Fourth-place Irish take one-point lead into final week of regular season
SOUTH BEND, Ind. - The No. 9-ranked Notre Dame hockey team (17-11-5, 14-10-4 CCHA) heads into the final week of the regular season looking to secure CCHA playoff home ice, with a pair of games at Miami (which is battling for the eighth and final playoff spot) ... the Irish, who hold a one-point lead on fifth-place Northern Michigan, are coming off a crucial home series with NMU (3-3, 2-1), with senior LW Aniket Dhadphale and sophomore RW Ryan Dolder scoring in each game (three of Dolder's five goals this season have come vs. NMU) ... the Irish were ranked in both national top-10 polls for 13 straight weeks (Oct. 19-Feb. 15), before dropping out last week ... Notre Dame re-entered the U.S. College Hockey Online poll this week, at No. 9 (Notre Dame received the 12th-most votes in the USA Today/American Hockey Magazine poll.
HOME-ICE RACE DOWN TO THE WIRE: Notre Dame holds a one-point lead on Northern Michigan and a three-point lead on Ferris State in the race for the final home-ice spot in the CCHA Tournament ... FSU owns the head-to-head tiebreaker vs. the Irish and NMU while Notre Dame captured the tiebreaker with NMU thanks to last week's 2-1 win ... this week's action has NMU playing at home vs. Western Michigan and Michigan and FSU playing twice at Michigan State ... MSU (19-2-7) has clinched first while Ohio State (17-9-3) and Michigan (16-7-5) are tied for second (OSU has a game left at Bowling Green while Michigan plats at Lake Superior and NMU) ... Bowling Green (12-14-3) still has a shot at passing FSU for a third-place finish ... Notre Dame's likely playoff opponents are NMU or FSU, as the only way the Irish could face OSU or Michigan would be if Notre Dame fell to sixth place ... Notre Dame's "magic point total" vs. NMU is three (combination of Irish points won and NMU points loss) while the Irish are two points shy of clinching a better finish than FSU ... Miami (8-16-4), LSSU (8-17-3) and WMU (5-15-8) remain alive for the eighth and final CCHA playoff spot.
GOALSCORING DROUGHT COMES TO AN END: Prior to the NMU series, Notre Dame was mired in a 13-period scoring slump, in which the Irish scored just twice goals on 134 shots, during a span of 265:19 (since Ben Simon scored in the second period against UAF) ... the Irish put 92 straight shots on net without lighting the lamp (a span of 204:05), before a goal by junior D Andy Jurkowski in the closing moments of the Feb. 19 game at MSU (his second career goal and first since Feb. 8, 1999) ... freshman C David Inman then scored a similar unassisted goal the next day at Bowling Green (his first goal in 13 games) ... the pair of 1-0 losses to MSU and FSU on Feb. 12-13 represented the first shutout losses on consecutive nights in Irish hockey history and the first time a Notre Dame team ever has been shut out in consecutive conference games ... the program's only previous back-to-back shutout losses came during the 1991-92 season, a 4-0 home loss to Army and a 4-0 loss at-of all teams-Ferris State (the Irish rejoined the CCHA in '92-'93) ... the team's top five scorers-Simon, senior RW Brian Urick, senior LW Aniket Dhadphale, sophomore LW Dan Carlson and senior D Benoit Cotnoir-combined for no points during the 13-period slump.
