Feb. 5, 2009

The Games: #2/#2 Notre Dame (20-4-3/14-3-3-3) at #15/#15 Ohio State (17-8-3/10-7- 3-3)

• Date/Site/Time: Fri./Sun., February 6/8, 2009 • Value City Arena (17,500) • 7:35 p.m./2:05 p.m.

• Broadcast Information: Radio: Notre Dame hockey can be heard live on Cat Country 99.9 FM in South Bend. Mike Lockert, now in his seventh season, will call all the action for the Irish. Television: Friday night's game will be televised live by CBS College Sports with Matt McConnell and Dave Starman calling all the action.

• Internet: All Notre Dame hockey games can be heard live on the internet via the Notre Dame website at www.und.com. All home games that are not televised will be streamed live on und.com. All Notre Dame home games and all CCHA games are available via gametracker.

ON THE ROAD AGAIN: The Notre Dame Fighting Irish take to the road this weekend to close out a run of three straight and five-of-the last six games on the road when they travel to Columbus, Ohio to face the Ohio State Buckeyes. The weekend series features a Friday night tilt at Value City Arena on Friday, Feb. 6 and a matinee game on Sunday, Feb. 8 at 2:05 p.m. Friday's game will be televised live by CBS College Sports with Matt McConnell and Dave Starman providing the play-by-play and commentary. Notre Dame brings a 20-4-3 overall record into the weekend and is 14-3-3-3 in the CCHA, good for 34 points. The Irish are in first place with a two-point lead on second-place Miami with two games in hand. Notre Dame leads Alaska by six points with four games in hand while Ohio State and Michigan are fourth in the league with 26 points. The Irish fell to second in the nation in this week's USA Today/American Hockey Magazine and USCHO.com/CBS College Sports polls after splitting last week with Michigan. Ohio State brings a 17-8-3 overall record and a 10-7-3-3 mark into the weekend against the Irish. The Buckeyes are coming off a split in Alaska where they lost the opener, 4-1, but won the second meeting, 6-2. Ohio State is ranked 15th in both national polls.

IRISH VERSUS BUCKEYES: By Notre Dame's records, the two teams have met 57 times in the all-time series with Ohio State holding a 26-23-8 advantage in the series. The Buckeyes have dominated in recent years, going 14-3-5 against the Irish since 2000-01. At Columbus, the series is tied at 12-12-5. The last time that Notre Dame won at Value City Arena was Nov. 3, 2006, a 4-2 win. The Irish tied the second game of the series, 1-1. That was the last time that Notre Dame played in Columbus.

ROAD WARRIORS: After seeing their 20-game unbeaten streak (17-0-3) snapped on Jan. 30 at home in a 2-1 loss to Michigan, the Irish continued another unbeaten streak the following night with a 3-2 win at Michigan's Yost Arena. That extended Notre Dame's current road unbeaten streak to 11 games (10-0-1). The Irish have not lost on the road this season since losing at Denver on Oct. 11 in the season opener. For the year, Notre Dame is 10-1-1 on the road. The Irish are 8-3-2 at home this year. The 11-game road unbeaten streak is the longest in the program's history.


Saturday, January 31

Notre Dame rebounded from Friday night's (Jan. 30) loss with a 3-2 win at Michigan's Yost Arena. The Irish jumped out to a 3-0 lead after two periods and held on the one-goal win. Notre Dame was led by freshman Billy Maday (Burr Ridge, Ill.) and Calle Ridderwall (So., Stockholm, Sweden) as each player had a goal and an assist. Junior Ryan Thang (Edina, Minn.) added the third goal via a penalty shot. Senior goaltender Jordan Pearce (Anchorage, Alaska) stopped 36-of-38 Michigan shots in the game, giving up just two, third-period power-play goals on the night. Notre Dame took a 1-0 lead at 8:15 of the first period when Ridderwall set up Maday to the side of the Michigan net. His pass went off Maday's skate past goaltender Bryan Hogan for the freshman right wing's 10th of the year. In the second period, Thang gave the Irish a 2-0 lead when he scored on a penalty shot at 4:03 with the goal being his ninth of the year. Ridderwall made it 3-0 at 12:50 when he converted on a great passing play by Maday and center Kevin Deeth (Jr., Gig Harbor, Wash.) for his 11th of the year. The Wolverines cut it to 3-2 in the third on power-play goals from Aaron Palushaj and Robbie Czarnik, but that was as close as they would get in a 3-2 loss. For the night, Michigan out shot Notre Dame by a 38-22 margin. Hogan finished with 19 saves.

