Irish Ready for Two Tough Games
Hockey travels to Boston.
November 3, 1998
The Notre Dame hockey team (6-1-0, 5-1-0 CCHA) returns to action after taking last weekend off, with games at #1-ranked Boston College on Friday, Nov. 6 and Northeastern on Saturday, Nov. 7 ... Notre Dame lost to both of those teams last season, despite holding third-period leads in each game (see p. 2) ... the Irish remain atop the Central Collegiate Hockey Association while ranking seventh in the national USA Today poll and ninth in the U.S. College Hockey Online poll and 7th in the poll (Ohio State is tied for 9th in the USCHO poll) ... Notre Dame raced out to its best start in 39 years of varsity hockey and best conference start in 19 season as a member of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (1971-81) or CCHA (1981-83, 1992- ).
IRISH STAY IN TOP 10: Notre Dame on Oct. 19 moved into the seventh spot in the USA Today/American Hockey Magazine national hockey poll and the number eight spot in the U.S. College Hockey Online poll, before beating Ohio State (3-0) and losing 2-1 at Western Michigan ... despite the loss to WMU, the Irish have remained in the seventh spot of the USA Today poll but fell to ninth in the Oct. 26 USCHO poll before returning to eighth this week ... two other Notre Dame 1998-99 opponents-Boston College and North Dakota-sit atop both polls ... other Irish opponents currently in the national polls (same ranking in each) include #5 Michigan State, #6 Northern Michigan and #9 Michigan ... two other Irish opponents-Wisconsin (USA Today) and Ohio State (USCHO) received votes in this week's polls.
THE TRAVELLERS: Notre Dame is in the midst of playing just three home games over an 11-week stretch while playing 10 on the road, in eight different cities: Kalamazoo, Mich.; Boston, Mass. (2); Ann Arbor, Mich.; Grand Rapids, Mich.; Columbus, Ohio; Grand Forks, N.D. (2); and Bowling Green, Ohio ... the current 11-week stretch also includes five off-weekends for the Irish (Oct. 31-Nov. 1, Nov. 27-28, Dec. 11-12, Dec. 18-19 and Dec. 25-26) ... on the flip side, Notre Dame will then play nine of the ensuing 14 games at the Joyce Center before ending the regular season with a pair of games at Miami.
POWER SURGE TURNS TO OUTAGE: Notre Dame opened the season with an impressive .393 power-play percentage (11-for-28) before suffering an 0-for-11 weekend on the power play vs. Ohio State and Western Michigan ... the current .289 power-play pct. (11-for-39) still ranks ahead of Michigan State's CCHA-best .233 mark in '97-'98 ... eight different Irish players have notched a PPG this season, led by the first-line forward group of senior RW Brian Urick (3), senior LW Aniket Dhadphale (2) and junior C Ben Simon (1) ... the other PPGs have come from sophomore LW Dan Carlson, freshman C David Inman, sophomore LW Chad Chipchase, sophomore RW Matt Van Arkel and junior RW Joe Dusbabek ... the primary power-play unit includes the first forward line, with Carlson and either senior D Benoit Cotnoir or junior D Tyson Fraser at the point ... that first unit has totaled eight PPGs, with Dusbabek scoring as a member of the first group at Lake Superior while Simon was in the penalty box ... on the flip side, Notre Dame's .897 penalty-killing (35-of-39) is on a team record-setting pace, with senior G Forrest Karr stopping 33 of 37 power-play shots he has faced.
THEY CAN'T SCORE IF THEY DON'T SHOOT: Notre Dame's team defense has pieced together strong efforts in the past three games, allowing just five goals and 49 shots (16.3/gm) while stopping 18 of 19 opponent power-play chances ... that stretch has included the 4-3 win at Lake Superior (11 shots, 8-9 PK), the 3-0 shutout of Ohio State (16 shots, 5-5 PK) and the 2-1 loss at Western Michigan (22 shots, 5-5 PK).
