Pair of Huge Games Await Surging Irish
Men's hockey faces Michigan State, Ferris State.
February 11, 1999
IT'S FUN TO PLAY IN THE CCHA: An exciting CCHA season currently finds Michigan State (15-2-6/36 pts) atop the standings, followed by surging Ohio State (15-6-3/33) and Michigan (14-6-3/31) ... Notre Dame (13-6-3/29) occupies the fourth and final home-ice playoff spot, followed by Northern Michigan (11-8-3/22) and Ferris State (10-8-4/24) ... each of the above six teams has been ranked among the national top 10 this season (four currently in the top nine) ... Bowling Green (8-12-3/19) is seventh while Miami (5-13-4/14), Lake Superior (6-14-2/14), Western Michigan (4-13-6/14) and Alaska Fairbanks (5-18-1/11) 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) ... Notre Dame is one point shy of clinching a CCHA playoff spot and will be looking to clinch the head-to-head tiebreaker vs. Ferris State (currently 1-1-0, 7 GF-7 GA) ... the Irish and NMU will decide their tiebreaker at the Joyce Center on Feb. 26-27 (first game was a 3-3 tie at NMU) ... Ohio State holds tiebreakers vs. Michigan and Notre Dame, but the Irish have two "games in hand" on OSU ... while the Irish and Wolverines finished even on head-to-head (1-1-1) and goal differential (5 to 5) ... an ND-UM tie would be broken based on each team's record vs. the top CCHA finishers, in descending order (i.e. MSU, then OSU, based on current standings).
GETTING THE BIG LINE BACK TOGETHER: Notre Dame shook up its top forward lines prior to the 4-3 win at No. 1 North Dakota (18th game of the season), when 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 ... the lines then were jumbled due to Urick's Jan. 16 hand injury) ... but the Irish last week reverted to the potent Dhadphale-Simon-Urick line that totaled 23 goals and 50 points in the first 10 games of the season (5.0/gm), prior to an injury to Dhadphale that held him out of the next four games ... that line the was less effective when Dhadphale returned to the lineup on Dec. 4, with the Irish losing two at Ohio State (3-4, 1-4) and the first game at North Dakota (1-8) ... Simon (15G-23A), Urick (14-20) and Dhadphale (15-11) are the only three CCHA players from the same team who each have totaled 13-plus goals this season, with other top threesomes including Michigan State's senior C Mike York (17G), senior LW Bryan Adams (16) and junior C Shawn Horcoff (12) and Michigan's freshman C Mike Comrie (14), sophomore RW Josh Langfeld (13) and senior RW Dale Rominski ... York and Adams skate on MSU's first line, Horcoff on the second (based on last week's lines) ... Comrie and Rominski skate on UM's second line, with Langfeld on the first (based on Jan. 30 game vs. Notre Dame) ... in last week's action, the 6-3 Dhadphale jumped high to snag an attempted MSU clear before sliding a pass for Simon's game-tying goal (2-2) ... the next night, the Dhadphale (1-1)-Simon (1-2)-Urick (1-2) line combined for three goals and eight points in the 5-3 win over UAF ... for the season, the trio has combined for 44 goals and 98 points in a combined 73 games, with 19 power-play goals (Dhadphale 8, Urick 6, Simon 5) and eight game-winning goals (Urick 4, Simon 2, Dhadphale 2) ... they have combined for 315 career points in 360 combined games (Dhadphale 58-44, Simon 28-66, Urick 55-64).
