CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. - In a high intensity, decisive game three, No. 2 Boston College could not overcome a late No. 11 Notre Dame lead and eventually fell to the Irish, 4-2, on Sunday afternoon at Kelley Rink.
Bryan Rust scored with four seconds remaining in the second period and Notre Dame never looked back. Despite several chances for the Eagles' offense, Notre Dame held strong and Jeff Costello's insurance goal with under two minutes remaining in the third period advanced ND to the TD Garden for the Hockey East semifinals.
Junior forward Johnny Gaudreau was held off the score sheet for the first time in 31 games, ending the streak at 135 days. Over the course of Gaudreau's streak, he totaled 61 points and matched the Hockey East record for longest single-season scoring streak since Paul Kariya (1991-92).
Seniors Kevin Hayes and Patrick Brown both found the back of the net in their final game at Kelley Rink while classmate Bill Arnold assisted on Brown's power play goal at 8:05 of the second.
ND backstopper Steven Summerhayes anchored the Irish defense, turning away 30 of BC's 32 attempts. First-year goaltender Thatcher Demko recorded 19 saves for the second consecutive night as Boston College outshot Notre Dame, 32-23.
Heavy pressure from Gaudreau in Notre Dame's end yielded the first strike of the game 4:43 into the contest.
Gaudreau coerced Vince Hinostroza into an errant pass to Adam Gilmour deep in ND territory. Gilmour skated with it and quickly dished to Hayes on the near post for a wide-open tap-in tally for the early 1-0 advantage.
Stephen Johns, with his third goal of the series, tied it up going coast-to-coast and finishing the play with a tricky backhander on the near post.
Hinostroa and Eric Johnson worked the puck back to Johns in Notre Dame's end. Johns wheeled around the Irish net, streaked through the neutral zone and found a tiny hole in Demko's stance, popping the puck up and over the guarded post to tie it up, 1-1, at 11:31 of the first period.
Notre Dame took its first lead of the afternoon after Rust took advantage of a loose rebound from a T.J. Tynan attempt down low.
Notre Dame cycled and nestled the puck between the circles to Tynan for a blast. The puck banged off of Sam Herr in the slot and Rust was in place to gather the loose disc and lift it over Demko's outstretched glove at 4:10 of the second period for a 2-1 lead.
The Eagles responded after Notre Dame committed a pair of penalties, giving Boston College a 17-second window of 5-on-3 action midway through the second.
Notre Dame was flagged for too many men at 6:09 followed by a Tynan goalie interference call at 7:53.
Sophomore Michael Matheson retrieved a Notre Dame dump, flung it into Notre Dame's end where Arnold put the puck on target and bounced it off Summerhayes. Brown crashed the crease and batted the rubber out of midair to the back of the net to lock it up, 2-2, with the power play marker at 8:05.
Brown appeared to score just moments later on the Tynan penalty, but the refs reviewed the play and ruled Brown's collision with Summerhayes was goaltender inference and the go-ahead goal for BC was disallowed.
With that change of events, the sheet tilted in ND's favor and the Irish grabbed a late lead before the start of the third period.
With one last play before the horn, Shayne Taker quarterbacked the tic-tac-toe goal in transition with a feed up to Tynan on the left circle. Rust slipped behind the two, corralled Tynan's pass and buried an unattested wrister in the slot with four seconds left in the second period to take a 3-2 advantage.
Notre Dame sat on its one-goal lead throughout the third period and Mike Voran quite possibly saved the Irish's outcome by dragging freshman Chris Calnan to the ice which may have resulted in the equalizer. The Irish staved off Voran's hooking call at 12:33 of the third and with about two minutes left in regulation, ND netted the dagger.
First-year blueliner Scott Savage tried to blast the puck on Summerhayes from the top of the zone, but Steven Fogarty stepped up and wrangled it away on impact. Costello flanked down the left for a 2-on-1 and Fogarty linked up with Costello on the doorstep to beat Demko five-hole at 18:08 to ice the 4-2 final.
Boston College will not make the trip to the TD Garden for the Hockey East semifinals for the first time since 2004.
The Eagles will await their NCAA Tournament postseason fate upon the NCAA selection show on Sunday, March 23.