Notre Dame dominated by Boston College
Brett O'Connell | Monday, February 1, 2016
The Irish saw their 12-game unbeaten streak, the fifth-longest in program history, snapped Friday night as No. 5 Boston College blanked the home team 4-0 at Compton Family Ice Arena.
Boston College (17-4-4, 10-1-4 Hockey East) had the Irish on their heels from the very first shift of the game, as Eagles sophomore forward Austin Cangelosi scored his eleventh goal of the season just 16 seconds into the fixture.
From there, the Irish (14-5-7, 10-2-2) struggled to create scoring chances; even when the home team’s forwards did manage to generate something on the rush, their attempts were stifled by Eagles junior goaltender Thatcher Demko, who made 28 saves en route to his eighth shutout of the season.
Demko’s play was lauded by Eagles head coach Jerry York, college hockey’s all-time winningest coach.
“[I was] really impressed with the play of our goaltender,” York said. “I thought [Demko] was just in control of the game. His angles, his position throughout the whole night, I thought was outstanding. We’ve seen it before, but you can win a game with his play.”
York also praised the recent effectiveness of the Irish power play unit, once again citing Demko’s perfect performance as a big reason for his team’s success on the penalty kill.
“Tonight the penalty killing was a huge part of our game plan,” York said. “They’re outstanding on the power play, but Thatcher was a key to that.”
The Irish special teams saw a great deal of ice during the game, both on offense and defense, as each team was awarded five power plays throughout the course of the evening. Boston College converted the only power play goal of the evening on a five-on-three chance during the second period.
The Eagles were also afforded a penalty shot attempt at the end of the second following a last-second slashing call on sophomore defenseman Jordan Gross, but Eagles forward Colin White was unable to convert as Irish sophomore goaltender Cal Petersen managed to catch the puck on the edge of his shoulder, deflecting it wide.
Irish head coach Jeff Jackson cited an overabundance of emotion as a source of frustration for the Irish as they found themselves down early and struggling often to execute their game plan.
“My concern going into the game — I had been stressing all week about being emotionally in control,” Jackson said. “Because we are a younger group, and I think that was a factor. Just being too amped up, and I think things spiraled.
We made uncharacteristic plays with the puck. If you think about the turnovers, a lot of times we were in the offensive zone, making a play with the puck and making a play under pressure.”
Jackson was quick to look beyond what was ultimately a single game in the regular season, however.
“When you’re winning, when you’re having success … we came off a pretty good streak here,” Jackson said. “It was bound to end, and this will help get our attention back.”
Senior left wing and alternate captain Sam Herr echoed his coach’s sentiments regarding the team’s struggle with focus at the beginning of the game.
“Yeah, a little bit. It’s easy to get distracted with a big game like this,” Herr said. “Obviously with a bit of a rivalry between us and BC, we needed to come into the game thinking about what we could control, and I think it’s safe to say we didn’t do that. We let the distractions take over, we didn’t play our game, we didn’t stick to our system at all, and we never got back to it.”
Still, when asked about his team’s ability to bounce back from the tough loss, Herr seemed optimistic — both in the capacity of the upperclassmen on the team to lead and the ability of his younger teammates to regain their confidence.
“I think it’s not going to be that hard, because the guys know we have a special team here.” Herr said. “If you look at where we were at a year ago, the team has grown significantly because every single person has bought in to trying to get better every single day. Our job is just to remind the guys, ‘Hey, we got a little lazy last week. We know we’re better than that.’ The guys are going to respond to that.
“Everyone’s pumped to get another win streak going, and we’ve got to be the ones that lead the way. We have to keep everyone engaged and keep everyone talking. Us as leaders need to be the ones that are going to buy in every single day at practice just to show the others that this is what needs to happen.”
The Irish resume play this coming weekend as they travel east to face off against Vermont at Gutterson Fieldhouse. The first of two games against Vermont will take place Friday at 7:05 p.m.