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Frozen Four: Scouting Notre Dame’s Top Players

Notre Dame sophomore defenseman Dennis Gilbert is a Chicago Blackhawks prospect.
Matt Dewkett/SB Nation

Chicago — The lowest remaining seed in the NCAA Hockey Tournament has the best forward and the best goaltender in the 2017 Frozen Four.

Notre Dame right wing Anders Bjork and goaltender Cal Petersen are immensely talented and are the leaders on and off the ice.

If the Fighting Irish are to have any success this weekend at the United Center, the two will likely be at the forefront.

However, there are plenty of stars on a Notre Dame team that one rival coach called one of the most athletic in college hockey.

Here is a scouting report on Notre Dame’s top prospects heading into the team’s game against top-seeded Denver in the second national semifinal.

Anders Bjork, Jr., RW - The Boston Bruins prospect became just the second player ever to be a finalist for both the Hobey Baker and Hockey Humanitarian. A native of Mequon, Wis., he has 21 goals and 31 assists. His offensive productivity has increased in each season in South Bend. He's worked hard on becoming stronger and on his shot. He has an extremely quick stick and is shifty and elusive. His speed — both straight line and agility — are elite. The Northeast Region Most Outstanding Player thinks the game well and has that rare ability to be one step ahead of the defense in order to make plays.

Cal Petersen, Jr., G - The Irish’s captain has started 89 consecutive games. A native of Waterloo, Iowa, he has a .929 save percentage. He's a prototypical modern era butterfly goaltender at 6-feet-1. His composure and overall calming presence in the crease is hugely beneficial to his teammates. The Buffalo Sabres prospect has been remarkably good when the Irish win, posting a .954 save percentage in such occasions.

Jake Evans, Jr., C - It takes watching the Montreal Canadiens prospect in all three zones to truly appreciate the impact he has on a game. His 13 goals and 28 assists for 41 points ranks third on the Irish, but it's his complete play as a two-way center that makes him truly special. He is good on draws and responsible throughout the 200 feet of the ice sheet. He does a terrific job of engaging, lifting sticks and disrupting shooting and passing lanes. He is very hard to play against.

Andrew Oglevie, Soph., C - After scoring just five goals and four assists as a rookie, he’s benefited from more playing time, including being on a unit with Bjork for some of the year. He has 21 goals and 20 assists this season and has had an uncanny knack for finding seams in opposing defenses. A perfect example of this was on the game-winning goal in overtime against UMass Lowell. He broke free from a River Hawk defender and got open in the slot for a feed from Bjork.

Cam Morrison, Fr., LW - The 2016 second round draft pick of the Colorado Avalanche has had his ups and downs as a rookie in college hockey, but his presence has been felt, especially lately. The big-bodied winger plays a heavy game and is good down low. He scored the first two goals in the regional final to run his total to four goals and four assists over the last eight games. That comes after scoring seven goals and eight assists over his first 31 collegiate games.

Dennis Gilbert, Soph., D - The Williamsville, NY native has 22 assists this season, but he’s a big time NHL prospect for his play in all three zones. He’s a shutdown blue liner who defends with his length and ability to close quickly on opposing forwards. Despite being 6-feet-4, he’s not overly physical. He’s just a terrific athlete who competes. The Chicago Blackhawks prospect could be playing in his future home this weekend.

Jordan Gross, Jr., D - An undrafted free agent, he scored 28 points as a rookie followed by back-to-back 31 point seasons with the chance to add to that this weekend. He’s a little undersized, but he’s a smooth skater with very good hockey IQ. He sees the ice well, distributes the puck and can shoot it as well. He’s one of six Irish players to have double digit goals.

Andrew Peeke, Fr., D - For such a good skater, he’s more of a two-way defender than he gets credit for. He does a good job retrieving pucks and starting the breakout. He has good size and can defend with his feet and his reach. A second round draft pick of the Columbus Blue Jackets, he’s an underrated part of the Irish blue line this season.