Notre Dame's Bischel named Big Ten’s Goaltender of the Year; Leivermann, Slaggert honored

John Fineran
Tribune Correspondent
Michigan State defenseman David Gucciardi (7) shoots the puck on Notre Dame goaltender Ryan Bischel (30) during the Michigan State-Notre Dame NCAA hockey game on Sunday, March 05, 2023, at Compton Family Ice Arena in South Bend, Indiana.

SOUTH BEND — Senior goaltender Ryan Bischel, graduate defenseman Nick Leivermann and junior forward Landon Slaggert received honors from the Big Ten Conference for their play this season for No. 20 Notre Dame’s hockey team.

Bischel, a 23-year-old from Medina, Minn., was named the league’s goaltender of the year and was named to the All-Big Ten first team in a recent vote of league coaches and a media panel. The 24-year-old Leivermann, the team’s captain, received all-league honors for a second straight year, while the 20-year-old Slaggert, a South Bend native, received a sportsmanship award from the league.

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The 6-foot-1, 190-pound Bischel, who also was one of three finalists for the league’s player of the year honor, carried coach Jeff Jackson’s Fighting Irish to a fourth-place finish in the league and a 16-16-5 record which has the team eligible for a seventh straight NCAA Tournament appearance.

In 24 league games, Bischel compiled a 10-10-4 record by stopping a league-high 831 shots and compiling a league-best .938 saves percentage while playing in a league-high 1,443:18 minutes. Overall in 37 starts for the Irish, Bischel led the nation in minutes played (2,182:51) and saves (1,183), was second in saves percentage at .931 (Northeastern’s Devon Levi is first at .933), finished with five shutouts (fifth) and compiled a 2.39 goals-against average (25th).

Bischel edged out Minnesota senior goaltender Justen Close for the goaltending and all-league honors. Ohio State sophomore Jakub Dobeš and Michigan State graduate goaltender Dylan St. Cyr, a 2021 Notre Dame graduate, also were among the contenders.

Notre Dame defenseman Nick Leivermann (4) during the Michigan State-Notre Dame NCAA hockey game on Saturday, March 04, 2023, at Compton Family Ice Arena in South Bend, Indiana.

The 5-foot-11, 185-pound Leivermann was named to the honorable mention all-league team after compiling 20 points (six goals and 14 assists) in 29 games for the Irish. In five seasons at Notre Dame, Leivermann totaled 78 points (23 goals, 55 assists) in 147 games played. The Colorado Avalanche hold the NHL rights for the Eden Prairie, Minn., native.

Slaggert, who totaled 13 points (seven goals and six assists) in 35 games for the Irish while also serving as an alternate captain, received the Big Ten Sportsmanship Award for Notre Dame for his contributions to the team on and off the ice. Slaggert, whose draft rights belong to the Chicago Blackhawks, is involved with the Irish Youth Hockey League, local elementary schools and is a member of the Leadership Council at Notre Dame and the team’s representative on the Student-Athlete Steering Committee. His brother Graham (2022), Matt Hellickson (2021), Cal Burke (2019 and 2020) and current volunteer coach Andrew Oglevie (2018) are past winners of the award.

Notre Dame forward Landon Slaggert (19) battles for position with Michigan State defenseman Michael Underwood (22) during the Michigan State-Notre Dame NCAA hockey game on Saturday, October 29, 2022, at Compton Family Ice Arena in South Bend, Indiana.

Regular-season champion and currently No. 1 Minnesota, which will host No. 4 Michigan for the Big Ten Postseason Tournament championship Saturday night, received several honors from the league. Sophomore left wing Matthew Knies was named the player of the year and junior Brock Faber was chosen defensive player of the year for the second straight season. Minnesota freshmen forwards Logan Cooley and Jimmy Snuggerud shared the league’s scoring honors with 36 points each, and their coach Bob Motzko, was named coach of the year for the third time.

Michigan center Adam Fantilli was named the league’s freshman of the year. Bischel, Fantilli, Cooley, Knies, Faber and Michigan defenseman Luke Hughes were named first team All-Big Team.