Boston College hockey Frozen Four celebration stock photo. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Just six minutes into free hockey, Jimmy Hayes beat goalie Chris Rawlings for the game-winner, lifting the Eagles to their 16th Beanpot Championship and third in the last four years. Chris Kreider was named tournament MVP, scoring two goals and an assist to help give BC back-to-back titles for the first time since the 1960s.
It certainly didn't come easy for BC -- nothing ever comes easy for BC -- as the Eagles won both rounds of this year's Beanpot in overtime. A tip of the cap to Northeastern, who played a hell of a game. Despite some poor BC defense and special teams play, the Huskies gave the Eagles all they could handle for 60 minutes, playing in what amounted to their program's first-round NCAA Tournament game. Despite the loss, NU goalie Chris Rawlings was named best goaltender of the Beanpot, turning aside 39 of 46 shots in the losing effort.
Let us recap.
With a little bit of luck, the Eagles opened the scoring at 9:12 of the first period. Tommy Cross took a weak shot that deflected off NU forward Rob Dongara's skate for the first goal of the game. That would be all the scoring BC would do in the first, however, as Northeastern's Luke Eibler connected with a blast from the point and a power play goal. It was the first power play goal BC has given up in 23 previous penalty kills. A little over a minute later, Brodie Reid made it 2-1 Huskies tallying another power play goal. The Huskies capitalized on their second straight power play after a questionable boarding call on Kreider at 17:33.
The scoring -- and penalty -- flood gates opened in the second period. Less than a minute into the second period, Tommy Cross's put an initial shot on goal that was deflected by Rawlings, but Pat Mullane put the rebound home to knot the game at two. Northeastern made it 3-2 on its third special teams goal of the night. This time, it was a shorthanded tally by Rob Dongara. A few minutes later, Chris Kreider made it 3-3 on the power play, scoring on a wrister in front of the net.
Steven Whitney gave the Eagles their second lead of the game, picking up a loose puck and getting it past Rawlings. BC's lead didn't last long, however, as less than a minute later, NU's Tyler McNeely put a rebound shot past Muse to tie the game at four. The two teams would finish the second period all tied 4-4.
Penalties were the story of the game through two periods. Benedetto & crew called 16 penalties through two periods (8 on BC and 8 on Northeastern) and the usually-reliable BC special teams came up small, giving up two power play goals and a shorthanded tally.
BC outshot Northeastern 25-16 through two, and generally played better than Northeastern, but killed themselves on some bad penalties.
After a frenetic two periods, the teams opened the third period uncharacteristically slow (well, slow for the first eight minutes anyhow). NU's Brodie Reid broke a 4-4 tie at 8:44 of the third on a defensive breakdown by BC. And back and forth we went, with Bill Arnold skating in and putting a beautiful backhand under the crossbar and over Rawlings to make it 5-5. Kreider scored his second of the game and ninth of the season on the power play, making it 6-5 on a power play goal. Northeastern's Cody Ferriero went off at 10:12 of the third on a slashing call on Arnold as he tied the game at five.
With a little over seven minutes left, Brian Gibbons nearly made it 7-5 on a breakaway attempt, but Rawlings turned the shot aside. With BC less than two minutes away from the Beanpot Championship, NU's Wade MacLeod (McNeely, Silva) made it 6-6 on an even strength goal at 18:14 of the third, blasting a shot past Muse. That would be all the scoring through 60 minutes, as the Eagles and Huskies needed overtime to settle this one.
Hayes' overtime goal, his 14th of the season, gave the Eagles the title just six minutes into the extra session.
With the win, BC wins the Beanpot in back-to-back years for the first time in 46 years, and the program is making strides to rename this tournament the "BC Invitational." Speaking of the "BU Invitational," Boston University finished last in their own tournament for the first time since 1980, losing to Harvard 5-4 in the Consolation Game.
"Ten thousand men of Harvard want vict'ry today,
For they know that o'er old Eli
Fair Harvard holds sway.
So then we'll conquer all old Eli's men,
And when the game ends, we'll sing again:
Ten thousand men of Harvard gained vict'ry today!"
Harvard picks up just their fifth win of the season, while BU, unless they go on a late-season run or win Hockey East, is in serious danger of missing the NCAAs altogether.
Overall, a pretty, prettty, pretttty, prettttty good night for Superfans.