Blue and Gold Illustrated

Nov. 23, 2015 Issue

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

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ND SPORTS BY JORDAN WELLS E xperience reaps benefits in nearly every endeavor, including as a goal‑ tender in college hockey. Notre Dame sophomore Cal Petersen can attest to that after starting 31 of 33 games played last season as a freshman. He posted a 13‑16‑3 record, a 2.51 goals‑ against average and a .919 save percent‑ age en route to Hockey East All‑Rookie Team honors. "They say after the first half of your freshman year, you're not really a fresh‑ man anymore," Petersen noted. "And I think that held true. Obviously the ex‑ perience level of playing a lot of games, especially for goaltenders, it's huge. "Off the ice, you get used to the course load that Notre Dame offers and being able to stay on top of your studies and social life. That's gotten easier. Then I've worked out a ton in the gym. I got a lot stronger in the summer, and that's paid huge dividends in my game." Look no further than a home contest against Massachusetts March 6 last season for evidence of what Petersen learned in his first year in South Bend. Notre Dame and the Minutemen battled in an NCAA‑record five‑overtime con‑ test, totaling game time of 151 minutes and 42 seconds. The initial game start time was 7:35 p.m. ET, and it didn't end until 1:24 a.m. ET. Petersen set an NCAA single‑game record with 87 total saves. "It got surreal after the second over‑ time," Petersen said. "The atmosphere got a little light because some realized we were in something bigger than just another hockey game once it got so deep. It was really cool to see everyone battling. We all fought hard, and every‑ one was still cheering for us. It was great to see everyone banding together as it went late into the night. "They kept announcing stuff on the Jumbotron once we reached the longest game in NCAA history and beat this school record. But I was in the moment of the game, more wanting to win the game for my team than anything else." The Irish fell short of that objective, falling 4‑3 in the marathon contest after a Massachusetts goal in the fifth extra period. But experiences like that have helped Petersen in his second year. Just eight games into the 2015‑16 season, he had already picked up Hockey East De‑ fensive Player of the Week honors once. In his first eight starts of the year, Petersen was 4‑2‑2 with a 2.83 goals‑ against average and a .909 save per‑ centage. He knows his game is far from perfect. There's still plenty of room for improvement, and Irish head coach Jeff Jackson thinks Petersen has the right makeup to eventually capitalize on his raw talent. "I think it's just maturity and growth as a player," said Jackson, when asked what Petersen needs to keep improving on. "He's still a young player, so it's just Freshman Experience Paying Off For Cal Petersen

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