IRISH NOTES: Nine players have combined on the 16 Irish game-winning goals ... Notre Dame is 13-2-2 when scoring first, 13-0-2 when playing with a 2nd-intermission lead, 10-4-3 when outshooting the opponent ... the Irish are 10-0-2 at home (55-21 scoring edge) ... the Irish are 13-2-2 in their last 17 home games, with a 73-31 scoring edge (losses to Ohio State and Michigan) ... the Irish power-play has scored on 12 of its last 45 chances (.267), after an 0-for-17 slump ... the Irish are 15-3-3 when Simon has at least one point, 9-1-2 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 12-1-2 when both Simon and Dhadphale make the scoresheet ... Notre Dame's top four D have combined to miss 28 games due to injury (three have missed five-plus) ... 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 D Benoit Cotnoir (5G-8A) and junior C Ben Simon (6-7) lead the team with 13 points each during the current 7-1-2 run ... Cotnoir is during a career-best, seven-game point streak and is the CCHA's second-leading overall scorer among defensemen (6-15, BG's Mike Jones is 5-19) ... 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 119 points (55-64) in 135 career games ... senior LW Aniket Dhadphale (58-44) last week passed the 100-point milestone and needs seven assists to join Urick as two of the 28 Irish players ever to total 50 goals and 50 assists ... Simon (15-23)-who has assisted on seven game-winning goals this season while scoring two others (plus a game-tying goal vs. Michigan and game-tying goal vs. MSU)-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 has points in eight of his last nine games (including a four-game goalscoring streak to equal his career-best) ... Simon and is averaging better than a point per game for his career (94 in 93 games) while his 15 goals this season match have surpassed his total from the first two seasons (4 and 9) ... 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.
CCHA LEADERS: The Irish lead the CCHA in overall power play pct. (.235, fourth in nation among major-conference teams behind Denver's .270, Colorado College's .268 and North Dakota's .248) while ranking second in scoring (3.52 goals/gm), third in fewest penalty minutes (18.1/gm) and fifth in defense (2.56 goals allowed/gm) ... the surging Irish penalty-killing unit (34 stops in last 37) ranks eighth in the CCHA (.829) ... in conference games only, the Irish are first in scoring (3.59) and power play (.239), second in fewest penalty minutes (18.4), third in defense (2.23) and eighth in penalty kill (.852) ... junior C Ben Simon is tied for second in the CCHA for overall scoring (15G-23A) and conference scoring (26-15) while senior RW Brian Urick (14-20/18-12) is sixth and tied for fourth (despite missing three games to injury) ... senior G Forrest Karr ranks sixth in the CCHA for overall GAA (2.48) and is tied for third in conference GAA (2.22) ... senior LW Aniket Dhadphale and Simon are tied for seventh in the CCHA with 15 goals while Urick is tied for ninth ... Simon's 23 assists are tied for third in the CCHA ... Dhadphale is tied for third in the CCHA with eight PPGs while Urick is tied for sixth with six PPGs (Simon is tied for eighth, with five) ... Urick is tied for third in the CCHA with four GWGs.
INJURY UPDATE: Junior D Ryan Clark has missed the last 11 games, after Dec. 23 shoulder surgery in his home state of Colorado, and remains out indefinitely.
THE ND-MSU SERIES: All three games of this year's series will be played in a 15-day span, with last week's game (2-2) representing the first between the teams in nearly 15 months ... MSU holds a 41-28-5 series edge (23-13-1 at home) ... Notre Dame's 6-1 win at MSU on Nov. 1, 1997, snapped a 17-game Irish winless streak (0-14-3) vs. the Spartans (MSU won the other two games, 5-1 and 3-1) ... MSU won last year's other two meetings, 5-1 at Notre Dame on Oct. 31 and 3-1 at home on Nov. 8 (last year's entire season series spanned just nine days and was over by the eighth game of the season) ... MSU beat Notre Dame 4-1 for the '81-'82 CCHA Tournament title (current Irish coach Dave Poulin was captain of that Notre Dame team) ... Notre Dame's top career scores in the MSU series include senior RW Brian Urick (10 gms, 2G-6A), senior LW Aniket Dhadphale (10, 4-2) and junior C Ben Simon (5, 4-1) ... prior to his 23-save vs. MSU last week, senior G Forrest Karr had just one previous career appearance vs. MSU, when he played the final 9:35 of last year's 5-1 loss (0 goals allowed, 2 saves) ... the Irish have lost their last 12 games where the winning goal was scored in the final minute of regulation or overtime, including a 4-3 loss at Michigan State on Dec. 6, 1997, when Mark Loeding scored with 0:54 left in the third period.
