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    Notre Dame Hockey Looks to Build on Strong 1997-98 Finish

    Bulk of team due back for 1998-99.

    July 13, 1998

    1997-98 Final Stats
    1998-99 Schedule
    1998-99 Roster
    1998-99 Notre Dame Hockey Facts

    IRISH GO DOWN FIGHTING IN SERIES AT MICHIGAN

    * Eaton named CCHA rookie of the year, Noble 1st team Academic All-America * Irish sign Brett Henning and Jeremiah Kimento
    * 1998-99 schedule to include road dates at Boston College, North Dakota
    * Carlson and Henning invited to USA summer challenge camp

    SEVEN IRISH PLAYERS EARN CCHA AWARDS: Seven Notre Dame hockey players combined for 11 postseason Central Collegiate Hockey Association awards, led by freshman D Mark Eaton (Wilmington, Del.) and senior C Steve Noble (Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario) ... Eaton was named to the six-player all-rookie team and went on to capture CCHA rookie of the year ... he also was one of four Irish players to receive votes for the All-CCHA team and joined Ohio State goaltender Jeff Maund and Michigan defenseman Mike Van Ryn as the only freshmen to receive all-CCHA votes ...

    Noble was named to the six-player CCHA All-Academic team for the second consecutive season, after boosting his cumulative grade-point average to 3.952 ... four Notre Dame players received votes for the All-CCHA team, tied with Lake Superior for fourth-most in the CCHA behind Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State (five each) ... nearly half (15) of the 32 players receiving all-CCHA votes were seniors, with Notre Dame and OSU set to return the most vote-getters (four each) ...

    Joining Eaton on the All-CCHA honorable mention list were junior left wing Aniket Dhadphale (Marquette, Mich.), junior defenseman Benoit Cotnoir (Rouyn-Noranda, Que.) and sophomore center Ben Simon (Shaker Heights, Ohio) ... five Notre Dame players received consideration for the CCHA All-Academic team, tied with Ferris State for second in the CCHA behind Bowling Green's seven (MSU was the only other school with more than three) ... in addition to Noble, three Irish players were named to the honorable mention All-Academic team, giving the Irish the most players (4) on the All-Academic and honorable mention All-Academic teams, ahead of FSU, MSU and OSU (who had three each) ... Irish players receiving CCHA All-Academic honorable mention were Dhadphale (3.34, finance), senior center Lyle Andrusiak (Foam Lake, Sask.; 3.54, management), and junior goaltender Forrest Karr (DeForest, Wis.; 3.77, accounting) ... Cotnoir (3.15, economics) received All-Academic special mention.

    EATON TABBED AS CCHA ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: Notre Dame freshman D Mark Eaton was named CCHA rookie of the year, as selected by the conference coaches ... Eaton is the second Notre Dame player to be named conference rookie of the year in the program's 30-year modern era, following in the footsteps of eventual All-American center Brian Walsh (Cambridge, Mass.), who was named Western Collegiate Hockey Association rookie of the year in 1973-74 ...

    Notre Dame RW Joe Dusbabek was runner-up to Western Michigan defenseman Darryl Andrews in voting for the 1997 CCHA rookie of the year ... Eaton edged Ohio State G Jeff Maund, receiving 64 voting points to Maund's 62 ... both players received five first-place votes, with Michigan State forward Rustyn Dolyny receiving the other ... Dolyny finished third (43), followed by Michigan C Mark Kosick (13) and Bowling Green G Shawn Timm (5) ... Eaton's 29 points tied him with his linemate, junior Benoit Cotnoir, for third among all CCHA defensemen, behind Miami senior Dan Boyle (14G-26A) and Ferris State senior Brett Colborne (7G-30A) ...

    Eaton tied for fourth on the Irish scoring list, highlighted by a team-best 18 points on the roadincluding a pair of first goals in the playoff series at Michigan .. he ranked second on the team in plus-minus (+13) and power-play goals (7) and third in total goals (12) while totaling just 16 penalties in 41 games ... Eaton's 12 goals are the seventh-most ever by an Irish defenseman and most since '86 ... he totaled 19 points in the final 16 games, highlighted by a four-point game at Alaska-Fairbanks (2G-2A) and four goals in six games vs. Michigan (including three at UM's Yost Ice Arena) ...

    Eaton joined the following players on the CCHA all-rookie team: Dolyny (18G-21A in CCHA games), Kosick (10-18) and FSU forward Kevin Swider (8-17), plus Michigan D Mike Van Ryn (4-14) and Maund (15-6-0, 2.51, .913) ... Eaton is Notre Dame's third all-rookie selection, following F Jamie Ling ('93) and Dusbabek.

    BOREGA, EATON AND NOBLE RECEIVE VOTES FOR OTHER CCHA AWARDS: Other CCHA postseason award winners included: MSU senior goaltender Chad Alban (player of the year), OSU's John Markell (coach of the year), Lake Superior senior Terry Marchant (best defensive forward), Miami senior Dan Boyle (best offensive defenseman), MSU senior Tyler Harlton (best defensive defenseman) and MSU junior forward Bryan Adams (Terry Flanagan Award: overcoming adversity to succeed on and off the ice) ...

