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Hockey

Notre Dame forfeits early lead against rival Boston College

| Monday, January 30, 2017

No. 15 Notre Dame saw a third period lead slip away over the weekend, as the Irish would go on to lose 6-4 on the road against No. 13 Boston College.

Goals throughout the game came from junior forward Anders Bjork, who scored his team-high 16th goal of the season, sophomore forward Andrew Oglevie who scored a pair of goals, and freshman forward Felix Holmberg who notched his first career goal.

Midway through the second period, Notre Dame (14-9-3, 7-5-2 Hockey East) found themselves up 4-2 in front of a sold out crowd at Conte Forum, and Irish head coach Jeff Jackson’s felt his team played strong hockey for the majority of the game.

Irish sophomore Andrew Oglevie forward takes control of the puck during Notre Dame’s 3-3 tie with New Hampshire on Jan. 20.Kathleen Donahue | The Observer

Irish sophomore Andrew Oglevie forward takes control of the puck during Notre Dame’s 3-3 tie with New Hampshire on Jan. 20.

“We did a lot of good things offensively,” said Jackson. “We started the game strong and did a god job carrying the tempo at times early on. For the most part we did a pretty good job creating opportunities, but for Boston College being at home helped their momentum. At first we were able to respond when they would score, but it wasn’t enough in the third period when momentum helped them take over.”

In a game that featured a lot of odd-man rushes for both teams, the play of junior goaltender Cal Petersen helped Notre Dame keep the lead for the first 40 minutes of action. This marked Petersen’s 76th consecutive start for the Irish, tying him for the ninth-longest streak in NCAA Division I history. Jackson said he has been quite impressed with his net minder’s performance over that stretch.

“He’s played really well for us and made some key saves this weekend,” Jackson said. “The goals were mostly coming off odd-man rushes and there were a few breakaways as well. Both teams gave up a lot defensively, but he made some great saves for us.”

The third period proved to be a big turning point in the game as Boston College (17-9-2, 12-3-1) would outscore Notre Dame 3-0 over the final 20 minutes. About two minutes into the period, the Eagles tied things up with a quick snapshot from the low slot off the stick of freshman forward Julius Mattila.

Boston College would proceed to take its first lead of the game with about four minutes to go in the contest. With just two minutes to play, the Irish were given an opportunity as they went on the power play, but it was ultimately to no avail as Boston College tacked on an empty-net goal to hold on by a score of 6-4.

Jackson saw puck management as one of the biggest issues for the team in the final period that saw the Irish lose their lead.

“Some of our problems had to do with poor play with the puck,” Jackson said. “Puck management certainly hurt us as far as turnovers. With Boston College’s strong transition play, that was probably the number one thing that cost us.”

Looking forward to next week, the Irish will be back at home for a matchup against No. 11 Vermont. The Catamounts (16-8-2, 8-5-1 Hockey East) has had a tremendous turn around this year after going 6-13-3 in conference play last season, and as such Jackson realizes this will be a tough test for his team.

“They’re definitely one of the most improved teams in the conference this year,” said Jackson. “The biggest thing is our ability to make good puck decisions because they put pressure on you in the offensive zone so we’ll be challenged. We’re just going to have to take care of the puck and that should help us with some of the problems.”

The teams will play a pair of games on Friday and Saturday night with both contests being televised on NBC Sports Network.

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