Notre Dame announces addition of four freshmen to hockey team

By John Fineran
Tribune Correspondent

SOUTH BEND – The final pieces of the 2021-22 roster puzzle have been added to Notre Dame’s hockey team as head coach Jeff Jackson announced four incoming freshmen on Monday.

The four players — forwards Tyler Carpenter, Hunter Strand and Sasha Pastujov and defenseman Ryan Helliwell — will join four previously announced graduate transfers: former Cornell goaltender Matthew Galajda, former Union and Providence forward Jack Adams, former Connecticut defenseman Adam Karashik and former Massachusetts-Lowell defenseman Chase Blackmun.

“Although we have a smaller freshmen class in number, they will each make an impact in their own way,” stated Jackson, who begins his 17th season in October as Notre Dame’s all-time leader in victories with 348 and with four trips to the Frozen Four, including runner-up finishes in 2008 and 2018. Jackson, a Michigan State graduate, won two NCAA championships at Lake Superior State in 1992 and 1994.

“Each player brings different intangibles to our team that we need and that will help us win hockey games,” Jackson added.

Pastujov, a 6-foot, 188-pound left wing from Bradenton, Florida, is expected to be a first-round pick in the two-day 2021 National Hockey League Draft which begins Friday. The brother of former and present Michigan players Nick and Michael Pastujov, Sasha was ranked 18th among North America skaters in the final NHL Central Scouting rankings. He played the last two seasons for the United States National Team Development Program, finishing with 37 goals and 102 points. Last season he tallied 23 goals and 29 assists. He has played on several U.S. national teams.

Carpenter, a 6-foot, 183-pound left-handed forward from Palatine, Illinois, played the last four seasons with Omaha in the United States Hockey League. He totaled 38 goals and 86 points for the Lancers in 223 games. Carpenter also skated for the USHL’s Chicago Steel.

Strand, a 5-foot-11, 187-pound left-handed forward from Anchorage, Alaska, was ranked 55th among North America skaters in the final NHL Central Scouting rankings. After skating for the USNTDP program from 2018-20, Strand played for the USHL’s Tri-City Storm last season, scoring 20 goals and 49 points, both team highs. 

Helliwell, a 6-foot, 192-pound left-handed defenseman from Burnaby, British Columbia, has played his last three seasons in the British Columbia Hockey League. He played two seasons with the Langley Rivermen and last season for the Trail Smoke Eaters. He finished with 10 goals and 36 assists in 113 BCHL games.