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MEN'S HOCKEY: Eagles Outskate Notre Dame En Route To Holy War Win On The Ice

Assoc. Sports Editor

Published: Monday, November 12, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 19:01

On Friday night, the No. 1 Boston College men’s hockey team (7-1-0) defeated the No. 7 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (6-3-0), 3-1, in front of an electric crowd at Kelley Rink to start the Holy War weekend on a high note. With the win, the Eagles secured the Snooks Kelley-Lefty Smith Trophy, awarded to the winner of the BC-ND classic. The home team was led by sophomore forward Johnny Gaudreau, who scored two goals, including the game-winner in the second period.

For head coach Jerry York, the victory was a culmination of full team execution, and could have seen either team walk away with a win.

“We’ve got a lot of respect for that team,” he said. “We’ve lost to them over the last few years. There are certainly two good hockey teams walking out of here tonight. We’re very excited and fortunate to get the ‘W.’ I thought right at the end of the game, they had really Grade-A chances that Parker stopped. I’ll have to watch the film to see how he stopped it, but he had some great saves.”

Notre Dame head coach Jeff Jackson said that his team fully knew the Eagles’ abilities, but they were just too much for his team.

“Anytime you play the national champions, it’s always a measuring stick,” he said. “We aspire to play the way they play. Their speed was certainly a factor, along with everything they do. They put a lot of pressure on you, and break you down. They’re a good team, as advertised and as I expected.”

The first period featured some even play between the Eagles and the Fighting Irish. ND finished the period with the 9-4 shot advantage, but Parker Milner proved to be the difference-maker in the frame. BC had two power-play opportunities, but the Irish penalty-kill unit proved too strong, leaving the Eagles with nothing to show in the period. Notre Dame nearly came away with the game’s first score with less than a minute left to play, and the Irish on a power play. With the Eagles on their heels, ND maintained strong possession and created some traffic in front of the net. The puck somehow managed to slip through the crease, but Milner made a diving stop to cover the loose puck, sending the crowd into a frenzy.

The second period saw a completely different BC squad take the ice. At the 4:41 mark, senior captain Pat Mullane took a great feed from defenseman Patrick Wey at mid-ice, and broke away without a defender in sight. He made a strong backhand move to put the puck in the back of the net for the 1-0 lead.

“I actually got kicked out of that draw, which I was frustrated about,” Mullane said. “I don’t know where the puck went, but it ended up on Pat Wey’s stick. I saw that land and shot out there. It’s not something we drew up, but it seemed to work out. Pat Wey made a great pass.”

The Eagles saw a complete team effort at both ends of the ice, especially on the penalty kill unit. In particular, Quinn Smith and Isaac MacLeod made significant contributions on the defensive end to keep the Irish from utilizing their player advantage. Notre Dame also did well at killing BC power plays, as the two teams combined to be 0-for-11 on power-play opportunities for the night.

BC looked to double its lead at the 16:30 mark, as Gaudreau finally got one past ND goalie Steven Summerhays. The play started with freshman defenseman Michael Matheson, who hit Gaudreau breaking down and across the ice. Gaudreau, who drew several penalties on skilled moves toward the net throughout the game, finally managed to separate himself from the Irish defense on a three-on-one for his team. After faking a pass across the crease, he lifted the shot for a top-shelf, stick-side score.

“Johnny played outstanding,” York said. “He was hard to control tonight. He drew a lot of penalties because he was making plays with the puck. He had two or three plays that put us on the power play.”

After finishing the first period down 9-4 on shots, the Eagles outplayed the Irish at both ends, ending the second period with a 12-2 advantage. The defense forced ND to take bad shots, if it could even manage to get the puck into its offensive zone. The Eagles were also able to create some offensive push throughout the period to pressure Summerhays.

The final frame included a stronger push from the visiting team. The team created better looks offensively, and gave Milner and the defense a tougher task. At 7:10, a heavy barrage of shots finally culminated in a score for Thomas DiPauli, cutting the Eagles’ lead in half, 2-1. That would be the last score for the Irish, as Milner stepped up with several big time saves to preserve the lead and ignite the BC student section.

With just over seven minutes left to play, ND broke down the ice on a partial breakaway, leaving Milner to face the attack by himself. Despite the lack of help, he met the forward in the crease and blocked the shot. Moments later, Milner made the highlight stop of the game with the Eagles on another penalty kill. Forward Jeff Costello ripped a shot a few feet away from the right post, but Milner shot his glove out at the last second to make the save. He would finish the contest with 19 saves, including eight in the final frame.

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