Dec. 5, 2013
Notre Dame, Ind. -
The Notre Dame hockey team will play its final two hockey games of the 2013 portion of the schedule when the Irish play host to the University of Massachusetts this weekend, Dec. 6-7, at the Compton Family Ice Arena. Friday's contest will start at 7:35 p.m. with Saturday's tilt scheduled to drop the puck at 6:35 p.m. The NBC Sports Network with Dave Strader calling the action and Anson Carter "Inside the Glass" will televise both games.
Notre Dame will look to close out the first half on a winning note as the Irish bring a 9-6-1 record overall and a 2-3-1 mark in Hockey East into the weekend. Notre Dame will break for finals and then the Christmas holidays and not play again until Jan. 4 when they face Boston College at Fenway Park to open the New Year.
The Minutemen visit the Compton Family Ice Arena for the first time and will bring a 3-10-2 overall record to Michiana and are 1-6-2 in Hockey East. Massachusetts will be looking to snap a seven-game winless streak that has seen the Minutemen go 0-6-1 since their last win on Nov. 2 versus Maine. Behind the bench for UMass., now in his second season is former Irish assistant coach, John Micheletto, who served as an assistant to Dave Poulin from 1999-2003. The Minutemen also have another connection to Notre Dame, as senior forward Adam Phillips is the younger brother of former Irish goaltender Brad Phillips `12. The younger Phillips has played in 105 games at UMass., and has 19 goals and 21 assists for 40 points.
Notre Dame and Massachusetts have played five times in the all-time series with the Minutemen holding a 3-2-0 advantage. The two teams have met once on each campus with Notre Dame traveling to Amherst, Mass., back on Dec. 30-31, 1994 and splitting the series. Massachusetts then visited the Joyce Center on Dec. 10-11, 1999 with each team taking a game. The difference in the series came on Dec. 28, 2007 when the two teams met in the Lightning College Hockey Classic in Tampa, Fla., with the Minutemen taking a 4-3 victory.
DON'T FORGET THE TEDDY BEARS
Notre Dame will hold its annual Teddy Bear Toss on Saturday, Dec. 7 during the first intermission of its game with Massachusetts. Fans are asked to bring Teddy Bears or they can purchase them in the lobby prior to the game to throw on the ice during the first intermission. All the Teddy Bears collected will be donated to St. Joseph Regional Medical Center who will deliver them to children during the Christmas holidays.
With the University of Massachusetts making its first visit as a member of Hockey East to the Compton Family Ice Arena this weekend, here are some facts about the largest state school in the state of Massachusetts. UMass Amherst is located in Amherst, Massachusetts and sits on nearly 1,450-acres in the scenic Pioneer Valley of Western Massachusetts. Located 90 miles from Boston and 175 miles from New York City, UMass Amherst is the flagship and the largest of the UMass campuses, as well as the first established.
Originally called Massachusetts Agricultural College, the Amherst campus was founded as a land-grant college in 1863. It became Massachusetts State College in 1931, and the University of Massachusetts in 1947. The campus has 21,373 undergraduates and offers 86 bachelor's degree programs.
Like Notre Dame, the University of Massachusetts has had an on-again, off-again hockey history. The school played hockey as far back as 1908. From 1939 to 1947 there was no hockey program due to World War II. The program restarted in 1948 and continued through the 1978-79 season before getting put on hold again until it was restarted on Oct. 13, 1993 in conjunction with the opening of the William D. Mullins Center on the Amherst campus. The home of the UMass basketball and hockey programs, the Mullin Center has a 200 X 95 sheet of ice and seats 8,389.
The Minutemen have been members of Hockey East since the 1993-94 season. Since then, they have had three coaches - Joe Mallen (`93-'00), Don "Toot" Cahoon (`00-'12) and John Micheletto (`12-present). The best season for the Minutemen came in 2006-07 when they were 21-13-5 under Cahoon and advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the only time.
From 1970-74, Massachusetts advanced to the ECAC Division II playoffs, winning the championship in 1972. The University is a member of the Atlantic 10 in most sports with football being a member of the Mid-American Conference (MAC) and hockey being in Hockey East. Last season, the Minutemen were 12-19-3 overall and 9-16-2 in Hockey East, finishing ninth and missed the playoffs.
Notre Dame sophomore left wing Thomas DiPauli (Woodridge, Ill.) will have the opportunity to play for his country this coming Christmas as he has was one of 26 players selected to the preliminary roster for the U.S. Junior National Team that will participate in the 2014 International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championships Dec. 26, 2013 to Jan. 5, 2014, in Malmo, Sweden.
The 5-11, 189-pound forward will join the team for training camp Dec. 15-18. From there, the U.S. Team will continue preparations in Angelholm, Sweden, before its 23-man roster is announced. The U.S. Team will play three games before the start of the World Junior Championships, including Dec. 17 versus Minnesota State in Mankato, Minn., before games on Dec. 20 in Angelholm against Finland and on Dec. 22 versus Sweden.
For DiPauli, being selected to the 26-man roster was probably in question since he has missed the last 10 of the last 11 games for Notre Dame due to an injury he suffered back on Oct. 25 at Minnesota Duluth. He tried to comeback earlier, but reinjured himself.
"I may have come back a little too soon the last time, but I feel great now," said DiPauli following practice on Wednesday afternoon.
"There is no hesitation. I am back in the corners battling. I'm ready to play. It was frustrating to be out so long, but I learned from it. I wasn't 100-percent when I tried to come back. Now I know, at this level, you have to let it heal."
In six games this season, DiPauli has scored one goal and has no assists and is +2 for the year. As a freshman, the 5-11, 189-pound forward who can play either center or left wing, played in all 41 games with five goals and seven assists for 12 points and was +8 on the year.
