Hockey Hosts Northern Michigan in CCHA Playoffs
Winner advances to CCHA semi-finals.
March 10, 1999
The Notre Dame hockey team (18-12-5, 15-11-4 CCHA) will play host to its first home playoff series since 1981-92, when Northern Michigan (19-12-5, 14-11-5 CCHA) comes back to town for this week's CCHA Tournament best 2-of-3 quarterfinal round ... NMU and the Irish played at the Joyce Center on Feb. 26-27 (a 3-3 tie and 2-1 Irish win) ... the Irish edged Northern Michigan by a point for fourth place in the CCHA standings, after splitting 2-3/ot and 4-2 at Miami (NMU won at home over Western Michigan, 4-2, before losing 5-2 to Michigan) ... the Irish were ranked in both national top-10 polls for 13 straight weeks (Oct. 19-Feb. 15), before dropping out on Feb. 22 ... Notre Dame re-entered the U.S. College Hockey Online poll on March 1 but received the 12th-most votes in the March 9 polls by USCHO and USA Today/American Hockey Magazine ... Notre Dame dropped a hard-fought playoff series last season at Michigan (4-2, 1-2/ot, 3-4), with the Wolverines leading for 14 total minutes ... after hosting the 1982 CCHA playoff series win over Michigan (6-5, 5-3), the Irish lost at Bowling Green in '83, played as an independent for the next nine seasons, lost at Michigan in '93, at Western Michigan in '94 and at BG in '95 before missing the playoffs from '96-'98.
IRISH SECURE HOME ICE: Notre Dame earned a split at Miami on March 5-6 (2-3/ot, 4-2) to edge Northern Michigan by one point for the final CCHA playoff home-ice spot ... Notre Dame used a power-play goal by David Inman and a score by Brett Henning in the final seven minutes to force overtime in the first game ... the Irish power play was just 1-for-41 before Inman's goal, but now has converted on two of its last seven chances ... Notre Dame allowed just three shorthanded goals in its first 33 games before seeing Miami use two SHGs to beat the Irish ... the Irish had just nine goals in their previous seven games before a four-goal explosion in the second period of the win at Miami ... Chad Chipchase and Aniket Dhadphale sparked that win with two SHGs in a 36-second span (the Irish had just two previous SHGs this season), followed by another PPG from Inman and a goal by Matt Van Arkel ... the Irish penalty kill was 11-for-11 at Miami ... Chipchase and Van Arkel each notched their first goals in 13 games while Dhadphale scored just the second SHG of his career (61 goals overall).
IRISH TEAM NOTES: Notre Dame ranks second in the CCHA for overall power play (.200), fourth in scoring (3.09 goals/gm), fourth in fewest penalty minutes (19.3/gm), fifth in defense (2.51 goals allowed/gm) and seventh in penalty kill (.829) ... in regular-season CCHA games only, the Irish finished second in PP (.190), fourth in scoring (3.07), third in defense (2.27), fifth in low PIM (19.7) and seventh in PK (.847) ... Notre Dame is 9-5-4 when playing its first game of a weekend, 8-7-1 in second-day weekend games ... 10 Irish players have game-winning goals ... Notre Dame is 14-2-3 when scoring first, 15-0-3 when playing with a 2nd-intermission lead, 12-5-4 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, 2-9-1 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 defensemen have combined to miss 36 games due to injury ... the Irish have road wins vs. every CCHA team 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- ) ... Notre Dame's '98-'99 regular-season schedule included 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).
OFFENSIVE PLAYER NOTES: Brian Urick's 13 career game-winning goals are tied for first in Irish history with current head coach Dave Poulin ('78-'82) ... Urick has 122 points (55-67) in 143 career games ... Aniket Dhadphale (62-44) 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 ... Ben Simon has assisted on seven game-winning goals this season while scoring two others (plus game-tying goals vs. Michigan and MSU) ... Simon is averaging nearly a point per game for his career (96 in 101) while his 16 goals this season surpassed his combined total from the first two seasons (4 and 9) ... Dan Carlson missed the Jan. 2-3 split at North Dakota while playing with Team USA at the World Junior Championship ... Dhadphale has three goals in his last four games while David Inman has three in the last five ... Dhadphale's 25 career PPGs are tied for fifth in Notre Dame history ... by playing in two CCHA playoff games, Urick will become the 10th Irish player ever to appear in 145-plus career games (he has missed just four) ... Urick ranks third in the CCHA for plus-minus (+23) ... Inman (2nd, 27th overall) and Brett Henning (12th, 160th overall) rank among the top-12 CCHA players on the NHL Central Scouting midseason top prospects list ... Benoit Cotnoir (5-10) and Simon (7-8) are the top Irish scorers during the last 18 games ... Inman was named to the CCHA all-rookie team on March 8.
