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    Notre Dame Ice Hockey at Home for Lake Superior

    Irish home opener tonight against CCHA foe at the Joyce Center.

    October 9, 1998

    Lake Superior and Western Michigan to visit the Joyce Center
    Irish look to build on big opening win over Wisconsin
    Bulk of team returns for promising 1998-99 season
    Irish picked fourth in preseason CCHA coaches poll

    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 (check local listings for availability on Fox affiliates).

    THE PRESEASON POLLS: 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 opponents-Northeastern and Northern Michigan-also received votes in the preseason poll ... in the fall of '97, the CCHA 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 were 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 State's 11 and 285. The remainder of the media poll included sixth-place Miami, Lake Superior, Ferris State, Bowling Green, Western Michigan and Alaska Fairbanks.

    BACK IN FORCE: 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 team's goals last season (99 of 127) and 76 percent of the points (247 of 325) ... the Irish also return eight of nine defensemen-led 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.

    SENIORS FILL CAPTAIN ROLES: Senior RW Brian Urick (Minnetonka, Minn.) will serve as the Irish team captain in 1998-99, after serving as an alternate captain last season, while senior D Benoit Cotnoir (Rouyn-Noranda, Quebec) and senior LW Aniket Dhadphale (Marquette, Mich.) have been selected by their teammates as the 1998-99 alternate captains.

    IRISH LOOK TO EXTEND HOME IMPROVEMENT: After a slow start at the Joyce Center, Notre Dame finished strong at home in 1997-98, going 3-2-1 in its final six home games (19-11 scoring edge), after going just 3-6-3 in the first 12 (when the Irish were outscored 39-31).

    INJURY REPORT: Junior D Nathan Borega remains out indefinitely due to a leg injury that held him out of the opener versus Wisconsin.

    IRISH DUE FOR LAST-MINUTE WIN: The Notre Dame hockey team is long overdue to score a game-winning goal in the last minute, as the Irish are 0-11 since the 1991-92 season in games that have seen the game-winner scored in the final minute of regulation or overtime ... the last time the Irish pulled out a last-minute win was on Feb. 14, 1992, when Matt Osiecki scored with 55 seconds left in overtime for a 6-5 win at Kent State ... Irish head coach Dave Poulin has seen his first three Notre Dame teams suffer six tough last-minute losses: 4-3 vs. Bowling Green on Feb. 10, 1996 (goal by Curtis Fry with 0:51 left in OT); 4-3 at Miami on Nov. 23, 1996 (goal by Dustin Whitecotton with 0:40 left in regulation); 4-3 at Michigan State on Dec. 6, 1997 (goal by Mark Loeding with 0:54 left in regulation); 3-2 at Princeton on Dec. 29, 1996 (goal by Scott Bertoli with 0:19 left in OT); 5-4 at Miami on Nov. 15, 1997 (goal by Adam Copeland with 0:20 left in regulation); and 2-1 at Michigan in March 14, 1998 CCHA playoff game (goal by Bobby Hayes at 19:00 mark of overtime).

    GETTING COMPETITIVE: Notre Dame finished the 1997-98 season by going 4-4-0 in its final eight games vs. CCHA teams (four games versus second-place Michigan, three versus third-place Northern Michigan and one at sixth-place Lake Superior) ... that stretch included a three-game sweep of NMU (4-3, 3-1, 5-2), an overtime loss at Lake Superior (2-1), a 4-2 win over Michigan and three one-goal losses to Michigan (1-0, 2-1 in OT and 4-3) ... the Irish held a 21-17 overall scoring edge in those games, allowing just 2.1 goals per game in those eight games.

    CAN WE BEAT THESE GUYS?: Notre Dame has failed to beat Lake Superior in the last eight games of the series (0-7-1), stretching back to a 6-3 home win on Nov. 24, 1995 during Dave Poulin's first season as head coach ... since that time, the Irish have defeated every CCHA team but the Lakers.

    THE ND-LSSU SERIES: Lake Superior owns a 17-5-1 series edge vs. Notre Dame, including a 7-0-1 mark in the last eight meetings.

    RECAPPING LAST YEAR'S SERIES:
    * Lake Superior 4, at Notre Dame 3 11/28/97
    Notre Dame jumped ahead 2-0 in the second period, behind the first goals of the season from Tyson Fraser and Nathan Borega ... the Lakers responded 44 seconds later on a goal by Mike Vigilante and tied the game early in the third period on a Joe Blaznek score before going ahead five minutes later on Terry Marchant's goal ... LSSU sealed the win with a goal at 17:16 of the third period ... the teams combined for 56 penalty minutes (including 32 by the Irish).

