March 19, 2015
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The coaches of perhaps college hockey’s top conference have voted on the league’s top players and two of the six first-team All-Hockey East selections are from Notre Dame. Sophomore center Vince Hinostroza and senior defenseman Robbie Russo both earned a spot on the league’s top lines when the honors were doled out during the league’s annual awards banquet at the Royal Sonesta Hotel in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Additionally, goaltender Cal Petersen collected his award for making the league’s all-rookie team.
The coupling of Hinostroza and Russo marks the first time that Notre Dame has had two first-team all-conference picks in the same season since 1976-77 when Jack Brownschidle and Brian Walsh were both named to the All-WCHA first-team. Notre Dame’s last first-team all-conference pick overall was when current NHL Calder Trophy candidate Anders Lee earned first-team All-CCHA accolades in 2012-13.
Hinostroza is tied for fourth nationally with his 33 assists on the year and stands tied for 11th in the nation with 44 points. Hinostroza is one of just six players nationally with at least 10 goals and 30 assists on the season, joining Hockey East Player of the Year Jack Eichel (20-41) of Boston University, his Terrier teammate Evan Rodrigues (18-36), Union’s Mike Vecchione (19-31), Michigan’s Zach Hyman (19-30) and RIT’s Josh Mitchell (14-33).
Russo leads all defensemen nationally with his 15 goals scored on the season while also ranking second among his blueline brethren with 41 points. Not a slouch on the defensive end of the ice either, Russo posted a team-best plus-13 rating on the year while leading a defensive unit that often included three freshmen out of its six members. Named as a team captain in February after an injury to Steven Fogarty, Russo is the only defenseman in the nation to record a hat trick in 2014-15, scoring thrice in Notre Dame’s win at UConn on Jan. 18. Regardless of position, Russo ranked fifth in Hockey East in assists (25) and stands tied for sixth in points (41).
Petersen turned in a spectacular second half of the season between the pipes, earing either the league’s Player of the Week, Defensive Player of the Week or Rookie of the Week honor for five consecutive weeks between Feb. 9 and March 9. Highlighting this streak is his NCAA Division I record 87-save performance in Notre Dame’s 4-3 quintuple overtime loss to Massachusetts on March 6 in the Hockey East playoffs’ first round. Petersen led the nation in the month of February, posting a .962 save percentage, stopping 279 of the 290 shots he faced. Petersen recorded four shutouts on the season, tying the Notre Dame freshman record set by David Brown in 2003-04 and ranking second in the nation this year among freshmen.
Notre Dame, which finished the year fifth in the elite league, has a bright future behind Petersen and four freshmen who finished in the top 25 in Hockey East for freshman scoring. Jordan Gross (7-21-28) tied for fourth in the league, Anders Bjork (7-15-22) was 11th, Jake Evans (7-10-17) was tied for 15th and Connor Hurley (4-10-14) tied for 24th. Gross leads at defensemen nationally with both his 21 assists and 28 points. Another honors candidate for the Irish was junior winger Mario Lucia who tied for second in the league with 21 goals this year.