Blue and Gold Illustrated

Dec 19, 2020

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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50 DEC. 19, 2020 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED ND SPORTS BY TODD D. BURLAGE W ith final exams completed, cam- pus classrooms closed for 10 weeks during winter break and no- where to venture outside of his Notre Dame coronavirus bubble, Irish se- nior hockey forward Colin Theisen explained the ways he and his team- mates are trying make the best of a difficult isolation situation. Movies with roomies, video games played remotely, hockey practice — lots of hockey practice — and friendly gaming competition versus the Irish football players who are also confined to their own bubble are a few of the entertainment options Theisen mentioned. "And also, with all of this down- time," Theisen added, "guys are becoming pretty good cooks in the kitchen. We're all working on our meals, trying to stay and eat healthy." A steady contributor since his ar- rival at Notre Dame in 2017, Theisen scored eight goals with 12 assists last season as a junior, one year after he tied for second on the team as a sophomore with 11 goals in 2018-19. And as a freshman, Theisen scored a goal in his first college game on his way to Notre Dame Rookie of the Year honors. Picking up where he left off through the early part of this season, Theisen recorded a hat trick in a 5-3 loss to Wisconsin on Nov. 14. "I was lucky enough to do that in college because hat tricks don't come along very often," Theisen explained. "Unfortunately, we lost the game, but it was still pretty cool to score those three goals." Going back to his days at St. Mary Catholic High School in Monroe, Mich., Theisen was as gifted on the lacrosse field as he was on the hockey ice. So gifted, in fact, that during his se- nior lacrosse season there, Theisen set a national record with 15 goals in one game (a record that fell a year later) and he also set the Michigan state high school record with 102 goals in one season (in just 14 games). Initially committed to play hockey at Dartmouth College out of high school, Theisen enjoyed a terrific season with the Dubuque (Iowa) Fighting Saints of the United States Hockey League (USHL) in 2016-17, which caused him to re-open his re- cruitment, just in case a certain coach and program came calling. "It was always a dream of mine to come to Notre Dame," Theisen said of his eventual recruiting flip. "And I thought it was a perfect fit because it provided the best academic and hockey combination." Working a planned and deliberate career path, Theisen played almost 10 years of lower-level AAA hockey in Michigan before making the move to Dubuque and into the highly com- petitive USHL. "I wanted to take my time and take my career kind of slow," explained Theisen, adding that players often have their development stagnated and their confidence shattered because of premature entry into the USHL. Theisen's patient plan paid off. During his second and final season with Dubuque in 2016-17, this versa- tile stat stuffer tallied 35 goals and 62 points in 57 games, finishing second in the league in scoring, while catch- ing the attention of veteran Notre Dame head hockey coach Jeff Jack- son, who eventually offered Theisen a campus visit and a scholarship. Theisen enthusiastically accepted both offers. "I take academics very seriously, so getting challenged in the class- room, even through homework and exams and stuff, I like the grind," ex- plained Theisen, a finance major and an All-Big Ten Academic honoree. "And then playing college hockey at the highest level, Notre Dame has provided everything and more than I was expecting." ✦ Theisen — a senior forward from Monroe, Mich. — led the team with three goals and was tied for second with four points through six games this season. PHOTO BY MIKE MILLER/COURTESY NOTRE DAME ATHLETICS Hockey's Colin x Enjoying His Irish Experience Irish Roundup HOCKEY (3-3 OVERALL, 2-2 BIG TEN) Notre Dame opened with 2-0 and 5-3 home losses to Wisconsin Nov. 13-14 … The Irish bounced back with a road sweep at Michigan Nov. 27-28, winning 3-2 and 2-1 … Against Ari- zona State Dec. 3-4, they lost 6-3 in the opener and trailed 4-2 the next night with less than 10 minutes left before tallying three straight goals, the last with five seconds remaining … The Irish host Ohio State Dec. 12-13. MEN'S SOCCER (5-4, 3-2 ACC) Notre Dame defeated North Carolina 1-0 in overtime in the quarterfinals of the ACC Tour- nament Nov. 15 in Chapel Hill, N.C. … The fall slate ended when it fell 3-1 to Pitt in the ACC Tournament semifinals Nov. 18 in Raleigh, N.C. — Steve Downey

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