Anders Bjork stars as Notre Dame hockey upends No. 4 Boston College

Steve Lowe
Tribune Correspondent

SOUTH BEND – It's games like Saturday night's that have Notre Dame's Anders Bjork in the early conversation for the Hobey Baker Award.

Bjork scored two highlight-reel goals in the second period, including the eventual game-winner on a shorthanded breakaway, and the 14th-ranked Irish knocked off No. 4 Boston College, 3-2, in the final game of the first half of the season.

With just one game this weekend before taking the next three weeks off, Bjork logged heavy minutes, and according to both coaches, was the best player out there.

"He was awesome," said Notre Dame coach Jeff Jackson. "He played like an All-American in the second and third periods."

Notre Dame goaltender Cal Petersen came up with his biggest save of the game with just under a minute to play when he stopped a David Cotton one-timer from the slot to help give Boston College (13-6-1, 8-1-1) its first Hockey East loss of the season. Petersen saw only four shots in the third, but he was there when the Irish needed him.

"He made one big save," Jackson said. "That's what I've been asking from him the last two years, to be the closer."

Here's Petersen game-saving stop w/ under a minute to play in the third from tonight's win! pic.twitter.com/0g8jpcmaUa

— Notre Dame Hockey (@NDHockey) December 11, 2016

In his 67th consecutive start for the Irish (9-6-2, 5-3-1 HEA), Petersen finished with 15 saves on 17 shots.

A little over a minute after Notre Dame's Dawson Cook hit the right post with a shot, Boston College struck first at 6:18 of the first period with a David Cotton power play goal on a feed from Christopher Brown, right in front of Petersen.

The Eagles made it 2-0 in the first on another power play goal, this time from Julius Mattila, as the Irish struggled to control the traffic in front of Petersen.

With just under three minutes left in the first, the unlucky Irish again drew iron when a Joe Wegwerth shot pinged off the crossbar.

Incredibly, Notre Dame hit both the crossbar and a post again in the second period before finally breaking through against BC goalie Joe Woll.

Bjork scored his 12th goal of the season when he sniped the upper left corner on the power play to make it 2-1.

"Once we scored that goal, we started playing with speed again," Jackson said.

The Irish tied it with five minutes left in the second when Jake Evans made the extra effort from his knees, lunging at a loose puck to keep it in the BC zone. It found Andrew Oglevie in the slot and Oglevie's shot trickled in under Woll for the equalizer.

Just 2:33 after that, Bjork got loose with Oglevie on a 2-on-1 shorthanded breakaway, but Bjork took it himself, patiently gliding into the right circle before snapping a shot through Woll's short side to give the Irish the lead.

"I actually wanted to pass," Bjork said. "I opened up and I wanted to feed Ogie because he's got a great one-timer, but the D-man kind of faked like he was going to take away the pass, so I just shot it."

Here's Bjork's short-handed tally to give the Irish a 3-2 lead!

Last 20 minutes coming up on @NBCSports#GoIrishpic.twitter.com/I4viKXMg08

— Notre Dame Hockey (@NDHockey) December 11, 2016

Bjork's 13th goal of the season tied him for second most in the country, and he moved into a third-place tie for total points. Notre Dame is 9-3-1 when Bjork records a point.

"(Bjork) was really hard to control out there," said Boston College coach Jerry York. "He was a game-breaker, and just a really flat-out good player."

FIRST PERIOD

BC - David Cotton, 6 (Christopher Brown, Julius Mattila) PP, 6:18; BC - Mattila, 3 (Brown, Connor Moore) PP, 13:07. Shots on goal: ND 11, BC 8; Penalties: ND 2-4, BC 1-2.

SECOND PERIOD

ND - Anders Bjork, 12 (Connor Hurley, Joe Wegwerth) PP, 9:16; ND - Andrew Oglevie, 8 (Jake Evans, Cam Morrison) 14:57; ND - Bjork, 13 (unassisted) SH, 17:30. Shots: ND 10, BC 5; Penalties: BC 3-6, ND 2-4.

THIRD PERIOD

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

BC 2 0 0 - 2

ND 0 3 0 - 3

Shots: ND 32, BC 17; Saves: BC 29 (Joe Woll), ND 15 (Cal Petersen); Power plays: BC 2-4, ND 1-6; Penalties: BC 6-12, ND 4-8; Attendance: 5,022.

Notre Dame’s Anders Bjork (10) shoots during the Boston College at Notre Dame hockey game in Compton Family Ice Arena Saturday, Dec. 10, 2016. Tribune Photo/MICHAEL CATERINA