Freshman D Sam Cornelius (0 pts in last 14 gms, one in last 19) ... junior D Andy Jurkowski (0 pts in last two seasons, 37 gms) ... junior LW Jay Kopischke (1 pt/0 gls since Oct. 24, 12 gms played) ... junior C Troy Bagne (1 pt since Oct. 10, 17 gms played; 1 gl in last 36 gms) ... junior D Sean Molina (0 goals in 94 career gms).

    CALLING ALL KARRS: Notre Dame senior Forrest Karr was named CCHA defensive player of the week after a 48-save performance on Jan. 8 at Bowling Green (4-1) and Jan. 9 at home vs. Miami (2-0) ... Karr allowed just one goal (a second-period PPG by BG) while directing a defense that killed nine of 10 opponent PPs ... he had 26 saves at BG and 22 vs. Miami for his second career shutout ... Karr owns a 2.56 season GAA that is on pace to best the Notre Dame record of 2.70, set last season by four-year starter Matt Eisler, while Karr's .901 season save pct. ranks third in Irish history ... Karr is the fifth Irish goalie ever to post multiple shutouts and is the first to post two in the same season (he had 16 saves in the 3-0 win over No. 9 Ohio State on Oct. 23) ... during the last six games, Karr has 128 saves and 10 goals allowed, for a 2.50 GAA and .928 save pct. ... in 24 games overall, Karr has allowed just 31 even-strength goals ... for his career, Karr is 22-18-4, including 20-10-4 during the past two seasons, 12-8-2 on the road and 4-3-2 vs. top-10 teams ... his 3.01 career GAA is on pace to shatter Eisler's Notre Dame record (3.66) while Karr's .886 career save pct. is ahead of the Irish record held by John Peterson (.885, 1974-78) ... Karr also earned CCHA defensive player of the week honors on Oct. 11 (43 saves, one even-strength goal allowed in wins over Lake Superior and Western Michigan).

    A ROAD-TESTED KARR: Karr also owns a solid 2.69 GAA during the past two seasons (88 GA, 1,966:25) while his impressive effort on the road during the past two seasons has yielded a 12-8-2 record and a 3.07 GAA (63 GA, 1,232:16) ... his career record vs. top-10 ranked teams is 4-5-2 after a recent 5-5 tie at former No. 1 Boston College, a 2-2 tie vs. then-No.7 Michigan, a 1-0 loss at then-No. 8 Michigan and a split at 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 the past two seasons, 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). SHARPSHOOTER: Sophomore LW Chad Chipchase has scored nine goals on just 33 shots this season, for a team-best .273 shooting pct. (the rest of the team is shooting .109) Chipchase owns a solid .226 career shooting pct. (14-for-62), after burying five of 29 shots as a freshman.

    CARLSON RETURNS: Notre Dame sophomore LW Dan Carlson (Edina, Minn.) represented the USA 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 the final four players cut from the squad ... Carlson missed Notre Dame's series at No. 1 North Dakota ... 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 final junior national team roster included 14 current college players (six from the CCHA).

    SIMON THE SCORER: Junior C Ben Simon:who has points in 18 of 23 games this season and already has surpassed his sophomore goal total (9):ranks fifth in the CCHA overall scoring charts (12G-20A) while his 26 points in CCHA play (11-15) also are tied for firth ... Simon scored a memorable goal 17 seconds into the third period of the 7-1 win over Western Michigan on Oct. 10, slanting in from the right and tucking the puck inside the left post for his first goal in 13 games (he had endured 31 shots on net without a goal) ... Simon has excelled at setting up his teammates (63 assists in 90 career games) but owns just 24 career goals on 243 shots (10.1 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 scoring a goal every 5.8 shots he takes this season (12 on 69), compared to 13.4 shots per goal during his first two seasons (13 on 174).

    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 ... the Irish have extended that strong play at home, going 8-0-1 at the Joyce Center this season with a 45-15 scoring edge ... in its last 14 home games, Notre Dame is 11-2-1 with a 63-25 scoring edge (two 7-1 wins and a 9-5 win) ... the recent home losses came last season to eventual NCAA champion Michigan (1-0, goal in first minute) and eventual NCAA semifinalist Ohio State (5-3) while the tie was vs. Michigan earlier this season (2-2) ... Notre Dame's last 11 home wins have included eight by three goals or more (7-1 vs. FSU, 5-2 vs. NMU, 7-1 vs. WMU, 3-0 vs. OSU, 6-2 vs. BG, 9-5 vs. WMU and 6-2/6-1 vs. UAF).

