Blue and Gold Illustrated

February 2017

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

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10 FEBRUARY 2017 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED UNDER THE DOME Junior Cal Petersen has been a familiar face in the net for the Irish since ar- riving on campus in 2014. The junior extended his streak of consecutive starts to 70 games in a Jan. 6 contest against Michigan Tech. During a four-game stretch between Dec. 3 and Jan. 1, Petersen recorded three shutouts. Head coach Jeff Jack- son has called Petersen the "backbone" of the team. BGI: You were on a roll recently to end December and start the new year. What was the key for you to get the recent shutouts? Petersen: "It's just sticking with the game plan. I think one of the big parts to the way the team is playing is a lot more emphasis on defense, which is great. That obviously helps me out. "I think we are becoming a bit more cohesive on our end which benefits me. I feel in the second half we've played our best hockey, so it's just continuing to get confidence each game." BGI: You've started a ton of games in a row. How do you keep yourself healthy? Petersen: "It's just managing rest. When I went home from Christmas I didn't bring my gear and got a solid week and a couple days off, not on the ice. "Just doing a couple light workouts. I think that really helped heal some things up." BGI: How much pressure is there being a goalie knowing if you don't play well then the team may suffer? Petersen: "I think it's just part of the deal that comes with the position. That's one of the best parts of being a goalie, where you are in that position and you can dictate the outcomes of games. "On the flip side, it feels good after a win knowing you are a big part of that. I like the pressure and it's some- thing I like to thrive on. It's a fun position." BGI: The team hit a little rough patch during October and November. How have you all been able to turn it around the last several games? Petersen: "I think the biggest thing is we weren't re- ally consistent from Friday night to Saturday night. … Now I think we understand what it takes night in and night out to be successful in college hockey. "Once we picked up those intangibles and made sure our starts are really good and getting the first goal … that's the main thing going through these past couple games." BGI: What do you all need to improve on to get ready for the stretch run in Hockey East? Petersen: "These conference games are huge, espe- cially when it comes to determining the national tournament. These are play- off games for us, they have implications for the end of the year. It's just con- tinuing to do our thing, not getting complacent with the success we've had. "As long as we play desperate and keep our foot on the gas, concentrating on having really good starts and carrying that through the week, I think we will be all set." — Corey Bodden Five Questions With … HOCKEY JUNIOR GOALTENDER CAL PETERSEN Wide Receiver Must Be Addressed By Corey Bodden This isn't the flashiest pick given the perceived lack of a pass rusher in the 2017 class. But with the loss of Jordan Pouncey by way of a decommitment and the transfer of Corey Holmes, the Irish badly need to add another wide receiver to the class. Some may think the program could be able to get away with bringing in only one receiver given how much young talent resides at the position. However, if only Destrehan (La.) High three-star Michael Young joins the team there would be just eight scholarship wide receivers, which isn't ideal if injuries pile up. It can be argued 2017 commit Elijah Hicks of La Mirada (Calif.) High could switch positions. While that could work, it would hurt depth at the defensive side where the staff really likes Hicks. The coaches wanted to add at least one more wide receiver to the class when it consisted of Pouncey and Young, but there is not a player on the board who is a slam dunk to commit. Iowa City (Iowa) West three-star Oliver Martin, Rivals' No. 63 wide receiver nationally, would be a fine complement to Young because he could play outside or inside. That would also allow the staff to push for Vero Beach (Fla.) High unranked wideout Michael Smith, who is a player the Irish could afford to develop. Wide receiver may not seem to be the most glaring need, but it needs to be addressed before depth becomes a concern. Replacing Pete Werner At Linebacker By David McKinney The biggest need for Notre Dame is probably a pass-rushing defensive end, and the class as it stands doesn't have one I expect to make an impact anytime soon given the lack of targets on the board. Some new names have factored into the mix, but as of early January there wasn't a lot of traction. So to that point, I believe right now the most important position left in this class is linebacker from a pure talent standpoint. The Irish have a need at defensive back, and have a chance with some good options there, but the talent they stand to land at linebacker far outweighs that of the secondary options remaining. Notre Dame is in good shape to land one or both of four-star Ann Arbor (Mich.) Pioneer linebacker Antjuan Simmons and Richmond (Va.) Benedictine School linebacker Ellis Brooks. Simmons is rated by Rivals as the No. 25 outside linebacker in the class of 2017. A former Ohio State commit, Simmons was slated to officially visit Notre Dame Jan. 20-22. Brooks is rated by Rivals as the No. 9 inside linebacker and the No. 235 overall player in the nation. He had an impressive week at the Under Ar- mour All-America Game, and was set to officially visit Jan. 27-29. Adding Brooks or Simmons would be a great addition to the existing linebacker class of Pittsburgh Central Catholic four-star David Adams and three-star Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) St. Thomas Aquinas product Drew White. Point ✦ Counterpoint: WHAT POSITION IS THE BIGGEST NEED REMAINING IN RECRUITING? WR OLIVER MARTIN LB ANTJUAN SIMMONS Petersen played an integral part in Notre Dame's strong finish to end December, notching two shutouts in its final three games of the month. PHOTO BY JOE RAYMOND

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