    Notre Dame senior C Steve Noble received the 8th-most votes for best defensive forward (2) while Eaton received the 3rd-most for best offensive defenseman (24), behind Boyle and Ferris State senior Brett Colborne (47) ... Notre Dame sophomore Nathan Borega received the 5th-most votes for best defensive defenseman (7).

    NOBLE CAPS CAREER WITH 1ST TEAM ACADEMIC ALL-AMERICA: Senior C Steve Noble capped his stellar career as a Notre Dame student-athlete by being named to the GTE Academic All-America first team for men's fall and winter at-large sports ... Noble also was first runner-up for the national Hockey Humanitarian Award and received two prestigious awards from the Notre Dame Athletic Department, as one of five student-athletes to earn the Byron Kanaley Award (recognizing those who are most exemplary as students and leaders) and as the men's student-athlete recipient for the Francis Patrick O'Connor Award (recognizing spirit, team contribution and inspiration) ... he also was nominated for the postgraduate scholarship programs sponsored by the NCAA and NACDA and for the prestigious NCAA Top VIII Award ...

    Noble ranked 7th on the team with 24 points (8G-17A) ... he eclipsed his previous career-high in points (20), set in 1995 -96 (5G, 15A) ... a second team Academic All-American as a junior and recent Rhodes Scholar finalist, Noble posted his fifth 4.0 semester in the spring of '98 and graduated with a 3.956 GPA (34 A's, three A-'s and one B+) ... he played in the final 75 games of his career and 148 of 149, becoming the 5th Irish player to appear in 148-plus career games, joining John Schmidt (152, '82), Jack Brownschidle (150, '77), Greg Meredith (149, '80) and Bill Rothstein (148, '82) ... Jack Brownschidle is the only player in Irish history to play 140-plus games without ever missing a game while Noble joined Schmidt (152/153) as the only players with 140-plus games to have missed just one career game ... Noble joined MSU's Tyler Harlton and WMU's Jeff Rucinski as repeat selections to the CCHA All-Academic team.

    IRISH SIGN HENNING, KIMENTO: Notre Dame signed two players with international playing experience-center Brett Henning (Buffalo Grove, Ill.) and goaltender Jeremiah Kimento (Palos Hills, Ill.)-to national letters of intent during the spring signing period ... Henning and Kimento join two fall signees-defenseman Sam Cornelius (Edina, Minn.) and center David Inman (Toronto, Ont.)-to form another talented incoming class.

    Henning, son of former NHL player and coach Lorne Henning, spent the past year as a member of the inaugural U.S. national under-18 team, which trained in Ann Arbor, Mich. ... Henning ranked seventh among the program's 28 forwards with 44 points (13 goals, 31 assists) in 71 games before earning a spot as one of 16 forwards on the playoff roster ... he also spent two season with the Cambridge (Ont.) Winterhawks of the Midwestern Junior League ...

    Henning graduated from Pioneer High School in Ann Arbor on June 4 ... Henning was one of 18 players in the USA developmental program who had signed letters of intent with Division I schools, with seven of his USA teammates set to join schools in the CCCHA (four at MSU, one each to Lake Superior, Miami and OSU) ... his regular linemates with Team USA included left wing Adam Hall (a MSU signee) and right wing Doug Meyer (who is headed to Minnesota) ...

    Lorne Henning enjoyed a nine-year playing career with the N.Y. Islanders (1972-83 - 1980-81) and 14 seasons as an NHL assistant and head coach ... an original member of the Islanders, he compiled 73 goals and 111 assists as a forward over his 543-game career and played a major role in the 1980-83 Stanley Cup dynasty ... Henning served as an assistant coach with the Islanders from 1980-84 and '87-'94 while also serving as head coach for the Minnesota North Stars ('85-'87) and the Islanders ('94-'95) ... he spent the past three seasons as a Chicago Blackhawks assistant coach.

    Kimento wrapped up a successful season with the NAHL's Danville (Ill.) Wings and was one of two goaltenders selected for the U.S. team in the world domestic junior tournament, held in Berne, Switzerland during December of '97 ... he split goaltending duties with Michigan signee Josh Blackburn, helping the U.S. go 5-0 en route to a gold-medal finish ... his .900 save pct. and 3.00 GAA helped Danville finish fourth in the NAHL ...

    Kimento earned a spot on the NAHL all-star team, leading them to the title of the King of the Hill tournament in Waterloo, Iowa .. .a 1997 graduate of Chicago's Marist High School, Kimento played two seasons with Team Illinois, which also produced Irish sophomore-to-be F Matt Van Arkel ... he played 75% of the games for Team Illinois during its 65-5-7 season in 1996-97 while earning tournament MVP honors at the AAA national tournament in Boston, Mass., after leading Team Illinois to the team title.

    NOTRE DAME COACH DAVE POULIN: "We graduate just three players and have done an excellent job addressing specific needs. Our graduated centers-Steve Noble and Lyle Andrusiak-previously played on the wing but by bringing in Inman and Henning, we are adding two proven centers who should enjoy playing with our talented and diverse group of wingers.

