Northeastern winning goal with 1:34 remaining ends BC's Beanpot streak
BOSTON -- Junior Dustin Darou scored with 1:34 remaining in the third period to lift Northeastern (11-11-4) into the 2015 Beanpot final with a 3-2 victory against No. 11 Boston College (16-9-2) on Tuesday at TD Garden.
The Huskies, who advanced to their third consecutive Beanpot final, will now face Boston University in the championship game on Monday, Feb. 9 at 7:30 p.m. ET.
Junior Colton Saucerman and sophomore John Stevens also scored for the Huskies, who beat BC in the Beanpot for the first time since the 2009 semifinals. Junior Kevin Royadded two assists, while senior Clay Witt made 21 saves to help NU extend its unbeaten streak to five games and end BC's quest for a sixth consecutive Beanpot crown.
Northeastern won the special teams battle, scoring twice on the power play, while taking only one penalty -- a minor to Saucerman which the Huskies killed in the second period.
Following a double-overtime thriller in the first semifinal between BU and Harvard, the second game appeared to be headed for a similar fate, before Darou flipped the script with his second-career goal and first career Beanpot point.
With less than 90 seconds to play in regulation, Roy threw a pass back to Darou at the left point. He collected the puck and tossed a shot on net that found its way through traffic and over the shoulder of BC netminder Thatcher Demko (20 saves) to send the NU faithful into a frenzy.
Northeastern then battened down the hatches and survived a frantic final minute with Demko on the bench for an extra attacker.
The Huskies never trailed and held leads of 1-0, 2-1, and ultimately, 3-2.
After a quiet opening period, Saucerman gave the Huskies a 1-0 advantage with a power-play goal just 21 seconds into the second stanza. Kevin Roy initiated the play with a cross-ice feed from the left circle that bounced over the stick of Mike McMurtry and found Saucerman alone at the back post. The junior made no mistake with a wide open net in front of him, blasting home a one-timer to break open the deadlock.
Boston College tied the game just over five minutes later when Destry Straight jammed home a rebound following an acrobatic kick save by Witt on a Ryan Fitzgerald breakaway.
The back-and-forth play continued at the 11:21 mark of the second period when Northeastern struck again with the man-advantage. Sophomore Mike Szmatula gathered the puck at the top of the left circle and tossed a pass back to Stevens at the opposite point. With time and space, Stevens skated in and unleashed a hard wrister that beat Demko blocker-side to put the Huskies back in front 2-1.
Special teams came into play once again late in the frame as the Eagles knotted the score at 2-2 on a shorthanded tally by Fitzgerald. After an NU turnover in the offensive zone, Fitzgerald skated up the ice on a breakaway. While fighting off a back-check from sophomore Matt Benning, Fitzgerald was able to elevate a backhand over the glove of Witt with 1:31 showing on the second-period clock.
Northeastern nearly regained the lead midway through the third period when McMurtry shrugged off a defender and flicked a pass to sophomore Dalen Hedges in the crease. With only Demko to beat, Hedges fired a shot that clipped the arm of the sliding BC netminder, who covered up without a rebound.
At the other end of the ice, Witt matched his counterpart with a pair of tough saves on Adam Gilmour and Alex Tuch with just over three minutes to play in regulation.
Just over 90 seconds later, Northeastern went ahead for good when Darou took a pass from Roy and fired a point-shot that whistled through traffic and into the back of the net.
Winners of three in a row, the Huskies will turn their attention to a Friday contest at UMass before Monday's anticipated Beanpot final.