The sum of all fears presented itself for the #2 Boston College Eagles on Sunday afternoon as their path through trophy season hit a pothole.
In the decisive Game 3 of the Hockey East quarterfinals at Kelley Rink, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish defeated the Eagles, 4-2. The Irish will go to the semifinals at the TD Garden while Boston College will not advance for the first time in ten years.
Junior forward Johnny Gaudreau was held without a point for the second time this season, ending his points streak at 31 games. That is tied with Paul Kariya for the longest in Hockey East history.
|BC||Kevin Hayes||4:43 1st||Gilmour||ND 0||BC 1|
|ND||Stephen Johns||11:31 1st||Johnson, Hinostroza||ND 1||BC 1|
|ND||Bryan Rust||4:10 2nd||Herr, Tynan||ND 2||BC 1|
|BC||Patrick Brown (PP)||8:05 2nd||Arnold, Hayes||ND 2||BC 2|
|ND||Bryan Rust||19:56 2nd||Tynan, Taker||ND 3||BC 2|
|ND||Jeff Costello||18:08 3rd||Fogarty||ND 4||BC 2|
Again, there was little good in this contest for the Eagles, who looked more like their Game 1 selves than their rejuvenated “normal” selves on Saturday. Boston College came out flying, hitting the post early in the first two periods, but Notre Dame was able to slow them down thanks in large part to another strong performance by Irish goalie Steven Summerhays.
On the other end, freshman Eagles goalie Thatcher Demko had another shaky game, giving up one soft goal to get the Irish on the board and looking lost on most of the rest. That is the element that should be of most concern to Boston College fans as they will have to wait another two weeks before their next game.
Notre Dame was the better team in the series as the Eagles have played one good game out of their last four, all against the Irish. This begs several serious questions to which we will eventually need answers: Is Notre Dame just a bad matchup? Has Boston College peaked? Or is it both?
Furthermore, questions will arise about the Eagles’ seeding in the NCAA Tournament, to be announced next Sunday. Most likely, they are still going to be the top seed in Worcester, since they are (probably) not going to fall off the one line despite what happened this weekend. In fact, either way, it seems like Worcester is still a likely destination. However, their road will be more difficult as they are going to play a higher seed. Instead of facing the second-to-last team in the field, they might face the fourth-to-last.
One thing is for certain: Boston College’s play in this series cannot be repeated in the big tournament, lest they not go very far.