    "Brett is a very intelligent player who sees the ice well, understands the game and contributes at both ends. He made great strides with the national program and has the benefit of growing up in a strong hockey environment. Kimento will combine with Forrest Karr and Kyle Kolquist to give us a healthy competition, as we look to replace a four-year starter in Matt Eisler. Jeremiah moves very well and has great quickness. He has improved at every level and we expect him to make great strides at Notre Dame."

    CORNELIUS, INMAN UPDATE: Fall signee Dan Cornelius was one of 10 finalists for Minnesota's Mr. Hockey award while earning all-state from the St. Paul Pioneer Press and the Minneapolis Star Tribune ... he totaled five goals and 29 assists in 24 games in 1997-98 and 11 goals and 61 assists in his four-year career ... Cornelius was a part of the nation's longest-ever high school game, a 3-2 victory over Eden Prarie in the regional final (99:39) ... he helped Edina finish sixth in the state tournament, with a final record of 22-6 ... the other Irish fall signee, David Inman, led the Wexford (Ont.) Raiders to the Metro League title and a runner-up finish to the Milton Merchants in the Provincial League finals ... a league all-star, he led the Raiders in goals (51), playoff goals (15, in 16 games) and playoff assists (25) while totaling 120 points (51G-69A) in 53 games.

    CARLSON, HENNING INVITED TO USA CAMP: Notre Dame sophomore-to-be LW Dan Carlson (Edina, Minn.) and incoming freshman C Brett Henning (Buffalo Grove, Ill.) are among 55 players invited to USA Hockey's under-20 Summer Challenge, Aug. 7-15 in Lake Placid, N.Y. ... the players will be divided into two teams and face under-20 national teams from Finland, Switzerland and Sweden ... the tournament also serves as an evaluation camp for the 1998-99 U.S. junior national team ... Carlson is one of 14 veteran U.S. college players and Henning one of 21 incoming college players among the invitees ... the CCHA led the nation's four conferences with 13 players invited ...

    Notre Dame was one of 12 schools with multiple invitees ... Henning is one of 19 invitees who were members of the under-18 national team ... the invitees include 10 returners from the '97-'98 junior national team that placed 5th at the World Juniors (Notre Dame's Ben Simon and Joe Dusbabek were members of that team) ... the 1998-99 World Junior Championship begins Dec. 26 in Winnipeg, Canada.

    CCHA ADDS NEBRASKA-OMAHA FOR 1999-2000: The CCCHA has admitted the University of Nebraska-Omaha as its 12th member, to begin play in 1999-2000 ( scheduling format TBA) ... UNO announced the formation of its program in May of '96 and began play as a Division I program in 1997-98, when it ranked second in the nation for average attendance (8,314) ... head coach Mike Kemp was an assistant under Jeff Sauer at the Wisconsin ...

    Omaha is known as one of the Midwest's top hockey areas, with the Omaha Lancers of the USHL perennially drawing crowds in excess of 5,000 fans ... current Notre Dame player Andy Jurkowski and former Irish student assistant Justin Theel both played junior hockey with the Lancers.

    IRISH RELEASE SCHEDULE: Notre Dame's 1998-99 home highlights include two games vs. defending NCAA champ Michigan and single games with NCAA semifinalist Ohio State and defending CCHA regular-season champ Michigan State ... road highlights include the season opener at Wisconsin, a game at NCAA runner-up Boston College and two games at North Dakota ... the CCHA road schedule also includes two games at Michigan, OSU, MSU and Miami, plus a neutral-site game vs. Ferris State at Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids, Mich. ... the Irish will play host to 15 games at the Joyce Center Fieldhouse, all within CCHA play ... the first home weekend includes Lake Superior State and WMU (Oct. 9-10) before OSU comes calling Oct. 23 ...

    Consecutive home dates in November will see the Irish play host to Bowling Green (Nov. 13), Michigan (Nov. 14) and WMU (Nov. 20) ... Notre Dame then will not return home until a Jan. 9 game vs. Miami, followed by a Jan. 15-16 weekend series vs. Alaska-Fairbanks ... Notre Dame closes January with another meeting versus Michigan (Jan. 30) ... for the second straight season, Notre Dame and MSU will play their entire season series in the span of two weeks, as MSU will visit the Joyce Center on Feb. 5 before playing host to the Irish on Feb. 12 and 19 ...

    Notre Dame's final home games come vs. UAF (Feb. 6), FSU (Feb. 13) and Northern Michigan (Feb. 26-27) ... two Friday-night home games will be held during home football weekends: Oct. 23 vs. OSU (football vs. Army on the 24th) and Nov. 20 vs. WMU (football vs. LSU on the 21st) ... Notre Dame opens Oct. 3 at Wisconsin before playing later in the month at FSU (Oct. 16), LSSU (Oct. 17) and WMU (Oct. 24) ... the Irish will play at BC on Nov. 6, the day before the school meet in football at BC, before heading across town to play at Northeastern in Nov. 7 ... the Irish close the fall semester with four games away from home, at Michigan on Nov. 21, vs. FSU in Grand Rapids (Nov. 24) and at OSU (Dec. 4-5) ...

