Nov. 20, 2002
Notre Dame, Ind. -
University of Notre Dame hockey coach Dave Poulin announced today that five players will be joining the Irish hockey program for the 2003-04 season. The group includes goaltender David Brown (Stoney Creek, Ont.), defensemen Noah Babin (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.) and Wes O'Neill (Essex, Ont.) and forwards Jason Paige (Saginaw, Mich.) and Josh Sciba (Westland, Mich.).
"I'm very excited about this incoming group of players," says Poulin, now in his eighth season at Notre Dame.
"All five are highly skilled players who should be able to contribute as freshmen next season. They give us a good mix of size and speed and will add to our talent level and depth next season. With the loss of six players to graduation these five will have an excellent opportunity to step in and make immediate contributions as freshmen."
The six players who will graduate following the 2002-03 season are goaltender Tony Zasowski, defenseman Evan Nielsen and forwards Michael Chin, Connor Dunlop, Jake Wiegand and John Wroblewski.
Noah Babin is a 6-0, 185-pound right-handed defenseman who is currently a member of the Green Bay Gamblers of the United States Hockey League (USHL). A mobile defenseman, Babin hails from Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. and is a graduate of the USA National Developmental Program's Under-18 team. Babin, who made a verbal commitment to Notre Dame in Nov. of 2001, was a teammate of current Irish freshman Tim Wallace on last season's Under-18 team. That team captured the Under-18 World Championship in April. With the U.S. Team, Babin played in 62 games and recorded three goals and nine assists for 12 points with 38 minutes in penalties. He is a current teammate of incoming freshman Wes O'Neill at Green Bay. In 15 games for the Gamblers, Babin has two assists for two points. He becomes the 11th player from the National Developmental Program to play at Notre Dame.
Poulin on Babin: "Noah is an offensive-minded defenseman who is an outstanding skater that likes to get involved in the play. He has played at a high level with the U.S. program and now playing at Green Bay for Coach Mark Osiecki will definitely help in the development of his defensive play. Along with Wes O'Neill and current Irish defenseman Joe Zurenko, Noah will be our third defenseman from the Green Bay organization."
David Brown is a 6-0, 185-pound goaltender who is ranked among the top junior goaltenders in North America while playing for the Hamilton Kilty Bees of the Ontario Provincial Junior Hockey League. A member of the Ontario Under-17 team that played in the 2002 World Hockey Challenge, Brown helped his squad to the bronze medal while compiling a 3.28 goals-against average and a .892 save percentage. The talented goaltender is currently ranked 26th (second among goaltenders) by the Red Line Report among players eligible and for the 2003 NHL Draft. Through Nov. 19th, Brown has played in 1,011 minutes in 17 games. He owns a 3.32 goals-against average in leading the offensive-minded Kilty Bees to first place in the OPJHL's Western Conference with a 21-3-1 record.
Poulin on Brown: "David is an aggressive, challenging goaltender with outstanding quickness. He's got good size and skills for playing the position. He is technically sound and has that extra ingredient, that knack for doing whatever it takes to stop the puck. He continues to improve his game and is among the top-ranked goaltenders in junior hockey. Next season, he will team with Morgan Cey to give Notre Dame one of the top goaltending duos in the CCHA."
Wes O'Neill is a 6-4, 200-pound defenseman who is a teammate of Noah Babin's with the Green Bay Gamblers of the USHL. O'Neill has all the tools to be a standout collegiate defenseman. Blessed with size, speed and great hands, O'Neill is a tough competitor who was the second pick in the Ontario Hockey League's junior draft last season, but opted to play collegiate hockey. Last season with Chatham, O'Neill had nine goals and 32 assists for 41 points while helping the Maroons to the Western Jr. B regular-season title before losing in the playoff finals to Sarnia. He is a candidate for a spot on the Ontario Under-17 team that will play in the Canada Games in Nova Scotia in February of 2003. This season, O'Neill has recorded six assists in 15 games for Green Bay.
Poulin on O'Neill: "Wes is a tremendous skater with outstanding hockey skills. I've heard from a variety of coaches that he is very coachable and just wants to learn and get better. Playing for Mark Osiecki at Green Bay is going to help his all-around development as a defenseman. He loves to compete and he's chosen the college route over the OHL. Wes has the potential to become a very high-end defenseman and will have a big impact on our program at Notre Dame."
Jason Paige is a 6-0, 192-pound center from Saginaw, Mich., who has played the last two seasons for the Compuware Ambassadors of the North American Hockey League. A teammate of current Irish freshman Mike Walsh on last year's Compuware team that won the NAHL title and the United States Junior A championship, Paige recorded 12 goals and 10 assists for 22 points in 52 games while racking up 193 penalty minutes. Through 21 games this season, Paige has helped lead Compuware to a 17-4-0 record while compiling two goals and nine assists for 11 points. Both goals have come on the power play and one was a game winner. He was named to the NAHL Top Prospects Team roster on Nov. 19 for the upcoming (Dec. 2-4) Top Prospects Tournament. A solid all-around player with outstanding leadership skills, Paige is in his third season with the Compuware program.
Poulin on Paige: "We've been watching Jason for a couple of years now. He's a tough, gritty centerman who brings tremendous leadership skills to his team. A solid, all-around player, he has a strong presence when he's on the ice."
Josh Sciba is a 5-11, 191-pound left wing who becomes the 12th player from the United States National Developmental team to play at Notre Dame. An explosive skater with an excellent scoring touch, the Westland, Mich., native has been a top scorer everywhere he's played. Last season as a member of the U.S. Under-17 team he helped the team to the gold medal at the Under-17 World Challenge. He scored the game-winning goal in the U.S. win over the Ontario team with goaltender David Brown in the semifinal round. For the season, he recorded 22 goals and 27 assists for 49 points. Among his goals were seven power-play markers, a shorthanded tally and four game winners. This season, Sciba is third in team scoring with five goals and 10 assists for 15 points with three power-play goals and two game winners.
Poulin on Sciba: "Josh is an explosive skater and a talented playmaker who sees the ice very well. He's got that knack that goal scorers have of always being around the puck, being in the right spot at the right time. He knows how to find the openings and always seems to be in position for good scoring opportunities."
Notre Dame Hockey Incoming Freshman Class of 2003-04
Player Pos. Birthdate Ht. Wt. S/C Hometown/2002-03 Team
Noah Babin D 3/11/84 6-0 185 Right Palm Beach Gardens, Fla./
Green Bay Gamblers (USHL)
David Brown G 2/11/85 6-0 185 Left Stoney Creek, Ont./Hamilton Kilty
Wes O'Neill D 3/3/86 6-4 200 Left Essex, Ont./Green Bay Gamblers (USHL)
Jason Paige C 1/19/84 6-0 192 Right Saginaw, Mich./
Compuware Ambassadors (NAHL)
Josh Sciba F 2/6/85 5-11 191 Left Westland, Mich./USA Under-18 Team