DEFENSIVE PLAYER NOTES: Forrest Karr finished third in the CCHA with a 2.27 conference GAA, behind MSU's Joe Blackburn (1.34) and OSU's Jeff Maund (2.07) ... Karr has allowed 0-3 goals in 17 of his last 18 games (0-2 goals allowed in 11 of those games) ... Benoit Cotnoir ranks as the CCHA's third-leading scorer among defensemen (6G-18A, BG's Mike Jones is 8-20, Michigan's Bubba Berenzweig 7-21) ... Cotnoir has set up power-play scores by 17 different Irish teammates while totaling 35 career PP assists and 10 PPGs S Cotnoir's 87 career points (27-60) rank ninth in Notre Dame history among defensmen, two behind All-American Bill Nyrop (17-72, '70-'74) ... Karr is on pace to set Irish records for season GAA (2.47), career GAA (2.86) and career save pct. (.891) and has allowed just 46 even-strength goals this season (1.31/gm) ... Karr is the only CCHA goalie to start every game this season while playing 94.9 percent of the minutes ... his career record vs. national top-10 ranked teams is 6-6-3.
HOME IS WHERE THE DOMINANCE IS: Notre Dame's .833 home winning pct. (11-1-3) in 1998-99 is best by the Irish in 19 seasons as a member of CCHA or WCHA ... Notre Dame's 11-1-3 record at home this season includes a 60-26 scoring edge, one Irish goal every 8.7 shots on net, a .228 power-play unit, .851 penalty killing and a +11 average shot margin ... Forrest Karr has played all 915 home minutes in the nets, with a 1.71 goals-against average and .926 save pct., while leading an .851 penalty-killing unit at home ... top Irish scorers at home this season include 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 have posted seven home wins by three-plus goals in '98-'99.
INJURY UPDATE: Junior D Ryan Clark has missed the last 19 games, after Dec. 23 shoulder surgery in his home state of Colorado, and remains out indefinitely.
THE ND-NMU SERIES: Notre Dame has not lost to Northern Michigan since NMU rejoined the CCHA prior to the 1997-98 season, going 4-0-2 in those games ... prior the Irish sweep of the Wildcats last season (4-3, 3-1, 5-2), NMU had won the first six games of the series (five by a single goal) ... the 1998-99 series produced two 3-3 ties (at NMU on Jan. 22, at Notre Dame on Feb. 26) before the Irish won the season series with a 2-1 win on Feb. 27, leaving NMU with a 6-4-2 series edge ... '98-'99 was the second straight year the Irish and NMU played a late-season series (Feb. 20, 27, 28 last year) ... the previous games in the series came early in '82-'83.
RECAPPING THE 1998-99 ND-NMU SERIES ND 3, @NMU 3 (Jan. 22): Local product Aniket Dhadphale gave the Irish a 1-0 lead with a PPG midway through the first period, before Ryan Dolder scored 11 seconds later for a 2-0 game ... NMU scored its first goal early in the third (on Chad Theuer's PPG) before Troy Bagne's first goal of the season gave the Irish a 3-1 lead ... NMU had the final push, with Lee Ruff (15:24) and Fred Mattersdorfer (16:01) scoring in the final 5:00 ... NMU's Dan Ragusett made 27 saves while Forrest Karr had 31 for the Irish ... NMU was 1-6 on the PP, ND 1-4.
@ND 3, NMU 3 (Feb. 26): Ben Simon scored a memorable goal late in the second and assisted on Dhadphale's game-tying score with 3:43 left in regulation ... Notre Dame held two leads, after goals by Dolder (assisted by Dan Carlson) and Simon, but NMU answered on scores by Theuer (rush from his own blue line) and Tyson Holly before surging ahead with 6:27 left on Buddy Smith's unassisted goal (after winning a faceoff in the Irish end) ... Karr made 27 saves, Ragusett 33 ... the game featured no PPGs (ND 0-3, NMU 0-1) ... Simon skated from his own end before flipping in a goal from the left side, as he was falling forward after his left skate was pulled off the ice by an NMU defenseman ... NMU tied the game early in the third, when Holly knocked home a pass from Mattersdorfer before Smith's shot found its way through a crowded crease area ... on the final goal, Simon zipped a pass from the left corner and Dhadphale beat Ragusett, low to the glove side.