    *1-2-3: Notre Dame has received steady production in all three periods, with 23 goals in the first, 31 in the second and 31 in the third ... during the first six games, the Irish owned an 8-1 scoring edge in the first (now 23-16 overall) ... the Irish also own a 31-20 edge in the second period but have struggled defensively in the third, with just a 31-27 ratio (compared to 54-36 over the first two periods) ... in '97-'98, 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.

    WE NEED MORE POWER: Notre Dame's power play opened at .321 clip but the Irish were just 4-for-38 (.105) during a recent six-game stretch, including 0-for-17 at one point, before connecting on eight of their last 29 man-up chances ... the overall PP pct. (.238) would rank best by an Irish team playing as a member of the CCHA or WCHA since the 1981-82 season (.303) and would best the CCHA-best effort by Michigan State in '97-'98 (.233) .... for comparison, Notre Dame owned just a .127 PP pct. in '96-'97 and a .176 mark last season ... PP goals have helped provide the decisive margin this season in wins over FSU (5-3, 2 PPGs), Lake (403, 4 PPGs) and Northeastern (4-3, 3 PPGs) while the Irish netted three PPGs in the 5-5 tie at Boston College ... 10 different Irish players have notched a PPG this season, led by six from senior LW Aniket Dhadphale and five each from senior RW Brian Urick and junior C Ben Simon ... the other PPGs have come from sophomore LW Dan Carlson (3), freshman C David Inman (2), sophomore LW Chad Chipchase (2), sophomore RW Matt Van Arkel (3), junior RW Joe Dusbabek (2), senior D Benoit Cotnoir and freshman C Brett Henning ... the primary PP unit has included Dhadphale, Simon and Urick, with Carlson and either Cotnoir or junior D Tyson Fraser at the point ... that first unit has 21 PPGs, with Dusbabek scoring with the first group at Lake Superior (while Simon was in the penalty box) and Chipchase scoring vs. Ferris State (while skating for the injured Dhadphale).

    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.

    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 38 goals and 19 assists during the past two seasons (61 games).

    STREAKY SEASON: Notre Dame opened with a six-game winning streak and had a mid-season six game losing streak before the recent six-game unbeaten streak (5-0-1).

    REDEFINING MAN DOWN: During its last 36 games, Notre Dame has played without at least one of its top defensemen 31 times, going 17-11-3 in those games (four losses to Michigan, three to OSU, one to North Dakota) ... the top four defensemen have missed a combined 25 games this season due to injury, yet the Irish remain in the national polls and are on pace to set the school record for GAA (2.60) ... Notre Dame is 2-2-1 in the only games during the last 36 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 D in the last 36 games: Cotnoir (2, this season), Fraser (17, 5 this season), Borega (15, 8 this season) and Clark (10, all this season, out indefinitely for rest of '98-'99 ) ... two of those players have missed the same game 13 times over the last 36, with the Irish owning a solid 8-4-1 mark in those games ... lost in the defensive 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 18-17-2 away from home during that stretch, with the 17 losses including 10 by one goal ... in '97-'98, Notre Dame posted wins at St. Cloud (4-3/OT, 4-1), MSU (6-1), Wisconsin (4-2), NMU (3-1) and Michigan (4-2):in addition to losing three one-goal games at Michigan (two in OT) and one-goal games at Miami, FSU, UAF (OT) and LSSU (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 FSU (5-3) and LSSU (4-3):giving Notre Dame victories in every opposing CCHA building except Miami's Goggin Ice Arena over the past two seasons ... the Irish are 6-1-1 in non-conference away games during the past two seasons, winning twice at both St. Cloud and Wisconsin and once at Wisconsin, Northeastern and top-ranked North Dakota, plus a 5-5 tie at then-No. 1 Boston College.

    GETTING COMPETITIVE: Notre Dame finished '97-'98 by going 4-4-0 in its final eight games vs. CCHA teams ... 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 26 games vs. CCHA teams, Notre Dame is 14-10-2, including a 13-8-2 mark in the regular season.

    URICK LEADS THE WAY: Senior RW and team captain Brian Urick is heading into the final stretch of his 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 31 points in 22 games (13G-18A) ... Urick leads the Irish in plus-minus (+23), has just 10 penalties and owns 54 goals and 62 assists in 133 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 65 points (29-36) in 63 games, a team-best +38, only 69 penalty minutes and nine of the team's 32 game-winning goals ... his 13 career game-winning goals ties Urick with current Irish head coach Dave Poulin (1978-82) for first in the Irish record book.