    Notre Dame will return from the Christmas break by playing a Saturday-Sunday series at North Dakota on Jan. 2-3 and at BG on the 8th ... six of the next eight games then will be at home, with a Jan. 22-23 trip to the upper peninsula to face NMU and LSSU ... in addition to the MSU games, Notre Dame's final road tests will come at BG (Feb. 20) and Miami (March 5-6) ... the CCHA best two-of-three playoff series will be held March 12-14, at the sites of the top-four regular season finishers ... the CCHA semi's and finals again will be held in Detroit's Joe Louis Arena, March 19-20 ... the NCAA regionals will be held March 26-28 in Madison, Wis. and Worchester, Mass. while the NCAA semi's and finals will be April 1 and 3 at the Arrowhead Pond in Anaheim, Calif.

    NOTRE DAME-MICHIGAN PLAYOFF SERIES NOTES: Notre Dame made its first CCHA Tournament appearance since '95 ... the Irish tied with Lake Superior for 6th in the CCHA, after dropping a hard-fought, 1-0 game with Michigan on March 7 ... LSSU claimed the #6 seed due to a 2-0-1 head-to-head edge on the Irish ... no #7 or #8 seed ever has advanced to Joe Louis Arena for the CCHA semi-finals, since the event was moved to "The Joe" in '82 ...

    Michigan led for just 14 minutes of the series ... both teams scored eight goals in the series while both senior goaltenders came through in the clutch ... the teams also met in the regular-season finale (a 1-0 UM win at Notre Dame on March 7), with Notre Dame's Matt Eisler totaling 124 saves and allowing just nine goals in those four games (96 saves in the playoff series) ... UM's Marty Turco had 92 saves in the final four games vs. the Irish, including 57 in the playoffs ... Notre Dame ended an eight-game losing streak in the CCHA quarterfinals while posting its first postseason victory since 1982 ...

    The Irish ended a nine-game losing streak vs. Michigan and a 13-game losing streak vs. UM at Yost (on Friday the 13th, no less), stretching back to the 1982-83 opener ... Michigan saw an end to its 16-game winning streak in the CCHA quarterfinals ... Notre Dame defeated Michigan just for the second time in the last 29 games ... Notre Dame played four straight games vs. the same team for the first time since '79 (Wisconsin) ... UM's last four wins over the Irish have come by one goal ...

    ND's 12 goals at Yost in 1997-98 included nine by freshmen (three by Eaton, two by both Dolder and Dan Carlson and one by Matt Van Arkel) ... 1997-98 was the first season in the CCHA's 27-year history that both Bowling Green and Lake Superior failed to advance to the CCHA semi's ... Notre Dame's 4-2 win represented just the sixth time in 127 CCHA playoff games that a team seeded #7-#10 has upset a team seeded five-plus spots higher ... the last time UM played three consecutive days was at home in the 1991 NCAAs vs. Cornell (4-5, 6-4, 9-3) ... there were no penalties in the final 37 minutes of the second game ...

    The 79-minute second game was the 5th-longest in CCHA playoff history and longest in nine years, since Bowling Green won in '89 at Michigan (3-2) in the 83rd minute ... Michigan is 2-5 in CCHA playoff OT games while the Irish are 0-1 ... the opening victory gives the Irish a win over every CCHA team during the three-year tenure of head coach Dave Poulin ... after failing on 14 straight power-play chances vs. the Irish, Michigan converted on four of its final six ...

    Michigan is 17-2 at home in CCHA playoff games ... the Irish are 6-23-3 in conference postseason games (4-5 vs. Michigan), after 10 seasons in the WCHA ('71-'81) and eight in the CCHA ('81-'83, '92-present) ... the Irish have gone 3-10 in the CCHA 1st-round, in addition to advancing to the '82 title game.

    GAME 1 (4-2): Notre Dame received goals from several unlikely players while Matt Eisler made 30 saves-including a third-period penalty shot by CCHA leading scorer Bull Muckalt ... Eisler made 15 saves in the final period, including the pivotal stop of Muckalt's penalty shot (8:23) ... the righthanded Muckalt skated into the slot and faked to his backhand before sending a high shot towards the upper-right corner, with Eisler making the glove save to preserve the 4-1 lead ... the penalty shot was called after Mark Eaton covered the puck in the crease ...

    Eaton put the Irish on the broad at 5:25 mark of the 1st, with fellow freshman Dan Carlson picking up the assist on a pass from behind the net, near the bottom of the right circle ... Eaton was waiting between the circles and his low shot grazed the right post ... the Irish added a goal in the 2nd, when John Dwyer flicked home his seventh goal of the season on a high shot from the slot, off a pass from Lyle Andrusiak (1:44) ... freshman Ryan Dolder-playing for the first time in five games-pushed the Irish ahead, 3-0, on his second goal of the season ...

