CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. — Next time Boston College needs a big win, coach Jerry York may want to give Ray Bourque a call.
It sure worked for Notre Dame coach Dave Poulin, who played four years with the Boston Bruins legend, and arranged to have him join the Irish for breakfast. The result was a 1-0 upset of the second-ranked Eagles as the two Catholic rivals faced off in front of a sellout crowd.
“Now I’m going to need Ray to come in every Friday morning and speak with the team and have breakfast with them,” Poulin said. “I don’t know what he’s doing for the rest of the year, but I know where he should be.”
Bourque, of course, stopped no shots and scored no goals. Freshman David Brown stopped the shots, posting his second consecutive shutout, and Mike Walsh scored the game-winner off a late third-period faceoff.
One week earlier Brown had captured the CCHA Rookie of the Week Award while recording the earliest shutout in the school’s history: his second career start and third appearance. He topped himself this time, though, with 27 saves to stymie the high-flying Eagles, ranked number one in the nation in some polls.
“I’ve been really fortunate to attain the two shutouts in the past two games,” Brown said. “It’s a pretty big feat for myself and the team; I never would have been able to do this without the team in front of me and having them play so well defensively. It was a great team effort the last two games.”
Arguably, Brown’s play in the BC-dominated first period allowed his teammates to regroup in the second and third. Going into the game, BC had outscored foes, 6-0, in the opening stanza. On this night, the Eagles outattempted the Irish, 19-8, with numerous chances from the slot, and outshot them, 11-5. Brown, however, was up to the test.
“We had a really scrambly first period, which is to be expected,” Poulin said. “You’re playing the number one team in the country. Dave Brown made a couple of really key saves in the first period that kept us in.
“After the first period the talk in the locker room was, ‘You know what? We’re going to go out and earn their respect.’ We want to earn respect and we want to earn confidence, but those aren’t things that people can give you. You have to take them.
“And it wouldn’t have been enough for us to just play well and to come home and say, ‘We played really well against the number one team in the country in their rink.’ It’s an important step and we took the next step.”
Walsh applied the finishing touch, scoring at 14:56 of the third period, after Aaron Gill won the faceoff back to him at the top of the left circle. For Walsh, a sophomore, it was his third career goal, all game-winners.
“We ran that [faceoff play] three times previous,” he said. “I had two great opportunities and missed the net twice. The puck came out, I shot it and this time it went in.”
The win boosts Notre Dame’s record to 3-2-0 while Boston College falls to 3-2-1. The whitewashing sustained by BC marks its first since Feb. 18, 2001 at New Hampshire and first at home since Jan. 22, 1999 against Providence.
BC partisans might point to the absence of Ben Eaves (concussion) and Dave Spina (ankle) as a reason for the misfiring offense — and they’d have a point — but coach Jerry York declined the excuses.
“ND did a good job defensively,” he said. “Injuries are part of [the game]. We still had enough players to generate offense, but it was a defensive game and it was hard to create offense. We limited their chances and they limited our chances.”
Following the scoreless first period that tilted seriously in BC’s direction, both netminders needed some help in the second. Brown got an assist from a goaltender’s best friend, the pipes, on a Stephen Gionta shot at 16:36.
At the other end, BC goaltender Matti Kaltiainen required some help of his own in the closing minute. Rob Globke, who would later be serenaded in the locker room with a rendition of “Happy Birthday,” slipped past a defender and with a half-step got off first one shot and then a rebound. When the puck squirted to Matt Amado at the right faceoff dot, it looked like the Irish had gotten their offensive breakthrough with Kaltiainen down and out. However, defenseman J.D. Forrest made the save that his goaltender could not and then kicked the puck out of the crease.
Following Walsh’s third period goal, BC stepped up the offensive pressure, especially in the final 1:20 with Kaltiainen pulled, but couldn’t get the puck past Brown.
Next weekend, Notre Dame hosts Nebraska-Omaha for two games while BC is off until Wednesday, Nov. 5, when it hosts Massachusetts-Lowell.