Oct. 16, 2013
Notre Dame, Ind. -
Notre Dame returns home for a weekend series with the Michigan Tech Huskies with the games played on Friday night and Sunday afternoon. The teams will meet at Notre Dame at 7:35 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 18 for the first time since Nov. 20, 1982 when both teams were members of the CCHA.
After taking a break on Saturday due to the Notre Dame-Southern California game at 7:30 p.m., the two teams will get back to it at 2:05 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 20.
Notre Dame and Michigan Tech have played 56 times in the all-time series that began way back on Feb. 3-4, 1920 in Houghton, Mich. The Huskies lead the series with a 31-23-2 record, including an 11-7-0 mark at Notre Dame with all 18 games played at the Joyce Center Rink. For 10 seasons (1971-81), the two teams were members of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA). In 1981, both teams moved to the CCHA where they faced each other for two more seasons. Following the end of the 1982-83 season, the two schools have met just three times with all three games coming at neutral sites.
The last time the two teams met was on Jan. 19, 2005 with Michigan Tech taking a 6-2 victory at the Resch Center in Green Bay, Wis.
Michigan Tech brings a 0-1-1 record into this weekend after opening the season a week ago in Duluth, Minn., where they lost a 2-1 decision to the Bulldogs and then battled to a 1-1 tie in the second contest.
The Huskies were 13-20-4 last season and 8-16-4 in the WCHA, finishing 10th in the league standings.
Irish head coach Jeff Jackson knows that his team better be ready to play when Michigan Tech invades the Compton Family Ice Arena this weekend.
"We better be ready to play because Michigan Tech is an up-and-coming program. They are going to beat some teams this year," says Jackson.
"They could finish near the top of the new WCHA. (Coach) Mel Pearson has them turning the corner. You can't take anyone lightly in college hockey. If you do, you are going to get beat. Look what happened to UMass.-Lowell and Nebraska-Omaha. These are tough games and you better be ready to play."
College hockey coaching legend Jack Parker, who was the man behind the bench at Boston University for 40 years, and his wife Jacquie, will spend the weekend with the Irish for the Michigan Tech hockey game and the USC football game.
While guiding the Terriers, Parker's teams were 897-472-115 and won three national championships (1978, 1995 and 2009). His 897 career wins ranks him third on the all-time list behind Ron Mason and Jerry York.
A three-time Spencer Penrose Award winner as the national coach of the year, Parker is a 1968 Boston University graduate and captained the Terrier hockey team in his senior year. While at Notre Dame, the Parkers will attend football practice on Thursday afternoon; offer "A Conversation with Jack Parker," on Friday morning for Notre Dame coaches and administrators in the Shivarelli Lounge at Notre Dame Stadium; attend the Notre Dame-Michigan Tech hockey game on Friday night; watch hockey practice on Saturday and attend a pre-game tailgate with the Notre Dame hockey staff before attending the Notre Dame-USC football game on Saturday evening. Head coach Jeff Jackson's friendship with Parker is one of the reasons he is visiting South Bend.
"My relationship with Jack has really developed since I have been at Notre Dame," says Jackson.
"We had a relationship before hand. Our teams played when I was at Lake Superior State and then he recruited guys when I was with the national program. He and I were involved along with Red Berenson in the start of College Hockey Inc., and with the hiring of Paul Kelly. We became good friends, talking on the phone and then having to go to meetings. I really got to know his level of commitment. Not just that but I got to know the quality of the man. I was touched by the guy because I could tell by being with him that as a player he's the kind of guy you want to play for. He's passionate about what he does and yet he cares about people."
While goaltender Steven Summerhays had a stellar weekend last week, recording a pair of shutout, his teammates in front of him did what they could do to help the senior puck stopper. For the weekend, the Irish defense (forwards included) blocked 32 shots in the two games, including 21 in the 4-0 win on Friday night at the Compton Family Ice Arena. In the two games, 13 of the 18 players who dressed blocked at least one shot. Defensemen Kevin Lind and Stephen Johns led the way with six each. Eric Johnson was right behind with five. Many of the blocked shots came on the penalty kill, including a 1:18 span on Friday night that saw Western Michigan have a 6-on-3 advantage as Coach Andy Murray pulled his goaltender with the Irish down two men.
"It's the early part of the season and there are a lot more penalties to kill, so there are more opportunities for blocks," says Jackson.
