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Corda to lead Irish in home opener

Joe Meixell | Thursday, October 12, 2006

It’s time to fire up the Zamboni. Notre Dame begins the regular season tonight when it takes the ice against Minnesota State-Mankato at 7:35 in the Joyce Center. In his second year at Notre Dame, coach Jeff Jackson leads an Irish team with eight returning seniors on the roster. Last year, the team finished with a record of 13-19-4, which earned it a CCHA playoffs berth.Notre Dame got off to a strong start this season with a 9-0 exhibition rout of the University of Windsor. The match was the only game atmosphere the Irish have seen going into tonight’s contest, since a shortened preseason prevented them from scheduling other scrimmages or even a Blue and Gold game. “The timeline didn’t really allow for [a Blue and Gold game],” Jackson said. “We only had six practices before our first game.”Despite the quick start, the team looked prepared against their Canadian opponents. Sophomore center Erik Condra – last season’s rookie of the year – captured his first career hat trick to lead the Irish in scoring. Freshman center Dan Kissel also notched two goals in his collegiate debut.”Kissel had some good goals,” Condra said. “He’s got some touch around the net and he is quick.”Jackson and his staff elected to give the freshmen shifts over some of the more experienced seniors in order to get a good look at them in the preseason. Accordingly, many of the top Irish players will be playing in their first complete game tonight. The Mavericks split two games against Notre Dame last season with both teams beating each other on the road. The Irish took the first contest 3-2 on Dec. 6, but four days later the Mavericks evened the series with a 2-1 victory in the Joyce Center. Mankato will start sophomore Dan Tormey between the posts. Tormey started 31 games last year and ended with a 2.86 goals against average – leaving a lasting impression on Jackson.”A year ago at this time it was [Mankato’s] goaltending that I thought was really good,” Jackson said. Notre Dame’s offense will try to flash the siren early and often by taking more shots than in years past. Last year the team’s total of 922 shots was over 100 less than their opponents.”We have too many guys that are not selfish and some times as a scorer you have to be a little selfish,” Jackson said.The coach hopes that a little extra pressure will allow his team to get Mankato’s goalie early in the game.Opposing Tormey in net will most likely be senior Dave Brown. The Irish goalie will be making his first start since injuring his ankle during a playoff game with Alaska-Fairbanks last March. “Anytime you get hurt it is always there but I am putting it behind me,” Brown said. “I’m just going to try to not think about it anymore,” The senior did not receive much of a test in the Windsor game, seeing only eight shots in two periods of work. Sophomore Jordan Pearce completed the shutout with four saves in the third.