By the time the 2016 Beanpot rolled around my freshman year, I’d been watching hockey for about four months and considered myself a fairly casual fan. But those first two weeks in February really changed the way I enjoy the sport, and led me to becoming the fan that I am today.
I knew going into the first week that the Beanpot was a meaningful tournament for all four participating schools, but I really didn’t realize the gravity the tournament held in the greater Boston college hockey community. BC did have really great home crowds that season owing to the strength of the team, but it was unfathomable to me at the time that fans filled up TD Garden to watch college teams duke it out for a mid-season trophy that didn’t really have postseason implications.
Nevertheless, I sat down in my floor’s lounge on February 1, homework in hand, ready to watch the Eagles play Harvard in game one. There’s not much I really remember from that game — the Eagles won 3-2 after going into the second period with a 2-1 deficit, and the Fitzgerald brothers (Ryan and Casey) connected on the first goal of the game. BC was headed back to the championship game after missing out in 2015.
I didn’t watch the 8 pm game, but I saw the tweets: we’d be getting a BC-BU matchup for the championship game. And I’m not going to lie, I was nervous! I truly wasn’t sure what to expect for a game that had stakes this high, especially since both BC-BU games earlier in the season were close ones.
The excitement on campus leading up to the championship was palpable, and a weirdly vivid memory I have was that a shared Snapchat event story had been set up for BC and BU students to post about the game and trash talk. I’m honestly not even sure those are a thing anymore, but it was fun watching the students battle it out online in a game that really mattered to only two fanbases.
On February 8, it was snowing. When the puck dropped for the championship game, the Eagles were all over the Terriers, outshooting them 14-5 — until the lights went out at TD Garden. We thought it was a NESN glitch, but the snowstorm had apparently taken its toll on the power supply.
After a 28-minute delay, the momentum had evened out a bit, but the Eagles were still outshooting the Terriers handily. It couldn’t have been easy to keep the team fresh after a delay almost as long as an entire period of play, but Jerry York was able to make sure the team retained momentum against BU.
Both goalies were on top of their game, and the game ended up going into overtime tied 0-0. BU’s goalie, however much I hate to admit it (despite this being six years ago), was having an incredible game, and I genuinely thought that he’d just end up stealing the game for the Terriers. Sometimes it’s easy to tell when a team gets discouraged by the opposing goalie having the game of their life, but the Eagles never let up.
A little less than two minutes into overtime, Alex Tuch ripped a laser that beat BU goalie Sean Maguire, and that was it. The Eagles had captured their 20th Beanpot title.
Despite the 28-minute delay, despite Maguire’s play, BC never took their foot off the pedal and it paid off. My friends and I couldn’t stop screaming and cheering in the lounge, to a point where people came out of their rooms to see if everything was okay.
As one of the younger writers on the BCI staff, the 2016 Beanpot is the only tournament trophy that I’ve watched BC men’s hockey win. Watching all the players skate around with the trophy and celebrate with Coach York made me so happy, and I’m glad it’s a memory that I have firsthand. At the time I obviously didn’t know it, but reflecting back I’m glad I was able to witness Coach York’s last Beanpot championship victory as a student.