Saturday, January 30, 2016

First Place

Photo from ND Athletics
The Notre Dame Fighting Irish entered Friday's contest in the midst of the nation's longest unbeaten streak. By 10 PM, the run was no more as the #5 Boston College Eagles exacted some revenge and totally dominated the Irish, en route to a 4-0 victory over their Holy War rivals. In what was their biggest game of the season, the Eagles came out and delivered a clutch performance, getting goals from four different players and outshooting the Irish by a 39-28 margin. The win moved Boston College to first place in Hockey East, one point ahead of Lowell, whom BC has a game in hand on.

Everybody was just settling into their seats (Blogger included) when Austin Cangelosi banged home a rebound off a Steve Santini shot that redirected off the boards just 16 seconds into the game. It was a heads up play by Cangelosi, who has been one of BC's best players over the past month, but the Eagles did catch a break as the play was clearly offsides, which the TV broadcast pointed out after the period. Although the scoresheet may not indicate it, I thought Notre Dame took it to BC for about five minutes after the goal, helped by a Mike Kim tripping penalty. The Eagles were looking to sustain some offensive pressure when Colin White, who did not play much in the first period due to injury, put home a beautiful pass from Miles Wood, giving the birds a commanding 2-0 lead just after the ten minute mark. In the first matchup between the teams, BC was missing Wood, Tuch, and Calnan which impeded their ability to get out and create chances off turnovers in the neutral and defensive zones. This time around, I thought BC did an excellent job of pressuring ND at certain points and forcing turnovers that led to a plethora of odd man rushes and eventually, a few goals. Speaking of White, he did not play at all from his first shift to his goal and then once he celebrated the tally, he appeared to fall and came off the ice favoring his left leg. He went to locker room but came back onto the ice for the second period.

The middle 20 minutes were arguably BC's best this entire season, evident by the 18-5 shot differential. When the Eagles shut out an opponent, something they did for the 8th time last night, Thatcher Demko gets the majority of the credit and rightfully so, he has been outstanding. However, BC's play in their own end should not go unnoticed as I would argue it was their best defensive performance of the season. Outside of a few flurries in the first period, I can't recall any "grade A" chances Notre Dame had. The Irish typically rely on the senior trio of DiPauli, Lucia, and Fogarty, and perhaps my eyesight isn't top notch but I didn't notice one of those guys last night due to BC's stringent defense. After blowing a two goal lead in the first meeting, you knew BC was itching to get that third goal before the end of the period and they did just that when Adam Gilmour beat a pair of defenders and notched his 7th goal of the season. I have been impressed with Gilmour's game ever since he was moved up to the Cangelosi line- he looks more confident with the puck and is generating chances, which is huge for BC. After the third tally, Notre Dame began to press and that resulted in a long 5 on 3 for BC, an opportunity which they were able to take advantage of when Zach Sanford banged home a beautiful pass from Alex Tuch, putting the game out of reach. Given the amount of chances they had, I thought BC's power play was okay, but it needs to be better on Monday night because Harvard can put the puck in the net as well as any team in the country. In one of the strangest TV moments I have ever witnessed, Colin White was awarded a penalty shot as the period expired (his fourth of the year) but the NBC crew refused to show it and those who were watching did not realize they had called it until the period was over. White missed and the Eagles headed to locker room with a 4-0 advantage.

Nothing of much importance to note in the third period except for the fact that BC took a couple of stupid penalties. Coach York did not appear happy when Tuch was called for interference on the other end of the ice and how can you blame him? If they take those type of penalties against the Crimson, they are going to have a tough time. Outside of that, it was as close to a perfect game as it gets. Obviously, White, Cangelosi, Wood, and Gilmour played well but in terms of guys that you might not find on the scoresheet, I thought Scott Savage played one of his best games of the season-he was the only BC defenseman at +2 for the evening. When the Eagles are playing at that pace and defending well, they are a very tough team to beat. I don't know if Notre Dame forgot to show up or if they were caught off guard by BC's speed, but whatever it was, they were not ready to skate with the maroon and gold.

Great win- onto Monday.

Why BC Won- 

1. Total domination. It was a lot like last Friday night, just against a better team. All aspects of BC's game were clicking.

2. Tough defense. The Eagles didn't give the Irish anything for much of the second half of that game.

3. Forward depth on display. They played three lines for much of the contest and each one had great nights.


I got nothing.

Notes- Calnan was out with a lower body injury- he should be okay for Monday as he skated for much of the week. White seemed to aggravate his hamstring in the first period but played the rest of the game.

Player of the game- Colin White

Next- Beanpot on Monday, 5 PM.

Go Eagles

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