"We have some defensemen who are good at blocking shots. Kevin Lind and Stephen Johns have always been good at it. Andy Ryan has shown that he will block shots. But, it wasn't just our defensemen. It was some of our forwards. (Mike) Voran and (David) Gerths were both good on the penalty kill this weekend. They both are willing to get in the shot lines. You have to have guys willing to block shots on the PK, especially 5-on-3."
Among the defenseman with a penchant for throwing himself in front of vulcanized rubber is Lind. The 6-3, 222-pound defender from Homer Glen, Ill., led the Irish last season with 75 blocks and has 138 in his first three seasons. The amount of blocks to start the season comes from plenty of playing time on the penalty kill.
"I think we emphasize it a little more," says Lind.
"Coach Pooley especially stresses it, but most have been on the penalty kill where we are trying to be more in lanes and be more aggressive this year.
Lind explains that there is no one certain way to block a shot.
"Basically, you just get in the way," Lind said while laughing.
"There is no style, it's just getting in the way and being able to pay the price. It doesn't hurt too much."
Lind was part of the 6-on-3 power play that Western Michigan had in Friday's game, something that would be good for one of the team's top shot blockers. Except, he was watching.
"I was in the box for that one. I got a slashing penalty," explains Lind.
"Especially 6-on-3 you just try to get anything - a stick, a foot , your head, anything on the puck. Stephen (Johns) was out there the entire time. He's our biggest defenseman so he's going to get in the way and he did a great job. That was the mentality there - just get in the way."
LENDING A HELPING HAND
Defenseman Shayne Taker had the best weekend of his Notre Dame career, putting up back-to-back, two-assist nights in the sweep of Western Michigan. The 6-4, 208-pound blue liner came into the weekend with just two games in his career with two or more points and doubled that total after one weekend. Two of his three assists came on the power play where he just let his shot do the work.
"If I see the lane, I have to take it. That is one of my goals this year to try to get the puck through (to the net)," says Taker.
"It's one thing to carry the puck over the blue line, but doing something with it is another. It's important for me but it's also guys getting me open. (T.J.) Tynan made a great pass (on Sam Herr's goal) to open the lane."
His coach points out how valuable that shot from the top on the power play is.
"Shayne is playing well right now. He had good looks all weekend. He got pucks through to the net," says Jackson.
"We really want our defensemen to shoot. It opens things up down low. If we don't have a threat out there, those seams will never open. Twice they (Taker's shots) were tipped. He gets the assists on them but his shots were in good locations both for (Jeff) Costello's goal and then Sam Herr's on Saturday. He's getting his shots through and keeping them low to where they can be tipped or create rebounds. That's a good shot for a point man. It's not very likely that you can beat the goaltender from the top unless he is totally screened."
FIRST TIMERSCongratulations go out to freshman Vince Hinostroza and sophomore Sam Herr who each recorded the first goals of their careers versus Western Michigan. The speedy Hinostroza set up Austin Wuthrich's first period power-play goal on Friday night and then saw his third-period goal open up a three-goal third period for the Irish. Herr, who saw action in 13 games as a freshman last year, scored in Saturday's 3-0 win, scoring on the power play when he tipped in a Shayne Taker slap shot over the shoulder and under the cross bar behind Bronco goaltender Frank Slubowski.
The NBC Sports Network is the place to turn this season for the chance to watch Notre Dame hockey on national television. The Irish will appear on NBCSN 12 times during the 2013-14 campaign as part of the networks coverage of college hockey this season.NBCSports.com also will stream those 12 games live along with eight other Irish home games this year. In all, 20 of the teams' 22 home games will appear on NBC either on live television or via streaming.
Here's a look at the NBC schedule for this season:
The NBC Sports Network - Notre Dame Hockey Schedule
Date Game Time Oct. 11 Western Michigan 8:05 p.m. Nov. 8 Minnesota 8:05 p.m. Nov. 15 Merrimack 7:35 p.m. Dec. 6 Massachusetts 7:35 p.m. Dec. 7 Massachusetts 6:35 p.m. Jan. 10 Alabama-Huntsville 8:05 p.m. Jan. 17 Lake Superior State 8:05 p.m. Jan. 24 Northeastern 8:05 p.m. Jan. 25 Northeastern 7:05 p.m. Feb. 7 Maine 8:05 p.m. Feb. 8 Maine 8:05 p.m. Feb. 21 Boston University 8:05 p.m.