Nov. 29, 2012
Notre Dame, Ind. - Notre Dame hockey coach Jeff Jackson today announced that six student-athletes have signed National Letters-of-Intent to attend the University beginning with the 2013-14 campaign.
Signing National Letters-of-Intent in the early-signing period are forwards Dawson Cook (Cadillac, Mich.), Andrew Oglevie (Fullerton, Calif) and Ali Thomas (New York, N.Y.), goaltenders Chad Katunar (Victoria, B.C.) and Cal Petersen (Waterloo, Iowa) along with defenseman Jordan Gross (Maple Grove, Minn.). Those six will join forward Vince Hinostroza (Bartlett, Ill.) and defenseman Justin Wade (Aurora, Ill.) who signed letters-of-intent last year but deferred to the 2013-14 season.
In making the announcement, Jackson said, "We are very happy to have this group of talented players joining the Notre Dame hockey program. This class has a lot of diversity as far as its ability level, skills and physical presence. We have four players graduating this year and were able to fill needs with this group. Joining this group are two players who signed last year - forward Vince Hinostroza and defenseman Justin Wade. We needed to find a goaltender to replace Mike Johnson who graduates this year and I believe we got a good one in Chad Katunar. We look forward to working with this group of student-athletes."
Cook currently plays for USA Hockey's National Team Developmental Program while Katunar plays for Penticton in the British Columbia Hockey League. Gross, Oglevie, Petersen and Thomas are playing in the United States Hockey League. One player in the group - Petersen - is currently listed as the second-ranked goaltender in the USHL by National Hockey League's Central Scouting in their preliminary rankings for next June's NHL Entry Draft.
A 6-1, 198-pound left-handed center, Cook, is currently a member of USA Hockey's Under-18 team. Known for his defensive game, he's a strong skater who is a physical presence on the ice. An excellent two-way center, he has an offensive upside to his game that he continues to develop. A native of Cadillac, Mich. where he was a multi-sport athlete, Cook is one of the Under-18 teams top penalty killers and face-off men. In 20 games to date, Cook has two goals and four assists for six points with a pair of penalty minutes. He was selected to play in the CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects game last September in Buffalo, N.Y., but missed the game due to injuries. He helped the U.S. to the gold medal at the 2012 Vlad Druzilla Tournament Championship in Piestany, Czech Republic and was a member of the gold-medal winning team at the Four Nations Tournament in early November. Last season as a member of the Under-17 team, Cook had two goals and 10 assists for 12 points in 54 games.
Jackson on Cook: "Dawson is a big, strong player with good puck skills and instincts. He has some growth in his offensive game that is yet to come as he showed that ability while playing high school hockey. He defends well; he's a good penalty killer and a good face-off man. He is a player that the Under-18 team uses late in games in key defensive situations."
Gross is the lone defenseman in the group of six players and has a tremendous upside to his game. A 5-10, 178-pound right-handed defenseman, Gross is currently in his first season as a member of the USHL's Green Bay Gamblers. An offensive-minded defenseman, he is a smooth, talented skater who moves the puck quickly from his defensive zone. He's got outstanding offensive skills and should see time on the Irish power play. With Green Bay, Gross has played in 21 games and has a goal and five assists for six points with a rebuilding Gamblers squad. Green Bay is currently 9-9-3 and in third place in the USHL's Eastern Conference. During the 2011-12 season, Gross played at Maple Grove High School in Maple Grove, Minn., where he had 17 goals and 30 assists for 47 points in 30 games as he helped lead Maple Grove to its first Class 2A State Tournament appearance. He was a Minneapolis Star Tribune All-Metro first team selection. Selected in the first round, sixth overall in the USHL Futures Draft by Green Bay, he played six games with the Gamblers last season, scoring two goals and was +8 for those games.
Jackson on Gross: "Jordan is a skilled defenseman who has great vision on the ice and excellent puck skills. He has that ability to break his team out of the defensive zone and make plays. He has potential to be a good power-play performer and the skill and ability to be an outstanding college defenseman."
Katunar will be the third member of the Penticton Vees to play at Notre Dame as he will join 2011-12 teammates Steven Fogarty and Mario Lucia with the Irish next season. A 6-6, 218-pound goaltender, the native of Victoria, B.C., will bring size and athleticism to the Notre Dame goal. A competitive player, Katunar is a hard worker who strives to improve all aspects of his game. Energetic and outgoing, he plays the puck well and has excellent instincts between the pipes. Last season in his first year in Penticton, he started as the Vees back up but took over in the playoffs when starter Mike Garteig was injured. During the playoffs, he was 12-2-0-1 with a 1.73 goals-against average and a .938 save percentage, leading Penticton to the BCHL's Fred Page Cup title and then the RBC Cup championship as the top junior program in Canada. For the season, he played in 20 games and was 13-2-0 with a 2.87 goals-against and a .887 save percentage with one shutout. This season, he got off to a fast start and has Penticton in first place in the BCHL Interior Division with a 17-7-0 record. Katunar is currently 14-7-0 with a 2.41 goals-against average and a .919 save percentage and a pair of shutouts.
Jackson on Katunar: "Chad is a big, athletic goaltender who is similar to Steven Summerhays in his style of play. He covers a lot of net and handles the puck very well. He is in the position with Penticton to gain a great deal of confidence in his game prior to coming to college. Chad is an extremely competitive and hard-working goaltender who continues to improve all aspects of his game."