IRISH NOTES: Notre Dame ranks first in the CCHA for overall power play (.203), fifth in scoring (3.09 goals/gm), fourth in fewest penalty minutes (19.2/gm), fifth in defense (2.52 goals allowed/gm) and seventh in penalty kill (.820) ... in CCHA games only, the Irish rank second in PP (.193), fourth in scoring (3.07), third in defense (2.25), fifth in low PIM (19.6) and eighth in PK (.838) ... Notre Dame is 9-4-4 when playing its first game of a weekend, 8-6-1 in second-day weekend games ... 10 Irish players have game-winning goals ... Notre Dame is 14-2-3 when scoring first, 14-0-3 when playing with a 2nd-intermission lead, 11-5-4 when outshooting the opponent, 11-1-3 at home (60-26 scoring edge) ... the Irish are 15-3-4 when Ben Simon has at least one point, 9-1-3 when he has two-plus, 1-8-1 when he is held off the scoresheet ...the Irish are 13-1-2 when both Simon and Aniket Dhadphale make the scoresheet ... Notre Dame's top four D have combined to miss 34 games due to injury (three have missed five-plus) ... the Irish have road wins vs. every CCHA team but Miami during the last two years, plus 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 G Forrest Karr ranks third in the CCHA with a 2.26 conference GAA, behind MSU's Joe Blackburn (1.36) and OSU's Jeff Maund (2.08) ... senior D Benoit Cotnoir (5G-9A) and junior C Ben Simon (7-8) are the top Irish scorers during the last 16 games ... Cotnoir-who had his career-best, seven-game point streak snapped at MSU on Feb. 12-remains one of the CCHA's top scorers among defensemen (6-16, BG's Mike Jones is 8-20 while Michigan's Bubba Berenzweig is 7-19) ... 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 120 points (55-65) in 141 career games ... senior LW Aniket Dhadphale (60-44) recently passed the 100-point milestone and needs six assists to join Urick as two of 28 Irish players ever to total 50G and 50A ... Simon (16-24)-who has assisted on seven game-winning goals while scoring two others (plus game-tying goals vs. Michigan and 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 nine of his last 15 games (including a four-game goalscoring streak to equal his career-best) ... Simon is averaging nearly a point per game for his career (96 in 99) while his 16 goals this season have surpassed his combined 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.
INJURY UPDATE: Junior D Ryan Clark has missed the last 17 games, after Dec. 23 shoulder surgery in his home state of Colorado, and remains out indefinitely.
THE SERIES: Miami holds a 16-6-3 edge, including a 14-2-3 mark vs. the Irish in the last 19 meetings (5-1-1 in the last seven) ... three of the last seven games have produced narrow Miami wins ... Notre Dame's only wins vs. Miami since '83 came late in 1995-96, at Miami (5-2) and earlier this season (2-0 at Notre Dame) ... top Irish career scorers vs. Miami include senior RW Brian Urick (10 gms, 4G-6A), senior D Benoit Cotnoir (10, 2-4) and junior RW Joe Dusbabek (5, 3-0) ... senior LW Aniket Dhadphale has just two goals and no assists vs. Miami in 10 career games (he has 79 points in 98 combined games vs. the other nine CCHA teams) ... junior C Ben Simon has played just four career games vs. Miami (due to gain misconduct DQ and 1997-98 World Juniors), with one goal and three assists in those games ... Irish senior G Forrest Karr is 1-2-0 vs. Miami, with a 3.02 GAA and .873 save pct. ... Miami won last year's series (5-4, 3-1, 2-2) ... in its last three games against Miami, Notre Dame has owned a commanding 113-59 shot advantage yet has totaled only five goals.
RECAP - @ND 2, MIAMI 0 (1/9/98): Forrest Karr made 22 saves while Brian Urick ended a scoreless game on Notre Dame's 34th shot ... Miami's Andy Marsch drew just the fourth career start and responded with 35 saves ... Karr and Marsch combined for 40 saves in the first two periods, with the Irish failing to score in the first period despite a 23-6 edge in shots ... Urick broke the deadlock at 3:40 of the third period, on a play set up Chad Chipchase's shot from the left side of the crease that Marsch batted behind the net ... Ben Simon quickly skated onto the puck and fired a pass towards the right side of the crease, where Urick was waiting for the 1-0 lead ... Simon and Urick combined on a unique "give-and-go" score in the final minutes ... Simon won a leftside faceoff and Urick collected the puck before firing a shot from the center of the blueline ... Simon picked off the shot at the top of the crease and kept skating to his right before placing a backhanded shot past Marsch (16:07) ... Miami finished 0-for-4 on the power play while the Irish were 1-for-4 ... Karr finished with 22 saves, including 11 in the decisive third period.