    * Lake Superior 3, at Notre Dame 3 11/29/97
    The Lakers forced overtime on Jason Sessa' goal with 1:28 left to play ... LSSU claimed a 2-0 lead on goals by Terry Marchant (a power-play score late in the first) and Sessa (a 4-on-4 goal midway through the second) ... the Irish tied the game on a pair of Aniket Dhadphale goals, late in the second and at 6:01 of the third, before Brian Urick tipped in a Benoit Cotnoir shot for a 3-2 lead with 10:42 left to play ... the Irish were 0-for-9 on the power play ... Dhadphale and Mark Eaton clanged OT shots off the pipe while Forrest Karr robbed Marchant in OT.

    * at Lake Superior 2, Notre Dame 1 2/21/98 The Lakers claimed the win early in OT, when Ted Laviolette took a pass from Ben Keup and beat Matt Eisler with a screened slapshot ... the Irish scored a 5-on-3 goal midway through the second, when Dan Carlson pounced on a deflected Benoit Cotnoir shot ... the Lakers responded minutes later, when Mike Kucsulain converted an Irish turnover with a backhanded shot past Matt Eisler.

    LAKERS NOTES: LSSU returns 18 of 25 letterwinners from its 1997-98 team that went 15-18-4 and tied with Notre Dame for sixth in the CCHA (12-14-4) ... the Lakers lost in the CCHA playoffs at Ohio State (1-2, 0-6) ... LSSU lost five of its top forwards from last season, including senior-to-be Jason Sessa (16G-13A in '97-'98), who signed with the Toronto Maple Leafs, and second team all-CCHA center Terry Marchant (17G-22 A in '97-'98) ... one of LSSU's top returning scorers, junior C Ben Keup (8G-7A in '97-'98), is expected to miss tonight's game due to a shoulder injury ... sophomore F Mike Vigilante (3G-3A last season) also is sidelined due to illness ...sophomore G Rob Galatiuk went 10-9-4 last season, with a 3.03 goals-against average and .893 save percentage ... the Lakers defeated Windsor last week in an exhibition, 3-2, behind goals from Jeff Cheeseman, Trent Walford and Tobin Praznik (Galatiuk had eight saves in 33 minutes, Jayme Platt 10 in 27 minutes).

    FRIEND OR FOE?, PART I: Notre Dame junior D Nathan Borega played with LSSU junior D Blain Macauley and junior RW Jeff Cheeseman on the Vernon Vipers ... Irish sophomore LW Jay Kopischke played with Lakers sophomore W Lionel Crump on the North Iowa Huskies ... Notre Dame freshman C Brett Henning and LSSU freshman D Will Magnuson spent the past year as teammates with the USA under-18 national team program.

    THE ND-WMU SERIES: Western Michigan owns a 25-11-2 series edge vs. Notre Dame (14-5-1 since the Irish rejoined the CCHA in 1992) ... the series is even (5-5-1) since the Irish rejoined the CCHA.

    RECAPPING LAST YEAR'S SERIES: * Notre Dame 2, at Western Michigan 1 12/5/97
    Notre Dame allowed a season-low 12 shots while ending a 12-game losing streak vs. WMU at Lawson Arena ... a 4-on-4 situation led to both Irish goals, early in the first, as Matt Van Arkel scored on a deflected Benoit Cotnoir shot before Mark Eaton set up Dan Carlson's breakaway 21 seconds later ... WMU scored its lone goal in the second, when Brett Mills put a rebound shot over the shoulder of Forrest Karr.

    * at Notre Dame 4, Western Michigan 2 12/6/97
    The Irish got on the board on Dan Carlson's early breakaway but WMU tied the game five minutes later on Mike Melas' breakaway ... the Irish took the lead for good with two goals late in the first,. on Brian Urick's rebound goal and a Benoit Cotnoir slapshot ... WMU closed the gap late in the second, on Chuck Mindel's rebound goal, but the Irish iced the win on Steve Noble's goal in the closing minutes.

    * at Western Michigan 5 , Notre Dame 3 2/14/98
    Jay McCabe and David Gove scored twice while Chris Peck made 26 saves for his first career win ... the Irish were 0-for-6 on the power play while Forrest Karr was pulled in the third after giving up his fifth goal (Kyle Kolquist played the final 10 minutes) ... Jeff Rucinski netted the other WMU goal, banking the puck off Karr after skating past the net on a breakaway ... late Irish goals by Lyle Andrusiak and John Dwyer made the score respectable.

    BRONCOS NOTES: Western Michigan returns 16 of 23 letterwinners from its 1997-98 team that went 10-25-3 overall and finished ninth in the CCHA (9-19-2) ... the Broncos suffered a CCHA-record 18-game losing streak last season while missing the CCHA playoffs for the first time in 14 seasons ... WMU lost its top four scorers from a '97-'98 squad that averaged just 2.45 goals per game ... senior G Matt Barnes posted a 3.01 GAA and a .897 save pct. in '97-'98 ... WMU lost an exhibition last week to Wilfrid Laurier (3-1), with Derek McKinlay scoring for WMU and Jeff Reynaert making 16 saves.