    Carlson took advantage of a turnover, skated between the circles and dropped a pass for Dolder, who beat Marty Turco with a high shot to the right glove side (15:49) ... the Irish took a 4-0 lead into the second intermission, when defenseman Nathan Borega scored his second goal of the season on a power-play shot from the top of the right circle ... Borega-returning from an arm injury that held him out for seven games-took a pass from Andrusiak and avoided a sliding UM player before sending a low shot through traffic inside the far-left post (18:47) ...

    Michigan owned a 17-6 shot advantage in the 3rd, scoring an odd-man-rush goal by Justin Clark (5:56) and a shorthanded score by Andrew Merrick (18:42).

    GAME 2 (1-2, OT): Bobby Hayes' goal 19 minutes into OT capped a wild game ... Notre Dame jumped ahead midway through the 1st, on the third shorthanded goal of the season by Carlson, but Michigan tied the game with seven seconds left in the 2nd, on a power-play goal by Muckalt ... the Wolverines dominated the 3rd and OT, outshooting the Irish 20-8 ... with the clock ticking under three minutes left in regulation, Notre Dame's Aniket Dhadphale found himself amidst a scramble at the top of the crease ...

    Dhadphale fired two open shots but Turco saved one while the other clanged off the crossbar ... Chris Fox and Dale Huntzicker set up the rebound shot by Hayes from the bottom of the left circle ... Hayes flicked the puck past Eisler and it glanced off Irish defenseman Benoit Cotnoir ... Eisler's 11 stops in OT included several tough kick saves ... Carlson took a pass from Steve Noble at 8:23 of the 1st, flicking a backhander past Turco into the right side ... UM gained the equalizer after a pass from Turco to John Langfeld, who was stationed at the far right point ... with the Irish in a line change, Langfeld moved the puck to Mark Kosick, whose pass set up Muckalt's goal in the slot over Eisler's left shoulder (19:53).

    GAME 3 (3-4): Notre Dame jumped out to a 2-0 lead only to see the Michigan rally behind three PPGs ... Scott Matzka's fourth goal of the season (5:55 of the 3rd) held up as the game-winner and gave Michigan its only sustained lead of the series ... Dale Rominski and Geoff Koch set up the score, with a pass from the right boards zipping through the slot and finding Matzka's stick on the endline, near the left boards ... Eisler dove back to his right as Matzka was firing the puck on net but it deflected off Eisler and went 90 degrees to the left for the decisive score ...

    Notre Dame jumped ahead with a 1st-period goal by Eaton, with the fourth line providing the assists ... Craig Hagkull emerged with the puck in the left and fed it to Jay Kopischke, who was stationed at the left side of the crease ... Kopischke slid the puck to his right for Eaton, who tapped the puck by Turco (2:00) ... the Irish stretched to 2-0 in the 2nd period, on Dhadphale's 25th goal ... Ben Simon worked the puck to Brian Urick, whose pass from the left corner skipped into the slot ... Turco came out in an attempt to clear the puck but Dhadphale knocked the puck into the right side of the net ...

    UM began its comeback three minutes later, on a goal by Mark Kosick ... Muckalt fed the puck to Greg Crozier, whose shot from the top of the left circle kicked off the far right post, with Kosick putting home the rebound (7:39) ... the Wolverines tied the game five minutes later on Bubba Berenzweig's power-play score, just his sixth goal of the season (12:18) ... Hayes won a right-side faceoff and Berenzweig emerged with the puck at the right endline ... Berenzweig skated toward the net before sending a tough-angle shot that inside the far left post ... UM's goal at 4:17 of the 3rd allowed the Wolverines to play with the lead for the first time in the series but the Irish re-tied the game 14 seconds later ... Langfeld gave UM the 3-2 lead, nudging home a pass from Muckalt ...

    Dolder answered 14 seconds later with his second goal of the series ... Simon set up the goal with a pass to Chad Chipchase, who sent a shot in transition from the left side ... the puck bounced into the air at the top of the crease, with Dolder deflecting it off his chest and knocking it into the open net. LOOKING AHEAD TO 1998-99: The Irish are set to return 24 of 27 players, a group which accounted for 87% of the 1997-98 goals (116/127), 85% of the assists (169/198) and 85% of the points (276/325) ... the .176 power-play unit is set to return 92% of its power-play goals (36/39) while the .843 penalty-killing unit will benefit from the return of all eight defenseman (returnees accounted for all nine shorthanded goals) ... backup goaltender Forrest Karr (6-3-1, 2.85, .875) also is set to return from an Irish defense that set school records for team GAA (2.74) and save pct. (.899) while posting the best Irish penalty-killing pct. (.843) since 1975.

    1997-98 TEAM NOTES: Notre Dame's 6th-place CCHA finish was its highest in the nine conference seasons, since Dave Poulin captained Notre Dame to 4th place in the '81-'82 CCHA season (15-13-2) ... the Irish played back-to-back games 18 times, posting a better result in 11 of the ensuing games ...

