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Hockey: ND primed for 2013

Sam Gans | Tuesday, October 1, 2013

 

The Irish unofficially opened the 2013-14 season Monday with the team’s media day, where coach Jeff Jackson discussed the switch to the Hockey East conference, senior left wing Jeff Costello’s captaincy and this year’s Notre Dame roster.

Notre Dame will open play in its new conference – after the disbanding of the CCHA following last season – Nov. 1 at Vermont. Jackson said new conference opponents will provide some preparation challenges for the coaching staff but will yield excitement for fans. 

“It’s going to be an exciting year for us in a different way, just for the fact that we’re going to be playing so many new teams in a much different environment in the east,” Jackson said. “It’s going to be fun. We’re going to have a lot of televised games, a lot of home games.”

Sophomore left wing Mario Lucia said Hockey East’s style of play should be more open-ended than the CCHA’s, with higher-talented teams of young players with pro potential.

“The CCHA [had] a lot more defensively-minded teams,” Lucia said. “Teams were a lot older. … The CCHA was a great league, but obviously we’re looking forward to being in new barns, new cities and facing new competition.”

Jackson also spoke Monday about Costello, who was announced as the team’s captain Aug. 29. The passionate, high-energy senior will take over for former captain Anders Lee, who signed with the New York Islanders in the offseason.

“[Costello] may not be the real loud screamer or anything like that, but other guys haven’t been, either,” Jackson said. “[And] I think when he speaks, other guys listen because he probably would tear their head off if they didn’t.”

Costello said his captaincy style will include leading by example and working hard on the ice to set a tone for the team, rather than saying much vocally.

“It’s definitely something special, any time you get recognized by your coaching staff and teammates for something like that [the captaincy],” Costello said. “It’s very humbling. I’m very proud to [be] captain, but we have three other great [alternate] captains, and really our entire senior class are all great leaders, so luckily for me, it kind of lightens my burden.”

Ten seniors make up Notre Dame’s roster, including forwards Bryan Rust and T.J. Tynan and defenseman Stephen Johns, the squad’s alternate captains, who will assist Costello in a leadership role.

“This group of seniors has always been good in their approach,” Jackson said. “They’ve always been good in their training habits. For the most part, they’ve all had a pretty big impact on our team for the last three years.”

While the team is flooded with upperclassmen, five Irish freshmen – forwards Vinnie Hinostroza and Ali Thomas, defensemen Ben Ostlie and Justin Wade, and goaltender Chad Katunar – are preparing for their first season of collegiate hockey. 

“I think primarily Vinnie Hinostroza will have an immediate impact up front for us,” Jackson said. “We have two young defensemen that have a chance potentially to play – they’re going to compete [for the sixth defenseman spot] with [sophomore] Andy Ryan, who didn’t play a lot last year.”

Katunar will back up senior Steven Summerhays, who enters as the starter for the second straight year.

“For us to have a great year, he’s going to have to find a way to be in the top 10 goaltenders in the country, and he can do that,” Jackson said. “The way he played last year at the end of the year, I thought he really came into his own. He showed he can win. … He just has to play consistent.”

The Irish have their one exhibition game Sunday against Guelph before opening their season Oct. 11 against Western Michigan. Both games are in the Compton Family Ice Arena.

Contact Sam Gans at
sgans@nd.edu