By Devora Slonim
The fans in South Bend are anything but quiet, and they let the visiting Terriers know that early.
After another unanticipated loss, ND fans continued to taunt Boston University men’s hockey (1-2-0, 0-1-0 HE) as the team headed off the ice to the locker room staring down another date with the Fighting Irish (2-2-0, 0-0-0 B1G) tomorrow night.
“Special teams is a really big issue for us,” said coach Jay Pandolfo following the loss. “That’s certainly hurting us.”
In their fourth game of the season, the Terriers appeared eager to get back in the win column. Tensions were flying high from the moment the puck dropped.
Five minutes into play, sophomore forward Ryan Greene scored his first of the season off a scramble in front. Greene found the rebound and the back of the net as the Fighting Irish left him uncovered.
The Terriers earned their first power play opportunity seven minutes into the first as Irish graduate defenseman Ryan Siedem was called for roughing. Towards the end, junior forward Jack Hughes received two minutes for tripping to negate the man advantage and send the Terriers onto the penalty kill.
This would set up Notre Dame for their first goal of the night. Unable to clear the puck out of the defensive zone, senior defenseman Drew Bavaro profited on the Terriers’ sloppy stickhandling, tying the game 1-1 for the Fighting Irish.
With just 5:49 left in the first, Siedem found senior forward Landon Slaggert off a backhand pass straight to the blue paint, making it 2-1 and giving Notre Dame the lead. With traffic in front of the net, junior goaltender Mathieu Caron seemingly lost track of the puck.
Momentum swung in Notre Dame’s favor as junior forward Justin Janicke extended the Fighting Irish lead by two with just 54 seconds left in the first. Janicke found the puck in front and tipped it in right over Caron.
Notre Dame was fired up for the start of the second period. Two minutes in, Hughes and Siedem receive penalties for roughing, with Hughes taking a double minor. The Fighting Irish took advantage quickly, as freshman forward Danny Nelson scored on a one-timer over the left pad of Caron just two seconds into the power play.
Penalties were doled out seemingly every other minute to both teams in the second, as just a minute later freshman defenseman Henry Nelson and senior forward Nick Zabaneh received two minutes apiece for roughing.
Following the roughing call, Fighting Irish senior defender Jake Boltmann took a cross-checking call, giving BU a chance to cut the lead in half.
The Terriers applied pressure on the power play, unable to score but drew yet another penalty on a Bavaro hook. BU failed to maintain possession generate any offensive opportunities on the man advantage.
With 3:37 left in the second, sophomore defenseman Lane Hutson got through three Fighting Irish skaters for a breakaway opportunity, but graduate goaltender Ryan Bischel stayed with Hutson, making a glove save on the skilled defenseman.
Although leading in shots on goal, BU was unable to generate an offensive push in the second.
The final 20 minutes picked up with the same physicality as the previous two periods.
Notre Dame succeeded in killing off their seventh penalty of the night on an interference call to Boltmann.
Immediately following the power play, senior captain Case McCarthy took a cross-checking penalty. The Terriers killed the man advantage but lose two minutes of critical puck possession time.
BU picked up the pace in the last ten minutes of play but could not get past Bischel, who stood tall in goal after the early goal from Greene.
The nail in the coffin for the Terriers was one last penalty, this time a sloppy too-many-men call.
With four minutes left, the Terriers had one final opportunity to get back in the game as Boltmann took a hooking penalty, and Caron is pulled to give the Terriers a 6 v. 4 chance. Ultimately, nothing came of it, and the Terriers fell to an unranked opponent for the second straight game.
“We can’t feel sorry for ourselves. We have an opportunity to play this team tomorrow night and come back and try to rewrite the script here,” said Pandolfo.
No. 6 BU will look to rebound as they take on Notre Dame again on Saturday, Oct. 21. The game will be available for streaming on Peacock.