LAST WEEK: Notre Dame and MSU skated to a 2-2 tie at the Joyce Center ... PPGs by Rustyn Dolyny and Bryan Adams gave MSU an early lead but the Irish answered with a PPG by Benoit Cotnoir and a Ben Simon's second-period goal ... MSU opened the scoring at 8:59, on Dolyny's rising shot from the top of the left circle that flew by the left shoulder of Forrest Karr (23 saves) ... three minutes later, Adams put back a shot from the blueline by Andrew Hutchinson ... Cotnoir then pounced on a clearing attempt and snapped home a shot from the right side of the blueline (16:38) ... the Irish tied the game at 10:46 of the second, when Aniket Dhadphale caught a clearing attempt at the left circle and slid a pass into the slot for Simon, who beat Joe Blackburn (26 saves) with a one-timer ... Blackburn made 26 save while Forrest Karr had 23.
SPARTANS NOTES: Michigan State (21-3-6, 15-2-6 CCHA) is ranked No. 3 in the national polls and riding a 17-game unbeaten streak (13-0-4), after a 2-2 tie last week at Notre Dame and a 3-2 win over Lake Superior at Joe Louis Arena ... MSU returned 20 of 25 letterwinners from its 1997-98 team that went 33-6-5, won the CCHA regular season (21-5-4) and postseason titles and advance to the NCAA quarterfinals ... MSU's tops losses from last season included All-America G and CCHA player of the year Chad Alban (31-4-5, 1.63 GAA, .922 save pct.), C Sean Berens (36G-19A) and D Tyler Harlton (1G-12A) ... MSU leads the CCHA in penalty-killing pct. (.915) and defense (1.37 goals allowed/gm) while ranking third in scoring (3.13 goals/gm) and seventh in power-play pct. (.144), with the league's fifth-fewest penalties minutes/gm (20.9) ... senior C Mike York is the CCHA's fifth-leading overall scorer (17G-19A), with other top scorers including junior C Shawn Horcoff (12-16), senior LW Bryan Adams (16-8) and sophomore RW Rustyn Dolyny (12-13) ... freshman Joe Blackburn (14-3-6) has logged 1,408 minutes and owns CCHA-bests of a 1.45 GAA and .928 save. pct. ... junior John Gresl is 7-0-0 in 420 minutes, with a 1.09 GAA and .949 save pct. ... MSU's losses: @OSU (2-3), @Michigan (1-2) and @Minnesota (1-2), with other ties vs. WMU (1-1), OSU (4-4), @BG (2-2) and @NMU (1-1).
FRIEND OR FOE?: Several Notre Dame and MSU players are former teammates: ND senior C Craig Hagkull and MSU senior LW (Mark Loeding Des Moines Buccaneers) ... Irish junior D Nathan Borega and MSU sophomore LW Sean Patchel (Vernon Vipers) ... ND junior RW John Dwyer and MSU senior D Jeff Kozakowski (Dubuque Fighting Saints) ... Irish junior D Tyson Fraser and MSU junior C Sean Horcoff (Team British Columbia) ... ND junior C Ben Simon and MSU senior D Chris Bogas (Team Ohio) ... Simon and MSU senior C Mike York (U.S. silver-medal-winning team at '96-'97 World Juniors) ... Simon, York and Irish junior RW Joe Dusbabek (U.S. fifth-place world junior team in '97-'98) ... Irish sophomore LW Dan Carlson and MSU freshman F Adam Hall and freshman G Joe Blackburn ('98-'99 USA junior national team) ... ND freshman C Brett Henning and four freshman MSU players-Hall, D Jon Insana, D Andrew Hutchinson and F Joe Goodenow ('97-'98 USA under-18 national team) ... and Irish senior G Forrest Karr and MSU junior G Mike Gresl (youth hockey teammates).
FSU SERIES NOTES: Ferris State holds a 22-9-3 series lead over Notre Dame (2-2-1 in last five) ... top Irish career scorers vs. FSU include senior LW Aniket Dhadphale (10 gms, 5G-8A), junior C Ben Simon (8, 1-6), sophomore LW Chad Chipchase (6, 4-1) and senior D Benoit Cotnoir (10, 3-1).
