Oct. 24, 2010

Notre Dame, Ind. -

Courtesy of Notre Dame Athletics

Senior left wing Calle Ridderwall scored two second-period goals and sophomore goaltender Mike Johnson stopped 28-of-28 Boston College shots as Notre Dame handed the top-ranked Eagles a 2-1 loss at a sold-out Joyce Center on Saturday night.

The Irish win over a number one ranked Boston College team marks the fourth time since the 2003-04 campaign that Notre Dame has defeated an Eagle squad that was the top-ranked team in the nation. They Irish turned the trick on Oct. 23, 2003, a 1-0 win at Boston College and followed that with a home win on Oct. 22, 2004 (3-2) before taking a 7-1 verdict on Oct. 21, 2006 at Chestnut Hill.

The win over a number one ranked team was the first for the Irish since April 10, 2008, when the Irish knocked off top-ranked Michigan, 5-4 in overtime, in the NCAA semifinal game.

Senior left wing Brian Gibbons scored Boston College's lone goal on the power play in the first period.

The win was the third straight for Notre Dame and improves the Irish to 4-1-0 on the season. The loss was the first for Boston College this season and the Eagles first since February 19th of last season. Since that date, Boston College had gone 16 games without a loss (15-0-1), including a 12-0-1 mark on the way to winning the 2009-10 national championship. BC is now 3-1-0 on the year.

"This was a good game for us. It's good to know that we can play a team of that caliber," said head coach Jeff Jackson following the game.

"There is a reason that they are ranked number one in the country. They are fast, they are a great transition team, they are well coached, play well defensively and have good goaltending. This win helps us. It's still too early in the season; you don't want to get too excited about it. It's more about us learning to be a consistent team."

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For the first 10-12 minutes of the game, Boston College came hard at the Irish but Johnson held the Eagles at bay as they out shot the Irish by a 5-1 margin and controlled much of the play.

"They really dominated us in the first 10 minutes because we weren't prepared for their speed," said Jackson.

"When you play a team with that kind of speed it's a real challenge. We haven't played anyone that fast this year. I thought we handled the speed a little better than we did a couple of weeks ago against Boston University, but it took us half the period to make the adjustment."

The Irish kept Boston College off the scoreboard until the final minute of the first period when Gibbons scored on a power play at 19:13.

With time winding down on a penalty to Nick Larson, Joe Whitney fired a shot from the high slot that Gibbons was able to redirect inside the right post behind Johnson for his third goal of the season. Whitney's younger brother Steven picked up the second assist.

The Irish really began to take over the play in the second period and finally broke through on Eagle goaltender John Muse due to some great forechecking by T.J. Tynan and Bryan Rust that helped set up Ridderwall's first goal of the night at 6:44.

Tynan was able to force a turnover to the right of Muse and as he was able to move the puck to Ridderwall in the slot and he one-timed a wrister shot into a wide-open net for his third of the season.

"That goal was a great effort by the entire line," explained Ridderwall.

"(Bryan) Rust and (T.J.) Tynan really did a nice job on the forecheck to force a turnover. T.J. made a nice pass across to me and I just put it in the net."

Ridderwall's second goal came on a 5-on-3 power play chance and the senior left wing put the Irish ahead at the 17:11 mark when he drilled a shot past Muse from the slot.

"Ryan Guentzel put the puck right on my tape and I just put it in the middle of the net," said Ridderwall.

"We knew we had to score on the five-on-three. You don't always get those chances. A goal there can change the game and putting the puck in the net gave us the lead."

From there, it was up to Johnson to guard the lead and shut down the high-flying Eagles and he was able to slam the door in the third period.

"We knew they would be coming. They are a good team and they play to the final buzzer," said Johnson who picked up his fourth consecutive win.

"I just tried to stay focused and the defense did a great job in front of me. They guys were awesome in front all night. I was feeling the pucks and thought I was focused all night. Everyone stepped up and did their part. I think we made some real strides as a team tonight."

Jackson was pleased with the way his sophomore goaltender played.

"To win a game like that you have to have a difference maker in goal and tonight Mike (Johnson) was," said Jackson.

"This was a statement game for him. He's played some good games for us in the past but if he can play with that kind of consistency every night, he can be a top collegiate goaltender."

The Irish finished the game out shooting Boston College by a 34-29 margin. Johnson finished with 28 saves on the night while Muse had 32.

Two of the nation's top penalty-killing units saw plenty of action, as Boston College was 1-for-7 on the power play while the Irish were 1-for-9 with the man advantage. The Irish power-play goal was the first given up by the Eagles this season while the BC power-play goal was just the second given up by Notre Dame in the first five games.

Notre Dame returns to CCHA action this coming week with a home-and-home series against Western Michigan. On Friday, Oct. 28 the Irish play host to the Broncos at the Joyce Center while the two teams will battle in Kalamazoo, Mich., on Saturday, Oct. 29. Both games start at 7:35 p.m.