LAST-MINUTE MAGIC: Miami owns three recent last-minute wins over Notre Dame: 3-2 at ND on 2/4/94 (Rene Von Lanthen scored with 0:30 left), 4-3 at home on 11/23/96 (Dustin Whitecotton, 0:40) and 5-4 at Notre Dame on 11/15/97 (Adam Copeland, 0:20) ... Notre Dame is long overdue to score a game-winner in the last minute, as the Irish are 0-12 since '91-'92 in games that have seen the game-winner scored in the final minute of regulation or OT... the last time the Irish pulled out a last-minute win was Feb. 14 ,1992, when Matt Osiecki scored with 0:55 left in OT for a 6-5 win at Kent State ... Irish head coach Dave Poulin has seen his Irish teams suffer six tough last-minute losses, the above two plus: 4-3 vs. BG on 2/10/96 (Curtis Fry, 0:51, OT); 4-3 at MSU on 12/6/97 (Mark Loeding, 0:54); 3-2 at Princeton on 12/29/96 (Scott Bertoli, 0:19, OT); and 2-1 at Michigan in a 3/14/98 CCHA playoff game (Bobby Hayes, 19:00 mark of OT).
FRIEND OR FOE?: Several players from Notre Dame (9) and Miami (8) played together on previous teams ... they include: Notre Dame senior G Forrest Karr and Miami senior center C.J. Buzzell (Wisconsin Capitols); Notre Dame junior D Nathan Borega and Miami junior C Dustin Whitecotton (Vernon Vipers); Whitecotton and Notre Dame junior D Tyson Fraser (Team British Columbia); Irish junior D Sean Molina and Miami junior F Mark Shalawylo (USA Viking Cup); Shalawylo and ND junior D Andy Jurkowski (Wisconsin Capitols); Irish junior C Ben Simon and Miami senior D Josh Harrold (Cleveland Jr. Barons); ND sophomore RW Matt Van Arkel and Miami junior G Andy Marsch (Team Illinois); Irish sophomore C David Inman and Miami freshman D Mike Tedesco; and ND freshman G Jeremiah Kimento and a pair of Miami freshmen D's: Paul Nejezchled and Ken Marsch (Danville Wings).
BLUE-LINE BOOST: Senior D Benoit Cotnoir (5G-9A) and junior C Ben Simon (7G-8A) are Notre Dame's top scorers in the last 16 games ... Cotnoir had his career-best, seven-game point streak end on Feb. 12, in the 1-0 loss at MSU, and has points in 10 of the last 16 games, after just one goal and nine points in his first 15 games ... Cotnoir's recent highlights 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, a game-winning goal versus Alaska Fairbanks (5-2) and the assist on Ben Simon's memorable goal vs. NMU (3-3).
HOME IS WHERE THE DOMINANCE IS: Notre Dame's 11-1-3 record at home includes a 60-26 scoring edge, led by junior C Ben Simon (11G-15A, +18), senior RW Brian Urick (8-14, +18), sophomore LW Dan Carlson (5-10, +7), senior RW Aniket Dhadphale (10-5, +7) and senior D Benoit Cotnoir (4-8, +12), plus four others with 10 points each ... the Irish home dominance includes one goal every 8.7 shots on net, a .228 power-play unit and a +11 average shot margin ... Forrest Karr has played all 915 home minutes in the nets, with just 26 goals allowed in the 15 games (1.73/gm).
SPECIAL TEAMS UPDATE: The renewed Irish power play had goals in eight of nine games before the seven-game, 0-for-33 slump that ended with Aniket Dhadphale's goal on Feb. 27 vs. NMU ... the Notre Dame penalty-killing unit had stopped 44 of the previous 48 opponent PPs (.917) before stopping just 9-of-14 in the last four games (.643).
IRON MEN: Just four Irish skaters (plus senior G Forrest Karr) have appeared in all 33 games this season: freshman C's David Inman and Brett Henning, sophomore LW Chad Chipchase and junior D Andy Jurkowski.
CENTURY MARK: Senior LW Aniket Dhadphale's assist on Feb. 5 on Ben Simon's game-tying goal vs. Michigan State was his 100th career point ... Dhadphale has 104 points (60G-44A) in 138 games ... after a sophomore slump (5G-16A), Dhadphale has 63 points in 70 games over the past two seasons (42G-21A) ... his shooting pct. as a sophomore was .046 (5G, 109 shots), compared to .217 last season (25, 136) and .202 this season (17, 84) ... his 25 career PPGs are tied for 5th in Notre Dame history, with Tim Kuehl (1986-90) and All-American Kirt Bjork (1979-83), just three behind Lou Zadra ('88-'92) ... 21 of Dhadphale's 25 career PPGs have come during the past two seasons (one per every 3.3 games) ... 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.