RECAP (ND 5, at FSU 3, 10/16/98): Brian Urick's game-tying score ignited three Notre Dame goals in a late five-minute stretch, as the Irish stormed from behind despite the absence of injured Benoit Cotnoir and Nathan Borega ... Ryan Clark and Sam Cornelius provided timely goals from the blue line ... the Irish goals came from five different players, including a PPG by Aniket Dhadphale just 2:08 into the game and the first career goal for Brett Henning, with 3:32 left ... FSU enjoyed a 28-23 shot edge but Forrest Karr made 25 timely saves ... PPGs by Urick and Dhadphale helped provide the winning margin ... Urick's clutch goal swung momentum back to the Irish after the hosts appeared to take control ... Tyson Fraser initiated the rush with a pass to Dhadphale, who broke free on the left side before letting go with a shot on net ... the puck kicked out to the right side but Urick redirected it back on net in one motion (11:17) ... later in the period, Dan Carlson crossed the puck for Joe Dusbabek, who unleashed a hard shot from the right faceoff circle ... Vince Owen made the save but the puck kicked between the circles and Owen never saw Cornelius's shot (15:56) ... 32 seconds later, Chad Chipchase led a rush down the left side and dropped a pass for Henning, whose shot tucked under the crossbar ... Dhadphale opened the scoring after taking a pass from behind the net by Carlson ... FSU's Geoff Bennetts tied the game with a rebound goal early in the second ... Notre Dame reclaimed the lead five minutes later, when Ben Simon whistled a pass through the slot to the top of the left circle ... Clark had plenty of time and a clear shot, with Owen making the glove save before seeing the puck squeeze loose and trickle over the line for Clark's first goal with the Irish (9:28) ... FSU seized the lead with two more rebound goals, by Bennetts and Ed Kowalski in the first 10 minutes of the final period.
RECAP (FSU 4, ND 2, 11/24/98) : Ed Kowalski scored a PPG with 10:58 left to play before Geoff Bennetts clinched the game with an ENG ... the Irish were playing without three regulars (Aniket Dhadphale, Ryan Clark and Joe Dusbabek) ... Kowalski's rebound goal came after Forrest Karr appeared to have covered the puck before it squirted loose ... David Inman's early goal gave the Irish a 1-0 lead but FSU's Casey Harris scored 80 seconds late from between the circles and Bennetts followed two minutes later with a score from close range ... Chad Chipchase's shot in transition tied the game at the 14:02 mark of the second period, with the puck hitting off the point where the left post and crossbar meet ... Vince Owen had 30 saves while Karr had 19.
SCOUTING THE BULLDOGS: Ferris State stands sixth in the CCHA (11-10-5, 10-8-4 overall), one point behind NMU and five behind Notre Dame ... FSU returned 22 of 26 letterwinners-including all 14 forwards, 10 of them seniors-from its '97-'98 team that finished 15-21-3 overall, eighth in the CCHA (12-15-3) ... FSU lost one of the CCHA's top offensive defensemen-Brett Colborne (7G-30A in '97-'98)-to graduation ... the Bulldogs returned four players who totaled 28-plus points last season: senior W Joel Irwin (15G-19A), sophomore C and CCHA all-rookie team member Kevin Swider (12G-20A), junior C Brian McCullough (15G-13 A) and junior LW Brent Wishart (14G-14A) ... FSU also returned a proven goaltender in sophomore Vince Owen (12-18-3, 3.23 GAA, .879 save pct. in '97-'98) ... FSU this season ranks seventh in the CCHA for scoring (2.69 goals/gm), third in defense (2.31 goals allowed/gm), 10th in power play (.116), second in penalty-killing (.883) and first in fewest penalty minutes (16.9/gm) ... top scorers this season include McCullough (10G-10A), Swider (10-7), Irwin (7-10), sophomore D Jim Dube (6-10) and Wishart (11-15) ... Owen, who has played all but 199 minutes this season, ranks fourth in the CCHA with a 2.31 GAA, plus a .916 save pct. ... freshman Phil Osaer is 1-1-1, with a 1.81 GAA and .945 save pct.
FRIEND OR FOE?: Several players from Notre Dame and Ferris State are former teammates ... they include: FSU senior RW Geoff Bennetts and senior LW Ken Sergott and ND senior C Craig Hagkull (Des Moines Buccaneers); FSU sophomore C Kevin Swider and ND junior D Andy Jurkowski (Omaha Lancers); FSU junior LW Brian McCullough and ND junior D Sean Molina (Chicago Young Americans); and FSU senior F Ed Kowalski and ND junior D Sean Seyferth (Compuware Ambassadors).
