Bischel, Trevor Janicke returning for graduate seasons with Irish hockey program

John Fineran
Tribune Correspondent
Notre Dame's Ryan Bischel (30) makes a stop during the Notre Dame vs. Minnesota NCAA hockey game Friday, Jan. 13, 2023 at the Compton Family Ice Arena in South Bend.

SOUTH BEND — The Big Ten’s goaltender of the year is coming back for another season at Notre Dame.

Senior Ryan Bischel, who played in every game for coach Jeff Jackson’s 19th-ranked Fighting Irish and compiled a 16-16-4 record, has decided to return for a graduate year in 2023-24. 

Also returning with Bischel for a fifth season is senior forward and alternate captain Trevor Janicke, who tied for the team lead in goals scored (eight) and finished second in points (22). The Irish finished fourth in the Big Ten regular season but saw their six-year streak of NCAA appearances end.

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Notre Dame's Trevor Janicke (27) celebrates scoring during the Notre Dame vs. Minnesota NCAA hockey game Friday, Jan. 13, 2023 at the Compton Family Ice Arena in South Bend.

Both Bischel and Janicke are taking advantage of an extra year of eligibility given by the NCAA to athletes whose college careers were impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic wiped out most of the 2019-20 postseason and limited the 2020-21 season to 29 games.

“I’ve always dreamed of playing at Notre Dame, and these four years have exceeded my expectations in every way,” the 6-foot-1, 190-pound Bischel, a native of Medina, Minn., said in a release.

The 23-year-old Bischel, who spent his freshman season in 2019-20 as a backup to former Irish All-American Cale Morris and then split playing time his next two seasons with Dylan St. Cyr and Matthew Galajda, was Jackson’s top goaltender from the start of the season and only missed 41½ minutes in two games when freshman Jack Williams replaced him in early-season games at Air Force (Oct. 8) and Minnesota (Nov. 4). 

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When the regular season concluded, Bischel had compiled a 2.39 goals-against average, led the nation in minutes played (2,182:51) and saves (1,183), was third in the nation in saves percentage (.931) and was tied for fifth nationally with five shutouts. Bischel was named the Big Ten’s top goaltender over Minnesota senior Justen Close and Ohio State’s Jakub Dobeš, and he was one of three finalists for player of the year honor won by Gophers’ right wing Matthew Knies.

“Ryan is the backbone of our team,” Jackson said earlier this month.

During his four years at Notre Dame, Bischel has a 32-25-5 record, a 2.39 goals-against average, a .925 saves percentage and seven shutouts. An Academic All-Big Ten honoree, the finance major will receive his bachelor’s degree in May and will pursue a graduate degree next season.

“I’m excited for the opportunity to come back and build upon this program’s tradition of excellence,” Bischel said. “I’m looking forward to what this new group can accomplish.”

The 5-foot-10, 200-pound Janicke, a native of Maple Grove, Minn., also has received Academic All-Big Ten honors and will receive an undergraduate degree in business analytics this May. The son of former Irish player Curtis Janicke and brother of Irish sophomore forward Justin, Trevor Janicke has played in 143 games for Notre Dame, including all 37 last season when he played both right wing and center due to injuries to his teammates late in the season.  He has 35 goals, including a career high of 15 during the 2021-22 season, and 69 points in his career.

Bischel and Janicke were among 10 seniors and graduates who were honored after Notre Dame’s last regular-season game, a 2-2 overtime tie (and 3-2 shootout win) against No. 6 Ohio State, runner-up in the NCAA Bridgeport (Conn.) Regional Sunday. Since Notre Dame’s season ended with a 4-2 loss to Michigan State in the third game of the first round of the Big Ten Postseason Tournament, four members of the team have moved on. 

Junior right wing Ryder Rolston, who broke a collarbone in late January against Wisconsin, signed a contract with the Chicago Blackhawks at the conclusion of the season. Senior forward Jesse Lansdell put his name in the transfer portal, while senior forward Solag Bakich signed an amateur tryout contract with the Reading Royals of the East Coast Hockey League. Graduate center Chayse Primeau signed a contract and is currently playing with the Florida Everblades of the ECHL.