    CURRENT HOCKEY POLLS

    U.S. COLLEGE HOCKEY ONLINE POLL (1/25)

       
             Team (1st-pl. votes), W-L-T   Pts
         1.  North Dakota (29), 19-2-1     299
         2.  Maine, 18-2-4                 253
         3.  Michigan State (1), 20-3-4    236
         4.  New Hampshire, 19-4-1         229
         5.  Michigan, 17-5-3              176
         6.  Colorado College, 17-8-1      141
         7.  Boston College, 14-8-2        106
         8.  Princeton, 15-5-1              76
         9.  Rensselaer, 11-4-1             68
        10.  NOTRE DAME, 14-8-3             44
            
    Others Receiving Votes: Denver 9, Ohio State 5, Ferris State 2, Providence 2, Northern Michigan 1, St. Cloud State 1.

    USA TODAY / AMERICAN HOCKEY MAGAZINE POLL (1/25)

             Team (1st-pl. votes), W-L-T  Pts
         1.  North Dakota (10), 19-2-1    100
         2.  Maine, 18-2-4                 87
         3.  New Hampshire, 19-4-1         82
         4.  Michigan State, 20-3-4        71 
         5.  Michigan, 17-5-3              57 
         6.  Colorado College, 17-8-1      52 
         7.  Princeton, 11-4-1             35
         8.  Boston College, 14-8-2        31
         9.  Rensselaer, 15-5-1            24
        10.  NOTRE DAME, 14-7-3             8
    
    Others Receiving Votes: Ohio State 3.

    CCHA PRESEASON COACHES POLL

             Team (1st-pl. votes), W-L-T  Pts
         1.  Michigan (7)                 117
         2.  Ohio State (3)               108
         3.  Michigan State (1)           104
         4.  Northern Michigan             79
         5.  NOTRE DAME                    79
         6.  Ferris State                  64
         7.  Miami                         49
         8.  Bowling Green                 45
         9.  Lake Superior                 42
        10.  Western Michigan              24
        11.  Alaska Fairbanks              15
    
    CCHA PRESEASON MEDIA POLL
            Team                Pts
        1.  Michigan            287
        2.  Ohio State          285
        3.  Michigan State      258
        4.  Northern Michigan   194
        5.  NOTRE DAME          189
        6.  Miami               153
        7.  Lake Superior       130
        8.  Ferris State        126
        9.  Bowling Green        94
        10. Western Michigan     78
        11. Alaska Fairbanks     52
    
    Italics: 1998-99 Notre Dame opponent.
    
    '98-'99 CCHA Standings  Overall  CCHA     Pts  GF-GA  Power Play  Penalty-Kill  PIM/Gm
    1.  Michigan State      20-3-4   14-2-4   32   86-34  (8)  .127   (1)  .924     (8)  22.0
    2.  Michigan            17-5-3   14-3-2   30   74-51  (4)  .157   (5)  .868     (10) 25.4
    3.  Ohio State          13-10-4  11-6-3   25   78-69  (3)  .183   (2)  .885     (9)  23.2
    4.  Notre Dame          14-7-3   11-6-2   24   85-63  (1)  .238   (8)  .825     (3)  17.9
    5.  Ferris State        11-9-4   10-7-3   23   67-53  (9)  .120   (4)  .874     (1)  16.9
    6.  Northern Michigan   15-9-2   10-8-2   22   95-72  (5)  .154   (3)  .881     (7)  21.9
    7.  Bowling Green       11-11-3   7-9-3   17   81-93  (2)  .195   (9)  .824     (5)  20.8
    8.  Miami                6-16-4   4-13-3  11   68-95  (7)  .133   (7)  .827     (1)  16.9
    9.  Alaska Fairbanks     8-16-0   5-15-0  10   64-90  (11) .095   (10) .815     (4)  19.4
        Lake Superior State  5-16-3   4-12-2  10   54-87  (10) .115   (11) .814     (11) 25.6
        Western Michigan     3-14-6   2-11-6  10   46-88  (6)  .135   (6)  .845     (6)  21.0
    

    NOTRE DAME HOCKEY : Making Strides
    (all improvements indicated by a "+")

