Well, so much for that.
Notre Dame entered this weekend series on a wave of momentum, having gone 1-0-1 against Hockey East's top team, third-ranked Boston University, last weekend. Overall the Irish had lost just once in their last seven games and appeared in line to snag a bye in the Hockey East tournament.
Such thoughts are, if not dead, certainly wounded after ND stumbled to a 2-0 loss to #9 Boston College Friday night. The Irish are now in 6th place in Hockey East, two points behind third-place UMass-Lowell and Providence and one behind Northeastern. It would take an uncanny sequence of events the remainder of the weekend to get ND back to the top four.
The story of this game is most easily told in two words: Thatcher (Flipping) Demko. The BC goaltender stonewalled several good ND scoring chances in the game, and though at times the Eagles seemed to be dominating, the two teams actually put the same amount of shots on net: 35. However, Demko outplayed ND's Cal Petersen, no small feat considering the freshmen is the defending Hockey East player of the week and had won the league's defensive award the two weeks prior.
And Petersen didn't play badly Friday, either. He made a couple of gigantic saves to keep the game within striking distance, the best of which was probably right at the end of the first period, when the Eagles very nearly scored if not for a sprawling Petersen's leg pad stopping the puck.
However, Demko was better, especially in the third period, when ND's offense came alive and began peppering the Eagles' net with shots.
The first period was all BC. It contained both of the Eagles' goals - one from Ian McCoshen, on a slick pass from behind the net Austin Cangelosi, and the other from Alex Tuch, who skillfully put his own rebound in the net, with some help from teammate Adam Gilmour. ND had two power plays in the period but did virtually nothing with them.
The second period was entertaining as a scoreless frame can be. Both teams flew back and forth throughout the 20 minutes, with big hits and big shots. It was terrific. But, unfortunately, no goals. Petersen made another great sequence of saves as BC came at the net late in the period, keeping ND alive.
The Irish committed a few too many penalties, especially their last one, a silly cheap shot by Justin Wade that came when the Irish seemed to be turning the tide of the game. Although ND went on the power play and pulled Petersen later, it was no use against Demko, who stood on his head all night.
ND and the Eagles battle again tomorrow at Compton, in a game the Irish need to get if only to regain the confidence they came into the weekend with. With zero chance of an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament, ND will need a Cinderella run in the league tournament to make the dance. There's no time like the present to get started.
ND's chances at a first-round Hockey East bye took a hit.