Dennis Gilbert won't soon forget the first game-winning goal of his college hockey career.
Gilbert scored his second goal of the season with 22 seconds remaining Thursday to cap a furious Notre Dame rally and seal a 4-3 win at No. 3 Boston College. The Irish had been down two goals with just under 13 minutes left in the game.
Boston College (13-2-1, 6-1-1 Hockey East) had been unbeaten in its previous 13 games and had yet to lose a game at home this season.
“There's no question that was a signature win for us to close the first half,” Irish head coach Jeff Jackson told UND.com. “We've had a chance to play top teams like UMass-Lowell and Harvard and now Boston College, so to get the win it was a good chance to prove that we can compete with top teams and that we are a top team. We just have to play at that level moving forward.”
Notre Dame (9-4-4, 6-1-2 Hockey East) moved past the Eagles by one point and into sole possession of second place in the conference standings with the victory. Lowell sits atop the league with 15 points in 11 games. The Irish are one point back in two fewer outings.
Freshman Jack Jenkins gave Notre Dame a lead Thursday with his first goal of the season at 10:21 of the first period. Boston College responded through Adam Gilmour at 15:04 to make it a 1-1 game at the first intermission.
Neither team scored during the second period.
Irish goalie Cal Petersen turned away seven shots in the second after making six saves in the first. Those stops included a Colin White penalty shot in the second period. It was the first penalty shot Petersen, a sophomore, had faced in college.
He finished with 23 saves total.
“Cal did a good job considering had some heavy traffic and people lurking around his net all night," Jackson said. “Then the save on the penalty shot was a big save at that moment of the game.”
Thatcher Demko faced 21 shots in the first two periods while letting in just the one goal. But Notre Dame would continue to pepper Demko in the third, putting 18 shots on net while making its comeback.
Austin Cangelosi solved Petersen at 3:48 and again 7:05 of the third period to give the Eagles a 3-1 lead.
Defenseman Jordan Gross started the comeback with his sixth goal of the season at 8:33 of the third on assists from Gilbert and Dawson Cook. Andrew Oglevie tied it up at 15:26, setting the stage for Gilbert’s game winner.
Anders Bjork passed to Gross, who went rink wide to his defensive partner. Gilbert let the puck bounce of the boards before one-timing it high past Demko.
“I can't say enough about the resolve of our guys, not giving up after (Boston College) scored those two quick goals in the third,” Jackson said.
Notre Dame now breaks for final exams and the holidays. It returns to action with a two-game series at No. 12 Denver on Jan. 1-2.