NOTRE DAME, Ind. – It had been more than two months since Irish hockey last lost.
Harvard handed Notre Dame a 4-1 loss on Nov. 27 to open the Shillelagh Tournament. The Irish went unbeaten in the next dozen – nine wins, three ties – as they climbed to No. 9 nationally while moving into second place within Hockey East.
No. 5 Boston College took the air out of those good vibes Friday with a 4-0 win, dismantling Notre Dame in front of a capacity crowd at the Compton Family Ice Arena and avenging a 4-3 loss in December that was part of the Irish unbeaten streak.
“I’ve been stressing all week about being emotionally in control,” said Irish head coach Jeff Jackson. “Because we are a younger group. I think that was a factor, just being too amped up. I think that things spiraled.”
Boston College (17-4-4, 10-1-4 Hockey East) moved into sole possession of first place in the conference with 24 points in 15 games. Massachusetts-Lowell is in second with 24 points in 16 games and Notre Dame stands alone in third with 22 points in 14 games.
Austin Cangelosi put the Irish (14-5-7, 10-2-2 Hockey East) on their heels 16 seconds into the game with his 11th goal of the season.
Steve Santini shot the puck off a Notre Dame stick and it deflected off the end boards. It bounced to Cangelosi, who slipped it past Irish goaltender Cal Petersen.
“Especially away from home, it gave us a really good boost,” said Boston College coach Jerry York. “Frankly, I didn’t see it. I was just looking down at the different line change, so I never saw it. But clearly our bench got pretty excited.”
Notre Dame spent the rest of the period throwing shots at Eagles goalie Thatcher Demko, who turned away all 14 attempts. Colin White then scored at 12:55 to make it 2-0 at the first intermission.
Adam Gilmour padded the lead at 14:58 of the second and Zach Sanford added a power-play goal at 17:42 to make it 4-0. Meanwhile, Notre Dame managed just five shots in the second period.
Petersen faced 18 shots in the period and 39 total, making 35 saves.
He saved a penalty shot by White awarded at the end of the second period after Jordan Gross stopped a breakaway but earned a hooking call.
“Nothing bothers me more than letting our goalie get back doored,” Jackson said. “That’s just unfortunate. Two-on-ones, breakaways, penalty shot. That isn’t acceptable. But you have to look at why those things happen. Not that they happen but why they happen. Most of them were directly results of not doing a good job with the puck under pressure. That’s up for us as coaches to try to fix.”
Demko turned away nine more shots in the third period, finishing with 28 saves total, to preserve his eighth shutout of the season.
Notre Dame hadn’t been shut out all season and beat Demko in the December matchup that the Irish won.
“His size is definitely a factor,” said Irish winger Sam Herr. “He can cover a lot of the net. But we’ve had success with him with getting traffic in front of him and (Friday) we didn’t do that. Guys didn’t have an urgency to get in front, take his eyes away. But credit to him, he’s a phenomenal goaltender.”