Notre Dame hockey turns back Boston College

Freshman Petersen piles up 55 saves

Steve Lowe
Tribune Correspondent

SOUTH BEND — It was apparent early on Saturday night that Notre Dame goaltender Cal Petersen was on his way to a memorable performance.

He didn't quite reach the lofty heights of a school record for saves, but Petersen still turned in an eye-popping, career-best 55 stops to help Notre Dame turn back No. 9 Boston College, 3-1 on senior night.

That was the most saves by an Irish goalie since Morgan Cey's 50 in an upset of No. 1 Boston College in 2004. The ND record for saves in a game is a whopping 68 by Mark Kronholm against Michigan State back in 1973.

Petersen, who was not made available for comment after the game, didn't face that kind of a barrage, but the freshman has led the way for an improved Irish team over the past month. He saved his best performance for the final game of the regular season.

"He's been in the zone here for about a month now," said Irish coach Jeff Jackson. "When you play a team of that caliber, you're going to have to have that kind of goaltending. I know our defensive zone coverage got a lot of practice."

The Irish got goals from freshmen Anders Bjork and Jordan Gross, and a late insurance marker by senior Austin Wuthrich. Vince Hinostroza had a pair of assists.

Notre Dame (15-16-5, 10-7-5) clinched fifth place in Hockey East, setting up a best-of-three series in the first round of the Hockey East playoffs at home next weekend against Massachusetts.

One night after Thatcher Demko stopped all 35 Irish shots in a 2-0 BC shutout, Notre Dame cracked the Demko code with a little hustle and a friendly bounce. Hinostroza kept the puck alive in the BC zone, working it deep behind the Eagles net. He moved it over to Bjork, who banked in a shot off Demko from behind the goal line to give ND a 1-0 lead 4:46 into the first period.

"I thought we played well," said Boston College coach Jerry York. "They were certainly more opportunistic than our club. Shots are deceiving. Goals are what counts."

Petersen was put to the test at the other end in the first 20 minutes as the Irish were outshot 22-7. But he stopped them all and was halfway to matching his previous career high of 44 saves after just one period.

"That was a pretty amazing performance by Cal tonight," Wuthrich said. "Sitting on the bench, when you see another team create an opportunity, sometimes you get nervous, but at this point, you're expecting Cal to make the save."

Gross made it 2-0 just over two minutes into the second period when he converted a 3-on-2 break by beating Demko over the glove with a blistering wrist shot. Hinostroza got the assist on the goal, his second of the game and 30th of the season. Petersen added 14 more stops to his total in the second.

"This is kind of a regular thing now," Hinostroza said. "The past few weekends, he's been standing on his head. We knew he had the potential to do that this year, and it's great that he's coming into form right now."

Petersen stopped 19 of BC's 20 third period shots, the only blemish coming on a Cam Sprio shot that beat him short side. Wuthrich got the lead back to two with 3:25 left when an Ali Thomas shot deflected off his leg and past Demko.

"I give all the credit to Ali Thomas, he played great tonight," Wuthrich said. "Being able to score a goal on this night was pretty special."

At Compton Family Ice Arena

FIRST PERIOD

ND - Anders Bjork 6 (Vince Hinostroza, Mario Lucia) 4:46. Shots on goal: BC 22, ND 7; Penalties: None.

SECOND PERIOD

ND - Jordan Gross 6 (Hinostroza) 2:13. Shots: BC 14, ND 11; Penalties: ND 2-4, BC 1-2.

THIRD PERIOD

BC - Cam Spiro 4 (Teddy Doherty, Noah Hanifin) 4:35; ND - Austin Wuthrich 9 (Ali Thomas) 16:35. Shots: BC 20, ND 10; Penalties: ND 1-2, BC 1-2.

BC 0 0 1 - 1

ND 1 1 1 - 3

Shots: BC 56, ND 28; Saves: ND 55 (Cal Petersen), BC 25 (Thatcher Demko); Power plays: BC 0-3, ND 0-2; Penalties: ND 3-6, BC 2-4; Attendance: 4,875.