By Craig White
Head Coach: Jeff Jackson
Last Season: 25-13-3 Overall (17-8-3, 2nd in CCHA)
Additions: Ben Ostlie D, Vince Hinostroza F, Ali Thomas F, Justin Wade D, Chad Katunar G
Subtractions: Sam Calabrese D, Nick Larson F, Kevin Nugent F, Mike Johnson G, Jared Beers D, Anders Lee F
The Fighting Irish of Notre Dame enjoyed another successful season in their 2012-2013 campaign. The Irish won 17 games in the now defunct Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) and 25 overall. Jeff Jackson led his club to the second overall seed in the conference’s final edition of their men’s ice hockey championship. The Irish ripped off four straight hard fought wins including a 3-1 victory over the University of Michigan in the championship game to win the Mason Cup. In winning their conference tournament, the Irish received an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. Unfortunately for the Irish faithful, the run came to an abrupt end in the first round of the NCAA tournament when they ran into St. Cloud State.
This year will be unlike any other for the Fighting Irish. They begin play in Hockey East and will face top competition night in and night out once league play begins. On top of facing teams like UNH, BC, BU, and UMass Lowell, the Irish will have the added burden of traveling long distances. Perhaps it will even out when Notre Dame welcomes their competition into Compton Family Ice Arena after a long trip. Last season, the Irish went 14-6 at Compton, while only .500 on the road. It should be interesting to see how they fair in Hockey East where you can’t afford to take a night off.
Individually, the Fighting Irish were led by Junior forward Anders Lee. Lee led the team in goals with 20 and points with 38. This season there will be a different leading scorer in South Bend. Lee chose to forgo his season and is now playing in the New York Islanders organization. But much to the dismay of the rest of Hockey East, the Irish have plenty of scoring that will be back. Senior forward Bryan Rust, a Pittsburgh Penguins draft pick had a 15-19-34 line last season. There are also big expectations for Jeff Costello, the Ottawa Senators draft pick who had 30 points in just 33 games. The playmaking defenseman Robbie Russo will continue to contribute as he led the D in points last season as a sophomore with 23. Other big contributors who will be back include T.J. Tynan (CLB) and Mario Lucia who had 23 points in his freshman season.