The Notre Dame Fighting Irish have won 13 games in a row, with help from Blackhawks prospect Dennis Gilbert
It wasn’t clear how Notre Dame would return this season after their defeat in the Frozen Four in 2017 and losing captains Cal Petersen and Anders Bjork to the NHL. But 20 games into the season, the Fighting Irish are back.
Lead by captain Jake Evans and standout defenseman Jordan Gross, the Irish have strung together 13 straight wins including a sweep of the Wisconsin Badgers this past weekend. Their record of 16-3-1 should put them in the top three ranked teams in college hockey in the USCHO poll come Monday.
One of the strong qualities of the Irish is their defense which includes Blackhawks prospect Dennis Gilbert. Selected 91st overall in the 3rd round by the Blackhawks in 2015, Gilbert has spent the last two seasons in South Bend.
At 6’2 220lbs., Gilbert is a stay-at-home defenseman known for his physicality and defense, a kind of player the Blackhawks don’t have a lot of. On the year Gilbert has three goals, four assists, and is a +14. Three of his points came this weekend against Wisconsin.
? Dennis Gilbert’s shorthanded snipe! pic.twitter.com/ddxvz18KC6
— Notre Dame Hockey (@NDHockey) December 10, 2017
Gilbert is currently in his junior year at Notre Dame and could sign pro with the Blackhawks after this season depending on his development and readiness. The ‘Hawks and IceHogs have a lot of young defenseman competing for spots in the NHL, but many are smaller and of the puck-moving style. Even Henri Jokiharju and Ian Mitchell who were drafted in 2017 are more offensively minded defenseman. Should he end up on the Blackhawks someday, he may have big shoes to fill is he choses to continue wearing the #4, previously worn by fan-favorite Niklas Hjalmarsson.
Whether Gilbert decides to stay at Notre Dame for his senior year or sign an entry-level contract with the Blackhawks, he’s getting some valuable experience at the college level competing against top programs like the University of Minnesota and the University of Denver. Should his Fighting Irish make it back to the Frozen Four this year, he’ll do his best to make sure the results are different this time.
Gilbert and the Fighting Irish will be taking on the Wisconsin Badgers on January 21st at the United Center if you wanted to see him play in person. You can buy tickets here.
You can also follow Dennis on Twitter at @Dennis_Gilbert8