DEFICITS RARE FOR IRISH: Notre Dame faced just two deficits in its first six games before trailing twice in the loss at Western Michigan ... those four deficits combined have totaled just 30:06, out of the 420 minutes the Irish have played this season (meaning the Irish have trailed for just seven percent of the minutes this season) ... Lake Superior jumped out to a 1-0, first-period lead at Notre Dame on Oct. 8 but led for just 8:36 before Aniket Dhadphale's goal later in the period ... a week later, Ferris State rallied in the third period to take a 3-2 lead but Brian Urick tied the game just 3:01 later (the Irish went on to win 5-3) ... WMU claimed a 1-0 lead on the Irish late in the first period but Matt Van Arkel's goal early in the second period yielded a deficit that lasted just 1:43 of game time ... the Broncos then posted the longest lead on the Irish this season (16:46), after Steve Rymsha's rebound goal gave WMU its 2-1 lead.
EASY AS 1-2-3: Notre Dame has received steady production in all three periods, with eight goals in both the first and second periods and 10 in the third ... during the first six games, the Irish owned an 8-1 scoring edge in the first period, before Western Michigan's Chuck Mindel scored in the final minute of the opening period ... the Irish also own an 8-4 edge in the second period and 10-6 in the third ... during the 1997-98 season, Notre Dame owned a 37-27 first-period scoring edge and went 11-4-1 in games with a first-intermission lead ... the Irish were even more dominant last season in the second period (51-35) but lost five games when leading at the second intermission (16-5-2), due in large part to being outsocred 49-37 in the final period.
REDEFINING MAN DOWN: Notre Dame has posted an 11-7-1 record in its last 18 games (three losses to Michigan), despite the absence of at least one of the following key defensemen during each of those 17 games: senior Benoit Cotnoir (2), junior Tyson Fraser (12) and junior Nathan Borega (14) ... two of those players have been sidelined during the same game nine times over the past 17 games, with the Irish owning a solid 6-3-0 mark in those games (including recent wins at Ferris State and Lake Superior) ... Fraser took the leadership reigns of the Irish, in the absence of Borega and Cotnoir, and played the point on the first power-play unit that racked up six goals in the trip to FSU and LSSU.
RETURN OF THE ROAD WARRIORS: Notre Dame has proven to be unfazed by playing on the road in hostile arenas over the past two seasons, as the Irish are 15-11 away from home during that stretch, with the 11 losses including eight by one goal while the Irish own an 89-74 scoring edge and an 808-730 shot advantage in those 26 road games (average of 3.47 goals scored and 2.85 allowed, 31.08 shots taken and 28.08 allowed) ... in 1997-98, Notre Dame posted wins at several hostile arenas, including St. Cloud State (4-3/OT, 4-1), Michigan State (6-1), Wisconsin (4-2), Northern Michigan (3-1) and Michigan (4-2)-in addition to losing three one-goal games at Michigan (two in OT) and single one-goal games at Miami, Ferris State, Alaska Fairbanks (OT) and Lake Superior (OT) ... after opening '98-'99 with a 2-1 win at Wisconsin's dedication game for the Kohl Center (which drew nearly 14,000 fans), the Irish posted wins at Ferris State (5-3) and Lake Superior (4-3)-giving Notre Dame victories in every opposing CCHA building except Miami's Goggin Ice Arena over the past two seasons.
DUDE LOOKS LIKE A SCORER: Senior LW Aniket Dhadphale (pronounced Uh-NEE-kett Dod-FALL-ee) has become one of the most well-known-and often mispronounced-names in the CCHA due to his scoring prowess ... with pronunciations ranging from "Dudepole" to "Daffapail", Dhadphale has kept P.A. announcers on their toes by totaling 29 goals and 16 assists during the past two seasons (48 games) ... Dhadphale saw his career-best, six-game point streak end in the 2-1 loss at Western Michigan.
HOME IMPROVEMENT: After a 3-6-3 start at the Joyce Center in '97-'98 (in which the Irish were outscored 39-31), Notre Dame finished strong at home, going 3-2-1 in its final six home games with a 19-11 scoring edge ... in the last nine home games overall-including the recent wins over Lake Superior, Western Michigan and Ohio State-Notre Dame is 6-2-1 with a commanding 33-14 scoring edge (including two 7-1 wins).
