No. 1 ranked Boston College proved its worth as the top-ranked team in the nation by defeating No. 8 ranked Notre Dame 3-1 at Boston College’s Conte Forum Friday night. The Eagles came up on top thanks to two goals by sophomore Johnny Gaudreau. Islanders prospects Anders Lee and Robbie Russo were held off the score sheet for Notre Dame.
Boston College Head Coach Jerry York complimented both squads in the victory for his side, the 920th of his career.
“From my perspective, a very well played game from both sides,” York said. “There was a lot of just good hockey being played out there. Defensive hockey, or offensively moving the puck very well, the teams were outstanding.”
Notre Dame Head Coach Jeff Jackson knew it would be a challenge facing off against the team that has won three of the past five National Championships.
“We aspired to play the way they play, but their speed was certainly a factor in everything they do,” Jackson said. “They put a lot of pressure on you and break you down.”
Notre Dame earned a man advantage at 18:36 of the period as the Eagles’ Patrick Wey high-sticked Lee. Seconds later, the Irish were able to create a 3-on-2 rush. Boston College prevented the Irish from scoring on the play, but an interference call led to an extended 5-on-3 advantage for the Irish. However, Boston College caught a break as the two-man-advantage was split up thanks to the end of the first period.
In the second period, Boston College put its foot on the gas and wouldn’t let go for the entire 20 minutes, outshooting Notre Dame 12-2 in the frame. With the entire Notre Dame unit in the offensive zone during a power play, they were caught behind Boston College’s Steven Whitney who found himself on a breakaway from the red line in. Notre Dame goaltender Steven Summerhays got the better of Whitney however, stopping him glove-side.
The two-man kill became the catalyst to start a dominant stretch of hockey for the reigning national champions.
“Just the momentum after that kill [was huge],” said Gaudreau. “Coming into the second period we had to kill a minute-long PK. We talked about it in the locker room and they did exactly what we drew up and it was an outstanding kill.”
Just under five minutes into the period, Russo made a strong outlet pass through the neutral zone to Jeff Costello. Boston College center Michael Sit tripped Costello, but the referees reprimanded Costello for diving, resulting in a 4-on-4 situation. On the defensive zone draw, Boston College senior Pat Mullane sped his way through the Notre Dame defense, receiving a pass from Wey, and finally beat Summerhays on the backhand through his five-hole.
With less than four minutes to go in the second, Gaudreau led a 2-on-1 rush and took a forehand shot on Summerhays’ blocker side and beat him, putting the Eagles up 2-0.
In the third, Notre Dame finally began to fight back. A long stretch of offensive zone pressure forced York to call a timeout. It didn’t take effect the way York had hoped as the Fighting Irish got on the board thanks to a Thomas DiPauli goal through traffic at the 7:10 mark.
The Fighting Irish were never able to get the tying goal past Eagles senior goaltender Parker Milner. Gaudreau scored an empty-netter to seal the victory with just a few seconds remaining.
Jackson was satisfied with his team’s effort in the first and third period, but was left dumbfounded with his team’s play in the second. Notre Dame outshot BC 18-10 in the first and third periods combined.
“You can’t play 40 minute hockey games and beat a team like this,” Jackson said.
Beginning in 2013-14, the teams will meet up at least twice each season, as Notre Dame makes the switch from the CCHA to the Hockey East Conference.