Notre Dame's Morris named Big Ten Player and Goaltender of the Year
SOUTH BEND, Ind. - This weekend, Notre Dame hockey will take the ice in the Big Ten Title game against Ohio State, attempting to add another championship to its resume this season.
Before the Irish go for another team accomplishment, three players received individual recognition as well.
Goaltender Cale Morris, forward Jake Evans, and defenseman Jordan Gross were all named to the All-Big Ten First Team. In addition to those honors, Morris earned the highest marks in the conference as Player and Goaltender of the Year as well.
"It's amazing for him to win those awards," said Evans, the team captain. "Especially after not really playing last year, he had a good attitude, and learned from Cal [Peterson] and just tried to grow as a player. He definitely deserves this award. He worked hard for it and he's been our rock all year."
"I think it's deserved," said head coach Jeff Jackson. "He's been the most consistent player on our roster all season long. He had a great stretch in that streak where he was almost untouchable in his game. He's a big reason we are where we are. We wouldn't be in this position if it wasn't for him."
Of course, the Irish are in a great position, busy preparing for the championship game against Ohio State. While the awards were appreciated, they know individual and team successes are built upon each other.
"It's definitely a great honor," said Evans. "I think it just speaks to this team's success having three guys on the All-Big Ten team. I think it just shows that with team success, you'll get individual success. The guys absolutely helped us all out, so I think it's more based on how well the team did."
The Big Ten Tournament championship game will be the final home game for Notre Dame this season, as the Irish host the Buckeyes at 8 p.m. on Saturday. After a thrilling victory in the final minute against Penn State last week, the Irish know just how tough another victory will be against one of the toughest squads in college hockey.
"I think they're one of the best teams in the country," said Jackson. "I mean, they're ranked in the top five in the country and I think deservedly so. We earned the opportunity to play in this championship game by winning last Saturday. We're going to have to earn one more to win a championship here."
While Notre Dame already sits comfortably in position for a top seed in the NCAA Tournament, a win would lock it up for good. The Irish would also capture a sweep of both the regular season and tournament championships in the first season as members of the Big Ten conference.