GETTING COMPETITIVE: Notre Dame finished '97-'98 by going 4-4-0 in its final eight games vs. CCHA teams (four vs. second-place Michigan, three vs. third-place Northern Michigan and one at sixth-place Lake Superior) ... that stretch included a sweep of NMU (4-3, 3-1, 5-2), an OT 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 its last 13 games vs. CCHA teams, Notre Dame is 8-5-0, including a 7-3-0 mark in the regular season.
SILVER STREAK: Notre Dame's 6-0 start represented the program's first six-game winning streak since '91-'92 and is the longest winning streak during the program's nine seasons as a member of the CCHA ... in its 19 seasons as a member of the CCHA or WCHA, Notre Dame has posted just one other winning streak of six games or longer: a seven-game run from Feb. 17-March 6 during Notre Dame's 1972-73 WCHA runner-up season.
INJURY UPDATE: Junior D Nathan Borega remains out indefinitely due to a preseason leg injury that has held him out of the first seven games of '98-'99.
SO MUCH FOR PLUS-MINUS: Despite outscoring the opposition by 14 goals, Notre Dame is just +33 because nearly half of its 26 goals (11) have come on the power play while the opponents have totaled eight non-power-play goals.
IRISH STAND ATOP EARLY CCHA STANDINGS: Notre Dame's 5-1 conference start places the Irish atop the CCHA standings, with only 23 total games in the books ... Ferris State, Western Michigan and Miami are the only other teams with six league games under their belts while Michigan and Bowling Green have played five games and the other five teams have played four ... after this weekend's action, every CCHA team will have played six-plus games with the exception of Michigan (5).
URICK STARTS FAST: Senior RW and team captain Brian Urick turned in a five-point weekend vs. Lake Superior (2G) and Western Michigan (2G, 1A) before adding a goal at Ferris State, a goal and assist at Lake Superior and two assists vs. Ohio State ... his four-game goal streak ended vs. OSU (equaling his career-high) but he still has 10 points in the last six games (6G-4A) ... Urick leads the team in plus-minus (+6), has just three penalties and owns 47 goals and 48 assists in 118 career games, inching closer to the 100-point plateau and distinction as the 27th Notre Dame player with 50 career goals and assists ... over the past two seasons, Urick has 44 points (21G-23A) in 48 games, a team-best +21, only 46 penalty minutes and six of the team's 24 game-winning goals.
BALANCING ACT: Notre Dame's 26 goals have come from 12 players, with six combining on the first seven ... junior C Ben Simon owns eighth of the team's 42 assists, with 15 other players also setting up Irish goals this season ... only one of the 18 starting skaters-junior D Andy Jurkowski-has yet to register a point ... additionally, all six Irish game-winning goals have come from different players.
FRESHMEN STEP UP: Centers David Inman (Toronto, Ont.) and Brett Henning (Huntington, N.Y.) and defenseman Sam Cornelius (Edina, Minn.) have played crucial roles during the first weeks of their Irish careers ... Inman was edged out for the initial CCHA rookie of the week award by Michigan G Josh Blackburn ... Inman's impressive debut as the second-line center has included providing the primary assist on Matt Van Arkel's game-winning rebound goal in the 4-2 home win over Lake Superior ... the 6-1, 190-pound lefthanded flirted with a hat trick the next night vs. Western Michigan, forcing his own breakaway goal to open the scoring early in the first period before converting a tap-in power-play goal for a 3-1 Irish lead midway through the second period ... Inman went on to open the scoring on what proved to be the game-winner vs. #9 Ohio State (3-0) ... for the season, he is +4 with just four penalties in seven games ... Henning has done a solid job centering the third Irish forward line, alongside sophomores Jay Kopischke and Van Arkel ... Henning's goal iced the 5-3 win at Ferris State while he passed the puck to Kopischke to set up Van Arkel's rebound goal at WMU (a 2-1 loss) ... Cornelius assisted in both of the home wins over Lake Superior and WMU, providing a set-up pass for Brian Urick's goal that tied the LSSU game (1-1) before notching the primary assist on a power-play goal by former prep teammate Dan Carlson for a 6-1 lead on WMU ... Cornelius also knocked home the game-winner at Ferris State (5-3), on a shot from the center of the blue line ... Inman (+4, 4 pen.), Henning (+1, 2 pen.) and Cornelius (+2, 2 pen.) have combined for nine points, a +7 plus-minus ratio and just eighth penalties in seven games.