@ND 2, NMU 1 (Feb. 27): Dhadphale ended Notre Dame's 0-for-33 power-play drought midway through the second period and Dolder also scored again ... Karr posted 22 saves while helping stop four NMU power plays before yielding a 6-on-4 goal with 0:36 left ... Dhadphale opened the scoring at 13:16 of the second period, taking a cross-ice pass from Brian Urick and beating Ragusett with a high glove-side shot from the top of the left circle ... Dolder scored at 13:06 of the third, on a line-change, give-and-go score with Chad Chipchase (Dolder's low shot from the left circle tucked inside the far post) ... NMU pulled Ragusett with 54 seconds left to play and capitalized with a 6-on-4 goal from the top of the left circle by Doug Schmidt.
SERIES NOTES: Notre Dame and NMU will be playing their seventh, eighth and possibly ninth game in the last year and three weeks (the Irish and Michigan State recently went one year and 12 weeks without playing a single game) ... Notre Dame's Aniket Dhadphale and Ryan Dolder scored goals in all three games vs. NMU during the regular season (Dolder has just two other goals in 1998-99) ... Irish captain Brian Urick did not play in the 3-3 tie at NMU due to injury ... the teams' combined statistics for the three-games series in '98-'99 include identical totals in penalties (18) and power play pct. (2-for-12) and similar shooting percentages (ND 8-for-94/.085, NMU 7-for-86/.081) ... the Irish held a 5-1 scoring edge during the first two periods of the '98-'99 series but NMU scored six third-period goals vs. the Irish in the regular season (while allowing just three) ... Irish senior Forrest Karr's season stats vs. NMU: 2.21 GAA, .919 save. pct. (79 svs, 7 GA) ... top Irish scorers vs. NMU over the past two seasons: Dhadphale (6 gms, 5G-2A), Urick (5, 2-6) and Benoit Cotnoir (6, 2-4).
FRIEND OR FOE?: Several Notre Dame and NMU players are former teammates: Irish senior LW Aniket Dhadphale and NMU senior forwards Rich Metro and Roger Trudeau, junior G Dan Ragusett and sophomore C Ryan Riipi (Marquette Electricians); ND senior C Craig Hagkull and NMU senior C Brad Frattorolli (Des Moines Buccaneers); ND sophomore RW Matt Van Arkel and NMU sophomore D Jeff White (Milton Merchants); and ND freshman C David Inman and NMU freshman RW Bernie Sigrist (Wexford Raiders).
IRISH DUE FOR LAST-MINUTE MAGIC: 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 over the past four seasons, including a 2-1 game at Michigan in the 1998 CCHA quarterfinals (Bobby Hayes scored at the 19:00 mark of overtime).
BLUE-LINE BOOST: Senior D Benoit Cotnoir (5G-10A) and junior C Ben Simon (7-8) are Notre Dame's top scorers in the last 18 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 11 of the last 18 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).
IRON MEN: Just four Irish skaters (plus senior G Forrest Karr) have appeared in all 35 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 105 points (61G-44A) in 140 games S after a sophomore slump (5G-16A), Dhadphale has 63 points in 70 games over the past two seasons (42G-21A) S his shooting pct. as a sophomore was .046 (5G, 109 shots), compared to .217 last season (25, 136) and .200 this season (19, 90) S his 25 career PPGs are tied for fifth 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 3.4 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) S 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 101 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 S Cotnoir has set up PP scores by 17 different Irish teammates over the past four seasons, including 11 by classmate Aniket Dhadphale S in 138 career games, Cotnoir owns 36 career PP assists to go along with 10 PPGs S his 46 career PP points account for 53% of his career point total (87) while 60% of his career assists have come on the PP (36 of 60) S in the last two seasons, Cotnoir has 29 PP points (6G-23A) and just 23 non-PP points during that stretch.
