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Hockey: Tynan continues to impress during sophomore campaign

Matthew DeFranks | Wednesday, November 2, 2011

At 5-foot-8 and 167 pounds, sophomore center T.J. Tynan looks like a regular Notre Dame student.

But the Orland Park, Ill. native is anything but ordinary on the ice.

Last season’s National Rookie of the Year has continued his hot streak this year, notching a point in each of Notre Dame’s games so far. This season’s performance has extended Tynan’s point streak to a career-high eight games, dating back to the Frozen Four in April.

“Me and my linemates have a lot of chemistry right now,” Tynan said of his hot start. “Obviously, [sophomore left wing] Anders [Lee] is having a big year for us. [It helps] just knowing to give him the puck in certain areas because I know he’s going to score. Just being consistent game after game.”

Tynan, along with fellow sophomores Lee and right wing Bryan Rust, helps to form one of the most productive and talented lines in the country. The Irish (5-2-0, 3-1-0 CCHA) trio has a combined 29 of the team’s 77 points and features three NHL draft picks.

“Obviously, we are a good line but I think it’s because we compete so hard and our chemistry is so great,” Tynan said. “I don’t know if [we’re] top line in the country. It’s still very early in the season. If we stay consistent and focused on our game, we should be fine.”

While Lee – the CCHA Player of the Month – leads the nation with 10 goals, Tynan paces the Irish with 14 points, including an NCAA-high 12 assists.

“I just see them,” Tynan said of his ability to see passing lanes. “I don’t know how or why. Just working on them day after day since I was little helps a lot. When you play for so long, you’re going to pick up things that will help you along the way.”

A year ago, Tynan scored 23 goals while also dishing out a team-high 31 assists, leading the Irish to the Frozen Four. The strong freshman season helped Tynan earn the CCHA Rookie of the Year award before being voted unanimously to the preseason All-CCHA team for this year.

“I don’t think they affected me,” he said of the accolades. “I’m going to play the same no matter what, no matter if I got that award. At the end of the day, I’m still the same player and the same kid. It’s nice to get some recognition but it doesn’t change me at all.”

Tynan had a busy offseason as well, becoming the Columbus Blue Jackets’ third-round pick in the 2011 NHL Draft. Tynan is one of 10 current Irish players selected by NHL teams.

“It means a lot. That’s my ultimate goal,” Tynan said. “It’s a great experience to get drafted and hear your name called. At the end of the day, you’re still the same person and you still have to work hard.”

Tynan said he enjoys watching Chicago Blackhawks center Patrick Kane and Tampa Bay Lightning right wing Martin St. Louis play because of their success despite a lack of size. Kane stands at 5-foot-11 while St. Louis is measured at 5-foot-8.

“[You have to] try to outsmart your opponent.” Tynan said. “A lot of guys are bigger, but I can outsmart them by being quicker. I can use the angles.”

Tynan will try to extend his point streak this weekend when Notre Dame travels to Marquette, Mich. to face CCHA foe Northern Michigan.