CHIP OFF THE OL' BLOCK: Sophomore LW Chad Chipchase has fond memories of Ferris State's Ewigleben Ice Arena, as he registered a second-period hat trick at FSU on Nov. 22, 1997 (FSU rallied for a 4-3 win)-one of just two Irish hat tricks since Oct. 21, 1994 ... Chipchase, who scored just two other goals in '97-'98, lit the lamp during the first home weekend this season vs. both Lake Superior and Western Michgian for his first career goals at the Joyce Center ... in the Oct. 16 game at Ferris State, he led a rush down the left side and dropped the puck to freshman C Brett Henning, whose goal iced the 5-3 win over the Bulldogs.
FOLLOW THAT KARR!: Senior G Forrest Karr has provided strong leadership between the pipes this season ... Karr's impressive debut as the Irish starter includes posting a 1.72 season goals-against average that ranks second in the CCHA, behind Michigan State's Joe Blackburn (1.55) ... that fast start places Karr nearly a full goal under the season record for GAA (2.70), set last season by Matt Eisler ... Karr's impressive .922 season save pct. is tied with Northern Michigan Dan Ragusett for first in the CCHA and is ahead of the Irish record (.907) set by Mark Kronholm in 1970-71 ... Karr also has played a leading role in the .897 Irish penalty-killing unit (35-of-39) that ranks fifth in the CCHA ... his career record now stands at 14-12-1, including 12-4-1 over the past two seasons ... Karr owns a solid 2.40 GAA during the past two seasons (41 GA, 1023:32) while his career GAA of 3.06 (80 GA, 1571:05) would best the Irish record set last season by Matt Eisler (3.66) ... Karr's impressive effort on the road during the past two seasons has yielded a 9-2-0 record and a 2.29 GAA (25 GA, 654:57), with both losses coming at Western Michigan ... Karr recently posted his first career shutout with 16 saves in the 3-0 win over Ohio State, improving his career record to 3-3-0 versus national top-10 teams (win at Bowling Green as a sophomore and at Wisconsin earlier this season).
SIMON ENDS DROUGHT: Junior C Ben Simon-who had points in the first six games this season-scored a memorable goal 17 seconds into the third period of the 7-1 win over Western Michigan, slanting in from the right side before tucking the puck inside the left post ... that score represented Simon's first goal in 13 games, since a first-period goal in another 7-1 win-versus Ferris State on Feb. 7, 1998 (he had endured 31 shots on net without a goal) ... Simon has excelled at setting up his teammates (51 assists in 73 career games) but owns just 16 career goals on 194 shots (11.9 shots per goal), with the goal versus WMU possibly signaling a breakthrough for the player who totaled 166 goals in four prep seasons (including 45 goals in 50 games as a senior with the Cleveland Junior Barons) ... Simon, who also scored at Lake Superior and vs. Ohio State, is averaging just six shots per goal this season (17 shots).
VETERAN TRIO: Notre Dame's first forward line for the last 15 games-senior LW Aniket Dhadphale (25-10), sophomore C Ben Simon (9-28) and senior RW Brian Urick (16-18)-in '97-'98 comprised the program's first threesome of 30-point scorers since the '92-'93 grouping of Jamie Ling (14-26), Dave Bankoske (14-16) and Curtis Janicke (12-18) ... heading into the Nov. 5 game at Boston College, Dhadphale (47-39), Simon (16-51) and Urick (47-48) have combined for 248 career points in 305 combined games.