BLUE-LINE BOOST: Senior D Benoit Cotnoir (5G-8A) is tied with junior C Ben Simon (6G-7A) as Notre Dame's leading scorers during the current 7-1-2 run ... Cotnoir is riding a career-best, seven-game point streak and has points in eight of the last games, after totaling just one goal and nine points in his first 15 games played ... Cotnoir's highlights in the recent run include two assists in the 4-3 win at No. 1 North Dakota, two goals in the 4-1 win at Bowling Green, a 4-on-4 goal that gave Notre Dame a 2-0 lead in eventual 3-2 win over then-No. 5 Michigan, the first Irish goal to spark a comeback 2-2 tie with No. 4 Michigan State and the game-winning goal versus Alaska Fairbanks (5-2).
HOME IS WHERE THE DOMINANCE IS: Notre Dame's 9-0-1 record at home this season has included a 55-21 scoring edge, led by junior C Ben Simon (10G-14A, +17), senior RW Brian Urick (8-13, +18), sophomore LW Dan Carlson (5-9, +5), senior RW Aniket Dhadphale (8-5, +8), senior D Benoit Cotnoir (4-7, +12) and junior RW Joe Dusbabek (3-7, +6) ... the Irish home dominance has included a .130 shooting pct. (one goal every 7.7 shots), a .266 power-play unit (17-for-64) and a +12.2 average shot margin (35.2-23.0) ... defensively, senior Forrest Karr has played all 730 home minutes in the nets, with a 1.73 GAA, .924 save pct. and .850 team penalty-killing pct. (51-for-60).
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 22 periods, the Irish have 28 goals.
LETTING IT FLY: Since returning to CCHA action, Notre Dame has outscored its opponents 25-12 and outshot the opposition 301-218 (average of 33-24) during the last nine games.
SPECIAL TEAMS SURGE: The renewed Irish power play has goals in eight of the last nine games (0-for-5 in loss at Lake Superior), with a .267 conversion pct. (12-for-45) during that stretch ... the surging Notre Dame penalty-killing unit has stopped 34 of 37 opponent PPs (.919) in the last eight games.
IRON MEN: Just four Irish skaters (plus senior G Forrest Karr) have appeared in all 27 games this season: freshman C's David Inman and Brett Henning, sophomore LW Chad Chipchase and junior D Andy Jurkowski.
PASSING THE CENTURY MARK: Senior LW Aniket Dhadphale's assist last week on Ben Simon's game-tying goal vs. Michigan State was his 100th career points ... Dhadphale, who added a goal and assist vs. UAF, now has 102 points (58G-44A) in 132 games ... after a sophomore slump (5G-16A), Dhadphale has 61 points in 64 games over the past two seasons (40G-21A) ... his shooting pct. as a sophomore was .046 (5G, 109 shots), compared to .217 last season (25, 136) and .221 this season (15, 68) ... his 24 career PPGs are tied for 8th in Notre Dame history, with former All-American Brian Walsh (1973-77), just one out of fifth place on that list behind Tim Kuehl (1986-90) and All-American Kirt Bjork (1979-83) ... 20 of Dhadphale's 24 career PPGs have come during the past two seasons (one per every 3.2 games).
SIMON ALSO CHARGING TO 100: Junior C Ben Simon suddenly is nearing 100 career points as well, with 94 in 92 career games (28G-66A) ... Simon (15G-23A), who has surpassed his goal total from his first two seasons combined (13), has scored two game-winning goals this season while assisting on seven others (including the recent 3-2 win over Michigan) ... he also had a game-tying assist vs. Michigan and scored the game-tying goal versus Michigan State (both 2-2).
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 130 career games, Cotnoir owns 35 career PP assists to go along with 10 PPGs ... his 45 career PP points account for 53% of his career point total (85) while 60% of his career assists have come on the PP (35 of 58) ... in the last two seasons, Cotnoir has 28 PP points (6G-22A) and just 23 non-PP points during that stretch.
