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Season Preview: Notre Dame

My pick for 5th place in the CCHA is Notre Dame. You may have noticed the fluff at the end of the preview is a bit biased, and also may have realized there is a football game of some consequence this Saturday, but rest assured, it's complete coincidence. I hate Notre Dame this much year round.

Projected Depth Chart:

LW Josh Sciba C T.J. Jindra RW Erik Condra
LW Ryan Thang C Mark Van Guilder RW Evan Rankin
LW Kevin Deeth C Jason Paige RW Michael Bartlett
LW Garrett Regan C Christian Hanson RW Chris Minella
LD Wes O'Neill RD Tom Sawatske G Jordan Pearce
LD Noah Babin RD Kyle Lawson G David Brown
LD Dan VeNard RD Brock Sheahan G Tommy O’Brien


Strengths:

Goalie David Brown has been a very good goalie on a very bad team throughout his college career. The Irish also have a solid back-up in Jordan Pearce. The Irish also return powerplay specialist Josh Sciba, his set-up man Erik Condra, and talented defenseman Wes O’Neil

Weaknesses:

The Irish have a lot of pretty good forwards, but no real offensive star that they can count on every game for offense.

Overall:

Coach Jeff Jackson is doing a masterful job of turning this program around. He’s in a decent position because former coach Dave Poulin didn’t leave Notre Dame devoid of talent. There were good players on the roster, Poulin was just never able to get the most out of them. Jackson’s influence on recruiting won’t really be felt until next season, but Poulin’s last class was a pretty decent one. I expect Notre Dame to make huge strides this season and claw their way up to the top of the CCHA’s second tier of teams.

Key Player: Kyle Lawson. Lawson will be a freshmen defenseman and will need to step in right away and play a fair amount of minutes for the Irish. Notre Dame isn’t particularly deep at defense and if Lawson can be solid at his position, it makes Notre Dame’s defense a lot better.

Breakout Player: T.J. Jindra. Jindra has had modest career totals, but will need to step up as a goal scorer in his senior year to help the Irish.

Bellwether
: Notre Dame was 12-4-3 last season when they scored the first goal of the game, and 1-15-1 when giving up the first goal.

Did You Know?

Notre Dame’s hockey team has won as many bowl games in the past 13 years as their football team, despite "returning to glory" 13 fewer times.

67 years after actor Pat O’Brien played the lead role in Knute Rockne: All-American, the other Pat O’Brien has signed on to play the lead role in the upcoming film Jimmy Clausen: All-American. "Hey man, you’re so bleeping hot. Let’s get some coke, some hair gel, some Speedos, and let’s just get crazy."


I don’t suggest stepping foot in the South Bend, as it is a hellhole but, If You (have to) Go There

You Have to Eat At:
South Bend has suffered a terrible food shortage since December 2004, so finding something might be difficult to do.

You Have to See: Enormously fat football coach Charlie Weis. You should start to feel yourself getting sucked into his orbit right around the time you cross the Michigan/Indiana border on US-31.