Notre Dame junior goaltender Cal Petersen will forego his last year of eligibility with the intention of signing an NHL contract this summer.
A fifth-round pick (129th overall) by Buffalo in the 2013 NHL Draft, Petersen could sign with the Sabres or become a free agent later this summer.
“I feel immensely fortunate I was given the opportunity to attend Notre Dame and play hockey for the Fighting Irish,” Petersen said in a statement. “The experiences and memories I have shared with my teammates and best friends both on and off the ice will be something I carry with me forever. This is the hardest decision I have ever had to make because of how incredible of a place Notre Dame is to be both a student and an athlete. My sincere thanks goes to Coach [Jeff] Jackson, Coach [Paul] Pooley, Coach [Andy] Slaggert, all of the support staff, and most importantly my teammates for their efforts in making me a better hockey player, student and person. Lastly, I would like to thank my family for their unwavering love and support while making this decision. Notre Dame has given me the opportunity to realize my dreams and I will be forever Irish.”
“I am proud of Cal for taking his time and doing his due diligence before making the decision to take the next step in his career,” Jackson added. “I know completing his degree at Notre Dame will also be an important part of his future. Cal is a special young man and an exceptional goaltender. I have enjoyed watching him develop on the ice and as a leader. I look forward to following his bright future in hockey and in life.”
As the first goaltender to serve as team captain in program history, Petersen led the Irish to their third Frozen Four appearance in program history. One of five finalists for the 2017 Mike Richter Award, Petersen was selected to the NCAA Northeast Regional All-Tournament team after posting wins over Minnesota and UMass Lowell.
Petersen finished the season with a 23-12-5 record to go along with a 2.22 GAA, a .926 save percentage and six shutouts. His save percentage ranked third in Hockey East and 11th nationally, while his six shutouts tied for the NCAA lead.
Following the 2016-17 season, Petersen joined classmate Anders Bjork and Irish alum Anders Lee as part of the U.S. Men’s National Team for the 2017 IIHF Men’s World Championship, which took place on May 5-21 in Cologne, Germany, and Paris, France.
Petersen closed his Irish career by starting 90 consecutive games, which is the fourth-longest streak in NCAA history. In his three-year tenure at Notre Dame, he finished ranked first in career save percentage (.924), second in minutes played (6498:02), third in saves (3,042) and GAA (2.30), tied for third in victories (55) as well as fourth in shutouts (11) and in games played (110).