Jan. 16, 2009

Courtesy of Notre Dame

• The Games: #1/#1 Notre Dame (18-3-2/12-2-2-2) at Lake Superior State (6-9-7/3-6-5-1)

• Date/Site/Time: Fri.-Sat., January 16-17, 2009 • Taffy Abel Arena (4,000) • 7:05 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.

• 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 TO LAKE SUPERIOR: Notre Dame takes its show on the road this weekend with a series at Lake Superior State on Jan. 16-17. Game time both nights at Taffy Abel Arena is set for 7:05 p.m. The Irish and the Lakers are meeting for the second time this season as the two teams played at the Joyce Center on Nov. 14-15. They battled to a 3-3 tie in the opener with Notre Dame taking the win in a shootout, 2-1. The following night the Irish handed Lake Superior a 5-2 loss. Notre Dame brings an eight-game winning streak into the series that began on Dec. 5 and is currently in the midst of a school-record 18-game unbeaten streak (16-0-2) since Oct. 31. Overall, the Irish are 18-3-2 and are 12-2-2-2, good for 26 points and first-place in the CCHA, five points ahead of second-place Miami. Lake Superior is 6-9-7 on the season with a 3-6-5-1 record in the conference, good for eighth place in the standings with 12 points. The Lakers are coming off a road split at Colgate where they lost 5-4 in overtime last Friday before taking a 6-1 win in Saturday's series finale. Notre Dame remains ranked No. 1 in both the USA Today/American Hockey Magazine and USCHO.com/CBS College Sports polls.

IRISH VERSUS LAKERS: Notre Dame and Lake Superior State have met 51 times in the all-time series with the series tied at 23-23-5. At Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., the Lakers have a 13-8-1 advantage. Notre Dame is unbeaten in its last eight games (7-0-1) versus Lake Superior, dating back to Dec. 18, 2005. The last time Notre Dame lost at Taffy Abel Arena was Jan. 8, 2005, a 2-1 overtime loss. Since then, the Irish are 2-0 at the home of the Lakers.

BACK-TO-BACK BLANKINGS: The Irish are coming off a weekend series at home versus Alaska that saw Notre Dame shut out the Nanooks, 2-0 and 3-0, behind the goaltending of senior Jordan Pearce (Anchorage, Alaska). That marks the second time this season that the Irish have had back-to-back shutouts. In October, Notre Dame shut out Sacred Heart, 3-0 and 7-0, on Oct. 17-18. The last time the Irish had back-to-back shutouts in CCHA play came on March 15-16, 2003, when Morgan Cey `05 blanked Miami, 1-0 and 5-0, in games two and three of the CCHA playoffs. The Irish have never had back-to-back shutout wins in a CCHA regular-season series before last weekend.

ALASKA RECAP:

Saturday, Jan. 10 - For the second night in a row, Notre Dame and Alaska played 40 minutes of scoreless hockey before the Irish broke through with three, third-period goals in the 3-0 win over the Nanooks. Christian Hanson (Sr., Venetia, Pa.), Ben Ryan (So., Brighton, Mich.) and Ryan Thang (Jr., Edina, Minn.) scored the goals while Jordan Pearce stopped all 22 shots he faced for his second consecutive shutout versus Alaska. Hanson got the eventual game winner at 5:33 of the third when he redirected a deflected shot by Garrett Regan (Sr., Hastings, Minn.) past goaltender Chad Johnson. Defenseman Kyle Lawson (Jr., New Hudson, Mich.) started the play with a shot from the right point. The lead would go to 2-0 at 12:28 of the third when Ryan banged the rebound of a Teddy Ruth (So., Naperville, Ill.) shot past Johnson for his sixth goal of the season. Thang then closed out the game with an empty net goal at 19:03 for his eighth goal of the season and his third straight in as many games. Erik Condra (Sr., Livonia, Mich.) assisted on the goal, picking up his 100th career assist on the play. For the night, Notre Dame out shot the Nanooks by a 29-22 margin. Johnson finished with 26 saves in the game.