    FRIEND OR FOE?, PART II: Notre Dame senior LW Aniket Dhadphale played with WMU senior G Matt Barnes on the Stratford Cullitons ... Notre Dame junior D Nathan Borega and WMU junior RW Caley Jones played on the Vernon Vipers ... Notre Dame junior D Sean Molina is a former Dubuque Saints teammate of WMU junior LW Matt Addessa ... another Irish junior D, Sean Seyferth, played with WMU junior LW Jeff Wojcik on the Compuware Ambassadors ... Notre Dame sophomore D Ryan Clark and WMU sophomore C Chad Kline were teammates on the Lincoln Stars ... Irish junior RW John Dwyer could face former Dubuque Saints teammates Addessa and senior D Geoff Collard.

    IRISH OPEN WITH 2-1 WIN AT WISCONSIN: Ryan Dolder and Aniket Dhadphale made the timely goals while local product Forrest Karr had 30 saves as Notre Dame emerged with a 2-1 win on Oct. 3 in front of 13,398 fans at Wisconsin's dedication game for The Kohl Center ... Wisconsin lost despite holding a 31-18 shot advantage ... Karr's 30 saves equal his career best in a winning effort while extending his road record to 6-1-0 over the past two seasons ... the Irish defense stopped all four Wisconsin power-play chances, despite the absence of injured junior D Nathan Borega ... Dolder had just one goal in the '97-'98 regular season before adding two in the playoff series at Michigan... he opened the scoring vs. Wisconsin after forcing a first-period turnover in the Wisconsin zone and slanting in from the right before tucking a shot over the shoulder of Badgers sophomore G Graham Melanson into the upper right corner (7:07) ... Wisconsin gained the equalizer at the exact same time in the second period as Dolder had scored in the first, when Dan Bjornlie deposited a low shot from between the circles ... less than three minutes later, Ben Simon skated loose onto a puck at the top of the circles and quickly wristed a shot on net ... Melanson deflected the puck to his right, but Dhadphale was waiting at the edge of the crease and scooped a shot past the Badger goalie for the 44th goal of his career (9:33) ... the game featured the return of junior RW Joe Dusbabek and junior D Tyson Fraser, who had missed the final 16 and 12 games, respectively, of '97-'98 ... the Kohl Center festivities included the introduction of all former Wisconsin players in attendance, among them 14th-year Notre Dame assistant coach Tom Carroll, an '84 Wisconsin graduate and member of the Badgers' NCAA title teams in '81 and '83.

    CCHA TV DEALS: The CCHA 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 9 ... 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.

    IRISH WELCOME NEWCOMERS: 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 1998 spring signing period ... Henning and Kimento join two fall signees--defenseman Sam Cornelius (Edina, Minn.) and center David Inman (Toronto, Ont.)--to form a small but talented incoming class of scholarship players.

    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 assistant coach with the Islanders from '80-'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.

    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.

    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.

    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.

    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 USHL's Omaha Lancers perennially drawing crowds in excess of 5,000 fans ... current Notre Dame junior defenseman Andy Jurkowski and former Irish student assistant Justin Theel both played junior hockey with the Lancers.

    CARLSON, HENNING PARTICIPATE IN USA CAMP: Notre Dame sophomore-to-be LW Dan Carlson (Edina, Minn.) and incoming freshman C Brett Henning (Buffalo Grove, Ill.) were among 55 players invited to USA Hockey's under-20 Summer Challenge, Aug. 7-15 in Lake Placid, N.Y. ... the players were be divided into two teams and face under-20 national teams from Finland, Switzerland and Sweden ... the tournament also served as an evaluation camp for the 1998-99 U.S. junior national team, with that 22-player team expected to be announced by early December ... 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.

    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 standings from 1996-97 to 1997-98, 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.

    30-SOMETHING: Notre Dame's second line for the final last eight games of 1997-98-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) ... heading into the Oct. 9, 1998 Lake Superior game, Dhadphale (44-33), Simon (13-44) and Urick (41-45) have combined for 220 career points in 290 games ... Notre Dame came close last season 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 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.

    ROAD WARRIORS: Notre Dame was 12-11-0 away from home in 1997-98, 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 in 1997-98 (.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).