Selected in the fourth round, 100th overall by the Washington Capitals in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, DiPauli drives opponents crazy with his relentless style. One of Notre Dame's top penalty killers, he knows what his role will be should he make the final roster later this month.
"It will be fun to go to camp. I've talked to (Stephen) Johns and (T.J.) Tynan and Mario (Lucia). The guys who have played in the World Juniors the last couple of years," said DiPauli.
"I know that I wasn't selected to be a goal scorer, it was more for being a defensive forward, killing penalties, things like that. It's going to be a great experience. I'm happy that things worked out this way."
With as many as five players out of the lineup, including four forwards, during the month of November, Notre Dame's offensive attack has seen members of the defensive corps step up and get more involved in the offense. During the recently concluded Shillelagh Tournament, Irish defensemen scored five of Notre Dame's seven goals in the tournament with Stephen Johns (Sr., Wampum, Pa.) getting two and Robbie Russo (Jr., Westmont, Ill.), Shayne Taker (Sr., Surrey, B.C.) and Andy Ryan (So., Brighton, Mich.) getting one goal each.
After 16 games, Notre Dame defensemen have scored 13 of the team's 47 goals and have 21 assists for 34 points. Russo leads the group with three goals (two shg, 1 ppg) and seven assists for 10 points while Johns and Taker each have four goals and five assists for nine points.
Getting offense from the defense is an important aspect of the Notre Dame attack.
"We encourage or guys to step in on offense. The positive thing is that some guys have always done it," says Jackson.
"It's good to see Robbie Russo get more involved. He's always been good at the point on the power play, but this year he has been more effective in transition, jumping into the play off the rush and off the cycle. He is really creating a lot more offense. Stephen Johns has been more about lugging the puck up the ice trying to make plays. They recognize that we aren't getting scoring from the forwards, so they are a big part of our offense the more that they activate."
Notre Dame's list of walking wounded is getting smaller and smaller and at just the right time. Junior defenseman Eric Johnson (Verona, Wis.) returned to the lineup for the Shillelagh Tournament after missing eight games due to an injury suffered on Oct. 26 at Minnesota Duluth. Three more forwards could return this weekend as senior right wing Mike Voran (Livonia, Mich.), sophomore Thomas DiPauli and freshman center Vince Hinostroza (Bartlett, Ill.) returned to practice this week. Only sophomore center Steven Fogarty (Edina, Minn.) remains sidelined.
Voran has missed seven games after being injured versus Minnesota on Nov. 8. DiPauli has missed 10 games after he was hurt in the series at Minnesota Duluth and Hinostroza has missed six games after going down in the second game of the Minnesota series.
"We actually practiced with five lines this week," said Jackson with a laugh following Wednesday's practice.
"It's looking pretty positive for (Mike) Voran and (Thomas) DiPauli. (Vince) Hinostroza is looking pretty good too. It could be all three of them, but I don't want to get too excited. Out of the three, Vinny is still a question mark. We will see how he is on Thursday and Friday."
Jackson was non-committal on where his newest players would play.
"We'll be moving guys around this week. We want to get close to what we had before guys got hurt," said Jackson.
"We're anxious to get guys back to try to create more offense, to enhance our penalty kill and help our special teams. Ideally we will be better off when we come back from Christmas when we have time to get them back into the mix of things. It's the competitive aspect that they are going to be behind in. It's okay in practice but the compete level in a game is a little bit higher."
HOCKEY EAST HAPPENINGS
Boston College dropped a 5-4 decision to Holy Cross on Nov. 29 at Kelley Rink. The loss was the first non-conference loss for the Eagles since losing a to Denver at home on Oct. 14, 2011... the loss was the second all-time for the Eagles to Holy Cross (17 meetings) and the first against a team from Atlantic Hockey ... Boston University defeated Cornell, 3-2, on Nov. 30 at Madison Square Garden in front of a sellout crowd of 18,006 ... BU is now 8-2-2 all-time at Madison Square Garden ... the Terriers win the inaugural Kelley-Harkness Cup honoring legendary coaches Jack Kelley (BU) and Ned Harkness (Cornell) who ignited the rivalry during the 1960s... the win was the first for BU this season away from home ... this coming Saturday's UMass-Lowell -Maine game in Orono has been moved to Sunday at 4:00 p.m. due to the Black Bears hosting a playoff football game at home on Saturday ... the River Hawks are 9-1-0 in their last 10 games ... Merrimack closed out the month of November with a 3-2 loss at Yale on Nov. 30 ... the Warriors are in the midst of a seven-game winless streak (0-6-1) since opening the month with a win over Bentley ... New Hampshire traveled to Colorado to pick up a pair of wins versus Colorado College by 6-2 and 3-0 scores ... goaltender Casey DeSmith notched his second shutout of the season, making 32 saves on Saturday night ... the Tigers had not been shutout at home since Jan. 29, 2011 ... Northeastern won the Shillelagh Tournament at Notre Dame with a 3-2 win over the Irish on Nov. 30 ... the Huskies freshman class is tied for the national lead with Boston College with 59 points this season (17 goals and 42 assists) ... Providence College won the 28th annual Mayor's Cup game versus crosstown rival Brown on Nov. 30 with a 3-2 win ... all-time, the Friars are 16-9-3 in the Mayor's Cup ... PC is one of four teams in the nation with 11 or more wins, joining Quinnipiac (13), Minnesota (11) and Ferris State (11) ... Vermont swept Maine in a non-league series last weekend to extend its winning streak to four straight games ... the four-game streak is the most for the Catamounts since the 2009-10 season.
-- ND --