    
                             1996-97           1997-98        Change   1998-99          Change
    Wins                      9-25-1           18-19-4        +9       14-7-3  
    Winning pct.               27.1%           48.8%          +21.7%   64.6%            +15.8%
    One-goal games             15 (3-12/.200)  15 (6-10/.375) +.175     7 (4-3-0/.571)  +19.6%
    Goals per game              2.63            3.10          +0.47     3.54            +0.44
    

    Shots per game 27.2 30.8 +3.6 30.4 -0.4 Shooting pct. 9.7% 10.1% +0.4% 11.7% +1.6% Opponent shots/gm 31.8 27.6 +4.2 26.6 +1.0 Shot margin -4.6 +3.2 +7.8 +3.8 +0.6

    Power-play pct. 12.7% 17.6% +4.9% 23.8% +6.2% Power-play goals/gm 0.66 (23) 0.95 (39) +0.29 1.25 (30) +0.30 Shorthanded goals/gm 0.06 (2) 0.22 (9) +0.16 0.13 (3) -0.09 Penalties per game 8.69 6.37 +2.32 8.33 -1.96

    Penalty-killing pct. 81.3% 84.3% +3.0% 82.5% -1.8% Goals-against-avg. 3.73 2.75 +0.98 2.60 +0.15 Save pct. 88.2% 89.8% +1.6% 90.1% +0.03 Goal Margin -1.11 +0.29 +1.40 +0.92 (+22) +0.63 S'handed goals allowed/gm 0.23 (7) 0.07 (3) +0.16 0.08 (2) -0.08

    1st period goals/gm 0.66 (23) 0.90 (37) +0.24 0.96 (23) +0.06 1st period goal margin -0.46 (23-39) +0.24 (37-27) +0.70 +0.29 (23-16) +0.05 3rd period goals/gm 0.94 (33) 0.90 (37) -0.04 1.29 (31) +0.39 3rd period goal margin -0.26 (33-42) -0.29 (37-49) -0.03 +0.17 (31-27) +0.46

    Ahead at 1st intermission 4-5-0 (.444) 11-4-1 (.719) +.275 9-1-2 (.833) +11.4% Ahead at 2nd intermission 6-2-0 (.750) 16-5-2 (.739) -.011 11-0-2 (.923) +18.4%

    The arrival of Dave Poulin in 1995 as head coach of Notre Dame hockey set in motion various improvements that have the program on track to competing for a spot in the CCHA semi-finals, at Joe Louis Arena ... the last time Notre Dame advanced to "The Joe" was 1981-82, when Poulin served as team co-captain ... as the above chart shows, Notre Dame made some headway in Poulin's second season ('96-'97) but still was lacking consistency needed to qualify for the CCHAs ... in '97-'98, the Irish improved in 20 of the above 23 categories (compared to an improvement in just 12 from the first to second season of the Poulin era) ... Notre Dame's biggest strides in '96-'97 came in penalties (down 2.62/gm), the PK unit (up 4.0%) and GAA (down 0.63) but there were frustrating dropoffs in scoring (down 0.43/gm), PP pct. (down 4.6%) and the ability to hold 1st-period leads (4-5-0) ... In '97-'98, the many improvements included those three areas, as the Irish scored 0.47 more goals/gm, boosted their PP 4.9% and were 11-4-1 with a 1st-period lead ... other improvements came in shot margin (up +7.8/gm), the PK (up 3.0%) and penalties (2.32/gm fewer) ... Notre Dame also had more than four times as many SHGs (9) than in '96-'97 (2) and owned a 37-27 1st-period scoring edge (the opponents outscored the Irish 39-23 in the 1st period of '96-'97) ... the Irish were 6-10 in one-goal games, going 3-12 in '96-'97 ... Through 24 games of '98-'99, the Irish have improved or stayed even in 17 of the 22 applicable categories ... noteworthy strides have involved the high-powered offense: 3.54 goals/gm (up 0.44), a 11.7% shooting pct. (up 1.6%), an 0.92/gm goal margin (up 0.63), a CCHA-best 23.8% PP unit (up 6.2%) and 31 3rd-period goals (just 0.9/gm last season) ... the Irish are 9-1-2 when holding a lead at the 1st intermission (71.9% last season) and 11-0-2 with a 2nd-intermission lead (73.9% in '97-'98) ... the primary areas of non-improvement have involved a slight dropoff in shots/gm (down 0.4), an increase in penalties/gm (up 0.96), just two SHGs (nine in 41 games last season), three SHGs allowed (two st season) and a dropoff in PK pct. (down from .843 to .825).


     
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