    Notre Dame won five CCHA series and was 6-6-0 vs. the top-four teams ... the Irish won 12 road games in 10 buildings, including the National Hockey Center (St. Cloud), Munn Ice Arena (MSU), Dane County Coliseum (Wisconsin) and Yost Ice Arena (Michigan) ... Notre Dame improved 15 points in the CCHA standings, the 9th-best turnaround in CCHA history (6-20-1 in '96-'97) ... key improvements came in shot margin (+7.8/gm), power-play pct. (+4.9%), 1st-period scoring (+10, -13 last season) and record in 1-goal games (6-10, 3-12 last season) ... PPGs provided the margin in six Irish wins and helped forge two ties ...

    Notre Dame was 12-11-0 away from home (3.4 gls/gm), 6-8-4 at home (2.7 gls/gm) ... the Irish were tied with Michigan and Boston College as the third-youngest team in Div. I hockey ... the 18 skaters included as many as seven freshmen, six sophomores ... the Irish were outscored 31-11 in the 3rd period of their losses ...

    Notre Dame matched BC with the most '97 NHL draft picks (four): Ben Simon (5th rd, Chicago), Joe Dusbabek (7th, San Jose), Jay Kopischke (8th, L.A.) and Ryan Clark (9th, N.Y. Islanders) ... the Irish had seven total draft picks (2nd to Michigan's nine in the CCHA), the others being Steve Noble (St. Louis), Brian Urick (Edmonton) and Aniket Dhadphale (San Jose).

    '97-'98 OFFENSE NOTES: Notre Dame totaled 39 power-play goals--4th in the CCHA--while allowing three opponent SHGs (tied with Michigan and Ferris State for fewest in the CCHA), for a "+36 PP ratio that ranked behind only Michigan (+51), MSU (+47) and OSU (+37) ... freshmen combined for 28% of the points (38-53) ... Mark Eaton had 19 points in the last 16 games ... Eaton's 26 points (9-17) in CCHA games tied for 18th among all CCHA players, 3rd among all freshmen, 2nd among all defensemen ... his linemate, junior Benoit Cotnoir, finished 4th among CCHA defensemen for conference scoring (9-15) ...

    Cotnoir's 19 overall PP points (4-15) ranked 7th among all CCHA players, 1st among defensemen ... Steve Noble played in 148 of 149 career games and the last 75 ... top scorers: soph. C Ben Simon (9-28), jr. LW Aniket Dhadphale (25-10), jr. RW Brian Urick (16-18), Cotnoir (10-19), Eaton (12-17) and fr. LW Dan Carlson (11-17) ... Notre Dame had five players with 24-27 CCHA points: Simon (5-22), Dhadphale (18-8), Eaton (9-17), Urick (11-14) and Cotnoir (9-15) ...

    Dhadphale was the CCHA's 5th-leading goal scorer and ranked 5th in the nation with 12 PPGs ... nine of Notre Dame's 11 regular veterans posted career scoring highs: Dhadphale, Urick, Noble (8-17), Simon, Cotnoir, sr. C Lyle Andrusiak (8-16), soph. RW John Dwyer (7-4), soph. D Tyson Fraser (1-13) and soph. D Sean Molina (0-6) ... the Irish owned a 51-35 scoring edge in the 2nd period and were 11-4 when playing with a 1st-intermission lead.

    '97-'98 DEFENSE NOTES: Mark Eaton (12-17) and linemate Benoit Cotnoir (10-19) became the first Irish defensemen with 10 goals since '90 (Dan Sawyer) and the first with over 27 points since '88 ... Eaton and Cotnoir became the 3rd pair of Irish defensemen with 10-plus goals in the same season and first since Jack Brownschidle (13-31) and Paul Clark (11-26) in '76-'77 ... the last pair of Irish defensemen with 29-plus points was John Schmidt (7-34) and Joe Bowie (7-24) in '81-'82 ... Eaton's 12 goals are 7th-most ever by an Irish defenseman and most since Bob Thebeau's 15 in '85-'86 ...

    Sophomore Tyson Fraser (back) missed the final 12 games while his linemate and classmate Nathan Borega (arm) returned for the postseason, after missing the previous seven games ... the Irish defense allowed just six goals in the last four regular-season games and 21 in the last nine (2.33/gm), including four games with one goal allowed ... Matt Eisler had 290 saves and just 24 goals allowed in his last 11 games for a .924 save pct. ...

    Eisler's 2.70 season GAA and .905 save pct. both rank 2nd in Notre Dame history ... Eisler left Notre Dame ranked 1st in career GAA (3.66), 2nd in saves (2,892) and minutes (6,276:30), 3rd in save pct. (.883) and 4th in wins (35) ... the Irish ranked 8th in the nation and 4th in the CCHA for scoring defense (2.74/gm) ... Notre Dame was the CCHA's least-penalized team (6.37/gm) for the 2nd-straight season, allowing a CCHA-low 4.05 opponent PPs/gm ... the Irish set team records for GAA (2.74) and save pct. (.898) while the team's penalty killing is best at Notre Dame since '70 ... the Irish ranked 3rd in penalty-kill ratio (-17, 9 SHGs/26 PPGs allowed), behind LSSU's "-11 (12/23), MSU's -16 (3/19).