FROM THE BLUE LINE: Cotnoir's 86 career points (27G-60A) rank ninth in Notre history among defensmen, two behind All-American Bill Nyrop (17-72, '70-'74) ... Cotnoir needs 13 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 S since that high-scoring rookie season (13G-12A, 35 games), Dusbabek has just five goals and 22 points over his last 53 games (2G-4A in the last 15) ... 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 S the 6-2, 225-pound Borega has made a name for himself as one of the CCHA's hardest hitters yet has just 13 penalties in 27 games played S for his career, Borega has totaled just 60 penalties in 96 games, including 29 in 55 games over the past two seasons S 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 8.51 this season (compared to a league-worst 11.31 in the first season of the Dave Poulin era, '95-'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, has 37 points in 32 games (14G-23A) ... Urick leads the Irish and ranks third in the CCHA with a +23 plus-minus, has just 16 penalties and owns 55 goals and 67 assists in 143 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 71 points (30-41) in 73 games, a team-best +38, only 83 penalty minutes and nine of the team's 36 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 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 S 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 33 games played, is second on the team in plus-minus (+14) and has totaled just 12 penalties ... Jurkowski, who also has played LW during his Irish career, is one of just four Irish skaters who have appeared in all 35 games and has totaled just 10 penalties this season ... he assisted 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: 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 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 .904 season save pct. would rank third in Irish history ... Karr's impressive 2.27 regular-season GAA in CCHA action ranked 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 35 games, Karr has allowed just 46 even-strength goals (1.31/gm) ... for his career, Karr is 26-23-6 while his 24-15-6 mark over the past two seasons includes a 13-12-2 road record and a 5-5-3 record vs. top-10 teams ... his 2.86 career GAA is on pace to shatter Eisler's Notre Dame record (3.66) while Karr's .891 career save pct. is ahead of the Irish record held by John Peterson (.885, 1974-78) ... Karr has logged 1,994:02 in the nets this season, second all-time at Notre Dame and 219 minutes behind Lance Madson's 2.213 in 1988-89 (Madson played 96.1 percent of the total minutes while Karr has played 94.9 percent, not counting empty-net situations) ... 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 (112 GA; 2,596:39) while his impressive effort on the road during the past two seasons has yielded a 13-12-2 record and a 3.03 GAA (76 GA, 1,505:15) ... 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: Sophomore RW Ryan Dolder (2G-1A in last 4 gms) ... senior LW Aniket Dhadphale (3G in last 4 games) ... freshman C David Inman (3G-2A in last 5 gms) ... sophomore LW Chad Chipchase (1G-1A in last 3 gms).
WHO'S DUE: Freshman D Sam Cornelius (0 pts last 24 gms, 1 in last 29) ... junior D Andy Jurkowski (2 pts last two seasons, 48 gms) ... junior LW Jay Kopischke (1 pt/0G since Oct. 24, 19 gms) ... junior C Troy Bagne (1 pt since Oct. 10, 26 gms played; 1G in last 45 gms) ... junior D Sean Molina (0 goals in 105 career gms) ... senior RW Brian Urick (0 gls in last 8 gms, 37 shots) ... junior C Ben Simon (just 1G-1A in last 8 gms, 25 shots) ... sophomore LW Dan Carlson (0 gls in last 14 games, 36 shots) ... senior D Benoit Cotnoir (0 gls in last 8 gms, 23 shots).
SIMON THE SCORER: Junior C Ben Simon-who has passed his combined goal total from his first two seasons (13)-is tied for fifth in the CCHA overall scoring charts (16G-23A) and finished as the fifth-leading scorer 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 101 career games) but owns just 29 career goals on 276 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 6.4 shots he takes this season (16 on 102), 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 CCHA all-rookie team center David Inman (10G-10A) ranking sixth on the team in scoring ... despite a recent 13-game goalscoring slump and a team-high 72 penalty minutes, Inman has two game-winning goal, four power-play goals and a +2 plus-minus ratio ... C Brett Henning (4G-6A, 28 PIM, 1 PPG, -1)-who has taken Inman's spot as the second-line center the last two weeks-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 35 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, Henning 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 34 points in 35 games, with just 50 penalties between them and a -7 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 .200) ... 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, five by junior C Ben Simon and four from freshman C David Inman ... the primary PP unit has included Dhadphale, Simon and Urick, with sophomore LW Dan Carlson and either junior D Tyson Fraser or senior D Benoit at the point.
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 44 goals and 21 assists during the past two seasons (72 games).
REDEFINING MAN DOWN: In its last 47 games, Notre Dame has played without at least one of its top defensemen 42 times, going 21-16-5 ... the top four D have missed a combined 36 games this season, yet the Irish remain on pace to set the school record for GAA (2.48) ... 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 (21, 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.
GOALSCORING DROUGHT COMES TO AN END: Prior to the Feb. 26-27 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 ... 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.