Oglevie is no stranger to Indiana although he will become the first Irish player from the state of California. The 5-9, 156-pound right wing spent the 2010-11 season at Culver Academy and is currently in his second year playing for the Cedar Rapids Rough Riders in the USHL. A native of Fullerton, Calif., Oglevie is a strong skater who will bring tremendous speed to the Notre Dame roster. He has proven throughout his career to use his speed to open the ice for teammates and has good hands and the ability to find the open man on the ice. Selected in the first round, 14th overall by Cedar Rapids in the 2011 USHL Futures Draft, Oglevie had six goals and seven assists for 13 points last season in 52 games with one game winner and six minutes in penalties. This season, in 17 games, Oglevie has one goal and six assists for seven points with the Rough Riders currently sixth in the USHL's Eastern Conference with a 7-8-2 record. He has seen action playing for the United States as he participated in the 2011 Under-17 Five Nations Tournament in Ann Arbor, Mich., where he had six assists in five games. He also played for the United States Under-18 Select team in the Ivan Hlinka Tournament last August. At Culver Academy, Oglevie had 31 goals and 25 assists for 56 points in 35 games.
Jackson on Oglevie: Andrew is a young guy that is still waiting to blossom offensively this season in the United States Hockey League with Cedar Rapids. He showed good offensive skills while playing at Culver Academy. He's a strong skater with good hockey instincts. He has the ability to be an excellent collegiate hockey player."
Petersen is the second goaltender in the group and will team with Katunar to give the Irish a solid goaltending tandem for the next five years. A 6-1, 175-pound left-handed goaltender, Petersen is a very competitive and athletic goaltender that plays a technical style in goal. A native of Waterloo, Iowa, he is currently a member of the Waterloo Black Hawks organization in the United States Hockey League where he is a teammate of future Irish forward Vince Hinostroza. With Waterloo, Petersen is currently 8-2-0 with a 2.70 goals-against average and a .908 save percentage. The Black Hawks are first in the USHL's Western Division with a 14-5-0 record. A product of the Chicago Young American's midget program, Petersen is currently ranked as the second best goaltender in the USHL by NHL Central Scouting in their preliminary rankings. He was selected in the 13th round of the 2011 USHL Futures Draft and saw action in 2011-12 with the Topeka Road Runners of the North American Hockey League and Waterloo where played in five games. He was a teammate of future teammates Hinostroza and Wade as he played for Team USA in the 2011 Ivan Hlinka Tournament in the Slovakia and the Czech Republic. Prior to this season, Petersen was selected to play in the first-ever CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects game in Buffalo, N.Y. There, he played for Team McClanahan and made seven saves in the first 30 minutes of a 5-2 win.
Jackson on Petersen: "Cal will be the first left-handed goalie that we have had here at Notre Dame. He's a very strong positional goaltender with good size and athleticism. He stays under control no matter what the situation is. He has a very bright future."
Thomas is the third forward to sign an NLI and is a 6-2, 211-pound left wing from New York, N.Y., who started the year with the USHL's Chicago Steel before being traded to the Des Moines Buccaneers. Strong on his skates, he has size and skill and moves well for his size. Thomas has good hands and vision on the ice and makes plays with the puck. He spent the entire 2011-12 season with Chicago, playing in 53 games with 12 goals and six assists for 18 points with a pair of power-play goals, three game winners and 62 penalty minutes. This season, in seven games with Chicago, he had a goal and an assist and has now played 10 games in Des Moines with a goal and three helpers. Thomas spent the 2010-11 season with the Chicago Young Americans, playing in 35 games, scoring nine goals with 14 assists for 23 points. Before that, the big forward was a member of the Jersey Hitmen of the Eastern Junior Hockey League, playing the 2009-10 season there, scoring 18 goals with 24 assists for 42 points and 43 penalty minutes.
Jackson on Thomas: "Ali is a big left winger with the size to be an excellent power forward. When he plays within himself, playing physical and going to the net he's a very effective player. This year in the USHL, it's all about him learning to do that on a consistent basis. He will be a power guy, a net drive player and a physical force for us in the future."
The two players who signed letters-of-intent last season - Hinostroza and Wade - are having strong seasons this year for their respective teams. Hinostroza, who was drafted by the Chicago Blackhawks in the sixth round, 169th overall, in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft last June, is in his third season in Waterloo. A talented, hard working forward who brings energy to the ice, Hinostroza has seen his offensive game improve. He finished last year with 20 goals and 24 assists for 44 points in 55 games in the regular season before being injured for the playoffs that saw Waterloo advance to the USHL's Clark Cup finals against Green Bay. This season, he has served as captain of the U.S. Under-19 World Junior A Challenge Team that won a gold medal in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia. During the tournament he was selected as the U.S. player of the game in three of four games and led the United States in scoring with six goals and two assists for eight points and was named to the all-tournament team. With first-place Waterloo this season, Hinostroza is fourth on the team in scoring with 11 goals and nine assist for 20 points in 14 games and is +15 for the year. That ranks him 11th in the USHL scoring race.
Jackson on Hinostroza: "Vinny is going to be a dynamic college player very similar to T.J. Tynan in a lot of ways, especially the way he competes. He's a good skater with good puck skills and a flare for the offensive game. He is in his third year in Waterloo and continues to develop his body for the rigors of college hockey. I really expect him to be a great college player."
Wade is a 6-2, 203-pound stay-at-home defenseman who plays a physical, shutdown style and continues to develop his entire game while playing in his third season with the Fargo Force. So far this season, he has one goal and one assist for two points in 14 games with 32 penalty minutes while the Force are fifth in the USHL's Western Division. A product of the Chicago Mission program, he played in the 2011 Ivan Hlinka Tournament with future teammates Hinostroza and Petersen and was a member of the gold medal winning USA Team at the Under-19 World Junior A Challenge in early November along with Hinostroza.
Jackson on Wade: "Justin is a good stay-at-home, physical defenseman with excellent leadership skills. I expect him to give us more of an edge physically in our zone and in front of the net. He is working on improving his puck skills this season in the USHL."
Class of 2013-14