RIGA, Latvia — Former Fighting Irish hockey players Cal Petersen and Matt Hellickson helped Team USA to a bronze medal with a 6-1 win over Germany in the International Ice Hockey Federation World Championships (June 6).
Petersen, who played for the Irish from 2014-17, was Team USA’s starting goaltender at the event and he was named the tournament’s Best Goaltender, while also earning a spot on the Media All-Star Team of the 2021 IIHF Men’s World Championship. He became the fourth-ever U.S. player to earn Best Goaltender honors and eighth-ever U.S. player to earn a directorate honor.
Hellickson, who was one of two USA players without NHL experience on the roster, skated in nine games while registering an assist and a +7 rating to cap off a calendar year that included his senior season, a professional debut at the AHL level and playing in the World Championship.
Petersen was a member of Team USA’s roster in 2017 (Cologne, Germany), while Hellickson become the 16th former Fighting Irish player to take part in the prestigious event. Former Irish players Anders Bjork and Anders Lee also took part in 2017. All told with Petersen and Hellickson, Notre Dame has had 16 former players combine for 21 U.S. National Team appearances.
Petersen recently concluded his fourth professional season after playing for the Fighting Irish from 2014-17. Prior to the start of the NHL season, he completed his degree at the University of Notre Dame, having signed professionally after his junior season.
The 2020-21 season marked the goaltender’s first full NHL season and he played in 35 games for the Los Angeles Kings while posting a 9-18-5 record to go along with a .911 save percentage and a 2.89 goals against average. He is the first former Notre Dame goaltender to play in the NHL.
Petersen became the first goaltender to serve as team captain in Notre Dame hockey history in 2016-17 and the then junior 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 his junior season with a 23-12-5 record to go along with a 2.22 goals against average, a .926 save percentage and six shutouts. His six shutouts tied for the NCAA lead.
A 2017 First Team Hockey East All-Star, 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 goals against average (2.30), tied for third in victories (55) as well as fourth in shutouts (11) and in games played (110). He made an NCAA record 87 saves during a five-overtime loss to the University of Massachusetts in the Hockey East playoffs as a freshman.
Hellickson recently completed his senior season and signed professionally with the Binghamton Devils (AHL) and made his professional debut. He was originally selected by Binghamton’s NHL club, the New Jersey Devils, in the seventh round (214th overall) of the 2017 NHL Entry Draft.
Hellickson, who served as an alternate captain this past season as a senior, skated in all 29 games in 2020-21 while scoring a goal and adding seven assists for eight points. In his four year career, Hellickson skated in 146-consecutive games for the Irish, totaling 13 goals and 39 assists for 52 points.
The Rogers, Minnesota native was an Honorable Mention All-Big Ten selection following his junior season and also earned Academic All-Big Ten honors each of the last three seasons.
As a freshman, Hellickson helped Notre Dame claim the Big Ten regular season and tournament championships and an appearance in the 2018 NCAA Championship game. The Irish then reached the NCAA Tournament in two of his final three seasons and Notre Dame captured the 2019 Big Ten Tournament Championship during his sophomore campaign.