FOURTH LINE MAKES MARK: The members of Notre Dame's fourth forward line-sophomore LW Chad Chipchase, junior C Troy Bagne and sophomore RW Ryan Dolder-have played a part in four Irish goals this season, with six total points between them ... each of the fourth-line forwards also play key roles in the team penalty-kill unit that is operating at .897 efficiency, which would best the team record of .861 set in 1969-70 ... in the season opener at Wisconsin, Dolder intercepted an outlet pass and deposited the puck over the shoulder of goalie Graham Melanson for an early 1-0 lead on the Badgers ... known for his uncanny ability to bury the puck in the back of net during Irish practices, Dolder has three goals during the last 10 Notre Dame games, including a pair of scores in the 1997-98 CCHA playoff series at Michigan ... Chipchase knocked home his own rebound for a 2-1 lead on Lake Superior in the 4-2 Irish win before notching a power-play goal in the final minute of the 7-1 win over Western Michigan, with Bagne and Dolder providing the assists ... Chipchase last week led a late rush down the left side at Ferris State and dropped the puck to freshman C Brett Henning, who knocked home the goal that iced the 5-3 Irish win.
JURKO READY TO GO: Junior Andy Jurkowski, a former walk-on who has seen time during the past three seasons as both a left wing and defensemen, has emerged alongside classmate Tyson Fraser as a member of Notre Dame's second line of defensemen ... with the Irish defense looking to cope with the loss of sophomore-to-be Mark Eaton to the NHL's Philadelphia Flyers and the preseason leg injury to junior Nathan Borega, Jurkowski proved his value by earning a spot among the top six defensemen ... the 6-2, 200-pound lefthander appeared in just one of the first 28 games in 1997-98, before playing in the final 13 games last season when Fraser went down to injury.
DUS WAS DUE: Junior right wing Joe Dusbabek, who missed the final 16 games of 1997-98 while focusing on his academics, is looking to get back into the scoring groove that characterized his CCHA all-rookie season in 1996-97, when he and former prep teammate Brian Urick tied for the team scoring lead with 13 goals and 12 assists ... the 6-1, 205-pound righthander's goal at Lake Superior was his first since the 5-4 loss at Miami on Nov. 15, 1997, despite 25 shots on goal during that 16-game goal drought ... overall, the dangerous power forward also has just four assists in his last 19 games, hinting at a possible scoring breakthrough in the coming weeks.
VAN ARKEL DOES IT AGAIN: Sophomore RW Matt Vane Arkel has just seven career goals in 45 games but the 6-0, 190-pound righthander has found the net in the home opener during each of the past two seasons ... as a freshman, Van Arkel's power-play goal with 25 seconds left to play gave the Irish a 4-1 lead in the 5-1 win over Western Ontario ... on Oct. 9, he tipped in a deflected shot by freshman C David Inman for a second-period, power-play score and the eventual game-winner in the 4-2 victory over Lake Superior.
BACK IN FORCE: Notre Dame returned 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 C Ben Simon (9G-29A), senior LW Aniket Dhadphale (25-10) and senior RW Brian Urick (16-18) ... 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 (10-19), plus senior G Forrest Karr, who went 6-3-1 with a 2.88 GAA while backing up four-year starter Matt Eisler.
CAPTAIN, MY CAPTAIN: 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.
RECAPPING THE LAST IRISH GAMES
at Notre Dame 3, Ohio State 0 (10/23) - Forrest Karr posted the first shutout of his career and the Notre Dame offense managed three goals despite seeing its potent power play held in check ... , as the #8-ranked Irish hockey team remained unbeaten with a 3-0 ... OSU failed to put a third-period shot on goal until five minutes were left in the game and ultimately managed just two shots in the final 20 minutes ... the Irish came up empty on six man-up chances ... David Inman ignited the crowd with a goal just 1:07 into the first period while Aniket Dhadphale pushed the lead to 2-0 with a score early in the second period ... Ben Simon iced the victory with an empty-net goal in the final minute ... the Irish limited OSU to 16 total shots ... each of Notre Dame's last three shutouts have come versus Ohio State (Matt Eisler had 16 saves in a 4-0 home win on Nov. 11, 1995 before posting 47 saves in a 3-0 win at OSU on Oct. 25, 1997) ... Dan Carlson initiated the first goal when he intercepted an outlet and sent a cross-ice pass to the right point for wing Joe Dusbabek, who fed the puck to Inman in the right circle ... Inman fired a low shot past OSU goalie Jeff Maund and inside the far left post ... Simon got things going on the second goal with a pass to Brian Urick, who blasted a shot from close range on the right side ... Maund made the save but Dhadphale was waiting for the rebound and stuffed the puck between Maund's right skate and the post (5:57) ... Ryan Clark poked the puck to Urick in the final minute, with Urick then feeding Simon for a rush down the right side and the clinching empty-netter (19:18).
