Friday, February 24, 2017

Irish Take Game One Thriller

In one of the more exciting pure hockey games this year, Notre Dame staved off a furious third period from the Terriers to capture a 3-1 win in a thrilling, up and down, back and forth affair in front of 4,562 at Agganis Arena

“It was just a great hockey game,” added coach Quinn. “It’s obviously disappointing with the result, but there's a lot to love about our game tonight. Two great goalies, their guy made some big saves, our guy made some big saves. the difference in the game was I thought we gave them two gift goals. You just can’t do that in a game of this magnitude.”

Notre Dame took a 1-0 lead on Jake Evans’ 11th goal of the year. From the bottom of the left circle, Evans beat Jake Oettinger (23 saves) up over his left shoulder for his first of two on the night

ND continued to control the pace in the first, outshooting BU 10-5. Strong neutral zone play by the Irish limited BU’s offensive chances, but with less than four minutes to play in the opening frame, BU tied things up. Clayton Keller wheeled around from the near hash along the boards all the way up top to the center point, before letting a shot go. Standing in the slot, Patrick Harper deflected the shot down, through ND goalie Cal Peterson’s legs. It was his third goal in the last two games.

The second offered a much more open style of hockey. Both teams traded chances and controlled the play for stretches. Both Peterson and Oettinger offered up some juicy rebounds, but no one was able to cash in.

The Irish took a 2-1 lead with less than two minutes left in the period. Tory Dello threw a shot on goal from the top of the circle and Ben Ostlie potted his first of the year from the edge of the crease. It was initially waved off for goalie interference, but after further review, it was determined Bobo Carpenter had pushed Mike O’Leary into Oettinger and so the goal stood.

With BU in a full on press to get the equalizer, Charlie McAvoy attempted to keep a puck in at the point and it resulted in a two on one the other way. After entering the zone, Anders Bjork slid a pass over to Jake Evans at the dot who beat Oettinger off the near post and in.

BU had a ton of chances that were just sitting in the crease waiting to be hit home, but ND was strong out in front and was able to make the necessary clears. Peterson was stout in the third, making 23 saves in the final frame.

“There was a lot of scrums in front of the net,” mentioned captain Doyle Somerby. “We like the fact that we went with grit in the last 10-15 minutes, actually the whole third period for that matter. We made life difficult for Peterson and hopefully we can bring that tomorrow for a full 60.”

“He’s very quick,” said Quinn about Cal Peterson. “He’s strong, doesn’t waste a lot of movement, you know, he’s just a great goalie. He’s been a great goalie for a long time."

The Terriers were most successful when they could get speed through the neutral zone and set up a forecheck. When they had long spurts of offensive zone time, it was because of strong play down below the goal line and winning battles.

The game ended with some serious chippy play. It is certainly something to look for as both teams will battle it out again tomorrow night.

Depending on other results tonight, BU can still capture at least a share of the league title with a win tomorrow and a BC loss against Lowell. Notre Dame can win the league with a win tomorrow night and a BC loss.

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