Irish stun top-ranked Boston College
Joe Hettler | Tuesday, October 28, 2003
It was only freshman Dave Brown’s second career start at goalie and it just so happened to be against the No.1 team in the nation, in their home opener in front of nearly 8,000 fans.
But Brown didn’t seem bothered by the circumstances, en route to stopping 27 shots while left wing Mike Walsh scored off a face-off with 5 minutes, 4 seconds remaining in the third period to lead Notre Dame to a 1-0 upset victory against No. 1 Boston College Friday night.
“We wanted to get respect and we wanted to get confidence,” Irish coach Dave Poulin said. “But those are things that people can’t give you, you have to take them. It wouldn’t have been enough for us to come out of this game by just playing well. We took the next step and beat them.”
The key for the game was Notre Dame’s defense and the goal play by Brown. The Irish defenders interfered with Eagle passes throughout the game and cleared the front of the net for Brown to get good looks at Boston College’s shots on goal.
“I would have never been able to do this without the team in front me and having them play so well defensively,” said Brown, who recorded his second shutout in as many collegiate starts. “It was a great team effort overall.”
The Irish came out aggressively in the first period and controlled the puck, but failed to get any serious shots on Boston College goaltender Matti Kaltiainen.
From the 6:00 mark until the end of the first period, Boston College took control of the puck and had several good shots against Brown. The freshman made two key saves early in the period, then made a crucial stop with 2:08 remaining in the period by pouncing on the puck just in front of the net.
Boston College’s Patrick Eaves had a one-on-one opportunity early in the second period, but Brown knocked the shot away, preserving the 0-0 score. Throughout most of the middle of the second period, Boston College had a few long shots, near the blue line but none seriously threatened Brown.
One of the Eagles’ best chances came with 4:48 left in the second period when Ryan Murphy took the puck at the left circle and fired a shot to Brown’s left. Brown couldn’t react in time, but the puck ricocheted off the crossbar.
After Brown made a glove save with 1:25 remaining, the Irish had two shots to score but couldn’t convert either thanks to a Kaltianinen save and a poor pass on a two-on-one break.
After going back and forth for much of the third period, the Irish finally broke through for a goal. With just over five minutes left in regulation, Notre Dame’s Aaron Gill won a face-off in front of the Boston College goal. Gill got the puck to Walsh who fired a low shot toward Kaltianinen’s left, just under his left side for the only goal of the game. It was Walsh’s third career goal and second of the season.
But the Eagles didn’t quit after the Irish goal and had several shots to tie the game near the end of regulation.
With 1:30 remaining, Boston College’s Joe Rooney had a shot go high and to the left. Brown made another good save in front of the net with 1:05 left, then stopped a flurry of shots in the final minute to send Notre Dame to 3-2 on the season.
“This was a big win for us tonight,” Poulin said. “It came early in the season and should give us confidence the rest of the way. We don’t have to talk about playing well, but losing. They showed what they can do against an outstanding hockey team.”
– Brown has not allowed a goal in his last seven periods, covering a span of 120:44.
– The win was Notre Dame’s first against the Eagles in their last nine meetings, dating back to 1994.
– All three of Walsh’s goals have been game-winners for the Irish.