June 17, 2009
Notre Dame, Ind. – University of Notre Dame hockey coach Jeff Jackson announced today that goaltender Mike Johnson (Verona, Wis.) and forward Kevin Nugent (New Canaan, Conn.) will join the Irish hockey roster in September for the start of the 2009-10 season, giving Notre Dame a six-man freshman class.
The duo will join four players who signed national letters-of-intent in the fall of 2008 – Sam Calabrese (D, Park Ridge, Ill.), Nick Larson (LW, Apple Valley, Minn.), Kyle Palmieri (RW, Montvale, N.J.) and Riley Sheahan (C, St. Catharine’s, Ont.).
In making the announcement, Jackson said, “The additions of Mike Johnson and Kevin Nugent rounds out a talented group of players that will join our team this fall. This freshman class gives us another strong class of top players to continue to build upon the Irish hockey tradition.”
Johnson is a 5-11, 180-pound goaltender who spent the 2008-09 season with the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders of the United States Hockey League (USHL). A highly competitive and technically sound goalkeeper, Johnson had a strong season with the RoughRiders, turning in a 25-12-1 record to go with a 2.39 goals-against average and a .909 save percentage with three shutouts. He helped lead Cedar Rapids to a second-place finish in the USHL North Division with a 38-17-5 record. He was 2-3 in the playoffs as his squad lost to eventual USHL champion, Indiana, in the first round of the playoffs. A four-time USHL goaltender of the week, Johnson tied for second in the league in shutouts (3), was third in wins (25), fifth in minutes played (2,263:41) and sixth in save percentage (.909). A member of the North squad, he played in the 2009 USHL Prospects/All-Star Game. In 2007-08, he was a member of the St. Louis Bandits of the North American Hockey League (NAHL) where he helped that team to the Robertson Cup title. Johnson was 21-3-1 in 26 games for the Bandits with a 2.56 goals-against average and a .909 save percentage. During the title run, he was 3-0-1 in four playoff appearances with a 2.62 goals-against average and a .920 save mark. He also saw action in two games that season with Cedar Rapids, going 1-1-0 with a 2.01 goals-against and a .932 save percentage. For the Irish he will compete with returning goaltenders Tom O’Brien (Sr., Mokena, Ill.) and Brad Phillips (Jr., Farmington Hills, Mich.) for playing time in his rookie season.
Nugent is a 6-2, 195-pound right wing who played for the Tri-City Storm of the USHL during the 2008-09 campaign where he played in 60 games, finishing seventh on the team in scoring with nine goals with 12 assists for 21 points. He scored a pair of power-play goals and had 12 penalty minutes on the year. A strong combination of size and skill, Nugent has excellent hockey sense and the ability to create offense. He spent the 2007-08 season at the Taft Prep School in Watertown, Conn., where he was team captain, scoring 11 goals with 22 assists for 33 points in 32 games. The son of former Irish standout, Kevin Nugent `78, he went on to be drafted by the Waterloo Black Hawks in the seventh round, 76th overall in the USHL Draft with his rights then traded to Tri-City. Nugent’s father played at Notre Dame from 1974-78, playing in 131 games for coach Lefty Smith, scoring 54 goals with 75 assists for 129 points to rank 25th on the all-time points list while his 282 career penalty minutes are the fourth highest total in the program’s history. The elder Nugent went on to play professionally in the World Hockey Association (WHA) for the Indianapolis Racers.
Notre Dame Hockey Class of 2009-10
Player Pos. DOB Ht. Wt. S/C Hometown/2008-09 Team Sam Calabrese D 3/18/91 5-9 160 R Park Ridge, Ill./USA Under-18 TeamMike Johnson G 2/1/89 5-11 180 L Verona, Wis./Cedar Rapids RoughRiders (USHL)Nick Larson LW 11/14/89 6-2 203 L Apple Valley, Minn./Waterloo Black Hawks (USHL)Kevin Nugent RW 3/1/89 6-2 195 R New Canaan, Conn./Tri-City Storm (USHL)Kyle Palmieri RW 2/1/91 5-10 180 R Montvale, N.J./USA Under-18 TeamRiley Sheahan C 12/7/91 6-2 195 L St. Catharines, Ont./St. Catharine's Falcons (GHJHL)