Hate them or love them, there is no denying that the BC’s men’s hockey program is the best around. With the best record in Hockey East (22-6-0, 16-5-0 HEA), the Eagles are unanimously ranked as the nation’s top team (USCHO Poll). So when they met the Northeastern Huskies (10-12-6, 8-8-5 HEA) at the TD Garden for the 59th Beanpot Championship Game, it seemed like BC’s 16th Beanpot title was easily within grasp.
But you know what they say about assumptions.
Last night’s Championship Game was one of the most high-energy battles that I have seen in quite some time. There were six different ties and seven lead changes as the Huskies and the Eagles battled for the title of best in Boston.
With just 1:46 left to play, NU forward Wade MacLeod forced the game in overtime with a shot from the right circle. Ultimately, it was BC’s Jimmy Hayes who netted the game-winning goal six minutes in to the overtime period.
Sophomore forward Chris Kreider, who fed Hayes the puck in the game-winning play, was named tournament MVP. In addition to his helper, he contributed 2 goals.
Chris Rawlings, NU’s netminder, was awarded the Eberly Trophy for his 39 save performance. The award is given to the goalie with the best save percentage in the tournament. In two games, Rawlings stopped 80 of 87 shots for a .920 sv %. John Muse (BC) recorded 21 saves. Heading in to last night’s game, Muse was ranked 2nd among the nations goaltenders. Unfortunately, after giving up 6 goals, he ranks at #11 today (with his nation-leading save % dropping from .937 to .931).
This is the third Beanpot victory for the Eagles in four years and the first back-to-back wins for the team since their three-game title run from 1963-65. Had NU won, it would have been there first Beanpot Championship since 1988.
A few random facts: BU or BC has won the Beanpot every year since Harvard’s victory in 1993. The winner of the last three Beanpot Tournaments has gone on to become the NCAA Division-I men’s hockey champion. Harvard (5-18-1, 3-13-1 ECAC) defeated BU (14-9-7, 11-5-5 HEA) in a surprise 5-4 upset during the Tournament’s consolation game earlier yesterday.
These two teams don’t have to wait long to face each other again … NU travels to The Heights on Friday for the first game of a home-and-home series against BC.
|The Eagles celebrate back-to-back Beanpot Championships|