Thursday, January 29, 2009

10 Things to Know About Notre Dame

1) Notre Dame comes into this game ranked #1 in the country with a 19-3-3 record. They haven't lost since Miami finished out a sweep of them on October 25th, a span of 20 games.

2) If you look at their schedule though, they really haven't played too many great teams. They lost to Denver and got swept by Miami. They beat BC, which was a nice win, but here are the CCHA teams they've played during this streak: LSSU four times, BGSU four times, Western twice, Ferris twice, Alaska twice (in South Bend). Duluth, Union, and Providence were their other games. Pretty much the opposite of the Pittsburgh Steelers' schedule this year. Need more proof? They've played the 24th rated schedule in the country according to the current RPI rankings. Michigan is #8. Only Ohio State, Cornell, and Princeton have played worse schedules amongst the teams in the top 15 in RPI.

3) The key to their success? They really don't give up that many goals. They've given up more than three just one time the entire season, and that was in the season opener (a 5-2 loss at Denver). They've only given up 3 goals on five occasions. They've held an opponent to 0 or 1 goals on fourteen occasions.

4) Their leading goal scorer is the surprising Christan Hanson, who has 14-12--26 in 25 games. He had just 20 goals and 33 points in the three seasons prior to this one. Calle Ridderwall, the sophomore who put the dagger in the hearts of Michigan fans in overtime last year, has 10 goals, eight of which have come with the man advantage (He's 5th in the country in PPGs). Erik Condra and Kevin De-De-Deeth have cracked the twenty point mark as well. Ryan Thoia-Thang (when did I turn into Chris Berman?) has been a little quiet. He has just 8-6--14 after going for 41 and 32 points the last two seasons. Nine guys have 5+ goals.

5) Amongst their defensemen, Brian Blatchford, Ian Cole, and Kyle Lawson have combined for 5 goals and 38 assists. Teddy Ruth doesn't provide much in the way of offense, but he's rock solid back there. And in net it's been Jordan Pearce for the most part. He's 18-3-3 with a 1.56 goals against and a very impressive .936 save percentage. He's 5th nationally in goals against and 7th in save percentage.

6) They're 12th nationally in offense (3.44) and 3rd defensively (1.56 goals per game). They're #2 in scoring margin, behind Air Force, who doesn't actually count.

7) They're a pretty disciplined team as well, 36th in most penalty minutes at just 15.4 a night (4.4 fewer than Michigan). And the special teams? They're pretty darn good too. #4 in PP at 21.8%. Their 34 goals with the man advantage trails only North Dakota and Minnesota-Duluth. They're sixth on the PK, killing off 89.7% of their opponents' power plays. They've also scored six shorthanded goals on the season. Only Air Force, Army, RIT, and BGSU have more (Who would've bet on those four?).

8) Michigan leads the all-time series 66-43-5, but Notre Dame (as everyone remembers) won the most recent meeting, beating Michigan 5-4 in overtime in the national semifinals. We're just a tick over .500 in South Bend, and are 37-20-3 at Yost.

9) Travis Turnbull actually leads all Wolverines in career points against ND with a 3-5--8 line in 8 games against the Fighting Irish. Aaron Palushaj has 5 points in 3 games (all assists). Matt Rust had 3 goals and four points against ND last year. Hagelin is also a point per game player against them. In net, Billy Sauer is 3-3-0 with a 3.19/.894, and I just threw up in my mouth a little. Bryan Hogan has a 2.62/.900 in the 2+ periods he's played against them.

10) Erik Condra has done really well against Michigan in his career, with a 3-6--9 line in seven games. Regan, Deeth, Blatchford, and Thang all have 5+ points against the Wolverines. And Ridderwall had 3 points in 3 games last year. Pearce is just 1-2-0 with a 3.15/.890 against us.

Tomorrow's game will air on CBS College Sports at 8:05 Eastern. Saturday's game is on FSN Detroit at 7:35. So, woo hoo, I actually get to watch on a TV!

A couple other quick things:
-The preliminary hearings in the Mike Milano trial started today. Steve Kampfer testified for over an hour. That kid has had an eventful week. While the testimony doesn't paint either kid in a very good light, I have to say that I've never understood the "He's been attacked twice this year. Clearly he needs to keep his mouth shut" type comments that I've heard several times (not just from Sparties) since the incident took place. I really don't believe that what Conboy and Tropp did had anything to do with Kampfer or his personality (which I don't know anything about). He drilled Tropp, they were getting beat yet again by Michigan, and they both flipped out. I'd buy into it more if he had gotten powerbombed at a bar twice in a year. But on the scorecard you've got one fight outside a bar and one on-ice incident because a couple of knuckleheads snapped.

-Corey Tropp gave an interview to the Sioux Falls Argus Leader about his take on the incident last weekend. Here's what he says he remembers about the slash:

CT: Well I was skating through center-ice ... I thought I got kneed, but you know, people have been saying it was a clean hit. I guess I just wasn’t too happy with the hit. (Andrew) Conboy came up and kind of suckered him from the side, and I really didn’t realize Conboy was going to sucker him.
I was going go over and give him a little push myself. It was kind of one of those things where I didn’t even realize he was injured on the ice when I did it. After that I felt pretty bad. I still feel pretty bad about the whole situation.

