Oct. 4, 2013
Notre Dame, Ind. - It's time for hockey at Notre Dame!
The 2013-14 Notre Dame hockey team will take the ice on Saturday, Oct. 5 as they begin their official practices on the NCAA's common start date. The Irish will take to the ice twice on Saturday with their coaches as they begin preparations for the start of the new season.
The team will hit the Compton Family Ice Arena ice at 9:00 a.m. and will practice until 10:50 a.m. They will return to the ice at 4:00 p.m. for the second practice of the day that will run until 5:50 p.m. Both practices are open to the public at the Compton Family Ice Arena.
Coach Jeff Jackson and his staff will get their first chance to see the 2013-14 team in action the following day as the Irish face off at 5:05 p.m. against the University of Guelph Gryphons on Sunday, Oct. 6 in the lone preseason game before the start of the regular campaign.
The Gryphs, based in Guelph, Ont., play in the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) where they finished fourth in the Western Division last season with a 17-9-2 record. In the postseason, Guelph won its quarterfinal series against Wilfrid Laurier, two games to one, before falling in the semifinals to the University of Windsor, two games to none.
Coach Shawn Camp's team has already played one exhibition game - a Sept. 13 tilt versus Western Ontario - a game that Western won by a 4-2 margin. The Gryphons will play one other exhibition game against an NCAA Division I team when they travel to Erie, Pa., on Tues., Oct. 8 to face Mercyhurst.
The University of Guelph is led by first team OUA West all-star defenseman Ken Peroff who had three goals and 10 assists for 13 points last season. The top returning scorers are center Niklas Huard, who had 14 goals and 18 assists for 32 points in 31 games, and right wing James Merritt who had 24 points on seven goals and 17 assists a year ago.
In goal, the lone returnee is fourth-year player Andrew Loverock who played in 18 games last season, going 9-8-0 with a 2.65 goals-against average and a .911 save percentage with one shutout.
Notre Dame has faced Guelph twice in its hockey history. In 1996, the Gryphons took a 2-1 overtime win at the Joyce Center. In the last meeting, Oct. 3, 2010, the Irish took a 5-3 win at the Joyce Center with current seniors - David Gerths, Mike Voran and Jeff Costello - getting goals in the victory. Anders Lee and Calle Ridderwall `11 also scored for Notre Dame while T.J. Tynan picked up three assists in his first game for the Irish.
Jackson welcomes a veteran team to the ice this season as his squad includes 10 seniors and six juniors. There are five sophomores and five freshmen on the roster.
The Irish return five of their top six scorers in Bryan Rust (15-19-34), Jeff Costello (11-19-30), T.J. Tynan (10-18-28), Mario Lucia (12-11-23) and Robbie Russo (5-18-23) but will have to fill the 20 goals and 18 assists from Anders Lee that will be missing this season as he turned pro with the New York Islanders at the end of last season.
Notre Dame has a strong, veteran group on defense that is made up of three seniors and two juniors. Stephen Johns, Kevin Lind and Shayne Taker lead the senior trio while Eric Johnson and Russo make up the junior group. Johns, Lind and Taker have been three-year regulars during their careers and Russo has played every game in his two seasons.
In goal, senior Steven Summerhays will carry the load as he did last season when he led all CCHA goaltenders with 21 wins on the way to a 21-12-2 record with a 2.01 goals against average and a .919 save percentage with four shutouts. He will be backed up by senior Joe Rogers and incoming freshman Chad Katunar.
Joining Katunar (Victoria, B.C.) in the freshman class this season are center Vince Hinostroza (Bartlett, Ill.), left wing Ali Thomas (New York, N.Y.) and defensemen Ben Ostlie (Edina, Minn.) and Justin Wade (Aurora, Ill.).
Following the game with Guelph, Notre Dame opens the regular season at 8:05 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 11 at the Compton Family Ice Arena versus the Western Michigan Broncos. The second game of that series will be played at 7:05 p.m. on Oct. 12 at Lawson Arena in Kalamazoo, Mich.