Everyone said the unbeaten streak had to end sometime, and unfortunately for BC, it came to the worst possible opponent. After going 17-0-2 in the last 19 games, the Eagles fell in overtime in a thrilling* contest to Notre Dame at Conte Forum, 2-1.
*It was not thrilling
BC's power outage continued with a decline in offensive production for the 3rd straight game. After scoring 5 goals in Vermont, BC scored just 3 in a win over Lowell, 2 the next night, and a single, solitary Gaudreoal last night in the loss to the Irish.
It was the second straight week that Boston College was facing one of the best defenses and goaltenders in the country, and it showed on the scoreboard. BC managed only 3 first period shots trying to get around the Notre Dame defenders, and it took nearly ten minutes before they could even get one. They would carry on throughout the game with the Eagles managing only 20 shots in 62 minutes.
Notre Dame scored first just 30 seconds into the second period on a BC mistake resulting in an odd-man rush for the Irish. ND senior Jeff Costello dropped back to defenseman Kevin Lind who fired a snipe past Thatcher Demko to take the lead.
BC couldn't get anything going at all into the third period. It seemed like it was going to take an individual effort to break through the Notre Dame defense, and sho'nuff, Johnny Hockey answered the bell.
Who do you call when you need to break through a line of three defenders to get to the net? Call Johnny Hockey, of course. The lone brights spot in an otherwise dull, bland, end ultimately disappointing hockey game was this beauty from Gaudreau, who just dipsy-doodles by some poor unfortunate soul before slipping the puck past Summerhays while off balance.
It was the first goal Summerhays had given up in *four games* -- before last night he had posted three straight shutouts, to Providence, BU, and BU. So there's something to be said for finally breaking through that particular barrier.
Unfortunately, despite improving their offensive flow in the third period and overtime, it was Notre Dame who scored the overtime goal on a fluke turnaround shot from the blue line that blooped up and just over the head of Demko to that plopped over the goal line, sending the dudeguys from Southie home happy.
The problem with BC tonight, at least to me, wasn't so much Notre Dame's style of play... although obviously that was a factor. It was that it seemed like they couldn't complete a pass. Almost every breakout try either sailed past its intended recipient, or caught them in the skates, breaking their momentum into the offensive zone. You would see it happen over and over again and it was like bashing your skull repeatedly into the pavement. If that can be fixed -- and it will, sometimes you just lose your feel for where your teammates are going to be -- BC will be alright.
Unfortunately, as I mentioned way back in the first sentence, Notre Dame was the worst possible opponent this could have happened to. Now, BC is almost assured of finishing behind Minnesota in the Pairwise Rankings, even if they stayed ahead in RPI. The issue is the calculation of the "Common Opponents" portion of the rankings (CoOpp for short).
Minnesota holds a point on us for their Head To Head win. BC currently holds the RPI lead. So CoOpp is what will determine whether we can pass them, as the third and final comparison point.
CoOpp is calculated by adding up your winning percentages against teams that your opponent also played. In the case of Minnesota, this is how it's calculated:
We're 1-1 against Notre Dame. That's a .500 win percentage.
We're 0-1 against Michigan. That's a .000 win percentage.
We're 2-0 against PSU. That's 1.000
We're 1-0 against Wisconsin. That's 1.000.
We're 2-0 against New Hampshire. That's 1.000
We're 1-0 against RPI. That's 1.000.
Minnesota is 1-1 against Notre Dame. That .500.
Minnesota is 2-0 against Michigan. That's 1.000.
Minnesota is 4-0 against Penn State. That's 1.000.
Minnesota is 2-2 against Wisconsin. That's .500.
Minnesota is 1-0 against New Hampshire. That's 1.000.
Minnesota is 1-0 against RPI. That's 1.000.
Minnesota does play Michigan twice next weekend, at Michigan. A sweep by the Wolverines would be enough to put the CoOpp comparison back to a tie, and give BC the tiebreaker based on RPI (it's RPI, not Head To Head, which is kind of weird).
There are ways we can catch back up if Michigan only splits next week, because we may have a chance to improve our record against Notre Dame in the Hockey East tournament, but we will definitely need some help from Michigan one way or the other.
So now we have two weeks to simmer over this difficult loss before playing in the Hockey East quarterfinals. Hopefully the team comes back angry and hungry.
Lowlights are below. We'll give you your hockey fix during the bye week with coverage of the women's hockey team, which goes for a Hockey East title next weekend, followed by NCAA tournament selection next Sunday.