Boston College men’s hockey’s super-line of Johnny Gaudreau, Kevin Hayes, and Bill Arnold was shut down by Notre Dame’s defense on Saturday afternoon at Conte Forum. Gaudreau tallied the line’s only point of the game on his tying goal in the third period. It was a tough senior night for Hayes and Arnold, as the two veterans were kept off the score sheet in their final regular season home game. The visitors put up a stout defensive effort against the Eagles’ top line after it burned the Fighting Irish at Frozen Fenway.
During the Jan. 4 tilt at Fenway Park, Gaudreau netted two goals, Arnold chipped in a goal and two assists, while Hayes had two helpers. The Fighting Irish was able to clog up the middle of the ice and limit quality scoring chances during Saturday’s rematch. Physical play and big hits from both sides limited quality opportunities and the Eagles’ top line was no exception. The top scoring line in the country was only able to put seven shot on goaltender Steven Summerhays.
BC head coach Jerry York was impressed by the defensive effort of the Fighting Irish.
“They don’t look like a sixth place team to me,” York said.
York’s offense struggled for the first 30 minutes of the game, but the Arnold centered line generated a few precious chances during the second half. Fifteen minutes into the second period, Gaudreau rang the post. The Hobey Baker candidate finally broke through for the Eagles’ lone goal at 1:31 in the third period. Gaudreau struck on the power play with one of his signature breakaway goals, deking his way through the Fighting Irish’s defense in the process. After bursting through a pair of defenders, the junior forward slotted the puck through the legs of Summerhays.
“I like his edge, his competitiveness,” said Notre Dame head coach Jeff Jackson of Gaudreau. Jackson also compared the junior to former BC forward Brian Gionta.
The Fighting Irish’s defense clamped down for the remainder of the third period and proved to be stalwart in overtime. Coach York applauded the opposition’s defensive efforts after his team’s tough overtime loss. York noted Notre Dame’s defense by saying that the Hockey East newcomers were strong without the puck.
Both goaltenders were also outstanding in this close, defensive battle. Summerhays stopped 19 of the 20 shots he faced from the Eagles. The only shot that he did not stop came off the stick of Gaudreau. Freshman Thatcher Demko also had an outstanding game in net. After allowing a power play goal in the second period, Demko kept the Eagles in striking distance and then helped preserve the tie going into overtime. Notre Dame’s game winning goal in the extra frame was impossible for Demko to stop. Vince Hinostroza’s shot trickled through a few bodies in front of the net, before it deflected off the top of Demko’s stick.
BC will have two weeks off until the Hockey East quarterfinals due to the conference’s playoff format.
After the game, Coach York said that he would like to play as soon as possible, but will use the break to focus on areas in which the team must improve. The Eagles’ coach said that the team must work on some of the basics ahead of its postseason run.