The Boston College men’s hockey team fell to Notre Dame 5-2 on Friday, dropping a game to their former Hockey East foes in their first action in over a week. After a strong outings in their last two games against Northeastern and UMass Lowell, the Eagles couldn’t quite push their winning streak to three, It wasn’t the team’s worst outing of the season by any means, but after two conference wins made it look like they could be rounding into form, this was a pretty definitive step back by BC.
Notre Dame got on the board first with 7:14 left in the first period, after BC had a few threatening plays of their own on the few shifts prior. A Notre Dame defenseman found himself with the puck at BC’s blue line and when no one from BC pressured him, he simply stepped up until he was in the slot and slid a pass to his partner across the ice. With about seven bodies between BC goalie Mitch Benson and the puck, Benson wasn’t able to see the pass until it was far too late, giving the Notre Dame player essentially an empty net to shoot on to make it a 1-0 game. Things stayed that way almost for the rest of the period, with Notre Dame getting a few more decent looks and BC mostly playing in their own zone. With less than 30 seconds left however, BC found themselves on a sustained forecheck. Cutter Gauthier left for a line change with his team still cycling the puck, which allowed Trevor Kuntar to hop on the ice and skate to the slot without being picked up by a Notre Dame defender. Andre Gasseau fed him a pass and Kuntar fired a perfect shot just under the bar to tie things up with just 16.6 seconds left in the period and send the teams into intermission with a 1-1 score.
Eamon Powell made it 2-1 BC just just over a minute into the second period, working a give-and-go to perfection with Nikita Nesterenko to set up a tap in for Powell’s second of the season. That lead didn’t hold up for long at all, however, as Notre Dame scored on a pass from below the net to the slot just a few shifts later to tie things up at 2. The two teams didn’t put on a whole lot of pressure for much of the period after that goal, with BC killing a few penalties and both goalies coming up when they had to, but there wasn’t much in terms of real scoring chances until almost the end of the period. With 1:21 left on the clock, a Notre Dame shot from the point took a big deflection and skipped past Benson and into the net. The goal gave Notre Dame a 3-2 lead after two periods of play.
Notre Dame made it 4-2 with 9:35 left in regulation, just about a minute after BC killed off a penalty to try and grab back some momentum. The Irish managed to jump on a loose puck and put it home to give themselves a two-goal lead and make a comeback seem a whole lot harder. BC tried to push after falling behind by two, with Marshall Warren hitting the crossbar just a few seconds after the ensuing faceoff, but they were unable to get back into this one, and Notre Dame put a final stamp on things with an empty netter late in the period.
The loss dropped the Eagles to 4-5-2 on the season with just four games left before the team will break for the winter holidays. They’ll look to bounce back on Tuesday when they travel to Brown before next weekend’s home-and-home series with Providence.