BOSTON — Third-ranked Boston University had not surrendered points to the same opponent twice this season until it ran into Notre Dame and Cal Petersen. The freshman netminder made 44 saves on Saturday night to lift the Irish to a 3-2 win at the Terriers’ Agganis Arena a night after stopping 34 pucks in a 2-2 tie.
Notre Dame prevented BU from securing the Hockey East regular season championship for the second consecutive night and improved to 14-15-5 (9-6-5 Hockey East) while the Terriers dipped to 19-6-5 (13-4-3 HEA). Meanwhile, Notre Dame vaulted up into a tie for third place in the Hockey East standings with UMass Lowell and Providence. The top four teams get a first round bye in the Hockey East tournament.
The two-time defending Hockey East Defensive Player of the Week, Petersen stopped 78 of 82 shots this weekend, the four goals against marking the fewest all year in a weekend series against a single opponent by the nation’s second-ranked offense in BU.
“He’s had great moments for us this year,” Notre Dame head coach Jeff Jackson said. “I’m just trying to keep him going right now. We need him this time of the year. He’s got to be our best player right now. We played one of the best offensive teams in the country and you’re going to have to have pretty great goaltending. Our defense did a pretty good job keeping things out of the net front until the end. They’ve got a lot of talent and they’re going to get pucks to the net. He’s got to make the saves he needs to make and he made some that he probably shouldn’t have made. I’m not going to complain.”
The Terriers effectively penned the puck in behind its own net in the final seconds of the first period as the Irish attempted to cycle the puck. Finally, with under two seconds left, Robbie Russo found a seam behind the net for a centering pass for Mario Lucia. Lucia’s one-timer beat BU netminder Connor LaCouvee high and snuck across the goal line with 0.1 seconds left, giving the Irish a 1-0 lead at the break.
The goal at 19:59 of the first period was the 19th of the year by Lucia, matching BU’s Ahti Oksanen for the Hockey East lead. It is the most by a Notre Dame skater since Anders Lee (a candidate for the NHL’s Calder Trophy as rookie of the year for the first place New York Islanders) scored 20 in 2012-13.
On the power play, Notre Dame doubled its lead at the 7:26 when LaCouvee made a kick save on Russo’s low blast from the point but the rebound went directly to Sam Herr who shot the puck into a mostly-open net for his 10th goal of the year and a 2-0 Irish advantage on the scoreboard. The Terriers got that goal back at the 15:39 mark of the second period when Nikolas Olsson dug the puck out of the corner and found Mike Moran all alone in the slot for a score, making it a 2-1 game.
Notre Dame extended its lead to 3-1 on a power play just 1:45 into the third period. Russo and Thomas DiPauli worked the puck along the left wing and passed it back to Vince Hinostroza, who converted for his eighth goal of the season. The Terriers got one goal back when Jack Eichel sent a pass from behind the net to Matt Grzelcyk for a power play goal at 7:50, but Petersen held down the fort from there, making 18 third period saves to ensure the victory.
Notre Dame is now unbeaten in its past seven games against BU, posting a 5-0-2 record.