Five senior captains lead young Irish
Zach Klonsinski | Tuesday, October 6, 2015
Despite 15 underclassmen on this year’s roster, Notre Dame senior center and team captain Steven Fogarty said this year’s Irish squad is ready to make significant strides from last year.
“It’s definitely time. Last year was frustrating,” Fogarty said Tuesday at Notre Dame’s media day. “We had a long offseason, but I don’t think our youth can be an excuse any more.”
Fogarty said despite underclassmen composing a majority of Notre Dame’s roster, the team is able to reach a higher level this season.
“All those guys have a year of playing under their belt now, and we have a lot of freshmen who are going to see playing time right away, but like I said, we can’t use youth as an excuse anymore,” Fogarty said. “They’re all good hockey players, and at the end of the day, we’re just playing hockey again, so we can’t think of it as a young team. We just need to get out there and play and have fun.”
Irish head coach Jeff Jackson named Fogarty the team’s captain for the second year in a row Aug. 26, making the senior from Edina, Minnesota, the 15th two-year captain in Irish history.
“Obviously, it’s a huge honor,” Fogarty said. “To be named a captain as a junior reflects a lot about how your teammates and coaches think of you. Last year, it was a huge honor, and to be able to have that opportunity again this year is really cool.”
Joining Fogarty in the Irish leadership is the rest of the senior class: Jackson named center Thomas DiPauli, left wingers Mario Lucia and Sam Herr and defenseman Andy Ryan as the team’s alternate captains for the season.
“This year we have a returning captain and a returning alternate captain [Herr], and then I just decided that this class has been so good over the last three years that I just named the entire class basically captain, so there’s five of them,” Jackson said. “Which is a little high, but I thought that Andy Ryan and Mario Lucia both bring different elements to the leadership. Tommy DiPauli is the heart of the leadership, and Steven Fogarty is the voice. It’s a good combination with the five of them.”
DiPauli said the five captains are a perfect mix of personalities.
“We’re all best friends, and we’re all very different,” DiPauli said. “We’ve got Mario and Sam who are a little bit more outgoing and like to have fun. Then you’ve got Steve, who’s more of a quiet guy, and it just a great leader and does everything right. I’m very competitive, so it brings together a great mix of everything you need in leadership, and I think that that’s the way we have to lead this team and teach them the right way to do things.”
One of the challenges facing this year’s captains will be the youth of this year’s team. While Fogarty stressed it won’t be an excuse, Notre Dame’s nine sophomores, who all saw the ice last year for the Irish, and six freshmen compose a majority of the roster.
DiPauli said helping the freshmen feel at home has been a priority since the early in the summer.
“Absolutely. That was one of the early goals,” DiPauli said. “First day of summer school, we had them over and introduced ourselves and hung out with them. They’re always welcome at our house. We’re right next to campus, so it’s easy to ride their bikes over to our house because we feel that’s important that the seniors hang out with the freshmen.”
One of the big storylines for Notre Dame coming into this season is the return of Lucia and the departure of center Vince Hinostroza, who signed with the Chicago Blackhawks after the end of his sophomore campaign last season. Lucia led the Irish last season with 21 goals, while Hinostroza’s 11 goals and team-high 33 assists paced the Irish with 44 points.
Lucia said for him the choice to return to campus was clear despite the fact that if he signs with an NHL team at the end of this season, he will only have two years before his second contract, the one that typically earns players a large pay raise.
“Yeah, I might have made a little more money if I would have signed, but regardless, I would still have been under contract for the same amount of time,” Lucia said. “I think I have the best opportunity here to develop my talents and my skills, and it’s where I wanted to be, so I made my choice.”
Jackson said he made his pitch to Lucia as soon as the season came to an end last year.
“I actually, believe it or not, on the airplane home from Lowell after our last game of the season sat down with Mario, and I sat down with Vince Hinostroza,” Jackson said. “I reached out to Mario right away and told him my thoughts.”
Jackson said he also hasn’t decided who will start in net. Sophomore goaltender Cal Petersen won the job as a freshman with strong play in the second half of last season, but prior to that, he had been splitting time with junior Chad Katunar.
Petersen said he was feeling confident to start his second season in an Irish sweater, a key for goaltenders.
“[I’m] coming in with confidence from last year,” Petersen said. “It helped to have a strong second half both personally and for the returning guys. Personally, it felt like I made a lot of strides during the summer both physically and mentally and work with our new goalie coach [volunteer assistant coach Brian Mahoney-Wilson] and be able to tighten up a couple weaknesses we both identified, along with Coach Jackson.”
Notre Dame will hit the ice for the first time this season Friday night in an exhibition game against Guelph at 7:35 p.m. at Compton Family Ice Arena.