    WHAT A DIFFERENCE A YEAR MAKES: Notre Dame improved 15 points in the CCHA, ranking among the top-10 turnarounds in the conference's 27-year history and top-six turnarounds in the '90s ... the all-time best jump came from the '95-'96 WMU team (21-6-3), a 23-point improvement from the previous season (9-14-4) ... Notre Dame and OSU (+17) became the second pair of CCHA teams to improve 15-plus points in the same season, joining the '84-'85 Illinois-Chicago and Lake Superior squads.

    HOME IMPROVEMENT: Notre Dame finished strong at home, going 3-2-1 in its last six home games (19-11 scoring edge), after going just 3-6-3 in the first 12 (when the Irish were outscored 39-31).

    30-SOMETHING: Notre Dame's second line for the final last eight games--jr. LW Aniket Dhadphale (25-10), soph. C Ben Simon (9-28) and jr. RW Brian Urick (16-18)--comprised the program's first threesome of 30-point scorers since the '92-'93 grouping of Jamie Ling (14-26), Dave Banoske (14-16) and Curtis Janicke (12-18) ... Dhadphale (43-33), Simon (13-43) and Urick (41-45) have combined for 218 career points in 287 games ... Notre Dame came close to having four 30-point scorers for the first time since 1991 and five for the first time since '88, as jr. D Benoit Cotnoir (10-19) and fr. D Mark Eaton (12-17) finished just shy of 30 points.

    A SEASON OF FIRSTS: 1997-98 produced several milestones: the first road series sweep (4-3, 4-1 at St. Cloud) of a WCHA or CCHA team since '81-'82 (5-4, 6-0 at FSU) ... first CCHA season sweep (NMU) since '94-'95 (4-3, 5-1, 4-3 vs. OSU) ... highest conference finish (6th) since '82 (4th in CCHA) ... first postseason appearance since '95 (at BG) ... first trio of 30-point scorers (Simon, Dhadphale, Urick) since '93 (Jamie Ling, Dave Banoske, Curtis Janicke) ... first pair of defenseman with 10 goals (Eaton, Cotnoir) since '77 (Jack Brownschidle, Paul Clarke) ... equaled the most wins since '88 (27) ... most road wins (12) since '80 (13) ... best goal differential (+0.20) since '88 (+3.27) ... best team GAA (2.74) and save pct. (.898) in team history ... best penalty killing (.843) since '70 (.861) ... fewest penalties (6.37/gm) since '88 (6.36) ... most goals by a player (Dhadphale, 25) since '90 (Banoske, 28) ... best player GAA (Matt Eisler, 2.70) since '69 (John Barry, 2.00) ... and best save pct. (Eisler, .905) since '71 (Mark Kronholm, .907).

    DISCIPLINED D.: After ranking among the CCHA's most-penalized teams in '94-'95 (11.59 penalties/gm) and '95-'96 (11.33), Notre Dame became the conference's least-penalized squad in '96-'97 (8.69/gm) ... the Irish again were the CCHA's least-penalized squad in '97-'98 (6.37) while posting a 2.74 GAA that blew away the previous Irish record (3.40, in '87-'88) ... the Irish allowed just 26 opponent PPGs, 3rd-fewest in the CCHA, and 4.05 opponent PP chances per game (lowest in the CCHA) ...

    Notre Dame totaled four or fewer penalties in 15 games ... hard-hitting sophomore D Nathan Borega had just 16 penalties (seven in his final 22 games) and has less than one per game in his career (47 in 67 games) ... other disciplined skaters: senior C Steve Noble (10 penalties in '97-'98, 26 in his final 71 games), sophomore D Tyson Fraser (seven, 23 in 57 career gms), sophomore D Sean Molina (4, two in final 32), freshman D Ryan Clark (11) and freshman D Mark Eaton (16) ... junior RW Brian Urick struggled with penalties his first two seasons (58 in 70 gms) but had just 16 in '97-'98.

    THIRD PERIOD KEY: Third-period production was crucial in 1997-98 ... Notre Dame was outscored 49-37 in the final 20:00, but the Irish outscored the opposition 22-13 in the third period of their 18 wins ... in Notre Dame's 19 losses, the opposition owned a 31-11 3rd-period edge.

    YOUNG GUNS: The '96-'97 Notre Dame hockey team was second-youngest in Division I, with an average age of 19 years and 11 months on Nov. 1, 1996 ... the Irish remained young in '97-'98, with an average age of 20 years and two months as of 10/28/97, according to NHL Central Scouting, which lists Harvard (19, 7) and Boston University (20, 0) as the youngest teams in the nation while Notre Dame is tied with Boston College and Michigan as having the third-lowest average age in Division I hockey ... more than half (14) of the players on Notre Dame's 27-man roster began their careers with the Irish immediately following graduation from high school.

    ROAD WARRIORS: Notre Dame was 12-11-0 away from home, losing twice in the final minutes and six times by one goal ... the Irish scored three-plus goals in 17 road games but just eight home games ... Notre Dame averaged 9.1 shots per goal on the road and 11.5 at home.