1st - ND 1. Inman 3 (Dusbabek, Carlson) 1:07. 2nd - ND 2. Dhadphale 4 (Urick, Simon) 5:57. 3rd - ND 3. Simon 3 (Urick, Clark) 19:18.
at Western Michigan 2, Notre Dame 1 (10/24) - Notre Dame owned a 32-22 shot advantage but could not solve WMU senior G Matt Barnes ... the victory gave the Broncos their 14th win over the Irish in the last 15 games at Lawson Arena ... WMU struck late in the first period, when Chuck Mindel collected a loose puck behind the net and wristed a shot from the left corner that deflected off the right shoulder of Irish senior G Forrest Karr and into the net (19:31) ... Notre Dame Notre Dame tied the game early in the second period, on a play initiated by Jay Kopischke's right-side faceoff win ... Brett Henning then made a pass back into the slot for Kopischke, who fired a shot off Barns ... Matt Van Arkel skated in from the left side and nudged the puck over the goalline (1:14) ... WMU's Steve Rymsha scored the game-winner at 3:14 of the final period, knocking home a rebounded shot by Jason Redenius at 3:14 in the third ... Notre Dame pulled Karr and had four shots on goal in the final 30 seconds but failed to gain the equalizer ... Notre Dame was 0-for-4 on e power play while Karr fell to 9-2-0 on the road over the past two seasons (both losses have been at WMU).
1st - Mindel 1 (-) 19:31. 2nd - Van Arkel 2 (Kopischke, Henning) 1:14; 3rd - Rymsha 2 (Redenius, Adessa) 3:14.
U.S. COLLEGE HOCKEY ONLINE POLL (11/2)
Team (1st-pl. votes), W-L-T Pts 1. Boston College (23), 4-0-0 291 2. North Dakota (7), 2-0-0 271 3. Colorado College, 4-0-0 215 4. Maine, 3-0-0 210 5. Michigan State, 3-0-2 161 6. Northern Michigan, 7-1-0 144 7. New Hampshire, 4-0-0 113 8. NOTRE DAME, 6-1-0 91 9. Michigan, 5-2-0 59 10. St. Lawrence, 4-1-0 30Others Receiving Votes: Minnesota 28, Denver 14, Clarkson 11, Yale 4, Ohio State 3, Providence 2, UMass Lowell 1, Niagara 1, Princeton 1.
USA TODAY / AMERICAN HOCKEY MAGAZINE POLL (11/2)
Team (1st-pl. votes), W-L-T Pts 1. Boston College (8), 4-0-0 98 2. North Dakota (2), 2-0-0 89 3. Colorado College, 5-0-0 75 4. Maine, 3-0-0 73 5. Michigan State, 3-0-2 57 6. Northern Michigan, 7-1-0 40 7. NOTRE DAME, 6-1-0 37 8. New Hampshire, 4-0-0 32 9. Michigan, 5-2-0 23 10. St. Lawrence, 4-1-0 10Others Receiving Votes: Denver 7, Minnesota 5, Wisconsin 3, Providence 1.