Friday, January 30

Notre Dame saw its 20-game unbeaten streak come to an end on Friday night at the Joyce Center as Michigan handed the Irish a 2-1 loss. Travis Turnbull and Tim Miller scored for the Wolverines while Ryan Guentzel (So., Woodbury, Minn.) had the lone Irish goal. Turnbull gave Michigan a 1-0 lead at 16:59 of the first period when he beat Jordan Pearce with a backhander for his seventh of the year. The Wolverine lead would go to 2-0 just 40 seconds into the second period when Miller snapped a shot past Pearce off a face off for his sixth of the year. Notre Dame cut the lead in half at 10:18 when Guentzel converted a goal-mouth pass from defenseman Kyle Lawson (Jr., New Hudson, Mich.) for his third goal of the year, making it a 2-1 game. That would be the final goal of the game as the goaltenders took over for the final of 2-1. Michigan out shot the Irish, 32-29. Pearce finished with 30 saves on the night while Bryan Hogan had 28 saves for the Wolverines. Michigan was 0-for-3 on the power play while the Irish were 0-for-5.

PENALTY SHOTS: Ryan Thang's successful penalty shot goal in the Jan. 31 game at Michigan was the first penalty shot by a Notre Dame player since Oct. 27, 2006 when Kevin Deeth was stopped in a game against Army in the Lightning College Hockey Classic. His successful score was the first successful penalty shot by a Notre Dame player since Oct. 12, 2001 when Rob Globke `04 scored on a penalty shot against Union College at the Joyce Center.

HOUSE OF HORRORS: Notre Dame's win at Yost Arena on Jan. 31 was just the fourth for the Irish since returning to the CCHA in 1992-93.The win improved Notre Dame to 4-21-1 at Yost since the start of the `92-'93 campaign. The Irish have won two of their last three games at Yost since the 2006-07 season.

A RACE TO THE FINISH: With eight games left for Notre Dame on the 2008-09 season, the Irish have their sights set on one of the first four spots in the standings to get a first-round bye in the playoffs and to host a second round series. Here's how the final four weeks of the season shape up with the points the Irish need to clinch one of those spots (total points needed via Irish wins or opponent losses) for the Irish to clinch the fourth spot.

Team (Pts) Games Magic No.

ND (34) 8 -----
MIA (32) 6 11 pts.
Alaska (28) 4 2 pts.
MICH (26) 8 9 pts.
OSU (26) 8 9 pts.
UNO (25) 6 4 pts.
FSU (21) 8 4 pts.
LSSU (19) 8 2 pts.
NMU (19) 8 2 pts.

BIG CROWD: Friday night's crowd of 3,007 at the Joyce Center was the largest crowd to watch a Notre Dame hockey game since March 3, 1995 when 3,310 saw the Irish defeat Illinois-Chicago, 5-2. The following year, new seating was installed in the Joyce Center and the building was reconfigured to 2,667. A current sellout crowd at the Joyce Center is 2,713. Eight of Notre Dame's 13 home games this season have had crowds of 2,713 or more.

STREAK NUMBERS: In Notre Dame's 20-game unbeaten streak, the Irish gave up one goal or less in 12 of the 20 games. The Irish only gave up three goals, four times - a 3-3 tie with Lake Superior (11/14), a 3-3 tie with Western Michigan (11/29), a 4-3 win over Bowling Green (12/13) and the 3-3 tie with Lake Superior (1/17). During the streak, the Irish out scored the opposition by a 72-29 margin (3.60 to 1.45).

