ND hockey head coach Jeff Jackson announces freshman class
Dominic Gibson | Sunday, July 25, 2021
The Notre Dame hockey team announced the incoming first-year class for the 2021-2022 school year which includes three forwards and one defenseman. Two of them are prospects for the upcoming 2021 NHL Entry Draft. After making the NCAA Championship field for the fifth consecutive season in 2020-2021, the Irish hope the new additions will bolster the roster further.
Hailing from Palatine, Illinois, 6-foot left-handed forward Tyler Carpenter has spent his last four seasons in the USHL playing for both the Omaha Lancers and the Chicago Steel. In 223 games played in the USHL, Carpenter has amassed 39 goals and 47 assists for a total of 86 points. During the 2020-2021 season, Carpenter tallied 10 goals and 11 assists for a 21 point total in 50 games.
Six-foot left-winger Sasha Pastujov is one of two incoming first-years who is a prospect for the 2021 NHL Entry Draft. The Bradenton, Florida, native skated his last two seasons with the USA Hockey National Team Development Program (USNTDP), finishing with 102 total points on 37 goals and 65 assists. In 2020-2021, Pastujov racked up a team-high 52 points with 23 goals and 29 assists in 34 games played. With his stellar shot and high offensive zone IQ, Pastujov ranked 18th in the final NHL Central Scouting rankings with some scouts predicting the winger to come in as an early-round draft pick.
Rounding out the forward, 5-foot-11 Hunter Strand is another prospect for the NHL Entry Draft. After spending two seasons with the USNTDP from 2018 to 2020, the center from Anchorage, Alaska, spent his last season in 2020-2021 playing for the Tri-City Storm of the USHL. In 51 games played for the Storm, left-handed Strand scored 20 goals and assisted on 29 others for a total of 49 points. While tied for the team lead in goals at 20, Strand led in assists as well as point totals. He is ranked 55th in the final NHL Central Scouting rankings with predictions having Strand go in the later rounds of the draft.
The final player for the incoming first-year class is 6-foot defenseman Ryan Helliwell from Burnaby, British Columbia. Helliwell spent the last three seasons in the BCHL, playing for the Trail Smoke Eaters in 2020-2021 and the Langley Rivermen from 2018 to 2020. The left-handed defenseman notched 10 goals and 36 assists for 46 total points in 113 games played. In his latest season, Helliwell put up three goals and eight assists in 18 games played. At the end of the abbreviated season, he was named the Top Defenseman in the Penticton Pod thanks to his 11-point total that was good enough to lead the team in defensemen scoring.
Irish head coach Jeff Jackson said he is hopeful this relatively small incoming class will help power the team toward more wins.
“Although we have a smaller freshmen class in number, they will each make an impact in their own way,” Jackson said. “Each player brings different intangibles to our team that we need and that will help us win hockey games.”