CCHA PRESEASON 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 PRESEASON 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
THE ND-BC SERIES: Boston College leads the series 11-7, including three straight wins and a 7-1-0 mark in the last eight ... the Eagles overcome a 2-0 third-period deficit to win 3-2 at Notre Dame last season and handed the Irish one of their worst losses of '96-'97, a 6-1 home win behind goals from six different players ... Matt Eisler made 22 stops in that 6-1 loss but let in five goals before being pulled in the third for Forrest Karr (four saves, one goal against) ... the Eagles won at Notre Dame in '95-'96 (7-5) but the Irish won the previous season, at BC (3-2) ... this season marks the fourth straight year that the Notre Dame and BC hockey teams have met the night before the football game between the teams.
RECAPPING LAST YEAR'S GAME: BOSTON COLL. 3, @NOTRE DAME 2 - 10/24/97
1st: ND 1. Dhadphale (Noble, Van Arkel), PP, 9:26. 3rd: ND 2. Simon (Carlson, Urick) 4:45; BC 1. Mottau (Hughes, Bellefeuille) 10:15; BC 2. Bellefeuille (Caulfield, Allen) 13:02; BC 3. Gionta (Reasoner, Lephart) 14:44.
SCOUTING BC: Boston College is 4-0 and sits atop the national polls ... the Eagles returned 19 of 22 letterwinners from their '97-'98 team that went 28-9-5 overall, finished second in Hockey East (15-5-4) and lost in the 18th minute of OT to Michigan in the NCAA title game (3-2) ... BC's biggest loss was senior-to-be center Marty Reasoner, who signed with the St. Louis Blues after leading the nation in scoring (31G-38A) ... BC's top returners include junior D Mike Mottau (13G-36A), sophomore RW Brian Gionta (30G-32A) and sophomore G Scott Clemmensen (24-9-9, 2.78 GAA) ... BC opened with a one-goal wins at the University of Minnesota's Icebreaker Classic, over Ohio State (4-3, double OT) and St. Lawrence (3-2) ... the Eagles last week beat UMass-Lowell at home (7-3) and on the road (6-4) and also beat the University of Toronto 8-0 in an Oct. 16 exhibition ... Mottau leads the team in scoring, assisting on eight of BC's 10 goals, followed by Gionta (5G-2A), junior LW Jeff Farkas (6G-1A, 2 PPG) and senior F Andy Powers (3G-3A) ... the rest of the team has totaled just six goals ... the Eagles have converted four of 26 power-play chances (15.4%) but allowed two shorthanded goals ... BC has stopped just 13 of 17 opponent chances (76.5% penalty killing) ... Clemmensen has logged all the minutes in net, with a 2.92 GAA and .879 save pct. ... BC has dominated the first period (8-0 goal differential), has struggled a bit in the second (outscored 7-4) and played its opponents fairly even in the third (7-5 scoring edge) ... the Eagles are averaging 9.8 penalties per game ... four different BC players have notched game-winning goals.
FRIEND OR FOE?: The BC game will reunite Irish junior forwards Joe Dusbabek and Ben Simon with teammates from the '97-'98 U.S. junior national team that took fifth at the World Junior Championship in Finland: junior LW Jeff Farkas, junior D Mike Mottau, sophomore D Bobby Allen and sophomore RW Brian Gionta ... Simon and Farkas were linemates on the '96-'97 U.S. team that won the silver medal at the World Juniors in Switzerland, with three other BC players-Mottau, former C Marty Reasoner and current junior C Blake Bellefeuille-on that silver-medal team ... Notre Dame junior RW John Dwyer played on the Dubuque Fighting Saints with BC senior LW Andy Powers and senior C Chris Masters ... Irish junior D Andy Jurkowski played with BC senior G Mike Correia on the Omaha Lancers.
THE ND-NORTHEASTERN SERIES: The teams have met twice previously, with the Irish winning 4-1 at home during the '70-'71 season (the third season in the modern era of Notre Dame hockey) ... Northeastern rallied from a third-period deficit last season to beat the Irish 4-2 at Minnesota's Mariucci Classic.
