March 14, 2014
Chestnut Hill, Mass. - Senior defenseman Stephen Johns and junior right wing Peter Schneider each scored twice and added an assist for three-point games to lead Notre Dame to a 7-2 win over Boston College on Friday night in game one of the best-of-three quarterfinal series at Conte Forum.
Mario Lucia, Bryan Rust and Thomas DiPauli added single goals and senior goaltender Steven Summerhays stopped 22-of-24 shots as the Irish handed the second-ranked Eagles their largest loss of the season. The loss also was the first Hockey East quarterfinal loss for BC since 2004. The Eagles entered the game having won 18 straight quarterfinal series.
Ryan Fitzgerald and Patrick Brown scored power-play goals for Boston College to open the scoring and close it on the evening. Notre Dame peppered freshman goaltender Thatcher Demko with 34 shots on the night and he made 27 saves before Brian Billett came in to play the final 5:01 of the game.
The win was the sixth straight for the 11th-ranked Irish and ran their unbeaten streak to eight games (7-0-1) since February 8. Notre Dame is now 22-12-2 for the year. Second-ranked Boston College falls to 25-6-4 on the year.
Game two of the series is set for 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, March 15 at Conte Forum. The game will be televised by the New England Sports Network (NESN).
Keeping the game simple was part of Notre Dame's game plan on Friday night.
"You are playing a tremendous team with great puck skills transitionally. If you don't keep things simple, they bury you," said Irish head coach Jeff Jackson.
"They have such a quick-strike ability. They spread the ice so well and they have dynamic players in a lot of positions. You have to play it simple and do the right things with the puck and play with discipline."
Boston College scored first in the game, taking a 1-0 lead on a power-play goal by Fitzgerald at 17:19.
With Jeff Costello off for slashing, the Eagles worked the puck down low with Austin Cangelosi moving the puck to Adam Gilmour in the left circle. Gilmour's shot was kicked out by Summerhays with the rebound landing on Fitzgerald's stick at the top of the crease. The freshman shoveled the loose puck over the Irish goaltender for his 11th of the season and the 1-0 lead.
From there, Notre Dame would score seven unanswered goals over the next 35:09.
"Our recent success starts with our goaltending and defense," said Jackson.
"People like to think of us as a defensive team, but I think we are the exact opposite. It's about puck possession; it's about making plays in transition. You can't have transition without defense. You look at all the great basketball programs. They defend and transition well. That's why Duke is such a great basketball program. That's how we try to build our program."
Notre Dame got the equalizer with 10 seconds left in the first as Johns capped a three-on-two chance for his sixth of the year and first of the night at 19:50.
With Costello and BC's Bill Arnold off for roughing and the teams playing four-on-four, T.J. Tynan and DiPauli broke up an Eagle rush at center ice and carried the puck into the BC zone. Tynan left the puck for DiPauli who moved through the right circle and cut across the slot. He found Johns moving in from the left point and the senior defenseman snapped a shot from the inside of the left circle past Thatcher Demko to tie the game at 1-1.
Johns would be back at it again in the second period as he got his second goal of the game and seventh of the year on the power play at 2:50.
With Quinn Smith off for roughing, Notre Dame's Shayne Taker broke the puck out of the Irish zone, feeding the puck to Vince Hinostroza in the neutral zone. The freshman center burst down the right boards and behind the net before centering a pass in to Johns who drilled a shot from between the circles, beating Demko high to his stick side to put the Irish in front, 2-1.
"It's nice to chip in whenever I can," said Johns after his three-point night.
"I've worked on my offensive game during my four years at school and to be able to score two huge goals in a game like this is huge for my confidence and huge for the team when everyone is chipping in."
The lead would go to 3-1 at 12:49 when Lucia hammered a one-timer from the left circle off a pass from Hinostroza for his 16th goal of the year.
Austin Wuthrich threw the puck behind the net to Hinstroza who moved to the left side of the goal before feeding Johns coming down the middle. The senior defenseman wasted no time in beating Demko with the shot.
Notre Dame would score four times in the third period of Demko who led Hockey East in goals-against average this season.
Schneider got his first of two when he drilled a wrist shot from the slot at 1:08 to make it 4-1 and Rust added his 14th of the season at 5:35 for the 5-1 advantage.
DiPauli got his second of the season at 12:44 when he stickhandled through the Boston College defense before sliding the puck under Demko to make it 6-1.
Schneider got the final Irish goal at 14:59 when he took a centering feed from Steven Fogarty and beat Demko from in front for his eighth goal of the season and a 7-1 lead. That goal sent Demko to the bench in favor of Billett who played the final 5:01.
Boston College would close out the scoring on a power-play goal by Brown who scored on the rebound of a shot by Johnny Gaudreau at 17:42 to cut the lead to 7-2. The goal was Brown's 12th of the year and the assist extended Gaudreau's point streak to 30 for the season.
The Eagles finished the night 2-for-5 on the power play while the Irish were 1-for-1.
For Summerhays, the win was his 20th of the season, giving him back-to-back seasons with 20 or more wins.
"We can enjoy this game for about five minutes and then we need to re-focus for a big game tomorrow," said Johns.
"It's an earlier game but we need to come with the same intensity and same confidence that we came with tonight."
** With the win, Notre Dame has now won six straight conference playoff games dating back to last season. The Irish won four straight last season on the way to winning the final CCHA crown and have won two in a row this season.
** Steven Summerhays' 20-win season is the eighth by a Notre Dame goaltender in the program's 46-year history. Summerhays becomes just the second Irish goaltender to win 20 games in two different seasons. The other to do it is Jordan Pearce `09.
Scoring 1st Period: BC: Ryan Fitzgerald 11 (Adam Gilmour, Austin Cangelosi), PPG, 17:19; ND: Stephen Johns 6 (Thomas DiPauli, T.J. Tynan), 19:50.
Penalties: ND: 2 for 4 minutes; BC: 1 for 2 minutes.
Penalties: ND: 2 for 4 minutes; BC: 1 for 2 minutes.
3rd Period: ND: Peter Schneider 7 (Steven Fogarty, Johns), 1:08; ND: Bryan Rust 14 (Tynan, Sam Herr), 5:35; ND: DiPauli 2 (Kevin Lind, Schneider), 12:44; ND: Schneider 8 (Fogarty, Jeff Costello), 14:59; BC: Patrick Brown 12 (Johnny Gaudreau, Bill Arnold), PPG, 17:42.
Penalties: ND: 0 for 0 minutes; BC: 1 for 2 minutes.
Shots On Goal: Notre Dame 8 - 12 - 14 - 34 Boston College 8 - 9 - 7 - 24