MONTH-BY-MONTH: The Irish were 3-3-0 in the month of October. They followed that with a 7-0-2 record in November and a 4-0-0 mark in December to close out the 2008 portion of the schedule. Notre Dame wrapped up the month of January with a 6-1-1 record.

HOBEY BAKER CANDIDATE: Notre Dame goaltender Jordan Pearce is listed among the candidates for the 2009 Hobey Baker Award on the award's website - hobeybaker.com. Fans can now vote for their choice for the award at the website. The first phase of the voting will continue until March 8. On March 19, the 10 finalists will be announced. The Hobey Baker Hat Trick of the three finalists will be announced on April 2 with the winner selected on April 10.

MR. RELIABLE: Notre Dame's All-American and Hobey Baker candidate - senior goaltender Jordan Pearce - has been a regular in the Notre Dame goal over the last two seasons. Since Jan. 5, 2008, Pearce has appeared in 49 of the last 50 Irish games. Of those 49 games, 48 have been starts. Pearce has now appeared in 24 straight games for the Irish, making 23 starts in that span. The last game he did not start was on Nov. 29 when Tommy O'Brien (Jr., Mokena, Ill.) made his second career start. Pearce came on in relief after 23:15 of action as O'Brien surrendered two goals on eight shots. Pearce has appeared in 26 of Notre Dame's first 27 games this season and is 19-4-2 with a 1.59 goals-against average and a .937 save percentage with four shutouts. Pearce played in all 20 games of Notre Dame's 20-game unbeaten streak, going 17-0-3 with a 1.36 goals-against average with a .944 save percentage and three shutouts.

MORE ON PEARCE: With his win over Michigan on Jan. 31, Jordan Pearce picked up his 48th career victory to remain in fourth on Notre Dame's all-time win list. He is now just one behind Dick Tomasoni `72, who had 49 in his career. Here are the top five goaltenders in wins at Notre Dame:

Name (Years) Wins

Lance Madson (`86-'90) 56
David Brown (``03-'07) 55
Dick Tomasoni (`68-'72) 49
Jordan Pearce (`05- ) 48

Dave Laurion (`78-'82) 45

A CHILL (ING) REUNION: When Calle Ridderwall (So., Stockholm, Sweden) and freshman Billy Maday (Burr Ridge, Ill.) were put on the same line with center Kevin Deeth (Jr., Gig Harbor, Wash.) in the second game of the Miami series (Oct. 25), it marked the first time that Ridderwall and Maday played together at Notre Dame. The two aren't strangers though as they spent the 2005-06 season as linemates with the Chicago Chill Midget AA program, helping the Chill to a second-place finish at the USA Midget AA championships. Maday had 38 goals and 87 assists for 125 points in 74 games with the Chill while Ridderwall had 52 goals and 66 assists for 118 points that season. In 23 games together this season, the duo has combined for 20 goals and and 24 assists with Maday having eight goals and 11 assists for 19 points while Ridderwall has 12 goals and 13 assists for 25 points in those games.

STARTING POINT: In last April's 5-4 overtime win against Michigan in the NCAA semifinals, then freshman Calle Ridderwall scored twice in the game, including the overtime game winner. That game proved to be the breakout game for Ridderwall. After finishing last season with five goals and two assists in 39 games, the sophomore from Stockholm, Sweden is second in scoring for the Irish with 11 goals and 14 assists for 25 points in the first 27 games this year.

BALANCING ACT: Balance has been a key for Notre Dame in the 2008-09 season. The Irish have 13 players with 10 or more points so far this year with Christian Hanson (Sr., Venetia, Pa.) leading the team with 26 points on 14 goals and 12 assists. The Irish have just three players with 10 or more goals (Hanson, Calle Ridderwall - 11 and Billy Maday - 10) but have nine players with five or more goals. Ten players on the Notre Dame roster have scored game-winning goals this year.

