BU Hockey Ties Notre Dame Friday Night
The BU mens hockey team needed a win for a share of the Hockey East regular season title.
Needing the two points, the Terriers settled for a 2-2 tie with Notre Dame on Friday night at Agganis Arena. However, with Boston College tying UMass-Lowell, David Quinn’s group earned a share of the regular season title. All BU (19-5-5, 13-3-3 Hockey East) needs is a similar result Saturday to clinch the top seed in the Hockey East tournament for the first time since 2009.
“You’ve got to embrace that opportunity,” said Quinn on the team’s chance to earn at least a share of the regular season title going into the game. “And I thought we did. I really liked our game.”
The Terriers came out with a strong first period, outshooting the Irish (13-15-5, 8-6-5), 14-5. BU wasn’t able to capitalize on any opportunities, however, unable to elude Cal Petersen. A predicament the Terriers aren’t alone in, as the freshman netminder has stopped 147 of the last 153 shots he’s faced in February, allowing six goals in five games. He made 34 saves Friday, as BU outshot Notre Dame, 36-19.
The airtight play by Petersen and the Notre Dame defense put the Irish in a position to draw first blood in the second period. Breaking out of their own zone, Jake Evans took the puck up the right side of the ice before beating Matt O’Connor glove-side to give Notre Dame a 1-0 lead, 4:41 into the second period.
“I thought we played better after the first [period],” said Notre Dame head coach Jeff Jackson. “It gave us some confidence, we started playing our style.”
After the Terriers tied it up on a Nick Roberto goal at 9:46 of the second, the two teams went into the final 20 knotted at 1.
In the opening minute of the third period, Evan Rodrigues took an outlet pass from Matt Grzelcyk, gaining the zone before dishing the puck to Danny O’Regan. O’Regan took a wrist shot from the high slot, coming off the pad of Petersen and landing on the tape of Rodrigues, who buried his 14th goal of the season. From there, it looked like the best third period team in the nation would take over.
Then Anders Bjork scored his fifth goal of the season with 3:43 remaining in regulation. The Bruins product took the loose puck after two BU players collided in open ice, walking into the zone and beating O’Connor. The Terriers couldn’t capitalize on opportunities late in the game and in overtime, eventually settling for the point.
“I was really proud of the way we played. I thought from a defensive standpoint, that’s as well as we’ve played in a while. I like a lot of things we did tonight.”
The Terriers powerplay was shut down again Friday night, going 0-for-3 on the man-advantage. Since converting on six of nine powerplays in a 9-5 win over UMass on Jan. 30, BU is 2-for-16, going scoreless on their last nine powerplays.
“Give them a lot of credit,” said Quinn. “They made life difficult for us, as Jeff [Jackson’s] teams usually do.”
Quinn noted the playoff feel the game had, the game being played to the level Hockey East tilts tend to this time of year. It proved to be a nice preview to the conference tournament in March, where the two teams could wind up facing each other.