NOTRE DAME, Ind. - Marching through Hockey East playoffs will take the Notre Dame hockey team to back to the site of perhaps its biggest win this season.
Second-ranked and top seed Boston College awaits in a best-of-three quarterfinal series next weekend after the Irish captured a 3-2 victory over Boston University on Saturday at the Compton Family Ice Arena in a single elimination first round game.
Notre Dame (21-12-2) handed Boston College its first loss since late November last week with a 2-1 overtime victory.
“It’s gonna be tough,” captain Jeff Costello said. “We played one of our best games of the year there last week and it was a one-goal game in overtime. We know we’ve gotta bring our best effort and anything less than that and it’s gonna be a disappointing weekend. We’ve gotta bring it.”
Bryan Rust staked the Irish to an early lead Saturday with his 13th goal of the season at 6:28 of the first period. T.J. Tynan picked up the primary assist with a feathery feed through the crease and Rust beat Terriers goaltender Matt O’Connor on the backhand.
Costello made it a 2-0 lead at 9:25 of the second period as Notre Dame came off a power play. Shayne Taker and Tynan picked up the assists.
Tynan is now tied with Jamie Ling for 10th in program history with 102 total assists.
“I think Rust was changing and (Tynan) might have been changing too,” Costello said. “I was kinda just coming around the top of the circle. I couldn’t really see the goalie because the defenseman was in the way, so I figured he couldn’t really see me either. I threw it on net and it squeaked through somehow.”
BU (10-21-4) pushed back almost seven minutes after the Costello goal by capitalizing on a turnover. Evan Rodrigues led a rush at Irish goalie Steven Summerhays and punched in his own rebound to make a 2-1 heading into the second intermission.
Summerhays finished with 25 saves while allowing two goals for the first time since a Feb. 14 tie against Providence. He had allowed just one goal over four games during that stretch.
Peter Schnieder pushed the lead back out to two goals with his sixth goal of the season at 3:07 of the third period on assists from Stephen Johns and Kevin Lind.
Schneider beat O’Connor, who made 26 saves, top shelf.
“We had kind of a neutral zone breakout,” Schneider said. “Stephen Johns didn’t see an open play, so he made the right choice and kinda flipped it in the air and let us get into it. Their D kind of read the situation a little wrong and I was able to get to the puck first, chipped it over his stick. Then I just tried to shoot far side post in. Lucky enough it went in I guess.”
Later in the third period BU punished Notre Dame for a couple penalties.
Mike Voran went off for tripping at 12:11 and Johns followed that up with a charging minor at 13:20 to give the Terriers a 5-on-3 advantage. Summerhays made a couple strong saves to kill off the two-man disadvantage but couldn’t stop Robbie Baillargeon at 14:22 to make it a 3-2 game.
BU scored on one of four power plays after not getting a shot on goal during the first two. Head coach Jeff Jackson was pleased with the penalty kill units overall.
“They’ve been good all year long,” Jackson said. “5-on-3 is a real stressful situation. You’re really wearing down specific guys even more than they were already wore down. You can’t put yourself at that kind of a disadvantage.”