Irish hockey finalists for Big Ten honors

by Notre Dame Sports Information

Notre Dame head coach Jeff Jackson, freshman forward Michael Graham and junior goaltender Cale Morris were each named top-three finalists for 2018-19 Big Ten Hockey awards, the conference announced Tuesday (March 12).

Jackson is a top-three finalist for Big Ten Coach of the Year honors after helping guide the Irish to second place in the conference and a Big Ten tournament quarterfinal sweep of Michigan State. On December 31, 2018 when the Irish blanked Boston College 4-0, Jackson earned his 308th career win at Notre Dame to surpass the legendary Lefty Smith for the most wins in program history. Jackson currently possesses 498 career victories at the NCAA Division I level and has led the Irish to back-to-back Frozen Four appearances.

Graham is a top-three finalist for Big Ten Freshman of the Year honors after scoring 11 goals and collecting eight assists for the Irish in 33 regular-season contests. Graham has four multi-goal games this season, including three straight from January 18-25. He was named the Big Ten’s Second Star of the Week on February 19th after scoring three goals in a pair of wins over Michigan and Wisconsin. He led all Big Ten freshmen with 10 goals in league play and ranked tied for second with 15 points in league play (10-5-15).

The 2018 Mike Richter Award winner as the NCAA’s top goaltender, Morris is up for Big Ten Goaltender of the Year honors after earning the award last season as well. This season, Morris has backstopped the Irish to 16 victories, including four shutouts, with a .929 save percentage and 2.23 goals-against average. His .929 save percentage now ranks sixth in the country and third among goaltenders who have played at least 80 percent of their teams’ minutes in net.

Morris has eclipsed the 30-save mark on 14 occasions this season, including a 49-save effort in a 6-3 win over Michigan State on January 25th. He was named the conference’s First Star of the Week on January 3rd, and also earned Second Star honors on January 28 and Third Star accolades on November 6. Following last weekend’s back-to-back shutouts over Michigan State in the Big Ten Tournament quarterfinals, Morris was named the NCAA’s First Star of the Week (March 12). Those wins, including a 1-0 score in game one and a 2-0 game two victory, marked his first two playoff shutouts.

The No. 2 seed Irish will take on No. 3 Minnesota at 7 p.m. on Saturday, March 16 in the Big Ten Tournament semifinals at the Compton Family Ice Arena.

The game can be heard on Z 94.3 starting at 6:45.