The puck takes a few bad bounces, the opposing team scores a goal against the run of play, you fall into playing their game... game over. That's hockey. It'll happen more than once over the course of a long, long season. Because of all the Notre Hoopla, there will be a tendency to worry about this loss a little too much, but it should be kept in perspective.
BC was carrying play for most of the second period, finally resulting in a nice game-tying goal by Brock Bradford about fiveminutes into the frame, coming after a sustained period of offensive pressure. BC had four or five scrums around the net that nearly resulted in goals to no avail before Bradford cracked Pearce.
But literally within a minute of scoring, Carl Sneep - who had a very rough game tonight - took a slashing penalty, which Notre Dame promptly capitalized on. It was a lucky goal - I don't remember all the details, but the puck seemed to take a bounce off of a leg onto the stick of Christian Hanson. 2-1.
The goal was most memorable for Hanson's bizzare decision to celebrate by running up to the glass in front of the BC section and taunting three or four of the students in the front row to the left of me. I guess he was bothered by the "Where's your banner" chant. As I always say when opposing players respond to the crowd at BC - if you let us get under your skin, what are you going to do when you face some of the rowdy fanbases out there? Asshole move, Hanson.
A few minutes later, BC scored an own goal. Notre Dame's Billy Maday threw it toward the front of the net and it deflected off of Kucharski's skate and into the goal. Unlike Denver, this kicking motion still resulted in a legal goal; 3-1. ND added a late empty netter to cap it off.
BC had several decent chances but never got any clear breaks late in the game. BC controlled the puck far more than ND did over the last two periods, but ND's trap successfully stifled BC and the Eagles could never really get it going.
The passing was very concerning today. The way to beat a stifling team like Notre Dame is to make quick passes across the ice to catch the defenders out of position. That wasn't happening tonight - BC's entry passes were sloppy and often way off target.
BC also spent way too much time grinding against the boards; we're too small to play a game like that and need to move through open ice to be successful.
Although the loss doesn't bother me much, there were a few things that I found to be troubling.
-The ice was melting. Really. It wasn't even just bad, choppy ice - it was literally melting into puddles at center ice. It was dangerous and adversely impacted the game - lots of pucks took strange bounces, especially in the end where BC shot twice. Weird skips and hops. We need to address this overheating problem. We supposedly had it all figured out, but now it's back again. Get on it, GDF.
-The power play was sad - o-for-7 in a penalty-filled game. Neither unit could really generate much pressure - they let the Irish D plant their feet and didn't make those quick cutting passes necessary to move them around and create space. We also spent far too much time in our own end during PPs, failing to successfully break it into the ND zone.
-BC looked undisciplined from time to time. Usually 90% of the calls against Nick Petrecki are bullshit, but he was a madman out there tonight. With less than four minutes left he absolutely flattened a Notre Dame player with a clear hit from behind that should have gotten him tossed. BC was lucky to escape that sequence without a big time penalty kill. Petrecki is too important to spend so much time in the box.
Brock Bradford took a really dumb penalty with about six minutes left in the game that helped quash comeback efforts. Gibbons came perilously close to being called for hooking deep in the ND zone, throwing his stick into an Irish player's chest twice and being warned by Benedetto, who was watching like a hawk. Gibbons peeled away, but Bradford came in and summarily did the same thing - stuck his stick into the chest. Benedetto had seen enough and blew the whistle to send off Bradford. It was a very unaware play from a guy known for his leadership and hockey sense.
-Too much dilly dallying and hesitation with the puck, not enough putting it on net - even with clear shooting lanes. This was particularly evident on the power play, but it happened a lot during even strength, too.
-Muse was shaky. Really shaky. Even some of his saves were shaky. I'm not worried about him at all in the long-term, he just had an iffy game.
-Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought Whitney and Ferriero were completely absent tonight. To the extent that I noticed Ferriero at all, it was for making bad passes and turning the puck over. Whitney was nearly invisible. Rough start to the season for Whit, who is one of my favorite players. I'd like to see him get back on track.
-I am so...so...so sick of the two ref system. One ref makes enough ticky-tack calls; two makes it almost unbearable.
A hearty thank you to the president of the Pikes Peak club (Richard, I didn't catch his last name) for letting me visit the Father Shea room today and hooking me up with a gorgeous maroon and gold scarf and Pikes Peak BC t-shirt. Good times.
Time to crush the Black Bears on Sunday.
In other crappy news, the women's soccer team was knocked out of the ACC tournament by UNC, 2-0. The men's soccer team salvaged the night a bit, beating VTech 2-1 in their regular season finale. Next week: men's ACC soccer tourney.
On to tomorrow. Let us hope for the best.