SOUTH BEND, Ind. — With 33 seconds left in the second frame, senior captain Garrett Noonan skated out onto the ice for his shift. What happened after he got out there, though, is something the Boston University men’s hockey team will need to check the tape to answer.
Regardless of what the video shows, though, Noonan wound up in the penalty box and the No. 15 University of Notre Dame capitalized en route to a 2-0 victory Saturday evening at the Compton Family Ice Arena.
During the first two periods, the Fighting Irish consistently held onto possession, outshooting the Terriers (8-20-4, 3-12-3 Hockey East) 22-15, with only four of BU’s shots coming from within the perimeter.
Even those chances were not much of a challenge for Notre Dame netminder Steven Summerhays, who teamed up with backup goalie Joe Rogers for the Fighting Irish’s second shutout of the weekend.
For every shot that Summerhays blocked, sophomore goaltender Sean Maguire responded, stymying Notre Dame (19-12-2, 8-9-2 Hockey East) throughout the first two-thirds of the game.
At the end of the second, though, Noonan made his way across the ice toward two Notre Dame players and one of the referees. Seconds later, after Fighting Irish defenseman Stephen Johns had bumped into the Terrier captain, Noonan received a penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct.
According to BU coach David Quinn, the referee told him that Noonan received the penalty for making a remark to the referee, but Noonan claimed he did not say anything.
“I don’t know why I got a penalty, to be honest with you, but he called it and that’s the way it works,” Noonan said.
With the Terriers on the penalty kill, Notre Dame left wing Bryan Rust sent the puck over to his linemate, Sam Herr. From there, Herr set up Fighting Irish captain Jeff Costello with a pass to the slot. Costello, who was honored along with 10 other Notre Dame seniors before the game, then sent the puck into the bottom corner of the net by Maguire.
The Terriers had an opportunity to get back into the game after Johns hit senior defenseman Matt Ronan from behind and was sent off the ice with a game misconduct. As they have done for the past month, the Terriers struggled to maintain possession with the man advantage and could not capitalize on the five-minute power play.
“Seven minutes of power plays and we do absolutely nothing with them and it’s just … it’s been the theme of the last three weeks other than the [University of New Hampshire] game where we got two power-play goals — 5-on-3 goals,” Quinn said. “Maybe tonight it was the sixth period of a long weekend. You get worn down a bit, but it’s just frustrating.”
Saturday’s contest marked the seventh time in eight games the Terriers failed to convert on the power play.
With 2:31 left in the game, Notre Dame found the back of the net to defeat the Terriers 2-0 in each contest of the two-game series. After a turnover behind BU’s net, Notre Dame wing Austin Wuthrich had a clear path to the goal and his slap shot from the slot rang in off the crossbar for his sixth goal of the season.
Due to the Terriers’ inability to get by Summerhays, BU was shutout in back-to-back games for the first time in 72 years.
If BU takes at least one game against Northeastern University next weekend, the Terriers will likely return to Notre Dame for the first round of the Hockey East playoffs. Despite the negative outcome of the weekend and the challenges the team faced getting out to South Bend, Ind., the team looks forward to a potential rematch.
“Bring it on,” Noonan said. “We’re ready, so wherever we play in the playoffs we’ll be ready. We’re excited.”