Elliot Olshansky, NCAA.com
Whether it’s the packed house at Boston’s TD Garden, a place of privilege on Boston’s sports calendar, or nearly 60 years of history, there’s something about the Beanpot that brings out the best in the teams that play in it.
When two of those teams are among the top 15 in the nation, you’re likely to get something special, and Monday night’s meeting between Boston College and Boston University certainly delivered.
Junior defenseman Tommy Cross scored at 3:17 of overtime to give the No. 1 Eagles a 3-2 win against the No. 14 Terriers in front of 17,565 fans at TD Garden in the second semifinal of the 59th annual Beanpot Tournament. Cross’ shot from the point deflected off a Terrier defenseman and past BU goaltender Kieran Millan to seal a come-from-behind victory
“I just put the puck on net,” Cross said. “It was a great screen. It feels really good, just for our team and it is such a huge win.”
The game marked the eighth consecutive Beanpot meeting between the Commonwealth Avenue rivals to be decided by one goal, a far cry from the 9-5 and 5-2 wins the Eagles scored in early December. Overall, six of the past 20 semifinal and championship games in the Beanpot have gone to overtime, including three of the past four contests between the Eagles and the Terriers.
Neither statistic comes as much of a surprise to Terriers head coach Jack Parker, who won three Beanpots as a player and has coached in the past 38 tournaments.
“It’s the Beanpot,” Parker said. “People get up, the crowd gets involved, and they play in the biggest venue they’ll play in all year, one of the biggest crowds. Everybody gets a little more jacked up. These are very proud hockey programs, and they want to put on a show for the big crowd.
“You know what’s going on, before the season starts, what you’re doing the first two Mondays in February. It’s always there, and then it comes, and everybody plays up to their capabilities, and sometimes above.”
Overall, the Terriers have won half of the previous 58 Beanpots, including six of the past 10, but this appears to be the Eagles’ time. With the win, BC’s senior class finished off a perfect 3-0 record against BU in the Beanpot. However, while the Eagles have every reason to be proud of their accomplishments, there’s little doubt that the Terriers’ day will come again.
“They’re our rival,” said associate head coach Mike Cavanagh, who filled in for a laryngitis-stricken Jerry York, “so it always adds extra emotion to the game when you beat BU. But I’ve been on the other end of this, too. They had our number for a long time, and there will come again a day when they’ll be back on top. Boston University and Boston College will have a rivalry long past we’re alive, and it’s always going to be a terrific rivalry.”
With the Terriers vanquished for now, the Eagles will face Northeastern in next Monday’s championship game, after the Huskies blanked Harvard, 4-0 in the first game of the afternoon. Junior forward Mike McLaughlin scored the Huskies’ first two goals, while sophomore goaltender Chris Rawlings made 41 saves for his fourth shutout in his past seven games.
Need to Know
• The nation’s longest unbeaten streak was threatened on Friday, but No. 3 Castleton State was able to escape from Southern Maine with a 4-4 tie. USM goaltender Braely Torres stopped 45 of the 49 Spartan shots he faced, and the Huskies battled back from a 4-2 deficit on third period on goals by Paul Conter and Matt McDonald. The Spartans moved on to face the University of New England on Saturday, and left no doubts with a 6-0 win. Seth McNary stopped all 34 shots he faced for Castleton (18-2-1), which has now gone 15 consecutive games without a loss, dating to Dec. 4 against Bowdoin.
• 2010 Frozen Four participant Miami (Ohio) has had a tenuous grip on its place in this season’s NCAA tournament picture, but the RedHawks got a pair of crucial wins this weekend against CCHA rival Michigan. The then-No. 8 Wolverines took a 2-1 lead into the third period on two goals by A.J. Treais, but the RedHawks scored three times in the final 10 minutes to claim a 4-2 win. The next day, national scoring leader Andy Miele assisted on all three RedHawk goals (including two by Reilly Smith) and Cody Reichard stopped all 23 shots he faced to give the No. 12 RedHawks just their fourth weekend sweep of the season. On Monday, Miele and Reichard were honored as the CCHA’s Offensive Player and Goaltender of the Week, respectively.
• The race in the NESCAC got much closer over the weekend, as conference leader Bowdoin came away with just one point against two of its closest rivals. Amherst struck first, getting a pair of goals 24 seconds apart in the middle of the third period to score a come-from-behind 3-2 win against the Polar Bears. Then, on Saturday, Hamilton jumped out to a 3-1 lead before Bowdoin rallied to tie the game with 58 seconds left on an extra-attacker goal. The score by Jeff Fanning, his second of the game, gave him 17 on the season – and a share of second in the nation in goals-per-game (0.89) alongside teammate Daniel Weiniger – but Bowdoin fell from fifth to eighth in the latest USCHO.com Division III men’s poll, and leads Hamilton by just one point in the NESCAC standings, with Amherst, Williams and Middlebury tied in third.
• Lake Superior picked up a pair of honors for its sweep of Northern Michigan. Senior defenseman Matt Cowie was named Defensive Player of the Week after assisting on four of six Laker goals, while freshman Kevin Kapalka was named Rookie of the Week after stopping 49 of 50 shots to earn his first collegiate road sweep.
•Lawrence University boasts two of the three Players of the Week in the MCHA. Senior defenseman Jonathon Sheridan was named Defensive Player of the Week after going plus-4 in a sweep of Northland, including a game-winning goal on Saturday and a pair of assists on Friday, while freshman blueliner William Thoren notched three assists and was named Freshman of the Week.
• No. 4 Denver retained the Gold Pan after splitting its second weekend series with No. 19 Colorado College. The series record between the two teams ended at 2-2, but the Gold Pan only changes hands when the series has a winner. Hometown favorites Drew and Nick Shore each had two goals on the weekend.