October 8, 1998
The Notre Dame hockey team will open Central Collegiate Hockey Association play on Friday night, Oct. 9 versus Lake Superior State at the Joyce Center Fieldhouse. The game will be televised by Fox Sports Detroit, with the first faceoff set for 7:06 p.m. (central time).
The Irish (1-0-0), coming off a hard-fought 2-1 victory last week at #10 Wisconsin, were picked fourth (tied with Northern Michigan) in the CCHA preseason coaches poll while the CCHA media members tabbed the Irish fifth in their preseason poll. The first national poll by U.S College Hockey Online (Oct. 5) saw the Irish receive the 17th-most votes in the nation, with five 1998-99 Irish opponents occupying the top five spots: Boston College, Michigan, North Dakota, Ohio State and Michigan State. Wisconsin checked in at 10th in the USCHO poll while two other Irish opponentsNortheastern and Northern Michiganalso received votes in the preseason poll.
Notre Dame returns 22 of 27 players from its 1997-98 team that finished 18-19-4 overall and tied with Lake Superior for sixth in the CCHA. The returners include five of the top six scorers, led by the top three scorers from 97-98: junior center Ben Simon (9G-29A), senior LW Aniket Dhadphale (25G-10A) and senior RW Brian Urick (16G-18A). The 20 returning skaters accounted for 80 percent of the teams goals last season (99 of 127) and 76 percent of the points (247 of 325). The Irish also return eight of nine defensemenled by senior Benoit Cotnoir (10G-19A), plus senior goaltender Forrest Karr, who went 6-3-1 with a 2.88 goals-against average as a junior while backing up 98 graduate Matt Eisler.
Urick will serve as the Irish team captain in 1998-99, after serving as an alternate captain last season, while Cotnoir and Dhadphale have been selected by their teammates as the 1998-99 alternate captains.
Broadcast availability of Fridays Notre Dame-Lake Superior game is determined by local affiliates (Fox Sports Chicago has announced that it will not air the game, live or tape-delayed).
In the fall of 97, the Central Collegiate Hockey Association coaches correctly predicted the finish of Michigan State (1st) and Notre Dame (7th) while the CCHA media poll forecasted the top two finishers as Michigan State and Michigan. Heading into 98-99, Michigan has been selected as the team to beat by both polls. The Wolverines received seven first-place votes from the coaches and 117 points, followed by Ohio State (three first-place, 108 points) and Michigan State (one first-place, 104).
Notre Dame and Northern Michigan are tied for fourth in the coaches poll with 79 points, marking the highest position in the preseason poll for the Irish since they rejoined the CCHA in 1992-93. The coaches also predicted that Ferris State, Miami and Bowling Green would be among the eight teams to qualify for the CCHA postseason, with Lake Superior, Western Michigan and Alaska Fairbanks rounding out the poll.
The poll of 28 media members listed the same order for the top five spots, with Northern Michigan (194) edging Notre Dame by five points. The voting was closer for the top spot, as Michigan received 13 first-place votes and 289 points to Michigan States 11 and 285. The remainder of the media poll included sixth-place Miami, Lake Superior, Ferris State, Bowling Green, Western Michigan and Alaska Fairbanks.
The Central Collegiate Hockey Association has reached agreements with Fox Sports Detroit and the Comcast Television Network for the 1998-99 season that will bring more than 29 CCHA games to college hockey fans throughout the Midwest and, potentially, the nation.
Fox Sports Detroit, which reaches 2.3 million homes in Michigan and Northwest Ohio, will broadcast 20 games beginning with the Lake Superior at Notre Dame matchup on October 6. The schedule is highlighted by complete coverage of the Great Lakes Invitational and four CCHA Tournament games, including the CCHA Championship from Joe Louis Arena in Detroit. The package will be made available to Fox affiliates throughout the nation.
Comcast Network Television leads a consortium of companies that will broadcast at least nine CCHA games to one million viewers in Michigan and Ohio, with other markets potentially to be added. The deal kicks off with the Lake Superior at Western Michigan matchup on Nov. 6 and is scheduled to include three Notre Dame games: at Michigan on Nov. 21, versus Ferris State at Grand Rapids Van Andel Arena on Nov. 24, and at home versus Alaska Fairbanks on Jan. 16.
In addition to game coverage, CNTV will produce a weekly half-hour, magazine-style television show that will provide in-depth coverage of the league, including highlights, profiles and CCHA insider commentary.
Local independent WHME-TV 46 again will air a Notre Dame hockey game in 1998-99, as the station is scheduled to televise the Notre Dame-Michigan game on Jan. 30 at the Joyce Center.
CCHA COACHES POLL
Team (1st-pl. votes) Pts 1. Michigan (7) 117 2. Ohio State (3) 108 3. Michigan State (1) 104 4. Northern Michigan 79 Notre Dame 79 6. Ferris State 64 7. Miami 49 8. Bowling Green 45 9. Lake Superior 42 10. Western Michigan 24 11. Alaska Fairbanks 15CCHA MEDIA POLL
Team Pts 1. Michigan 287 2. Ohio State 285 3. Michigan State 258 4. Northern Michigan 194 5. Notre Dame 189 6. Miami 153 7. Lake Superior 130 8. Ferris State 126 9. Bowling Green 94 10. Western Michigan 78 11. Alaska Fairbanks 52U.S. COLLEGE HOCKEY ONLINE POLL (10/5)
Team (1st-pl. votes) Pts 1. Boston College (6) 257 2. Michigan (11) 246 3. North Dakota (10) 243 4. Ohio State (2) 202 5. Michigan State 138 6. Colorado College (1) 135 7. Clarkson 106 8. Maine 81 9. Boston University 72 10. Wisconsin 51
Others Receiving Votes: New Hampshire 48, Princeton 29, Minnesota 17, Yale 6, Providence 5, Harvard 4, Notre Dame 4, Northeastern 2, N. Michigan 2, St. Cloud State 1.