There's some interesting stuff in that interview. I've said my piece. No need to comment further, but the response above kind of deserve a "Uhhhhhh...."


Anonymous said...

I would encourage everyone to read the full Tropp interview. I have gotten to know him during his two years in E.L., and this is completely out of character. He is a good kid who made a bad decision. He is not "Satan" and someone "who deliberately sought out Kampfer because of his previous injury" and the other vicious things that so many on boards of this ilk have suggested. He deserves a second chance.

Anonymous said...

Glad no one got ejected against an inferior team like MSU when we've got a #1 team the following week. I was nervous the entire game that chippy play would result in something stupid on our part and we lose a valuable player vs ND.

Anonymous said...

Maybe Tropp is a good kid, but what he did was heinous. (Not to say that this example is the same, but first time murderers can be models of society, too.)

It's becoming pretty clear that Kampfer chirps alot and doesn't have the respect of his opponents. That doesn't justify being attacked.

If Comley lets him come back next season he is inviting trouble.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone else seen Paula Weston's article this week? Why oh dear god why does she have to be the CCHA's columnist?

Anonymous said...

I think it's so she can enlighten us with journalism like this:

"And in the wake of the embarrassing “F—- you, State! ” chant, the league says that UM will do something about the student section."

towards the end, re: student section being on a shorter leash...

"Amazing what a little spotlight can do. And about &#@* time."

Paula, what does &#@* stand for?

Anonymous said...

I think there's a job opening for Ms Weston at Fox News.

Anonymous said...

Hey now, don't you associate my beloved Fox News with that vile woman. She's clearly a leftist as she loves regulation!

I left her a nice message on the USCHO message board.

Anonymous said...

great to see #5 rise from the dead and play this week. the guy is notorious for running his mouth and then playing dead/hurt when someone has heard enough from him. this is not soccer, I have seen seriously injured players do whatever possible to get up and leave the playing surface. don't lay there and play dead, go to the hospital an hour later on a stretcher with a neck brace, and then play the next game with no signs of any ill effects. I do not condone any players actions from this incident, however I strongly feel the case has been blown way out of proportion. and as far inexcusable behavior, I am struck by the lack of concern over the reprehensible behavior of one player's father and the lack of attack on his character like that directed towards to the two msu players.

Anonymous said...

They kept him in the hospital overnight. I'm sorry, but UM's emergency room is not given to being a supporting act in someone's drama. They wouldn't have admitted him if there wasn't concern.

Anonymous said...

Can we move on from the MSU thing? Punishments have been dished out & Kampfer is fine. UM and their fans have more important things to concentrate on, like hockey.

Great game last night on both sides. Pearce and UM's PK were great. Any word on the UM goalie situation last night? CBS had Sauer starting.

Anonymous said...

IMO, Berenson was starting Hogan all along. Pre-game info had Sauer starting last week, also.

Hogan was outstanding, #1 star. A turnover resulted in the only goal. If U-M gets as many opportunities tonight, they better cash them in. Pierce is outstanding, too. Gotta feel good for Tim Miller, he is making the most of his Senior season.

Anonymous said...

I'm surprised that not a single person in the comment section has said anything about the point of including that little excerpt from the interview. Tropp said that he was only sorry because Kampfer was already knocked out (and he was, the diagnosis was a mild concussion, for which he would have lost consciousness) when he hit him...meaning that he didn't give a damn for SLASHING A PLAYER IN THE HEAD. And when I say slash, I mean what was in essence a slapshot using Kampfer's head as a puck. I was at the Wings game against Calgary when Playfair sent in McInnon to two hand Franzen with his goalie stick, and Tropp's slash is the dirtiest thing I have ever seen on the ice.

I would be all for him being given a second chance by Comley, but only if he shows some real contrition instead of this "Oh, I didn't realize that he was unconscious when I mauled him, but I swear, it wasn't premeditated" bullsh*t. It's disingenuous and really sad.

Packer487 said...

I didn't want to make another post about the Tropp Chop, but I'm with you DLup. Here's what I wrote at The Wolverine:

I got the impression that he felt bad that it happened because it negatively impacted his career. Not so much that he feels bad because it was a horrible act.

Coming out and saying "I have no idea what I was thinking. I lost my head. I'm thankful that I didn't seriously injure Steve Kampfer. I feel horrible about doing it. It was out of character for me and it will never happen again. I recognize the severity of what I did and the reason for the punishment that I now have to serve. I hope that Michigan State will let me back on the team next year because that's where I want to be." would've gone a long way....

Blaming Conboy and trying to equate it with what Mr. Kampfer did isn't the way to show remorse.

As for Mr. Kampfer, I don't think going after the player who just attacked your son is an indictment on his character. He should have reacted better, but I also don't think I can fault him for doing what he did. He's banned from Yost (and all university buildings except the hospital). It's not like he got a slap on the wrist. He can never come watch his son play hockey at Yost again.

It hasn't been blown out of proportion. Whether you think Kampfer was helping it or not (he wasn't...people don't spend the night in the hospital to "sell it"), it was by the grace of God and sheer luck that we didn't have another Steve Moore incident on our hands. Even if he wasn't ultimately severely injured, Tropp took a full-on slap shot at his neck. It was disgraceful.