Cal Petersen appears to have saved his best hockey for the end of the regular season.
No. 2 Boston University found that out over the weekend as Petersen led Notre Dame to a 2-2 tie and 3-2 victory at Agganis Arena, stopping 78 of the 82 shots he faced. The four goals allowed marked the fewest for BU in a weekend series against a single opponent this season.
“He’s had great moments for us this year,” head coach Jeff Jackson said. “I’m just trying to keep him going right now. We need him this time of the year. He’s got to be our best player right now. We played one of the best offensive teams in the country and you’re going to have to have pretty great goaltending. Our defense did a pretty good job keeping things out of the net front until the end.
“They’ve got a lot of talent and they’re going to get pucks to the net. He’s got to make the saves he needs to make and he made some that he probably shouldn’t have made I’m not going to complain.”
Petersen made 34 saves Friday in a 2-2 tie, including 14 in a scoreless first period.
Freshman winger Jake Evans scored his seventh goal of the season at 4:41 of the second period to give Notre Dame (14-15-5) the lead. Nick Roberto answered at 9:46 to make it a 1-1 tie at the second intermission.
BU (19-6-5) took the lead 31 seconds into the third period on an Evan Rodrigues goal. But the Irish again answered at 16:17 when another freshman, Anders Bjork, beat Matt O’Connor.
“They’re not freshmen anymore,” Jackson said. “They’ve played a lot of minutes this year. We went through the early pains of having so many young guys. They’re playing with more confidence now, which certainly makes us a better team.”
Petersen needed make just two saves in overtime to maintain the tie. BU outshot Notre Dame by a 36-19 margin overall.
Notre Dame started the series finale braving another flurry of shots on goal. Petersen maintained a clean sheet in the first period with 17 saves while his teammates grabbed a 1-0 lead with one second left before intermission on a Mario Lucia goal, his 19th of the season.
Lucia has the most goals for an Irish skater since Anders Lee posted 20 in the 2012-13 season.
Sam Herr extended the Notre Dame lead with a power-play goal at 7:26 of the second period. Vince Hinostroza assisted for one of his two points on the night. BU pulled one back at 15:39 to make it a 2-1 game at the second intermission.
Hinostroza picked up his second point at 1:45 of the third period with a power-play goal. Thomas DiPauli and Russo assisted, his third of the game.
BU scored again at 7:50 of the third through Matt Grzelcyk, although it couldn’t find the game-tying goal. Petersen made 18 saves in the final 20 minutes to secure an upset and give Notre Dame three points out of the series.
Despite surrendering points in both games, BU (29 points) maintains its lead atop the Hockey East standings. The Terriers are four points ahead of Boston College with two games remaining.
UMass-Lowell, Notre Dame and Providence are a in a three-way tie behind Boston College with 23 points. Northeastern and Vermont check in just behind that with 22 points a piece, making for a potentially dramatic final weekend of league play.
Boston College will travel to South Bend this weekend for the last regular season series of the season.