WINNING TEAMS: Since the start of the 2006-07 season, Notre Dame has had the winningest hockey program in the country. The Irish have won 79 games over that period to Michigan's 78. Notre Dame is 79-27-10 for a .724 winning perentage while Michigan is 78-29-5 for a .719 mark. Miami is third with 73 wins and a .692 winning percentage. Here are the top five teams by wins and winning percentage (as of Feb. 4).

Wins Winning Pct.

Notre Dame 79 Notre Dame (.724)
Michigan 78 Michigan (.719)
Miami 73 Miami (.692)
North Dakota 68 New Hampshire (.668)
Boston College 65 Boston College (.653)
New Hampshire 63 North Dakota (.638)

STREAK RANKINGS: When Notre Dame lost on Jan. 30 to Michigan, it not only snapped an overall 20-game unbeaten streak, but it snapped a 16-game CCHA unbeaten streak (13-0-3). That ties for the seventh-longest conference unbeaten streak in NCAA history and was the third-longest CCHA unbeaten streak in history. The streak trails just Lake Superior State's 28-game conference unbeaten streak (26-0-2) set in 1992-93 and a 17-game conference unbeaten streak (16-0-1) set by Michigan in 1993-94.

TAKING ADVANTAGE OF THE MAN ADVANTAGE: Prior to Notre Dame's series with Bowling Green (11/21-22), Notre Dame's power-play was hitting at a 15.6% success rate and ranked fifth in the CCHA and 31st in the nation. Since then, the power-play is 22-for-86 for a 25.6% success rate. On the season, Notre Dame's power play is now 34-for-163 for a 20.9% success rate. That leads the CCHA and is fifth nationally.

RED HOT HANSON: Senior center Christian Hanson is off to the best start of his collegiate career. Through the first 27 games of the season, Hanson leads the Irish in scoring with 14 goals and 12 assists for 26 points. He also has six power-play goals, one short-handed marker and four game winners. He now has career-bests in goals (14), assists (12), points (26), power-play goals (6) and game winners (4). The 6-4, 228-pound center is fourth in the CCHA in conference scoring and second in goals scored in the league with 12.

WE'RE NO. 2 AND TRYING HARDER: Note Dame saw its run at the top of the national polls stopped after seven consecutive weeks as the Irish fell to No. 2 in the nation in both the USA Today/American Hockey Magazine and USCHO.com/CBS College Sports polls this week. They are now No. 2, behind Boston University. The seven-week run marked the third time in the program's history that the Irish were No. 1 in the nation and tied for the longest streak of consecutive weeks there with their seven-week run at the end of 2006-07.

RANKINGS UPDATE: Notre Dame entered the 2008-09 season ranked fourth in both the USA Today/American Hockey Magazine and USCHO.com/CBS College Sports polls. The Irish finished the 2007-08 campaign ranked third in the USA Today poll and 12th in the USCHO.com polls. During the `07-'08 season, the Irish were ranked every week of the season for the first time in the program's 41-year history. Going back to the 2006-07 season, Notre Dame has been ranked in both polls for 52 consecutive weeks, the longest stretch for the Irish icers. During the `06-'07 season, Notre Dame was ranked No. 1 for seven straight weeks from Feb. 5 to March 25. This season, the Irish were No. 1 from Dec. 1 to Feb. 1, a span covering seven weeks. The third time that Notre Dame was No. 1 came for one week in the 1976-77 season. Week-by-week with the Irish this season:

CLUTCH SCORER: Ryan Thang's game-winning goal on Jan. 9 against Alaska was his second of the season and his first since Oct. 18 against Sacred Heart. The game winner gives him 13 for his career and moves him into a tie for the top spot on Notre Dame's all-time game-winning goal list. Thang is now tied with Rob Globke `04, Brian Urick `99 and Dave Poulin `82 - as all four players now have 13 game winners to their credit.