RECAPPING LAST YEAR'S GAME: Northeastern 4, Notre Dame 2 (at University of Minnesota) - 12/27/97
HUSKIES NOTES: Northeastern is 2-1-0, after splitting at Bowling Green (4-2, 3-5) and winning at home vs. Colgate on Oct. 23 ... the Huskies also posted a 5-3 exhibition win over Windsor on Oct. 9 ... Northeastern returned 18 of 24 letterwinners from its 1997-98 team that went 21-15-3, with the biggest loss being goaltender Marc Robitaille (3.19 GAA, .904 save pct.), who signed a free agent contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs ... Robitaille played more than 98 percent of the minutes for the Huskies last season ... junior forwards Billy Newton (16G-20A), Todd Barclay (20G-10A) and Roger Holeczy (12G-17A) are the Huskies top returning scorers ... the Northeastern rosters includes just two seniors and 12 sophomores ... Barclay leads the team with three goals and one assist this season while Holeczy has two goals and two assists ... freshman G Jason Braun has a 2.33 GAA and .922 save pct.
FRIEND OR FOE?: The Irish and Huskies have several players who are former teammates: Notre Dame senior G Forrest Karr and Northeastern sophomore D John Peterman (Wisconsin Capitols); Irish junior RW John Dwyer and junior D Sean Molina and Huskies junior LW Todd Barclay and junior C Roger Holeczy (Dubuque Saints); Notre Dame junior D Andy Jurkowski and Northeastern sophomore D John Peterman (Wisconsin Capitols); Irish freshman C Brett Henning and Huskies freshman F Will Levesque (U.S. national under-18 team).
IRISH MAKING STRIDES IN QUEST TO RETURN TO "THE JOE": The arrival of Dave Poulin in 1995 as head coach of the Notre Dame hockey program set in motion various improvements that have the program on track to competing for a spot in the CCHA semi-finals, at Joe Louis Arena ... the last time Notre Dame advanced to "The Joe" was 1981-82, when Poulin served as team co-captain ... as the above chart shows, Notre Dame made some headway in Poulin's second season ('96-'97) but still was lacking the consistency needed to qualify for the CCHA Tournament ... in '97-'98, the Irish improved in 20 of the above 23 categories (compared to an improvement in just 12 from the first to second season of the Poulin era) ... Notre Dame's biggest strides in '96-'97 came in penalties (down 2.62/gm), penalty killing (up 4.0%) and GAA (down 0.63) but there were frustrating dropoffs in scoring (down 0.43/gm), power-play pct. (down 4.6%) and the ability to hold 1st-period leads (4-5-0) ... in '97-'98, the many improvements included those three areas, as the Irish scored 0.47 more goals/gm, boosted their power play 4.9% and were 11-4-1 with a 1st-period lead ... other '97-'98 improvements came in shot margin (up +7.8/gm), penalty-killing (up 3.0%) and penalties (2.32 fewer) ... Notre Dame also had more than four times as many shorthanded goals (9) than in '96-'97 (2) and owned a 37-27 1st-period scoring edge (the opponents outscored the Irish 39-23 in the 1st period of '96-'97) ... the Irish also were 6-10 in one-goal games, after going 3-12 in '96-'97 ... through seven games of '98-'99, the Irish have improved in 19 of the 22 applicable categories ... noteworthy strides have involved the high-powered offense: 3.71 goals/gm (up 0.61), a 12.7% shooting pct. (up 2.6%), a 2.0 goal margin (up 1.7), a 7.3 shot margin (up 4.1), a CCHA-best 28.9% power-play unit (up 11.3%) and 10 third-period goals (just 0.9/gm last season) ... the current Irish defense owns an 89.7% penalty-killing unit (up 5.4%), a 1.71 GAA (a full goal better than last season), a 92.2% save pct. (up 2.4) and just 22.0 opponent shots/gm (a 4.1 improvement) ... the Irish also are 5-0-0 when holding a lead at the 1st intermission (71.9% last season) and 5-0-0 with a 2nd-intermission lead (73.9% in '97-'98) ... the only areas of non-improvement have involved a dropoff in shots/gm (down 1.5), an increase in penalties/gm (up 2.06) and the failure to score a shorthanded goal (nine in 41 games last season).