Friday, January 9 - Ryan Thang (ppg) and Erik Condra (eng) scored third-period goals to snap a 0-0 tie and give Notre Dame a 2-0 win over Alaska in front of a sell-out crowd of 2,857 at the Joyce Center. Goaltender Jordan Pearce made 16 saves to record his third shutout of the season and the seventh of this career. The Irish out shot Alaska, 30-16, in the game. Nanook goaltender Chad Johnson had 28 saves in the game. Thang snapped the scoreless tie at 11:40 of the third when he converted a Kyle Lawson pass at the left side of the crease for his seventh of the year. Alaska pulled the goaltender in the final minute for a sixth attacker, Christian Hanson won a face off in the Notre Dame zone and got the puck loose to Condra who scored from just outside the Alaska blue line for his fifth goal of the season.

CCHA PLAYERS OF THE WEEK: Junior defenseman Kyle Lawson and senior goaltender Jordan Pearce were selected as the CCHA's defenseman and goaltender of the week respectively for the week ending, Jan. 11. Lawson helped the Irish limit Alaska to 38 shots on the weekend while recording assists on three of Notre Dame's five goals in the series. He was +3 and blocked two shots versus the Nanooks. Pearce continued his incredible season with two shutouts in goal versus Alaska. The senior stopped all 38 shots he faced - 16 in Friday's 2-0 win and 22 in the 3-0 win on Saturday. The shutouts were the third and fourth of the season for Pearce and extended his current shutout streak to a career best 161:30 over the last three games.

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 45 of the last 46 Irish games. Of those 45 games, 44 have been starts. Pearce has now appeared in 20 straight games for the Irish, making 19 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 22 of Notre Dame's first 23 games this season and is 17-3-2 with a 1.48 goals-against average and a .940 save percentage with four shutouts. During Notre Dame's current eight-game winning streak, Pearce is 8-0-0 with a 0.88 goals-against average, a .960 save percentage and three shutouts. In his current 18-game unbeaten streak (16-0-2), Pearce has a 1.24 goals-against average, a .950 save percentage and three shutouts. Pearce's 40-save performance against Lake Superior State on Nov. 14, were the most saves in his career, surpassing the previous high of 34 set on Feb. 17, 2006 versus Bowling Green in a 7-4 win. He currently has not given up a goal in 161:30, a career best. The streak started on Jan. 3 after he gave up a goal at 18:30 of the first period in the 3-1 win over Minnesota-Duluth.

ROAD WIN STREAK: Notre Dame's 3-1 win at Bowling Green on Dec. 12, gives the Irish an eight-game road winning streak, the longest road streak in the program's history. Notre Dame's last road loss came in the season-opener at Denver (5-2) on Oct. 11. The previous longest road win streak came between Jan. 7- Feb. 4, 1977. The Irish are 8-1-0 on the road 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.

RECORD STREAK: Notre Dame's sweep of Alaska gives the Irish eight consecutive wins since Nov. 29. The win also extends the school-record unbeaten streak to 18 games (16-0-2). The streak broke the previous mark of 15 straight (15-0-0) that was set between Nov. 4, 1983 and Jan. 21, 1985. The Irish have not been on the losing end of the score since falling to Miami, 3-2, on Oct. 25.

MORE ON PEARCE: With his shutout win on Jan. 10 versus Alaska, Jordan Pearce moved into fourth on Notre Dame's all-time wins list with his 46th career victory. The win moved him ahead of Dave Laurion `82 and puts him three 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- ) 46
Dave Laurion (`78-'82) 45

CLIMBING THE CHARTS: With the two shutouts versus Alaska, Jordan Pearce now has four shutouts this season and eight for his career. The seven career shutouts move Pearce into second on the all-time list. David Brown `07 holds the Irish record with 12 during his Irish career.

