March 16, 2017
By Dan Colleran
BOSTON, Mass. — Notre Dame junior forward Anders Bjork and junior goaltender Cal Petersen were named First Team Hockey East All-Stars on Thursday night at the league’s annual awards banquet.
The two first team selections matches Notre Dame’s highest single-season total from 2014-15 when forward Vince Hinostroza and defenseman Robbie Russo were named First Team Hockey East All-Stars.
Bjork, who was named a Second Team Hockey East All-Star in 2016, has skated in 35 games this season, totaling 19 goals and 28 assists to lead the Irish in scoring with a career-high 47 points. His 47 points rank sixth in Hockey East and are tied for 11th in the country, while his 1.34 points per game average also ranks 11th nationally. He has five game-winning goals this year, which ranks tied for third in Hockey East and tied for seventh in the country. The Irish are 20-5-2 this season when he registers at least one point and 10-3-0 when he scores at least one goal.
A fifth-round pick by the Boston Bruins in the 2014 NHL Draft (146th overall), Bjork has posted 14 multi-point games this season, including four-point efforts against Arizona State (Oct. 8) and UConn (Oct. 28). Bjork is the first Irish player to reach the 45-point plateau since 2010-11, when T.J. Tynan had 54 points.
Skating in 111 career games, Bjork has scored 38 goals and added 64 assists for 104 points, which ranks 46th on Notre Dame’s career points list. He notched his 100th point with an assist versus Providence (Feb. 18), becoming the 51st player in program history to reach 100 career points and the first junior to do so since Tynan and Anders Lee in 2013. Bjork, who is part of the fourth father-son duo to play at Notre Dame, joins his father Kirt as the first father-son tandem to each register 100 career points at Notre Dame (Kirt was a 1983 All-American who totaled 161 points on 76 goals and 85 assists).
Bjork was also named a 2017 Hobey Baker Top 10 finalist (March 15), becoming the third player in program history to be named a top-10 finalist since the award was first given out in 1981. He joins the likes of forward Dave Poulin (1982) and goaltender David Brown, who made the top 10 and finished as the runner-up in 2007. Bjork is also one of five finalists for the 2017 Hockey Humanitarian Award. He is just the second player to be a top-10 finalist for the Hobey Baker Memorial Award and a finalist for the Hockey Humanitarian Award in the same season, joining Cody Reichard of Miami (2012).
Petersen has posted a 21-10-5 record to go along with a 2.05 goals against average and a .930 save percentage. His goals against average ranks first in Hockey East and eighth in the country, while his save percentage also ranks first in Hockey East as well as sixth nationally. He has six shutouts on the year, which is tied for first in the country.
Most recently, Petersen led the Irish to a weekend sweep of Providence College in the Hockey East quarterfinals (March 10-11). In the two games versus the Friars, Petersen posted a 1.00 goals against average and a .973 save percentage to go along with a 43-save, game one shutout. He earned Hockey East Defensive Player of the Week honors following the series.
Petersen was selected as one of 10 semifinalists for the 2017 Mike Richter Award, which is presented annually to the NCAA’s top goaltender. His impressive statistics this season have been compiled against a tough schedule that has included 14 games against ranked opponents and 18 games against teams currently ranked in the NCAA top-25 for offense (goals per game).
Petersen was also named the Hockey East Co-Defensive Player of the Week following back-to-back shutouts versus Alaska (Dec. 31 and Jan. 1), including a 34-save performance in game one of that series. From Dec. 10 to Jan. 6, Petersen went 207:10 without allowing a goal, which is the second-longest shutout streak in program history.
A fifth-round selection by the Buffalo Sabres in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, Petersen helped the Irish secure a top four finish in the Hockey East standings and a first-round bye when he stopped 37 of the 38 shots he faced in a 3-1 win at Boston University during the final weekend of play (Feb. 24).
Petersen has started 86-consecutive games in goal for the Irish, the fourth-longest streak in NCAA history. He ranks first in career save percentage (.926) at Notre Dame, while also ranking third in goals against average (2.24) and saves (2,912), fourth in shutouts (11) and victories (53), fifth in minutes played (6,255:29) and tied for fifth in games played (104). He was named to the Hockey East All-Rookie Team in 2015.
Gilbert, who was also voted by the league’s head coaches as the Hockey East Defensive Defenseman of the Year, has played in all 36 games this season. He has posted a career-high 21 assists, which rank third on the team. He notched seven multi-assist games and, over Notre Dame’s last 10 games, he totaled 10 assists to help the Irish to a 7-1-2 record down the stretch.
A third-round draft pick by the Chicago Blackhawks in the 2015 NHL Draft (91st overall), Gilbert leads all of Hockey East by a considerable margin in plus/minus, as he will carry a +28 rating into this weekend’s conference tournament semifinal game against UMass Lowell. The +28 mark ranks third in the country. He has also blocked 70 shots this season, which ranks second on the team and sixth in the league. He is Notre Dame’s first Hockey East Defensive Defenseman of the Year.
Gross, who was a Second Team Hockey East All-Star last season, picked up Honorable Mention accolades as a junior. He has skated in all 36 games, posting a career-high 10 goals and adding 20 assists for 30 points. He has five power-play goals and three game winners.
Gross opened the season with a three-point game (1G, 2A) against Arizona State (Oct. 7), tying his career-high mark in the 9-2 win. He notched the third period, game-tying goal in Notre Dame’s 3-3 tie with Penn State on Oct. 21 (also had an assist in that game). His other season highlights include recording a career-high three assists in Notre Dame’s 5-0 win over Alaska (Dec. 31) and then in Notre Dame’s 5-0 win over Providence in game one of the Hockey East quarterfinals, he scored the game winner (March 10).
Gross has played 115 straight games since arriving on campus, and he has 89 career points on 26 goals and 63 assists.
The No. 4 seed Irish will face No. 1 seed UMass Lowell at 5:00 p.m. on Friday, March 17 at the TD Garden in the first Hockey East Championship semifinal. The game will be televised by NESN and streamed by ESPN3.com.
— ND —
Dan Colleran, associate athletics communications director at the University of Notre Dame, has been a part of Fighting Irish Media since August 2015 and coordinates all media and publicity efforts surrounding the Notre Dame hockey and golf programs. A native of Walpole, Massachusetts, Colleran spent the previous three years working with the men’s hockey and soccer programs at Providence College. Colleran also spent two years as an Assistant Executive Director of Communications & Championships at the Ivy League and is a graduate of Providence College (’06 & ’08G).