FROM THE BLUE LINE: Cotnoir's 85 career points (27G-58A) rank ninth in Notre history among defensmen, four behind All-American Bill Nyrop (17-72, '70-'74) ... Cotnoir needs 15 more points to become the sixth Irish defenseman ever to reach 100 career points.
FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH?: Junior RW Joe Dusbabek is showing signs of rediscovering 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 five goals and 22 points over his last 45 games (2G-4A in the last seven) ... Dusbabek has provided some clutch assists this season, including helpers on both goals in the 2-2 tie with Michigan and the primary assist on Ben Simon's goal that opened the recent 3-2 win over the Wolverines.
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 nine penalties in 19 games played this season ... for his career, Borega has totaled just 56 penalties in 88 games, including 25 in 47 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 8.30 this season (compared to a league-worst 11.31 in the first season of the Dave Poulin era, 1995-96).
URICK LEADS THE WAY: Senior RW and captain Brian Urick is heading into the final stretch of his Irish career ... 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 34 points in 22 games (14G-20A) ... Urick leads the Irish in plus-minus (+25), has just 10 penalties and owns 55 goals and 64 assists in 135 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 68 points (30-38) in 65 games, a team-best +40, only 71 penalty minutes and nine of the team's 34 game-winning goals ... his 13 career game-winning goals tie Urick with current Irish head coach Dave Poulin (1978-82) for first in the Irish record book.
MOLINA, JURKOWSKI STEP UP: Junior Ds Sean Molina and Andy Jurkowski have been two of the more unsung heroes for Notre Dame this season ... both players have helped bolster 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 Philadelphia Flyers) and repeated injuries to the top four defensemen ... they also have helped put the Irish on pace for a team-record goals-against average (currently 2.52) ... Molina has four assists in 25 games played, is fourth on the team in plus-minus (+11) and has totaled just seven penalties ... Jurkowski, who also has played LW during his Irish career, is one of just four Irish skaters who have appeared in all 27 games and has totaled just seven penalties this season (he also provided an assist on Ben Simon's opening goal to help beat Michigan, 3-2).
CALLING ALL KARRS: Notre Dame senior Forrest Karr was named CCHA defensive player of the week after totaling 48 saves on Jan. 8 at Bowling Green (4-1, 26 svs) and Jan. 9 at home vs. Miami (2-0, 22, second career shutout) ... Karr allowed just one goal (a second-period PPG by BG) while directing a defense that killed nine of 10 opponent PPs ... Karr owns a 2.48 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 .903 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 nine games, Karr has 196 saves and 16 goals allowed, for a 1.75 GAA and .925 save pct. ... he also has directed an Irish penalty-killing unit that is hitting at .907 (39-for-43) during the last nine games ... in 27 games overall, Karr has allowed just 35 even-strength goals ... for his career, Karr is 24-18-5 while his 22-10-5 mark over the past two seasons includes a 12-8-2 road record and a 5-3-3 record vs. top-10 teams ... his 2.93 career GAA is on pace to shatter Eisler's Notre Dame record (3.66) while Karr's .888 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 2.62 GAA during the past two seasons (94 GA; 2,151:25) 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 6-4-3, including this season's 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 UM, a split at No. 1 North Dakota (1-8, 4-3), a 3-2 win over No. 5 UM and a 2-2 tie with No. 4 MSU ... 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).
WHO'S HOT: Junior C Ben Simon (13 pts in last 9 gms, pts in 21 of 26 gms) ... senior RW Brian Urick (9 pts in last five gms) ... senior D Benoit Cotnoir (13 pts in last 10 gms) ... sophomore LW Dan Carlson (8 pts in last 9 gms). WHO'S DUE: Freshman C David Inman (0 gls in last 9 gms, 1 pt in last 8 gms) ... freshman D Sam Cornelius (0 pts in last 17 gms, one in last 22) ... junior D Andy Jurkowski (1 pt in last two seasons, 40 gms) ... junior LW Jay Kopischke (1 pt/0 gls since Oct. 24, 15 gms played) ... junior C Troy Bagne (1 pt since Oct. 10, 20 gms played; 1 gl in last 39 gms) ... junior D Sean Molina (0 goals in 97 career gms).