    SPECIAL IMPROVEMENT: Notre Dame's season power-play (.167/39-for-221) was up considerably from the previous season (.127) and ranked 5th in the CCHA ... PPGs provided the margin of victory in six wins (compared top two the previous year) ... Notre Dame's penalty kill scored one goal for every 2.9 it allowed (9 SHGs, 26 opp. PPGs)

    Central Collegiate Hockey Association Standings TEAM (overall record) W L T PTS GF GA PEN Power Play Penalty-Kill. 1. Michigan State (33-6-5) 21 5 4 46 156 76 345 (1) 23.3% (1) 90.2% 2. Michigan (34-11-1) 22 7 1 45 163 108 394 (3) 20.2% (4) 84.5% 3. Ohio State (27-13-2) 19 10 1 39 149 103 415 (5) 17.6% (3) 86.6% 4. No. Michigan (19-15-4) 15 12 3 33 130 117 396 (11) 13.2% (8) 81.7% 5. Miami University (19-14-4) 14 12 4 32 134 114 292 (2) 20.7% (6) 82.4% 6. Lake Superior (15-18-4) 12 14 4 28 104 121 396 (10) 13.4% (2) 89.7% Notre Dame (18-19-4) 12 14 4 28 127 115 261 (4) 17.6% (5) 84.3% 8. Ferris State (15-21-3) 12 15 3 27 119 138 396 (7) 15.7% (10) 80.2% 9. Western Michigan (10-25-3) 9 19 2 20 94 125 405 (9) 13.7% (7) 81.8% 10. Alaska Fairbanks (10-21-4) 7 20 3 17 110 154 370 (6) 16.0% 11) 77.3% 11. Bowling Green (8-27-3) 5 21 3 15 100 157 360 (8) 14.4% (9) 80.4%

    US College Hockey Online Coaches Poll (3/23)

    1. Michigan State (28; 31-5-5) 298 2. North Dakota (2; 30-7-1) 270 3. Boston College (26-8-5) 231 4. Boston University (10; 28-7-2) 209 5. Michigan (29-11-1) 164 6. Ohio State (25-12-2) 155 7. Wisconsin (26-13-1) 112 8. Clarkson (23-8-3) 90 9. Colorado College (25-12-3) 52 10. Yale (23-8-3) 36 Others receiving votes: New Hampshire (29), Princeton (4). NOTRE DAME HOCKEY - making strides (all improvements indicated by "+", italics = area of non-improvement)

    1996-97 1997-98 Change Wins 9-25-1 18-19-4 +9 Winning pct. 27.1% 48.8% +21.7% One-goal games 15 (3-12/.200) 15 (6-10/.375) +.175 Goals per game 2.63 3.10 +0.47 Shots per game 27.2 30.8 +3.6 Shooting pct. 9.7% 10.1% +0.4% Opponent shots/gm 31.8 27.6 +4.2 Shot margin -4.6 +3.2 +7.8 Power-play pct. 12.7% 17.6% +4.9% Power-play goals/gm 0.66 (23) 0.95 (39) +0.29 Shorthanded goals/gm 0.06 (2) 0.22 (9) +0.16 Penalties per game 8.69 6.37 +2.32 Penalty-killing pct. 81.3% 84.3% +3.0% Goals-against-avg. 3.73 2.74 +0.99 Save pct. 88.2% 89.8% +1.6% Goal margin -1.11 0.29 +1.40 S'handed goals allowed/gm 0.23 (7) 0.07 (3) +0.16 1st period goals/gm 0.66 (23) 0.90 (37) +0.24 1st period goal margin -0.46 (23-39) +0.24 (37-27) +0.70 3rd period goals/gm 0.94 (33) 0.90 (37) -0.04 3rd period goal margin -0.26 (33-42) -0.29 (37-49) -0.03 Ahead at 1st int. 4-5-0 (.444) 11-4-1 (.719) +.275 Ahead at 2nd int. 6-2-0 (.750) 16-5-2 (.739) -.011

    FINAL CHECKUP: The Irish can point to many trends that showed progress from '96-'97 ... Notre Dame improved in most of the above 23 categories, including a winning pct. (.488) nearly double the previous season (.271) ... the most significant offensive improvements came in goals per game (up 0.47), shot margin (up +7.8/gm) and power-play (up 4.9%) ... defensive improvements included the 84.3 pct. penalty-killing unit (up 3.0%), a 2.74 GAA (0.99 better than last season), an 89.8 save pct. (up 1.6) and just 6.37 penalties/gm (2.32 fewer than in '96-'97) ... Notre Dame had more than four times as many shorthanded goals (9) than in all of 1996-97 (2) and owned a 37-27 first-period scoring edge (the opponents outscored the Irish 39-23 in the 1st period in '96-'97) ... the Irish were 6-10 in one-goal games (3-12 the previous year) and 11-4-1 when leading at the 1st intermission (4-5-0 in 1996-97) ... the 3rd period yielded the only negatives, as the Irish were outscored 49-37 and were just 16-5-2 with a 2nd-intermission lead.


     
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