Notre Dame outscored 10-1 in weekend series against Boston College
Jimmy Ward | Monday, December 9, 2019
This weekend, the No. 9 Notre Dame hockey team played a home-and-home series against Boston College looking to end a three-game skid. The Irish (8-6-2, 4-2-2 Big Ten) did anything but, losing 4-0 to the Eagles (11-4, 5-2 ACC) in Chestnut Hill on Friday and 6-1 on Sunday at home.
On Friday, both teams struggled to get their offenses going and headed to the locker room scoreless at the first intermission. The Eagles had tallied eight shots, and the Irish had only taken five, although one from sophomore forward Alex Steeves hit the post.
Two minutes into the second period, however, Boston College got on the board when a wrist shot from junior forward Julius Mattila found the back of the net. The Eagles added two more goals in the period, including a shorthanded score from freshman forward Patrick Giles.
The third period proceeded similarly, with the Irish getting some good looks but failing to convert, and the Eagles added another goal to complete the 4-0 shutout.
The two teams concluded their series in Compton Family Ice Arena with the Irish having the advantage of a home rink, but even that advantage was not strong enough for the strong, perhaps underrated, Boston College hockey team, as the Eagles defeated the Irish at home, 6-1.
The Irish tried to turn things around after their shutout defeat to the Eagles on the road, but the Eagles had other plans. Boston College did not waste any time extending their lead in the series as freshman forward Jack McBain fired a shot that found the back of the Irish net just 36 seconds after the opening faceoff. That was followed by a goal from Eagle’s junior forward Logan Hutsko just over two minutes later when he found the net, putting Notre Dame in trouble quickly.
It seemed that the Irish had finally responded and scored their first goal against Boston College in the series when they were able to take a three-to-five-man advantage on the ice after hooking and a cross checking call and senior forward Cal Burke buried one in the net. However, Boston College challenged the goal on grounds of goaltender interference, the call was confirmed and the goal was all for not. The goal was erased and the Eagles kept their two goal lead.
The visitors managed to extend their lead even further with just over two minutes remaining in the first when junior forward David Cotton slipped another shot past Irish senior goaltender Cale Morris, giving give the Eagles a 3-0 lead heading into the first intermission. Meanwhile, Eagles freshman goalie Spencer Knight was sitting cozy, finishing the first period with nine saves.
Boston College kept the pressure on after McBain scored his second goal of the night, once again just two minutes into the period. Already giving the Eagles a 4-0 lead with 18 minutes left to play in the period, the Irish did not choose to switch up their goaltender situation after Morris had given up his eighth goal in the series against the Eagles.
The Irish finally responded after remaining scoreless against the Eagles for nearly 100 minutes when freshman forward Trevor Janicke was able to slip in a goal past Knight off of a deflection. Knight is certainly a forced to be reckoned with in goal. Once a member of the U.S. National Team Development Program (USNTDP), Knight has plenty of experience defending the net. He played against the Irish earlier this year when the USNTDP visited South Bend for an exhibition game in October and he played as the USNTDP goalie.
Janicke got another shot on goal during a breakaway run with just over 10 minutes remaining in the final period, but Knight remained calm and composed and swiped the puck away to maintain the Eagles’ lead. Right after this exchange, Boston College took the puck into the Irish half and found their fifth goal of the game, and with just less than 10 minutes remaining for the Irish it was all said and done.
Boston College would not let the Irish be defeated easily though. Just 20 seconds after their first goal, the Eagles put up a five-point lead over the Irish with their sixth goal of the night. At this point, Irish head coach Jeff Jackson pulled his starting goalie to give his freshman netminder some playing time. Freshman Ryan Bischel closed out the game for the Irish, as Morris had now given up 10 goals against the Eagles throughout the weekend.
Morris ended the night with 21 saves, but Bischel did a good job himself with the closing 10 minutes of the game he participated, recording nine saves. These stats were moot, however, to Knight’s 27 saves on 28 Irish shots on goal. The Eagles displayed their offensive dominance in the third period, closing out the game with 15 shots in the period to Notre Dame’s eight.
Following the loss, Jackson said he hopes that this is rock bottom for the young Irish squad.
“Hopefully we bottomed out,” Jackson said. “We’re just not playing with that level of confidence that we need to play, that we had earlier in the year. It’s really hard to describe. They’re keeping a good attitude. They’re staying positive, they’re not doing what some teams do, which is a positive side. They’re not pointing fingers or making excuses. So that’s what I have to look forward to is at least they’re still working, but they’re not executing the way we need to execute to be successful.”
Jackson pointed to their opponents’ strong goalie play as a reason why they have struggled, starting with the blown lead that led to a loss Nov. 23 at Michigan State.
“Well, you know as crazy as it sounds, I’m more concerned about the other side of the puck, because that’s generally where we get transitional chances,” Jackson said. “Now, we ran into a couple pretty good goaltenders here in the last three weeks — actually three good goaltenders starting at Michigan State. And that’s where this all started was the second night of Michigan State, where they scored late to tie it and then they won it before the end of the third. And that’s where it all started to spiral, because I thought up to that point we were doing OK. We were holding our own on the road at Wisconsin, Minnesota. Same thing at Michigan State and that game kind of set us back, and it’s kind of gone downhill since then.”
Jackson went on to describe what his team, currently on a five-game losing streak, needs to do to pull themselves out of the slump they have found themselves in and prepare for their next game against a strong conference matchup against a No. 6 ranked Penn State.
“We’re going to have to take baby steps here because we’re gonna have to start over,” he said. “We gotta get back to the basics, we gotta get back to the little details of our game, because right now we’re not executing some of those things the way we need to, and again I’ll take responsibility for that. I think the focus this week, we do put some emphasis with pre-scouting and that on the opponent but right now I think it’s more about us. I think we have to focus on us and focus on what we’re doing and what we’re not doing that’s creating this dilemma that we’re in.”