SOUTH BEND, Ind. – The Boston University men’s hockey team took 22 hours to finally get to South Bend, Ind., but they were not welcomed with open arms at No. 15 University of Notre Dame as the Fighting Irish shut out the Terriers 2-0 at Compton Family Ice Arena Friday night.
“I thought we played pretty well tonight,” said BU coach David Quinn. “After everything we went through yesterday, we were ready to play. Just disappointing. Tonight was another snapshot of what our season has been all about unfortunately.”
With the loss, BU (8-19-4, 3-11-3 Hockey East) is now mathematically eliminated from hosting a first round of the newly formatted Hockey East Tournament. The best it can finish at the end of the regular season is ninth if it can leapfrog the University of Massachusetts in the standings.
The Terriers had a chance to take the lead in the first minute, when sophomore Danny O’Regan had an open net on a two-on-one. O’Regan failed to convert on the opportunity though, shooting the puck high.
“Really, the best opportunity we had was 25 seconds into the game wide open net and he just wasn’t able to bury it,” Quinn said. “If you get a goal that early it really changes the momentum in your mind.”
Without earning many other scoring chances, BU was limited to just 19 shots in the contest, which was not enough to trouble goaltender Steven Summerhays. The senior earned his Division I-best seventh shutout of the season.
Mid-way though the first period, the Fighting Irish got on the board when fourth-line winger Austin Wuthrich picked up a rebound on a two-on-one and shoveled it past sophomore goaltender Matt O’Connor. It was his fifth goal of the season.
Before BU had a chance to establish any momentum in the second period, Notre Dame found the back of the net again. This time, it was defenseman Stephen Johns coming in from the right side on the rush and snapping it past O’Connor.
“Obviously, [O’Connor] would like to have the second goal back,” Quinn said. “It was a tough way to start the second period, but he made some great saves and made them miss the net because I thought he was square and big.”
Two second-period Notre Dame penalties and a third-period roughing call to Johns gave BU multiple opportunities to finally get on the board. However, the Terriers continued to struggle with a man-advantage, and have now been held scoreless on the power play in six of their last seven games. They are 2-for-33 (6.1 percent) on the power play during that span.
“Our power play killed us, really struggling right now,” Quinn said. “We had some great chances. Just didn’t capitalize.”
One of BU’s best chances of the game was on a shot from sophomore center Mike Moran that sat in the crease before being cleared away. Even without the goal, though, the third line of Moran, freshmen forwards Brendan Collier and Kevin Duane had another productive game in terms of offensive zone puck possession.
“They’ve been playing well,” Quinn said. “They were probably our best line last Monday. I thought they played well up in New Hampshire.”
Now that the team is finally settled into its hotel, perhaps a bit of rest will do it some good as it tries to avoid a weekend sweep at the hands of the Fighting Irish. Sophomore goaltender Sean Maguire will start in net tomorrow and he will be looking for more offense in front of him than O’Connor got Friday night.
“We get some rest and take care of ourselves and be ready to go tomorrow night,” Quinn said. “It’s this late in the season, we should be ready to play back-to-back games.”