CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. - For the second time in three weeks, the Holy War returned to Boston College’s Kelley Rink and the visitors were victors.
This time, though, it was not a contest.
Notre Dame shut down the Boston College attack and scored four goals in the third period en route to a 7-2 blowout victory in Friday’s Hockey East quarterfinal series opener.
“We just got beat soundly by a better hockey team tonight,” BC head coach Jerry York said. “They broke it open in the second and third. We’ve got our work cut out for us and we understand that. The only objective is to get the series to Sunday.”
BC (25-6-4) had not allowed seven or more goals in a game in over a full calendar year, since spotting Minnesota eight on Dec. 30, 2012. The loss comes just two weeks after the Irish (22-12-2) stole a 2-1 overtime win to conclude the regular season in their first visit to Chestnut Hill as a Hockey East team.
“You’re playing a tremendous team with great puck skills,” Notre Dame coach Jeff Jackson said. “If you don’t keep the game simple, they bury you. They have such a quick-strike ability, spread the ice real well and have dynamic players at all positions.”
With just over two minutes left in an even first period, BC freshman Ryan Fitzgerald (North Reading, Mass.) corralled a puck in the slot and tucked it high on Notre Dame’s Steven Summerhays (22 saves) to put the Eagles ahead.
Fellow rookie Adam Gilmour (Hanover, Mass.) had the initial chance on net but the senior goaltender’s rebound zoomed right into the middle of the slot, giving Fitzgerald an open look on the power play for his 11th goal of the year.
With just 9.4 seconds remaining in the first, the Irish scored a huge goal to knot the score. Sophomore Thomas DiPauli laid the puck off between the circles and senior defenseman Stephen Johns beat BC rookie Thatcher Demko wide open in the slot.
“I thought we played a solid first period,” York said. “The late goal was a misread (defensively). … I’m very pleased with the first period, except for the miscommunication between two players that let them have that opportunity.”
The Irish jumped on top at the 2:50 mark of the middle frame. Freshman Vince Hinostroza set Johns up with the puck in the high slot for his second goal of the night and 11th of the season.
Notre Dame took a two-goal lead 12:49 into the second with Hinostroza recording his second primary assist in a row. Sophomore Mario Lucia took the pass open in the left circle for a pretty wrist shot.
Although the offensive numbers were pretty much even in the period, 12 of the Irish’s 16 shot attempts in the second were on target.
“They executed very well offensively. They made some outstanding plays that led to goals,” York said.
Austrian native junior Peter Schneider scored twice and added an assist, chipping in on three of Notre Dame’s four goals in the third.
His two goals came on open shots in the slot at 1:08 and 14:59, while he started the play that led to an excellent one-on-one goal by DiPauli. At 12:44, he drove around BC sophomore defenseman Michael Matheson and easily tucked his second goal of the year past Demko.
To conclude the scoring, BC junior Johnny Gaudreau extended his national-best point streak to 30 games with an assist at 17:42 of the third. He set up senior captain Patrick Brown for a wraparound.
The Eagles will look to rebound from their first Hockey East quarterfinal loss since 2004 in Saturday’s game two at 4 p.m. BC has not missed the semifinal round of the league tournament since that same year, when it lost to Boston University – also the eighth seed – in three games.
UMass Lowell 3, Vermont 2
Sophomore Adam Chapie’s power-play goal with 1:17 left in regulation completed a two-goal third period for the second-seeded River Hawks (22-9-4), lifting them past the Catamounts (19-13-3) at the Tsongas Center. Freshman Brady Shaw was the lone skater to solve Lowell sophomore Connor Hellebuyck (27 saves), scoring both Vermont goals. The River Hawks look to finish the job on Saturday night and can advance to the semifinals for a second straight season with a win.
New Hampshire 1, Northeastern 0
Freshman Tyler Kelleher (Longmeadow, Mass.) scored 4:49 into the third period, breaking the ice and propelling the fourth-seeded Wildcats (20-16-1) by a 1-0 count over the visiting Huskies (18-13-4) at Whittemore Center. UNH held the Huskies scoreless for the second time this season, thanks to junior Casey DeSmith’s (Rochester, N.H.) 27-save effort.
Providence 3, Maine 1
At Schneider Arena, sophomore Mark Jankowski scored a goal and added an assist as the Friars (20-9-6) won their fifth consecutive game and third in a row against the Black Bears (16-14-4) in Hockey East. Jon Gillies made 34 saves in the PC net, including 13 in the middle period. Sophomore Ben Hutton scored Maine’s lone goal, setting the school record for goals by a defenseman with 14 this season.
Quinnipiac 6, Yale 2
The Bulldogs (17-10-5) dominated their first-round ECAC series with Harvard last weekend, but the Bobcats (23-8-6) made sure to let them know things would be different on the other side of Whitney Avenue. Sophomore Travis St. Denis scored twice, while five freshmen scored the first point of their playoff careers to set a new Division 1 school record for Quinnipiac. Sophomore Ryan Obuchowski scored and dished an assist in the loss for the Bulldogs.
Union 3, Dartmouth 0
Charles Grant finished one save shy of his career-high 40, but the Big Green (10-19-4) offense was stymied by the ECAC’s No. 1 seed Dutchmen (25-6-4) in Schenectady, N.Y. For Union, former Malden Catholic Lancer Mike Vecchione (Saugus, Mass.) assisted on Michael Pontarelli’s opening goal.
Bentley 4, Canisius 3 (OT)
Junior Brett Switzer scored 40 seconds into overtime, lifting the second-seeded Falcons (19-12-4) to victory over the Golden Griffins (14-20-3) at Ryan Arena. Senior Brett Gensler scored with an extra attacker on the ice with 23 seconds remaining in regulation to force overtime, while junior Branden Komm made 27 stops to backstop Bentley to its third win in extra time this year.
Mercyhurst 5, Holy Cross 4 (OT)
In the opener of their third straight head-to-head quarterfinal series in Atlantic Hockey, the top-seeded Lakers (20-12-7) scored the last three goals unanswered to down the Crusaders (14-21-3) in overtime. After making 105 saves in goal in last weekend’s three-game series against RIT, junior Matt Ginn tallied 45 more to keep the Crusaders in the game. Rookie Brett McKinnon scored two goals for Holy Cross.
Robert Morris 3, Connecticut 0
The Huskies (18-13-4) went silent on the offensive as they ran into RMU freshman Dalton Izyk at the wrong time in their quarterfinal opener at the Freitas Ice Forum. UConn has lost three of its last five games and will look to extend its season with a Saturday night home win in Storrs.