NOTRE DAME, Ind. - One more win and No. 12 Notre Dame will reach its first Hockey East semifinal in three years.
Cal Petersen made 43 saves and five different players scored Friday in a 5-0 win over No. 10 Providence, giving the Irish a leg up in this best-of-three quarterfinal series. They’ll take the ice again at 7:05 p.m. tonight looking to finish the Friars off and move to TD Garden in Boston next week for the semifinals.
“I thought we utilized our speed effectively,” said head coach Jeff Jackson. “Let’s face facts, there was some puck luck out there tonight. But we forced some things to happen that created those funny bounces and we scored some opportunistic goals that gave us a little confidence.
“You always do after a bye week, we started off on our heels a little bit. But once we got acclimated to the tempo of the game I thought we did a good job.”
Jake Evans, Jordan Gross and Jack Jenkins each had a goal and an assist. Bo Brauer had two assists. Petersen even added his second assist of the season en route to recording his sixth shutout while stopping a penalty shot on the way.
Gross staked the Irish (20-10-5) to a lead at 9:31 of the first period with Brauer and Jenkins assisting. It was Brauer’s first assist of the season.
Jenkins, Evans and Joe Wegwerth then scored in the second period to bury the Friars as they struggled to solve Petersen despite several chances. Petersen made 17 saves in the period, leading Notre Dame to a 4-0 lead at the second intermission.
Wegwerth, Brauer and Jenkins — all members of the fourth line — accounted for two goals and three assists.
“I thought they did some good shifts down low cycling,” Jackson said. “They got to the net. That’s huge for us when you can get production from all four lines.”
Andrew Oglevie added the final tally at 2:11 of the third period with a power-play goal, making it 5-0. Anders Bjork and Evans picked up the assists.
Petersen made 17 more stops in the third period, including the penalty shot and a toe stop with about two seconds remaining. He’s now two shutouts shy of Jordan Pearce’s program record of eight in a single season. Pearce did that in the 2008-09 season.
“They’re a really good team and have a lot of fire power up there,” Petersen said. “We kinda expected that coming in, having to weather a couple storms. I’m guessing we’re gonna have to face the same thing (tonight). Looking forward to that.”
Providence (22-10-5) came into the weekend with four straight wins and a 13-1-1 record in its last 15 games. Notre Dame accounted for that loss and tie in a regular season series last month.
Handing the Friars another loss on Saturday night will take an equally sterling effort.
“That team’s got too much character and good coaching,” Jackson said. “It’ll be a lot more than what we saw (Friday). It’s not like they played poorly. Like I said, we were fortunate. We created puck luck with our energy and our speed. That was the difference in the game for me.”
Burke exits with injury
Winger Cal Burke left Friday’s game with a lower body injury after a hit into the boards.
Burke spent most of the first period in the locker room after hobbling off at the 2:45 mark. He returned to the ice at 14:25, trying to skate during a stoppage in play. But the freshman didn't take another actual shift.
Jackson wasn’t sure of Burke’s potential availability for the rest of the series.
“I don’t know at this point,” Jackson said.