ST. LOUIS - Sophomore Sean Escobedo scored his first career goal with 1:07 left in regulation to lift the No. 14 Boston University men's ice hockey team to a thrilling 5-4 victory over No. 17 Notre Dame in the championship game of the Warrior Ice Breaker Tournament on Sunday at Scottrade Center.
Freshman Sahir Gill turned in an impressive performance with a goal and three assists while junior David Warsofsky added a goal and a helper to finish the tournament with five points (2g, 3a).
It marks the third time in four appearances the Terriers have claimed the Ice Breaker title, as they also won the season-opening tournament in 2002 and 2008.
BU held leads of 1-0, 2-1, and 3-2 before the Irish scored back-to-back goals in a span of 1:14 in the late stages of the second to go up, 4-3. Junior Kevin Gilroy tied the game off a perfect pass from Gill with 46.7 seconds left in the middle stanza.
With overtime looming, Gill won a faceoff from the left circle and Escobedo quickly took the puck and shot it from the point. The puck found the back of the net after glazing off an Irish defender with just 1:08 left on the clock.
Junior goaltender Grant Rollheiser made 30 saves on the night, including five in the final minute of play with the Irish looking for an equalizer.
It was the second one-goal win for the Terriers on the weekend, as they pulled off a hard-fought 4-3 victory over No. 13 Wisconsin in Friday's opening round. The Badgers also nearly tied up that game in the closing minute with a late barrage, including a goal that was called off.
Head coach Jack Parker, who returned to the BU bench Friday after recovering from offseason heart surgery, was asked after seeing his team skate away with the title if the results were too nerve-wracking.
"Yeah, but I've got a new heart, so I'm not worried about it," said Parker.
All five Terriers goals came at even-strength, making up for an outstanding job by the Irish penalty kill, which kept BU without a power-play tally on four chances, including a first-period major penalty. The Terrier penalty kill came up big as well, as the Irish went 0-for-7 with the man advantage.
Gill opened the scoring 7:20 into the game on a goal in transition off a pass from Warsofsky. After Notre Dame tied it up exactly nine minutes later with a shorthanded tally, BU was able to take a 2-1 lead into the first intermission when Gill returned the favor with a slick pass to Warsofsky on a rush with 1:38 left in the opening period.
Notre Dame tied up the score again at 6:21 of the first when Nick Larson scored his first of two second-period tallies.
Senior Joe Pereira helped BU regain the lead when he knocked in a rebound at 10:43 for his third goal of the weekend. Freshman Garrett Noonan put the initial shot on goal to earn his first collegiate point and sophomore Max Nicastro also assisted on the play.
The Irish turned the tables with consecutive markers from Shayne Taker and Larson at 15:50 and 17:04, respectively, resulting in what would be their first and only lead of the night.
Notre Dame held a 34-24 shot advantage for the game and got a 19-save performance from goaltender Steven Summerhays.