Blue and Gold Illustrated

Oct. 9, 2017

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

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10 OCT. 9, 2017 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED UNDER THE DOME Senior forward Jake Evans joined Notre Dame's hockey program in 2014 after spending three seasons in the Ontario Junior Hockey League. The Toronto native has been a staple in the Irish lineup since arriving in South Bend, playing in 118 of 119 games. Evans scored 13 goals and compiled 29 assists for 42 points last year, and was named the team captain for the 2017-18 season. BGI: What did it mean to be named captain for the 2017-18 season? Evans: "It's a huge honor. I'm excited to help lead this team this year. I've gotten help from a lot of guys the past couple of years in learning the ropes. "It's just an honor looking at the past leaders especially like [2014-17 goalie] Cal [Petersen] and [2012-16 forward Steven] Fogarty that I got to play with. I'm just excited for this ride." BGI: What did you focus on this offseason to help take your game to that next level? Evans: "I definitely focused on getting more explosive with my skating. That was a big thing. I've been working on staying consistent and stay- ing healthy, so I have the same amount of energy from Friday to Saturday. "Every year you try and get stronger and faster, but I think this year I really worked on being ex- plosive my first few steps." BGI: What do you need to bring each night in order to help the team be successful? Evans: "I'm focused on leading this team and leading by example. I'm trying to do the little things that may not be the most enjoyable in the games like blocking shots and taking hits. "I'm just trying to be an all-around player — winning big face-offs, helping on the D-zone and then creating some good plays on offense." BGI: What are the strengths of the team head- ing into the season? Evans: "It's probably going to be our depth. We have a lot of good forwards, and they're going to step in and all play big roles. "I think the defense is one of the best corps in the country, and they're definitely tough to play against in practice." BGI: What's the feeling heading into the Big Ten? Evans: "It's definitely exciting, especially playing some of those teams that we have some stories and history with. We're excited to go to some of those rinks and have them here. It's exciting for the fans, too, with some more recognizable schools and bigger name schools that we've got some rivalries in football and basketball with. … That's definitely going to be a huge change. "I think also it's more of an offensive league. The Big Ten was the highest scoring league last year. It's going to be a little bit different style, and even the refs can be calling things a little bit dif- ferently. It'll be a little change for us, but I think we'll learn pretty quickly." — Corey Bodden Five Questions With … HOCKEY SENIOR FORWARD JAKE EVANS Landing Nate Laszewski Is 'Big' In More Ways Than One By Lou Somogyi Head coach Mike Brey's program has generated huge buzz with back-to- back Elite Eight appearances in 2014-15 and 2015-16, the construction of a new practice facility that will open next season and now what appears to be the best recruiting class of his 18-year tenure. On Sept. 27, the four-man haul was rounded out by 6-9, 205-pound forward Nate Laszewski of Northfield, Mass. The class already was strong with four-star guards Prentiss Hubb, Robby Carmody and Dane Goodwin committed, but Laszewski is the highest rated player in the group (No. 69 overall in the country according to Rivals) and provided the icing. With the addition of Laszewski, 247Sports elevated Notre Dame's class to No. 2 nation- ally, behind only Arizona (Rivals had the Irish at No. 5). Laszewski's size should also complement 6-5 freshman wing D.J. Harvey and 6-11 Juwan Durham, a transfer from Connecticut who like Harvey was a top-50 prospect. Durham also will be eligible in 2018-19. Here's all you need to know about Laszewski: Reigning national champ and pe- rennial superpower North Carolina wanted him. Once in a Carolina Blue Moon might Notre Dame beat out the Tar Heels for a coveted prospect. Laszewski is a superb shooter and an archetype "stretch four" who should fit well into Brey's highly efficient offense either along the perimeter or elsewhere. Brey has always recruited well at guard, but a top big man who can shoot is at a premium. This has the makings of a Fab Four, with Laszewski the crown jewel. Prentiss Hubb Provides A Vital Cog At Point Guard By Corey Bodden The Washington (D.C.) Gonzaga point guard was the first player to join the Irish class, committing in mid-May with Notre Dame beating out Maryland, Villanova and Virginia. The Terrapins were considered the favorite for much of Hubb's recruitment, so the Fighting Irish pulling the four-star talent and No. 83 overall prospect in the country surprised some in the recruiting world. The departure of senior Matt Farrell at the end of the upcoming campaign made point guard one of the priorities for the Irish in the 2018 class. Sophomore T.J. Gibbs is really the only player on the roster besides Farrell designated as a "point guard." That made landing the 6-2, 155-pound Hubb crucial for the Irish. Striking out at point guard or not landing a player who could assume some of the ball-handling respon- sibilities in 2018-19 would have put head coach Mike Brey and company in a relatively precarious spot. With Hubb in the mix, that could allow Gibbs to continue the role he played as a freshman as a secondary ball handler, with Hubb playing point guard much like Farrell did during the 2016-17 season. Or the roles could be reversed because Hubb spent much of his junior season playing shooting guard for Gonzaga. Hubb, a playmaker who can create for others on the court, has the talent to make an early impact, and his addition ensures that the Irish will not have to rely on Gibbs as their sole ball handler. Point ✦ Counterpoint: WHICH 2018 IRISH MEN'S BASKETBALL COMMIT WILL MAKE THE BIGGEST IMPACT? NATE LASZEWSKI PRENTISS HUBB Evans, who tallied 42 points a year ago, has been named a team captain for the 2017-18 campaign. PHOTO COURTESY FIGHTING IRISH MEDIA

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