JOINING THE CENTURY CLUB: Senior right wing Erik Condra recorded the 100th assist of his Notre Dame career on Ryan Thang's third-period goal in the 3-0 win over Alaska on Jan. 10. The assist makes him just the 10th player in the 41-year history of the program to record 100 assists in his career. In Friday's game with Alaska, Condra recorded the 40th goal of his Irish career. He is currently 19th on Notre Dame's all-time points list with 140 career points. Condra is in the midst of a team-best point streak has he now has one point in each of his last six games (1-7-8)

STREAK NUMBERS: In Notre Dame's 18-game unbeaten streak, the Irish have given up one goal or less in 12 of the 18 games. The Irish have only given up three goals twice - a 3-3 tie with Lake Superior and a 4-3 win over Bowling Green. During the streak, the Irish have out scored the opposition by a 66-24 margin (3.67 to 1.33).

LOWE'S SENIOR CLASS AWARD: Two members of the Notre Dame hockey team are among a list of 20 candidates for the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award. Named to the list last week are senior forward Erik Condra and goaltender Jordan Pearce. The award is given annually to an NCAA Division I student-athlete in nine sports based on achievement's in the "Four C's" of classroom, character, community and competition. CLASS is an acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School. Last season, senior Mark Van Guilder `08 was one of 10 finalists for the award and in 2007, goaltender David Brown `07 was selected as the first winner of the hockey award.

RED HOT HANSON: Senior center Christian Hanson is off to the best start of his collegiate career. Through the first 23 games of the season, Hanson leads the Irish in scoring with 14 goals and 11 assists for 25 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 (11), points (25), power-play goals (6) and game winners (4). The 6-4, 228-pound center has points in 10 of his last 14 games (10-9-18). In 16 CCHA games this season, Hanson leads the league in scoring with 12 goals and 11 assists for 23 points.

HEATING UP: Junior left wing Ryan Thang is getting hot at the right time. After getting just five goals in the team's first 20 games, Thang has scored one goal in each of the last three games for a three-game goal and point streak (3-1-4). He is currently seventh on the team in scoring with eight goals and six assists for 14 points.

WELCOME BACK: Sophomore defensemen Ian Cole (Ann Arbor, Mich.) and Teddy Ruth (Naperville, Ill.) returned to the Notre Dame lineup for the Alaska series after missing both games of the Shillelagh Tournament while playing for the U.S. Junior National Team in the World Junior Championships from Dec. 26 to Jan. 5. The duo helped the U.S. to a fifth-place finish. Cole, playing in his second tournament had two goals and two assists in his six games while Ruth had no points with 25 penalty minutes in his first appearance. The duo are among 12 Notre Dame players all-time to play for the U.S. in the World Junior Championships. They join fellow defenseman Kyle Lawson as current Irish players to have played in the tournament during their careers.

ON THE SIDELINES: The Irish will be without the services of sophomore goaltender Brad Phillips (Farmington Hills, Mich.) for the entire season. Phillips injured his right knee in the preseason and will be out of action for the year. He was 4-1-0 as a freshman with a 1.53 goals-against average and a .923 save percentage.

WINNING TEAMS: Since the start of the 2006-07 season, Notre Dame has the winningest hockey program in the nation. Heading into this weekend at Lake Superior, Notre Dame ranks first in wins (77) and first in winning percentage (.728). Here are the top five teams by wins and winning percentage (as of Jan. 14).

Wins                     Winning Pct.
Notre Dame 77 Notre Dame (.728)
Michigan 74 Michigan (.722)
Miami 69 Miami (.689)
North Dakota 65 Boston College (.664)
Boston College 63 New Hampshire (.649)
New Hampshire 61 North Dakota (.636)

NICE NOVEMBER: Notre Dame closed out the month of November with a 7-0-2 mark in the nine games played. During the month, the Irish out scored the opposition by a 41-15 margin (4.56 to 1.67). In the two ties, Notre Dame won the CCHA contests with a pair of 2-1 shootout victories. Last season, the Irish were 9-1-0 in the month of November.

