April 19, 1999
Player Pos. Birthdate Ht. Wt. Shoots Hometown 1998-99 team
Connor Dunlop C 1/5/81 5-10 185 L St. Louis, MO U.S. National Under-18 Team
Paul Harris D 3/23/81 6-2 195 R Ridgefield, CT U.S. National Under-18 Team
John Wroblewski F 5/26/81 6-1 200 R Neenah, WI US. National Under-18 Team
Tony Zasowski G 10/12/78 5-11 190 Darien, IL Omaha (NE) Lancers (USHL)
Michael Chin RW 9/24/80 6-2 200 R Urbana, IL Des Moines (IA) Buccaneers (USHL)
Evan Nielsen D 5/28/81 6-2 195 R Evanston, IL The Taft School (CT)
The University of Notre Dame hockey team has signed four
players-including three members of the United States National
Development Program-to national letters of intent during the spring
signing period, head coach Dave Poulin announced today.
The signees include forwards Connor Dunlop (St. Louis, Mo.) and
John Wroblewski (Neenah, Wis.), defenseman Paul Harris (Ridgefield,
Conn.) and goaltender Tony Zasowski (Darien, Ill.). Zasowski is wrapping
up a successful season with the Omaha Lancers of the United States
Hockey League while the other signees have completed play with the U.S.
The foursome joins Notre Dame's pair of fall signees-right wing
Michael Chin (Urbana, Ill./Des Moines Buccaneers) and defenseman Evan
Nielsen (Evanston, Ill./The Taft School, Conn.)-to form one of the
nation's top incoming classes. Five of the newcomers spent the past season playing in the rugged USHL (the U.S. Under-18 team competes in the USHL but is not eligible for post season play or league awards).
"These six players complete a string of four straight classes
that have added tremendous talent to our program. We have some pretty
serious holes to fill due to graduation, and the newcomers should be up
the challenge of adjusting to Division I hockey," said Poulin, who will
be entering his fifth season behind the Irish bench after guiding the
1998-99 team to a 19-14-5 overall mark, a fourth-place finish in the
Central Collegiate Hockey Association and a near-spot in the NCAA
"At the same time, even though the incoming players have
experienced success at a high level, they alone will not be responsible
for replacing our graduating players. Firstly, we anticipate that all of
our returning players will elevate their games. The play of the
newcomers also will play an important role in our continuing goal of
progressing as a program."
Notre Dame is set to lose six seniors from the 1998-99 squad,
including four regular members of the starting lineup. Those players
include team captain and right wing Brian Urick (57 goals, 69 assists in
146 career games), left wing Aniket Dhadphale (61 goals, 44 assists, 25
power-play goals in 143 career games), All-America defenseman Benoit
Cotnoir (28 goals, 60 assists in 141 career games) and goaltender
Forrest Karr (27-25-6 career record, in addition to setting Irish career
records with a 2.92 goals-against average and .888 save percentage).
Urick, Dhadphale and Cotnoir combined for 319 career points (146
goals, 173 assists) in 430 combined games. The other Irish losses to
graduation include center Craig Hagkull (7 goals, 12 assists in 104
career games) and defenseman Scott Giuliani (2 assists in 19 career
Dunlop - who helped the U.S. team play second in the USHL eastern division - could provide tremendous depth for Notre Dame contingent
of centers, which includes seniors-to-be Ben Simon and Troy Bagne and
sophomores-to-be David Inman and Brett Henning. Known as a clever
playmaker, the 5-10, 185-pound, Dunlop totaled 46 goals and 56 assists
in 136 games with the U.S. Developmental Program during the past two
seasons, including 23 goals and 42 assists over 70 games in 1998-99. His
father Blake Dunlop played 11 years in the National Hockey League with
the Minnesota North Stars, Philadelphia Flyers, St. Louis Blues and
Detroit Red Wings.
Wroblewski, at 6-1 and 200 pounds, will bring his power-forward
style of play to the Irish program and could play any forward position.
As a winger with the U.S. program, he totaled 32 goals and 25 assists in
135 games over the past two seasons, including 19 goals and seven
assists in 75 games during 1998-99. A hard worker and tough competitor,
he led the U.S. with 11 power-play goals in 1998-99.
"Connor, John-and Michael Chin-all have the ability to make a
major impact as freshmen," said Poulin. "Connor has great all-around
ability and is a tremendous competitor and dynamic playmaker-he could
end up playing in all situations. John has great hands and
reach-combined a fiery competitiveness and a strong work ethic-and will
give us a great power forward who can play on eight wing."
Harris is a classic stay-at-home defenseman who will join an
Irish team that returns seven of the top-eight players from a 1998-99
defense that set the Irish record for team goals-against average (2.60).
A late bloomer who didn't begin playing hockey until he was nearly 10
years old, the 6-2, 195-pound Harris registered four goals and nine
assists in two seasons with the U.S. program while helping anchor one of
the USHL's top penalty-killing units (88.2 percent).
Zasowksi - a stand-up goalie known for his competitveness and willingness to challenge shooters - is expected to challenge Kimento and junior-to-be Kyle
Kolquist for time between the pipes, after being named a first-team USHL
all-star. The 5-11, 190-pound Zasowski currently is playing in the
USHL's championship series, the Clark Cup, and ironically is facing
shots from one of his future Irish teammates-Chin-who plays for the
rival Des Moines Buccaneers (Des Moines holds a 2-1 lead in the
best-of-seven series). Zasowski set a USHL record in 1998-99 for
victories (35-11) and tied a league record with five shutouts, in
addition to a league-best 1.96 goals-against average and a .913 save
percentage that earned him goaltender-of-the-year honors from the USHL.
His three shutouts in 1998-99 include a 2-0 victory in the first game
of the Clark Cup finals. Zasowksi also is known for excellent ability in handling the puck, an evidenced by his eight assists during the 1998-99 season.
"Paul will add good size and competitiveness to the blue line
and has a great knowledge of the game. He has made huge strides with the
U.S. program and excels at so many of the subtle things that make a good
defenseman," said Poulin. "Tony really came on this season in a very
challenging league. He has a lot of experience under his belt and should
be ready for the challenge."
Chin-who was a member of the U.S. Developmental Program in
1997-98-finished tied for 12th in the USHL regular-season scoring
charts, with 54 points (26 goals, 28 assists) in 47 games while helping
Des Moines post a 48-7-1 record. He has one goal and four assists during
the postseason, as the Bucs have gone 8-3 and are two wins away from
winning the Clark Cup title. Chin has been part of a dynamic Des Moines
squad that has set team record for wins (48), consecutive wins (19) and
home record (30-2) while totaling 304 goals (tops in the USHL, 70 ahead
of the nest team, Omaha).
Nielsen totaled five goals and 12 assists from the blue line in
1998-99 while earning the Coaches Award, after helping Taft post a 15-8
record that left them just shy of a spot in the eight-team New England
Championship. In late March, Nielsen participated in the annual Hockey
Night in Boston All-Scholastic Tournament, where he was named the
Midwest team MVP.
Note: Further capsule information on each of the six signees will be
released on April 20 (will be faxed and posted on www.und.com).