    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 15

    CCHA 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 52

    U.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, Northern Michigan 2, St. Cloud State 1. '97-'98 CCHA Standings Overall CCHA Points Letterwinners Ret. Letterwinn. Lost 1. Michigan State 33-6-5 21-5-4 46 18 (12 F, 6 D, 2 G) 5 (3 F, 1 D, 1 G) 2. Michigan 34-11-1 22-7-1 45 20 (12 F, 7 D, 1 G) 5 (2 F, 1 D, 1 G) 3. Ohio State 27-13-2 19-10-1 39 18 (12 F, 4 D, 2 G) 4 (2 F, 2 D) 4. Northern Michigan 19-15-4 15-12-3 33 20 (11 F, 8 D, 2 G) 3 (1 F, 2 D) 5. Miami 19-14-4 14-12-4 32 18 (11 F, 5 D, 2 G) 10 (4 F, 3 D, 2 G) 6. Lake Superior 15-18-4 12-14-4 28 18 (11 F, 5 D, 2 G) 7 (5 F, 2 D) Notre Dame 18-19-4 12-14-4 28 22 (13 F, 7 D, 2 G) 4 (2 F, 1 D, 1 G) 8. Ferris State 15-21-3 12-15-3 27 22 (14 F, 6 D, 2 G) 4 (2 D, 2 G) 9. Western Michigan 10-25-3 9-19-2 20 16 (11 F, 3 D, 2 G) 7 (3 F, 4 D) 10. Alaska Fairbanks 10-21-4 7-20-3 17 20 (12 F, 6 D, 2 G) 3 (2 F, 1 D) 11. Bowling Green 8-27-3 5-21-3 15 18 (9 F, 6 D, 3 G) 5 (4 F, 1 D)

    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 (check local listings for availability on Fox affiliates).

    FINAL CHECKUP: The Irish can point to many trends that showed progress from '96-'97 to '97-'98 ... 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.

     CCHA Leading Scorers     
    

    Player (team) GM G A Pts PP WG +/- 1. Bill Muckalt (MICH) 46 32 35 67 13 8 +16 2. Mike York (MSU) 40 27 34 61 13 4 +23 3. Hugo Boisvert (OSU) 42 23 35 58 11 3 +22 4. Sean Berens (MSU) 42 36 19 55 14 7 +11 5. Chris Richards (OSU)41 22 30 52 5 2 +16 6. Eric Meloche (OSU) 42 26 22 48 4 7 +19 7. Mark Kosick (MICH) 45 14 32 46 4 3 +12 8. Bobby Hayes (MICH) 45 21 23 44 4 3 +16 9. Rustyn Dolyny (MSU) 44 20 24 44 11 6 +19 10. Dan Boyle (MIAMI) 37 14 26 40 6 3 +18 CCHA Top Goaltenders (min. 600 minutes)

    Goalie (team) GAA SV/GA SV% W-L-T MIN 1. Chad Alban (MSU) 1.57 798/64 .926 31-4-5 2438 2. Marty Turco (MICH) 2.16 927/95 .907 33-10-1 2640 3. Ray Aho (OSU) 2.31 270/27 .909 5-5-2 702 4. Jeff Maund (OSU) 2.36 857/73 .922 22-8-0 1858 5. Matt Eisler (ND) 2.70 813/85 .905 12-16-3 1889 6. Trevor Prior (MIAMI)2.73 610/65 .904 14-9-2 1427 7. Forrest Karr (ND) 2.88 203/29 .875 6-3-1 605 8. Duane Hoey (NMU) 2.92 698/92 .884 17-14-3 1893 9. Matt Barnes (WMU) 3.01 774/89 .897 7-20-3 1774 10. Rob Galatiuk (LAKE) 3.03 645/77 .893 10-9-4 1526 11. Vince Owen (FSU) 3.23 788/108 .879 12-18-3 2005 12. Ian Olsen (MIAMI) 3.38 303/43 .876 5-5-2 763 13. Ian Perkins (UAF) 3.72 589/78 .883 8-13-0 1256 14. Shawn Timm (BG) 3.77 663/87 .884 6-15-2 1385

    This Week's CCHA Schedule

    Friday, October 9 Bowling Green at Miami Ferris State at Western Michigan Lake Superior at Notre Dame Northern Michigan at Michigan Tech Ohio State vs. Boston College (Minneapolis, MN)

    Saturday, October 10 Bowling Green at Miami Michigan Tech at Northern Michigan Western Michigan at Notre Dame Ohio State vs. St. Lawrence/Minnesota

    Last Week's Results @Miami 4, Western Ontario 3 (exhib.) @Ohio State 7, Wilfrid Laurier 4 (exhib.) @Lake Superior 2, Windsor 2 (exhib.) Notre Dame 2, @Wisconsin 1 @Bowling Green 6, W. Ontario 1 (exhib.) Wilfrid Laurier 3, @W. Mich. 1 (exhib.) @Ferris State 5, Windsor 2 (exhib.) @Michigan 5, Guelph 1 (exhib.)


     
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