Notre Dame can't solve Boston College goalie, Demko

Steve Lowe Tribune Correspondent
ND Insider

SOUTH BEND — Thatcher Demko admitted Friday night that he and his Boston College teammates were playing with a little extra motivation.

Almost a year ago, Notre Dame went into Chestnut Hill and booted the top-seeded Eagles from the Hockey East tournament with a best-of-three series upset. Demko had not forgotten.

The second-year goaltender stopped 35 shots Friday to earn his first shutout of the season in No. 9 Boston College’s 2-0 win over Notre Dame.

“We had some payback in order,” Demko said. “We felt like we left some things on the table last year, so we were trying to make up for that.”

Demko stopped all 14 Irish shots in the third period, making a 2-0 first period lead stand up.

“I thought he was outstanding tonight,” said Eagles coach Jerry York. “He’s had a terrific sophomore year for us. He stayed square to the puck and stayed in control. He made some very difficult saves look relatively easy by his positioning.”

The Eagles (20-10-3, 12-6-3) remain in the hunt for a share of the Hockey East regular season title with one game left tonight at Compton Family Ice Arena. Current league leader Boston needs just one point tonight to win the league outright.

On the other hand, Notre Dame (14-16-5, 9-7-5) can finish no better than fifth, but no lower than seventh in the league, ensuring them a first-round Hockey East tournament series at home next weekend regardless of the result in the final regular season game.

“We want to finish as high as we possibly can,” said ND coach Jeff Jackson. “Our primary focus has got to be to come out stronger (tonight) in the beginning.”

The Irish came in with the country’s best power play since Jan. 16, and Hockey East’s hottest goaltender over the past three weekends, but fell behind 2-0 after one period on goals by Ian McCoshen and Alex Tuch. The Irish had chances, including a breakaway by Sam Herr seconds after the Tuch goal, but couldn’t beat Demko.

“That was the whole game, really,” Jackson said. “Our success in recent weeks, we’d been scoring the first goal. Falling behind 2-0 wasn’t helpful.”

Notre Dame goaltender Cal Petersen stopped all 17 shots he saw in the second period, including a spectacular, diving glove save with the Eagles on a power play. Petersen finished with 33 saves.

The Irish outshot BC 14-6 in the third period and had a 6-on-4 advantage late with a power play and Petersen pulled from net, but still couldn’t solve Demko.

“That was the best I’ve seen him,” Jackson said of Demko.

Notre Dame’s power play had posted a 35 percent success rate (14-for-40) since Jan. 16. Friday night against BC, the Irish power play went 0-for-3 and at times looked like the unit that struggled to get shots on net.

“Some of the things that haunted us early in the year showed up again today,” Jackson said. “We were bypassing shots early in the game.”

The announced-sellout, but not-quite-capacity crowd observed a moment of silence before the game for Father Theodore Hesburgh, who passed away late Thursday night.

At Compton Family Ice Arena

FIRST PERIOD

BC - Ian McCoshen 6 (Austin Cangelosi, Destry Straight) 13:31; BC - Alex Tuch 14 (Adam Gilmour, Scott Savage) 16:45. Shots on goal: BC 12, ND 10; Penalties: BC 2-4, ND 0-0.

SECOND PERIOD

No scoring. Shots: BC 17, ND 11; Penalties: ND 2-4, BC 0-0.

THIRD PERIOD

No scoring. Shots: ND 14, BC 6; Penalties: ND 1-2, BC 1-2.

BC 2 0 0 - 2

ND 0 0 0 - 0

Shots: BC 35, ND 35; Saves: BC 35 (Thatcher Demko), ND 33 (Cal Petersen); Power plays: ND 0-3, BC 0-3; Penalties: ND 3-6, BC 3-6; Attendance: 5,092.