Friday, January 7, 2011
Notre Dame 411 on the Frozen Four
NOTRE DAME FIGHTING IRISH
* Coach: Jeff Jackson (third year, 71-41-11).
* Record: 26-15-4.
* How they got here: The Irish beat top-seeded New Hampshire 7-3 in the first round of the West Regional, then beat Michigan State 3-1 in the regional final.
* Key players: F Ryan Thang, So., (17 goals, 13 assists); F Mark Van Guilder, Sr., (12 goals, 17 assists); G Jordan Pearce, Jr., (22-14-4 record, .917 saves percentage, 1.95 goals- against average).
Ryan Thang played our word- association game
Joe Sakic . . . The shots
Altitude . . . Very thin air
Win one for the Gipper . . . Big wins in hard times
Michigan . . . Tradition and powerhouse
The Frozen Four . . . A dream come true
Denver . . . Mountains, tradition of Avalanche
In the crease
Junior goalie Jordan Pearce, on why he started playing the position:
"I have an older brother, he's about 21/2 years older than me. When I was really young, like 2 years old, he would throw me in the net for street hockey or knee hockey or ice hockey. He was always older than me, so he always made me play goalie whenever we were messing around in the street. So it's always been second nature to me. When I started playing hockey myself, that's where I saw myself and enjoyed myself the most - in net. I've been a goalie ever since then."
In the box
Coach Jeff Jackson, on Notre Dame's defining moment of the season
"They've had such a tough second half with some of the things that have happened to them. I give them a lot of credit for their resiliency. But that's kind of the spirit of Notre Dame, too. They're kind of bred that way while they're there. They have a tough academic schedule. They have a real tough, demanding coach who's a pain in the rear. They're resilient because they have a tough life Monday through Sunday, basically."
Jackson, on Notre Dame's moment of concern:
"The Northern Michigan game (on March 22, a 2-1 loss in the league's third-place game). . . . I didn't tell the guys, but I was told we were better off losing. And I still pulled the goalie with two minutes left to try and win the game. A tie would have definitely hurt us, but I wouldn't want any other coach to do that to me if I was hanging on by a thread of making the NCAA tournament. We were playing to win that game. It was disappointing, to say the least."