SOUTH BEND — There’s an extra present under the Christmas tree for coach Jeff Jackson and his 18th-ranked Notre Dame hockey team.
Coming off a disappointing 4-3 overtime home loss Sunday to Michigan State, the program announced late Monday that defenseman Jake Boltmann will be added to the roster when the Irish (4-5-1) resume play Jan. 9-10 against Arizona State prior to the second semester.
“Jake is a high character young man and a great skater and athlete,” Jackson said. “He plays the game on his toes and will bring some additional speed and intensity to our lineup.”
The 19-year-old Boltmann, who has been playing for the Lincoln Stars in the United States Hockey League, is a 6-foot-1, 187-pound defenseman who shoots right-handed. A third-round selection (80th overall by Calgary) in the recent 2020 NHL Draft, Boltmann played four seasons at Edina (Minn.) High School, the alma mater of former Irish standouts Anders Lee, Steve Fogarty, Dan Carlson, Steve Curry and the late Bill Nyrop.
Boltmann captained the team and was a finalist for Minnesota’s Mr. Hockey Award as a senior and as a junior helped the Hornets to the state championship. He finished with 13 goals and 41 assists for 54 points in 99 games at Edina. He played in 23 games with the Stars.
Boltmann’s first road trip could be Jan. 15-16 when the Irish resume Big Ten Conference play at No. 1 Minnesota (8-0-0). Boltmann verbally committed to Minnesota when Don Lucia, a former Notre Dame defenseman, was still the Gophers’ head coach, and he remained committed under current coach Bob Motzko until recently.
“I decided about a month ago to officially decommit and see what other options were out there for me,” Boltmann told The Rink Live’s Jess Myers. “Even before I committed to Minnesota, Notre Dame was the other school that I was really interested in, so it’s kind of funny how things kind of come full circle.
“I really like (Jackson) as a coach,” Boltmann continued. “He’s very honest and he gets the best out of his players. I’m super excited to play for a guy like that. I think I’m more of a defensive defenseman, but there’s a little two-way to my game. It’s a perfect fit, scheme-wise.”
First up for the Irish after New Year’s Day is a Jan. 9-10 non-conference series with Arizona State at the Compton Family Ice Arena. It’s the second time the Irish will play host to the Sun Devils, who visited Dec. 3-4, winning 6-3 before the Irish rebounded with a 5-4 victory. During this season being played with COVID-19 protocols, Division I independent Arizona State is playing four times at each of the Big Ten’s seven schools.
The Big Ten has released its second-half schedule. Faceoff times will be set when television outlets are announced. The Irish, who finished the first half with six straight home games, will play 10 of their last 18 games on the road beginning with Minnesota. The Big Ten Tournament, a single-elimination affair, will be played March 18-20 at a site to be determined.
9-10 (Saturday-Sunday): ARIZONA STATE (non-conference); 15-16 (Friday-Saturday): at Minnesota; 21-22 (Thursday-Friday): MICHIGAN; 28-29 (Thursday-Friday): at Penn State
5-6 (Friday-Saturday): at Ohio State; 12-13 (Friday-Saturday): MINNESOTA; 19-20 (Friday-Saturday): at Wisconsin; 26-27 (Friday-Saturday): at Michigan State
5-6 (Friday-Saturday): PENN STATE; 18-20 (Thursday-Saturday): Big Ten Tournament (site to be determined)