BETTER DECEMBER: The Irish finished up the month of December with a 4-0-0 record, out scoring the opposition by an 11-5 margin (2.75 to 1.25). Notre Dame takes an 11-0-2 mark over the last two months into January.

ON A ROLL IN THE NEW YEAR: The Irish started January with four straight wins to run the winning streak to eight games. During January, Notre Dame has out scored the opposition by an 11-2 margin (2.75 to .50).

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, it marked the first time that Ridderwall and Maday played together at Notre Dame. The two aren't strangers 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 18 games together this season, the duo has combined for 16 goals and and 18 assists with Maday having seven goals and seven assists and Ridderwall nine goals and 11 assists for 20 points in those games.

ROOKIE OF THE MONTH: Notre Dame freshman right wing Billy Maday was selected as the CCHA rookie of the month for November. In nine games during the month, Maday had seven goals and four assists for 11 points. Included in his seven goals were five power-play markers. Maday scored points in eight of the nine games and was +4 in the month. He finished the month scoring goals in the last five consecutive games, going 5g, 2a in that span. The freshman is fourth in scoring on the team with nine goals and seven assists for 16 points in his first 18 games.

RED HOT SWEDE: Sophomore Calle Ridderwall credits his strong second season to an increase in confidence. The speedy left wing has seen his game take off in recent weeks as he has now scored 17 points (7g, 10a), notching points in seven of his last 11 games. His current tear started in a game that he didn't get credited with any points, but got the winning goal for the Irish. On Nov. 14, Notre Dame faced Lake Superior in their first-ever shootout and Ridderwall dazzled the crowd with a great move to score the winning goal for the Irish. He followed that with a career-best three-point game (1g, 2a) in the win over the Lakers the following night. Versus Bowling Green (Nov. 21-22), Ridderwall had a pair of assists in the 5-1 win and then added his first career four-point game (2g, 2a) in the 9-1 win over the Falcons. He didn't wait long to get his second four-point game as he followed the first with another two-goal, two-assist night in the 4-1 win over Western Michigan and then added an assist in the second game versus the Broncos. For the year, Ridderwall is second in scoring on the Irish roster with nine goals and 12 assists for 21 points, surpassing his freshman totals of five goals and two assists for seven points.

TOURNAMENT HONORS: Notre Dame collected its first Shillelagh Tournament title on Jan. 2-3 at the Sears Centre in Hoffman Estates, Ill. The Irish defeated Union College, 3-1 in the first game and then knocked off Minnesota-Duluth, 3-1, in the title game. Notre Dame placed four players on the Shillelagh Tournament all-tournament team. Selected to the team were: junior defenseman Kyle Lawson, forwards Ben Ryan and Garrett Regan and goaltender Jordan Pearce, who also was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player. Lawson anchored an Irish defense that limited Union and Minnesota-Duluth to 41 shots in the tournament while playing over 30 minutes per game. Ryan had a goal and an assist, getting the game winner in the win over Union. Regan scored two goals in the title game, including the game winner versus Minnesota-Duluth. Pearce surrendered just two goals (one even-strength goal) on 41 shots (.951 sv%) and picked up two wins in the tournament. Also selected to the all-tournament team were Minnesota-Duluth defenseman Erik Oberg and forward Justin Fontaine.

THREE IN A ROW: With the win in the Shillelagh Tournament on Jan. 2-3, the Irish have now won one in-season hockey tournament in each of the last three seasons. In 2006-07, the Irish won the Lightning College Hockey Tournament in Tampa, Fla. In 2007-08, Notre Dame was the winner of the Rensselaer Holiday Hockey Tournament in Troy, N.Y. and this season, the Irish got the win in the Shillelagh Tournament.

