SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Sophomore right wing T.J. Jindra scored a shorthanded goal with 14.6 seconds remaining to give Notre Dame a 3-2 upset win over top-ranked Boston College Friday night at a sold-out Joyce Center.
Skating down a man, Irish defenseman Wes O’Neill broke up a pass in front of the Irish goal and held the puck for a second before finding a streaking Jindra in the neutral zone. Jindra took the pass and beat BC netminder Matti Kaltiainen with a wrist shot from the bottom of the left circle for the winning goal.
“T.J. just seems to make the big plays for us,” said Irish head coach Dave Poulin. “If you look at his goals last season, they were all key goals. He did it again tonight. Wes O’Neill made a great play in breaking up the pass, then holding the puck that extra second, not icing it and instead finding T.J. at center.”
Jindra’s heroics were matched by the play of senior goaltender Morgan Cey, who turned aside a career-high 50 shots to keep the Irish in the game versus the high-flying Eagles. Cey made 20 saves in the first period, 10 in the second and 20 more in the final period.
28 of his 50 saves came on Boston College power plays as the Eagles were 1-for-11 with the man advantage.
“Morgan won the game for us in the first, second and third periods tonight,” said Poulin. “He’s different this year than in previous years. He has a certain confidence in goal. The team feeds off that.”
The Wilkie, Sask., native knew he would see a lot of action versus Boston College.
“I told Cory McLean walking over tonight that if we could hold them off in the first period that we would have a good chance tonight,” said Cey.
“They really showed what they could do in the third period when they scored twice in 15 seconds. They got some momentum and they’re a great skating team. They really brought it hard and were right back in the game.”
The win for the Irish marked the second time in two seasons that they knocked off the No. 1-ranked Eagles. Last season, behind the stellar goaltending of David Brown, Notre Dame blanked BC, 1-0, at Chestnut Hill, Mass.
After a scoreless first period that saw Boston College with six power-play chances, the Irish got on the board at 5:32 of the second on a five-on-three power-play goal by O’Neill. The big defensemen kept a BC clearing attempt in at the left point and fed a pass to McLean near the goal line. McLean returned the pass to O’Neill, who ripped a shot past Kaltiainen for his first of the season.
Freshman right wing Evan Rankin made it 2-0 in favor of the Irish at 8:05 when he snapped a pass from Matt Amado from the right circle to the far post for the first goal of his collegiate career. Tim Wallace started the play at center, feeding the puck ahead to Amado.
The Eagles finally solved Cey at 12:16 of the third period when Brian Boyle banged the rebound of a Stephen Gionta shot home for a power-play goal. Cey stopped Gionta’s shot, but Boyle was parked to the left of the Irish goaltender and was able to get the puck past him.
That goal hadn’t even been announced when the Eagles raced back into the offensive zone. Ned Havern fed Dave Spina breaking down the left side and the senior tucked the puck into the short side between Cey and the post for his second of the year at 12:41.
As the clock wound down, Notre Dame’s Tim Wallace was called for charging deep in the Boston College zone at 19:11, setting up Jindra’s heroics.
For the game, Boston College outshot the Irish 52-17. Kaltiainen made 14 saves for the Eagles. BC was 1-for-11 on the power play while Notre Dame was 1-for-9.
The win was the first of the season for the Irish and improves them to 1-3-1 on the season. Boston College falls to 2-1-0 for the year.