SIMON ALSO NEARING 100: Junior C Ben Simon suddenly is nearing 100 career points as well, with 96 in 99 games (29G-67A) ... Simon (16G-24A), 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 3-2 win over Michigan) ... he also has scored game-tying goals against Michigan and Michigan State (both 2-2).
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 136 career games, Cotnoir owns 35 career PP assists to go along with 10 PPGs ... his 45 career PP points account for 52% of his career point total (86) while 59% of his career assists have come on the PP (35 of 59) ... 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 86 career points (27G-59A) rank ninth in Notre history among defensmen, three behind All-American Bill Nyrop (17-72, '70-'74) ... Cotnoir needs 14 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 51 games (2G-4A in the last 13) ... 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 with limited penalties ... the 6-2, 225-pound Borega has made a name for himself as one of the CCHA's hardest hitters yet has just 12 penalties in 25 games played ... for his career, Borega has totaled just 59 penalties in 94 games, including 28 in 53 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 8.36 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 35 points in 28 games (14G-21A) ... Urick leads the Irish in plus-minus (+24), has just 13 penalties and owns 55 goals and 65 assists in 141 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 69 points (30-39) in 71 games, a team-best +39, only 77 penalty minutes and nine of the team's 35 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 ... by playing in this week's games at Miami and at least two CCHA playoff games, Urick will become the 10th Irish player ever to appear in 145-plus career games (he has logged 141 career games while missing just four in four years).
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 2.48) ... Molina has four assists in 31 games played, is fourth on the team in plus-minus (+11) and has totaled just 10 penalties ... Jurkowski, who also has played LW during his Irish career, is one of just four Irish skaters who have appeared in all 33 games and has totaled just nine penalties this season ... he also provided an assist on Ben Simon's opening goal to help beat Michigan, 3-2, and scored at Michigan State on Feb. 12 to halt the 204-minute, 92-shot Irish scoring drought.
CALLING ALL KARRS: 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 owns a 2.47 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. would rank third in Irish history ... Karr's impressive 2.26 GAA in CCHA action ranks third among conference goalies ... Karr is the fifth Irish goalie to post multiple shutouts and the first to post two solo shutouts in the same season (16 saves in 3-0 win over then-No. 9 Ohio State on Oct. 23) ... in 33 games, Karr has allowed just 43 even-strength goals ... for his career, Karr is 25-22-6 while his 23-14-6 mark over the past two seasons includes a 12-11-2 road record and a 5-5-3 record vs. top-10 teams ... his 2.88 career GAA is on pace to shatter Eisler's Notre Dame record (3.66) while Karr's .890 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 LSSU and WMU).
A ROAD-TESTED KARR: Karr also owns a solid 2.59 GAA during the past two seasons (107 GA; 2,475:51) while his impressive effort on the road during the past two seasons has yielded a 12-11-2 record and a 3.08 GAA (71 GA, 1,384:17) ... his career record vs. top-10 ranked teams is 6-6-3, 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, a 2-2 tie with No. 4 MSU and two losses at No. 3 MSU (1-0, 3-1) ... 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 (14 pts in last 15 gms) ... senior RW Brian Urick (10 pts in last 11 gms) ... senior D Benoit Cotnoir (14 pts in last 15 gms) ... sophomore LW Dan Carlson (9 pts in last 15 gms) ... sophomore RW Ryan Dolder and senior LW Aniket Dhadphale (2-game goalscoring streaks).
WHO'S DUE: Freshman C David Inman (1 gl last 15 gms, 2 pts last 16 gms) ... freshman D Sam Cornelius (0 pts last 22 gms, 1 in last 27) ... junior D Andy Jurkowski (2 pts last two seasons, 46 gms) ... junior LW Jay Kopischke (1 pt/0 gls since Oct. 24, 19 gms) ... junior C Troy Bagne (1 pt since Oct. 10, 24 gms played; 1 gl in last 43 gms) ... junior D Sean Molina (0 goals in 103 career gms) ... sophomore LW Chad Chipchase (1 pt/0 gls in last 11 gms).
