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Hockey: Irish fall to Eagles in Holy War

By Matthew DeFranks | Monday, November 12, 2012

Chestnut Hill, Mass. – A year after a dramatic overtime goal lifted Notre Dame over Boston College, the No. 7 Irish could not overcome a poor second period in a 3-1 loss to the No. 1 Eagles on Friday in front of a sellout Conte Forum crowd.

Eagles sophomore left wing Johnny Gaudreau scored two goals, while Irish freshman left wing Thomas DiPauli tallied Notre Dame’s lone score.

After firing nine shots on goal in the first period, Notre Dame (6-3-0) managed just two shots in the second frame while defending national champion Boston College (7-1-0) peppered Irish junior goaltender Steven Summerhays with 12 shots.

“The second period was a concern of mine,” Irish coach Jeff Jackson said. “I thought we did an okay job in the first and third against them. Second periods have been a problem for us this season. I don’t know if we lose our edge in the locker room. I take responsibility for that.

“I’m going to have to have a pump-up talk, I guess, as we approach the second period. That’s been a little bit of an issue for us in the three games we’ve lost.”

The Eagles held the Irish without a shot on goal for 7:45 during the second period. The Irish also had eight penalty minutes in the frame.

“I thought we slept through the whole period, frankly,” Jackson said. “We were on our heels and we didn’t have the same energy that we started the game with. I thought we had a good first, I thought we had a pretty good third. You can’t play 40-minute hockey games and expect to beat a team like this.”

Boston College opened the scoring at 4:41 in the second period, when Eagles senior defenseman Patrick Wey hit senior center Pat Mullane in stride in the neutral zone for a breakaway chance. He deked Summerhays before backhanding the puck past him. The goal was Mullane’s fourth of the season.

“That kind of got the whole atmosphere electric,” Eagles coach Jerry York said. “Once you get that first one, it just really helped our home team.”

The goal came after Boston College killed a Notre Dame five-on-three power play opportunity. The Irish had three shots with the two-man advantage, but could not capitalize with a score.

Gaudreau scored the eventual game-winner with 3:30 left in the second period, beating Summerhays over his right shoulder and later added an empty-net goal late in the third period to give the Eagles a two-goal victory.

With 12:50 left in the third period, the Irish finally got on the board. After sophomore right wing Peter Schneider carried the puck towards the net, DiPauli fought through a scramble in front of the crease to poke in Notre Dame’s only goal.

Summerhays finished the game with 19 saves, matching Eagles senior goaltender Parker Milner’s total. Milner continuously foiled Irish scoring chances with acrobatic saves from pipe to pipe.

“[Milner] played well. He made some really big saves, especially down the stretch,” Jackson said.

Milner gave up the winning goal in overtime in 2011 but came into the game with a 1.99 goals against average and a .932 save percentage, a season after winning the national championship.

“Right at the end of the game, they had some ‘Grade-A’ chances that Parker stopped and made some outstanding saves,” York said.

Notre Dame’s penalty kill held Boston College’s lethal power play unit scoreless in six opportunities, but the Irish could not break through with the man-advantage, going 0-for-5. They also managed a season-low 20 shots on goal. The Eagles had 22 shots for the game.

Jackson said the game could be used as a barometer for the Irish.

“Anytime you play the national champs, it’s always a measuring stick,” Jackson said. “We aspire to play the way they play. Their speed is certainly a factor in everything they do, put a lot of pressure on you and break you down. They’re a good team, as advertised, as I expected.”

Notre Dame will look to rebound when they travel to Michigan on Thursday for a two-game series.

Contact Matthew DeFranks at mdefrank@nd.edu