IRISH TOURNEY HISTORY: For Notre Dame, the Shillelagh Tournament was the 31st in-season tournament that the Irish have participated in. The two wins give Notre Dame an all-time mark of 25-34-3 in those tournaments. The Irish now have finished first (seven times), second (six times), third (seven times) and fourth (11 times) in those tournaments.

TAKE ME OUT TO THE HOCKEY GAME: As part of the first-ever Shillelagh Tournament, all four tournament teams attended the NHL's Winter Classic at Wrigley Field on Jan. 1. Notre Dame got to see former Irish defenseman Brett Lebda `04 score a goal for Detroit in the Red Wings' victory.

THE PLAYMAKER: With assists in each game of the Shillelagh Tournament, junior defenseman Brett Blatchford (Temperance, Mich.) now ranks third in the CCHA in assists with 18 and ranks second among all CCHA defensemen with 18 points this season. The smooth-skating defenseman has already exceeded his output of last year when he had 12 assists in 45 games. He leads Notre Dame defensemen in scoring and currently ranks 13th nationally among defensemen in scoring.

MAKING THE MOST OF IT: Center Ben Ryan has made the most of the goals he's scored this season. With a goal versus Alaska, Ryan now has six goals this season. More importantly, three of his six goals have been game-winning goals. The three game winners this season rank him second to Christian Hanson on the team.

POWER-PLAY PRODUCERS: Five Notre Dame players currently rank in the top 10 in the CCHA for power-play point production. Left wing Calle Ridderwall is tied for first (7-8-15) with center Christian Hanson third (6-7-13). Defenseman Brett Blatchford is tied for sixth (0-11-11) and is followed by right wing Billy Maday (5-4-9) and center Kevin Deeth (2-7-9) who are tied for 10th. LETTERS OF INTENT: Notre Dame head coach Jeff Jackson has announced that five players have signed national letters-of-intent to play hockey at Notre Dame beginning in the fall of 2009: The list includes two defensemen and three forwards. Joining the Irish for next season are:

Sam Calabrese (Park Ridge, Ill.), Cam Fowler (Farmington Hills, Mich.), Nick Larson (Apple Valley, Minn.), Kyle Palmieri (Montvale, N.J.) and Riley Sheahan (St. Catharines, Ont.). Calabrese, Fowler and Palmieri all play for the USA Under-18 team while Larson plays for Waterloo in the USHL and Sheahan is a member of the St. Catharines Falcons organization in the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League. Calabrese and Palmieri are eligible for the 2009 NHL Entry Draft next June while Fowler and Sheahan can't be drafted until the June of 2010 draft. Larson was selected in the fourth round of last year's draft by the Calgary Flames.


USHL GP G A PTS PIM

Nick Larson - Waterloo 24 10 4 14 63


GOJHL GP G A PTS PIM

Riley Sheahan - St. Catherine's 31 24 36 60 35


USA UNDER-18 GP G A PTS PIM

Cam Fowler 30 4 18 22 32
Kyle Palmieri 19 9 11 20 31
Sam Calabrese 31 0 5 5 8

MINELLA MAGIC: Junior right wing Christiaan Minella (Aurora, Colo.) scored his first career goal, on his first shot in his first collegiate game against Bowling Green on Nov. 11, 2006. It would be 46 games before he would score again, getting the second goal of his career on Oct. 18 of this season against Sacred Heart. The 6-2, 216-pound forward then had a three-game goal-scoring streak between Nov. 14-Nov. 21 with goals in each game of the Lake Superior series and one against Bowling Green. Since November 14, Minella has three goals and six assists for nine points. His four goals and 10 points this season are career highs for Minella and he's done it in just 21 games.

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 20-for-68 for a 29.4% success rate. On the season, Notre Dame's power play is now 32-for-145 for a 22.1% success rate. That leads the CCHA and is third nationally.