SHARPSHOOTER: Sophomore LW Chad Chipchase has nearly doubled his goalscoring output from last season (5) by scoring nine goals on just 38 shots this season, for a team-best .237 shooting pct. (the rest of the team is shooting .109) ... Chipchase owns a solid .209 career shooting pct. (14-for-67), after burying five of 29 shots as a freshman ... Chipchase, who had a second-period hat trick as a freshman in a game at Ferris State, is due for some goal production, as he has gone without a point in the last five games.
SIMON THE SCORER: Junior C Ben Simon-who has points in 21 of 26 games this season and has passed his combined goal total from his first two seasons (13)-is tied for second in the CCHA overall scoring charts (15G-23A) while his 32 points in CCHA play (14-18) are tied for second ... 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 (66 assists in 93 career games) but owns just 28 career goals on 251 shots (9.0 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 scoring a goal every 5.1 shots he takes this season (15 on 77), 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 (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 10-0-2 at the Joyce Center this season with a 55-21 scoring edge ... in its last 17 home games, Notre Dame is 13-2-2 with a 73-31 scoring edge (two 7-1 wins, one 9-5 win) ... the recent home losses came last season to eventual NCAA champ Michigan (1-0, goal in first minute) and eventual NCAA semifinalist Ohio State (5-3) while the tie was vs. Michigan this season (2-2) ... Notre Dame's last 13 home wins have included nine 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, 6-2/6-1/5-2 vs. UAF).
FRESHMEN MAKE IMPACT: Notre Dame's freshman class has made its mark on the 1998-99 season, with second-line center David Inman ranking sixth on the team with 15 points (7G-8A) ... despite a current scoring slump and a team-high 46 penalty minutes, Inman has provided timely plays for the Irish, with one game-winning goal, two power-play goals and a +4 plus-minus ratio ... third-line C Brett Henning has 3G-6A, just 24 penalty minutes, one PPG and is +2 ... Henning filled in for junior Ben Simon as the first-line center for the Jan. 15 UAF game and responded with a goal and assist ... he added an assist the next night vs. UAF en route to CCHA rookie-of-the-week honors ... Inman and Henning and two of just four Irish skaters who have appeared in all 27 games and each ranks among the top-12 CCHA players on the NHL central scouting mid-season top prospects list (Inman is second among CCHA players and 27th overall while Henning is 12th and 160th) ... D Sam Cornelius has played all but one game while totaling 1G-3A, just 16 penalty minutes and a -7 plus/minus ratio ... like many of his fellow defensemen, Cornelius has played a large part in Notre Dame's defensive success despite repeated injury problems to the unit's veteran players ... Inman, Henning and Cornelius have combined for 28 points in 27 games, with just 39 penalties between them and a -1 combined plus/minus ratio ... freshman G Jeremiah Kimento has been impressive in his limited work as a backup to senior Forrest Karr ... Kimento has a 2.71 GAA and .925 save pct. in 89 minutes of work (49 saves, four goals against).
CARLSON RETURNS: Notre Dame sophomore LW Dan Carlson (Edina, Minn.) represented the USA at the World Junior Championship, Dec. 26-Jan. 4 in Manitoba ... 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 USA roster included 14 current college players (six from the CCHA).
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 12 of their last 42 man-up chances ... the overall PP pct. (.245) 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), LSSU (4-3, 4 PPGs), Northeastern (4-3, 3 PPGs) and Michigan (3-2, a PPG) while the Irish netted three PPGs in the 5-5 tie at Boston College .and one in the 2-2 tie with MSU .. 10 different Irish players have notched a PPG this season, led by eight from senior LW Aniket Dhadphale, six from senior RW Brian Urick and five by 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 (2) 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 25 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 40 goals and 21 assists during the past two seasons (64 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) and the current three game unbeaten streak (2-0-1, 7-1-2 in last 10).
REDEFINING MAN DOWN: During its last 39 games, Notre Dame has played without at least one of its top defensemen 34 times, going 19-11-4 in those games (four losses to Michigan, three to OSU, one to North Dakota) ... the top four defensemen have missed a combined 28 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 (2.52) ... 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 38 games: Cotnoir (2, early this season), Fraser (17, 5 this season), Borega (15, 8 to open this season) and Clark (13, 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.
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