Notre Dame Knocks Off Stunned Boston College
CHN Staff Report
Boston College is not used to this. But it will get a week off before its usual sojourn into the NCAAs.
The Eagles ran roughshod over the Hockey East, and national, schedule from late November on. But the one team it has not been able to solve is Notre Dame.
The Irish defeated Boston College for the third time in the last four meetings, including two of three in their Hockey East quarterfinal series, and knocked the top-seeded Eagles out. Notre Dame became the second No. 8 seed in the conference tournaments, joining Miami, to knock out a No. 1 seed.
For Boston College, it's the first time in 10 years it won't make the Hockey East semifinals. It will still, however, be a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, presumably at the Northeast Regional in Worcester, according to all Pairwise prognostications. But that, and the 11 previous Hockey East titles under coach Jerry York, were of no solace.
"It's certainly a very difficult loss for us based on the winner goes to the Garden to play for the Lamoriello Trophy," York said. "It's something that's been one of our major goals. The locker room is just crushed. We're very, very disappointed in the outcome."
Meanwhile, Notre Dame's NCAA hopes were very much in question before it defeated Boston College on the last day of the regular season, snapping the Eagles' 19-game unbeaten streak. But the Irish are a lock now, sitting at eighth in the Pairwise after an eighth-place finish in the Hockey East regular season.
“Finishing in eighth place and getting to the Garden is [pretty good],” Notre Dame coach Jeff Jackson said. “We had a tough first half, and some crazy things happened. It was an adjustment to the league. The conference is so deep that I think we had a lot of surprises. We were in eighth place, but five points out of second. That just tells you about the quality of the conference.”
Notre Dame also finally kept Johnny Gaudreau off the scoreboard. Gaudreau's linemate, Kevin Hayes, scored on a giveaway in the first period, but Gaudreau did not factor into the play. His point-scoring streak ends at 31 games, which ties Paul Kariya's Hockey East record.
Bryan Rust scored a dagger of a goal, his 16th, with just four seconds left in the second period, giving Notre Dame a 3-2 lead.
“They had a dump in to my corner and we made a strong side play up the ice,” said Rust. “We were able to move it to the weak side and (Shayne) Taker made a nice pass over to (T.J.) Tynan. It looked like Tynan was going to shoot but he saw me and I was able to one-time it over Demko’s glove. It was one of those plays that we work on everyday in practice. To see it work to a 'T' in a game is pretty exciting.”
The Irish then withstood a tenacious BC attack, including 14 shots, in the third period, before finally sealing the win when Jeff Costello put a backhand deke and shot between the goaltender's legs, finishing off a 2-on-1 with 1:52 remaining.
"When you look at the chances we had, and then you only have two goals from those chances, you have to give (goalie Steve) Summerhays a tremendous amount of credit there," York said. "He was certainly the difference in the game tonight from my perspective. He played very, very well."
But York and the Eagles do know there can be brighter days ahead still.
"The most major goal we all have is the national championship," York said. "Yale and Quinnipiac were in a consolation game (last year before playing for a national title). They didn't play for a league championship. Michigan State the year they beat us (2007), they had lost three straight games, got upset in the quarterfinals, and won a national championship. In Tampa Bay (2012), we played Ferris for a national championship. They got upset in the quarters. So there's a lot of precedent set. You don't necessarily have to win your league title to win a national championship. It probably happens more often the other way. That's where our mindset is now. ... We have two weeks to prepare for a national championship."
Scott McLaughlin contributed to this report.