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Adam Karashik prepared to lead Irish defense against Golden Gophers

| Friday, January 28, 2022

Although this is graduate student defender Adam Karashik’s first season with the Irish, he has made an immediate impact. He spent the last four years playing for UConn before transferring to Notre Dame. In one season, he has helped the Irish become one of the best defenses in college hockey. In addition to anchoring the defense, Karashik has played every game. So far he has recorded eleven assists on the season, which is good for fifth on the team.

Despite arriving just this summer, Karashik felt immediately welcomed to the team right when he arrived. He stepped up and was named one of the team’s captains for his outstanding leadership.

“It was very easy for me to connect with the guys right away. I feel like I was one of their brothers and part of what they’re trying to accomplish here in winning a national championship,” Karashik said. “It was just easy for me to be an older guy and have a veteran role with this team because they made me feel so comfortable. And they all have the same goals in mind as me: to win a championship together.”

One of the Irish’s strong suits this year has been their penalty kill, which is one of the best in the country.

Karashik attributes the team’s penalty kill success to two things. First to good coaching and second, to each player knowing their roles.

“Everyone’s willing to put their bodies on the line to sacrifice. We have a killer mentality of ‘We’re not gonna let them score’ and ‘We want to keep ourselves in the game’,” Karashik said. “It’s been a lot of buying into the belief that we’re going to kill this thing off and we’re going to get back to five-on-five and play our best hockey.”

The Irish have been clutch in key moments this season and have won multiple games in overtime. Karashik discussed what makes this team so good in the game’s crunch time moments.

“We know that we’re never out of the fight. Whether we’re up or we’re down, we know that we have a chance to win the game,” Karashik said. “That goes with our work ethic and our talent. When we work hard and outwork other teams, our talent takes over and our structure takes over. When we have all those things going together, and we’re playing fast, physically and we are fighting, we are a really dangerous team,”

This is Karashik’s first season playing in the Big Ten, and he has enjoyed the physicality, speed, and energy of the crowd present within the conference.

“There are a lot of skilled players with fast pace, and it’s also physical. I like to play a hard-nosed game. And I feel like I’ve been able to bring a little bit of a heavier side to the back end,” Karashik said. “I’ve definitely seen a difference that in the Big Ten. The student sections are definitely rowdy and a lot of fun to play in front of.”

Minnesota is the only team that has swept the Irish this season. On Oct. 29 and 30, the Irish fell 4-1 and 3-2 in Minneapolis. The Golden Gophers managed to grab 4 power plays in the series but couldn’t convert on any of them. So despite the loss, Karashik is confident that the Irish are ready to challenge the Golden Gophers again if they stick to their game plan.

“I think we need to play our game, stick to our structure, and stick to what we want to do,” Karashik said. “We were obviously a different team back then when they swept us. And they were a different team as well. So it’s gonna be a good benchmark to see how much better we’ve gotten. And [it’ll measure] how much better they’ve gotten,”

Minnesota is only three points above the Irish in the Big Ten standings. That makes this weekend a vital series for the Irish in their quest to move up the Big Ten table and possibly compete for a Big Ten regular-season title.

The long-term goal will always be winning a championship, but, Karashik stressed the importance of taking each game one at a time this weekend.

“You want to go one day at a time, one practice at a time, one game at a time. So we have our eyes set on taking care of them on Friday night and getting those three points and then following it up with another win on Saturday,” Karashik said. “That’d be good for some momentum here with 10 games left in the regular season. We can’t look too far ahead. We have to make sure that’s in the back of our heads and we’re focusing on this weekend.”

This weekend will be one of the toughest challenges of the season for the Irish defense against a talented and fast Minnesota attack.

“We need to just keep them in front of us, play the body, make sure we’re physical with them and play once again to our structure,” Karashik said. “Our coaches put a really good structure in place. If we follow our pre-scout and we follow the details on how to defend and keep them in front of us, we will be able to handle them.”

Karashik acknowledged that the crowd has been great so far this season. And, he is excited to see a fun, energetic crowd at Compton Family Ice Arena on Friday and Saturday.

“The fans have been awesome all season. There have been a number of nights where the student section is packed, and it’s really loud. It makes it hard for the other team to get any momentum, so that’s great,” Karashik said. “We want to get off to a fast start, and get the fans into it pretty early.”

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About Nate Moller

Nate is a junior majoring in chemical engineering. He is originally from a suburb of St. Paul, Minnesota and is currently living in Siegfried Hall. Some of his passions include running, cross country skiing, and getting too worked up about Notre Dame and Minnesota sports teams.

Contact Nate