Notre Dame names captains for upcoming season
Observer Sports Staff | Tuesday, September 4, 2018
Five Irish players were named captains for the 2018-2019 season by head coach Jeff Jackson on Monday.
Junior defensemen Andrew Peeke was named team captain, while seniors forward Jack Jenkins, forward Dylan Malmquist, defenseman Bobby Nardella and junior forward Cal Burke as alternate captains.
These five players were significant contributors to last season’s team that went on to become to the eventual runner-up in last year’s National Championship, losing to Minnesota-Duluth 2-1.
Peeke is succeeding Jake Evans, who signed an entry-level contract with the Montreal Canadians this past April. Despite being selected 34th overall in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft by the Columbus Blue Jackets, Peeke has maintained his amateur status and been a part of back-to-back Frozen Four teams. Peeke had an immediate impact on the Irish program, totaling 14 points in each of his first two seasons.
Peeke is the first sole captain to be a junior since his freshman year when Cal Peterson led the program to its third Frozen Four.
Burke, a prolific scorer, was second in points for the Irish this past season at 14, only trailing forward Andrew Oglevie, who gave up his final year of eligibility to sign a two-year, entry-level contract with the Buffalo Sabres. Burke also played a pivotal role down the stretch for the Irish, scoring the third goal against Michigan in the first round of the Frozen Four last season. That goal, assisted by Malmquist, marked the first lead for Notre Dame on the night before they went on to win 4-3 in the last seconds of the match.
The trio of seniors making up this season’s captainship will be expected to fill the void left by the seven seniors who graduated last year and the early departures of Oglevie and defensemen Dennis Gilbert for the NHL, as the Irish seek to return to their third-straight Frozen Four.
Jenkins has built himself a reputation for being clutch last season, with nearly half of his 10 assists resulting in game winners. Additionally, his contributions proved to be crucial down the stretch, recording five goals in the final eight matches, including his goal with less than a minute left that lifted the Irish over Penn State in the Big Ten semifinals.
Much like Burke and Jenkins, Malmquist has a history of making big-time plays will be expected to lead the Irish offensively after totaling 24 and 20 points his last two seasons, respectively. Most notably, Malmquist sunk the game-winning shot over Providence with 27 seconds that allowed Notre Dame to advanced to the Frozen Four last March.
Complimenting the impressive offensive attack of Burke, Jenkins and Malmquist, Nardella will be expected to anchor the midfield after serving as a balanced attack for Jackson’s team these past three seasons. In addition to registering 24 points, 19 of which were assists, Nardella contributed 42 blocks on the season.
Despite having built an 87-day winning streak and making appearances in consecutive Frozen Fours, Notre Dame is eager and expected to return to the big stage behind the leadership of Peeke and the surrounding group of alternate captains.
Notre Dame’s first game is slated for Oct. 12 as the Irish will start on the road to take on Mercyhurst.