Hear It From a Student - We Were All Witnesses

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For my entire life, I've heard stories of legendary Irish triumphs.

Ending UCLA's record win streak in '74. Beating Miami en route to the national championship in '88. Defeating top-ranked Florida State five years later. But my chance to witness history in 2005 saw Reggie Bush push USC to victory.

I may have now witnessed my first truly epic Notre Dame win.

By now, you've probably heard about Notre Dame's thrilling overtime victory over Boston College.

The Irish brought their unbeaten streak to nine (7-0-2) with an overtime defeat of No. 3 Boston College. But that sentence is not even close to adequately describing the game.

In short, that was the greatest hockey game I've ever seen ... and it's not even close. The 5,022 spectators witnessed two elite teams playing at the height of their capabilities in a game that required 64:58.9 to decide it. Another second and the fans would have gone home trying to swallow the bitterness of a tie.

I have to admit, when the puck was in the Notre Dame zone with less than 10 seconds remaining, I was preparing myself for that reality as Bryan Rust skated up the ice.

"I was flying through the neutral zone and went up the left wing," said Rust after the game. "I knew there wasn't much time. I cut to the middle, put my head down and just ripped one. I got lucky, and it found its way to trickle into the net."

The clock stalled at 1.1 seconds, and the newly dedicated Compton Family Ice Arena erupted. It was the collective emotional release of a roller-coaster night.

The final period in regulation was an incredible display of skill and athleticism by both teams. Despite playing with a one-goal lead, the Irish outshot Boston College, 14-6, but none of their chances came to fruition. And with just over two minutes remaining, the Eagles tied the score on a rebound.

With no shootout to occur after the game, a tie seemed inevitable as overtime came to a close - until Rust's shot slowly made its way through the pads of Boston College goalie Parker Milner.

As the game came to an end, there was so much to process that I didn't know where to begin. The roller-coaster for me began with the Jim Cornelison-led national anthem (I half-expected a spotlight to shine on the flag like at the United Center) and continued beyond Rust's goal.

There was the toughness against the top-5 team, the solid goaltending by Mike Johnson, the dominating play in the third period, the resilience of the team after losing the lead and the miraculous goal with a second left in overtime.

All this came on Dedication Night at Compton Family Ice Arena, where the Irish are 4-0-0 on the year. On this night Notre Dame proved it deserved its state-of-the-art facility, as well as all its support from the fan base.

"All the students there during warm-ups is awesome," Johnson said. "We love to see that. It makes us excited and probably gets the best game out of us when they're into it. And they were into it tonight, and they helped us win for sure."

When the team moved from the Joyce Center to Compton, that's the type of impact the coaching staff envisioned, and it's starting to materialize for the streaking Irish.

"Tonight was what we hoped this building would be," Jackson said. "I thought I saw it against RPI a little bit, but obviously tonight, the band, the students - that was pretty incredible."

We'll have to wait for the end of the season to evaluate the true impact of this game. At the end of the day, it's just another regular-season non-conference win. But for those 5,022 fans at Compton Arena, it meant a lot more.

And for me, it was hopefully the first of many legendary victories to come.

- Craig Chval ('15)

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