SIMON THE SCORER: Junior C Ben Simon-who has passed his combined goal total from his first two seasons (13)-ranks fifth in the CCHA overall scoring charts (16G-23A) and is tied for fourth in CCHA play (15-18) ... 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 99 career games) but owns just 29 career goals on 274 shots (9.5 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 6.3 shots he takes this season (16 on 100), 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 extended that strong play at home this season, going 11-1-3 at the Joyce Center with a 60-26 scoring edge (average of 4.0 to 1.7) ... the Irish averaged one goal per every 8.7 shots on goal during those 15 home games, with a .228 power-play pct. (18-of-79) ... senior G Forrest Karr owns a 1.71 goals-against avg. and .926 save pct. at home this season while the Irish penalty-kill pct. is .851 at home this season ... in its last 20 home games, Notre Dame is 14-3-3 with a 78-36 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) before the 1-0 loss to Ferris State on Feb. 13 while the tie was vs. Michigan this season (2-2) ... Notre Dame's last 14 home wins have included nine by three goals or more.
FRESHMEN MAKE IMPACT: Notre Dame's freshmen have made their mark, with second-line center David Inman (8G-9A) ranking sixth on the team in scoring ... despite a recent 13-game goalscoring slump and a team-high 68 penalty minutes, Inman has one game-winning goal, two power-play goals and a +4 plus-minus ratio ... third-line C Brett Henning (3G-6A, 24 PIM, 1 PPG, E) 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 are two of just four Irish skaters who have appeared in all 33 games and each ranks among the top-12 CCHA players on the NHL central scouting midseason top prospects list (Inman is second among CCHA players and 27th overall while Henning is 12th and 160th) ... D Sam Cornelius (1G-3A, 16 PIM, -8) has appeared all but two games while playing 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 31 points in 33 games, with just 46 penalties between them and a -6 combined plus/minus ratio ... freshman G Jeremiah Kimento has been impressive in limited work as a backup to senior Forrest Karr ... Kimento has a 2.39 GAA and .922 save pct. in 126 minutes (59 saves, 5 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 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 '96-'97 U.S. team that claimed the World Junior silver medal in Switzerland ... the '98-'99 USA roster included 14 current college players (six from the CCHA).
WE NEED MORE POWER: Notre Dame's power play opened at .321 but the Irish were then 4-for-38 (.105) in a six-game stretch, including 0-for-17, before connecting on 12 of their next 42 (prior to the recent 0-for-33 drought, dropping the overall PP pct. to .203) ... PPGs have helped provide the decisive margin this season in five wins-FSU (5-3, 2 PPGs), LSSU (4-3, 4), Northeastern (4-3, 3), Michigan (3-2, 1) and NMU (2-1, 1) 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 nine from senior LW Aniket Dhadphale, six from senior RW Brian Urick and five by junior C Ben Simon ... the primary PP unit has included Dhadphale, Simon and Urick, with sophomore LW Dan Carlson and junior D Tyson Fraser at the point, while senior D Benoit Cotnoir has been running the second unit.
SCHEDULE OF CHAMPIONS: Notre Dame's '98-'99 schedule includes five teams that have combined for seven of the first nine NCAA titles in 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 42 goals and 21 assists during the past two seasons (70 games).
REDEFINING MAN DOWN: In its last 45 games, Notre Dame has played without at least one of its top defensemen 40 times, going 20-15-5 ... the top four D have missed a combined 34 games this seasony, yet the Irish remain on pace to set the school record for GAA (2.47) ... Notre Dame is 2-2-1 in the only games in the last 45 when senior Benoit Cotnoir, juniors Tyson Fraser and Nathan Borega and sophomore Ryan Clark all have been in the lineup ... games missed by Irish D in the last 45: Cotnoir (2, early this season), Fraser (17, 5 this season), Borega (15, 8 to open this season) and Clark (19, all this season, out indefinitely for rest of '98-'99) ... two of those players have missed the same game 13 times over the last 45, with the Irish owning a solid 8-4-1 mark in those games ... lost in the injury woes is the absence of '98 CCHA rookie of the year Mark Eaton, who passed up the rest of his college eligibility when he signed as a free agent in the summer with the Philadelphia Flyers.