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Evan Marinofsky | | February 11, 2022

5 takeaways from the thrilling 2022 Beanpot semifinals

Beanpot preview: Boston University faces three-peat reigning champion Northeastern

The 2020 men's Beanpot was one of the most exciting in the history of the tournament. It's clear that the 2022 version is doing its best to pick up where the last one left off. 

After there was no Beanpot in 2021 due to COVID-19, college hockey fans packed TD Garden Monday night for the first tournament in two years. Game 1 saw Boston University men's hockey edge out Harvard, 4-3. Then it was Northeastern going back to the final for the fourth-straight tournament after a 3-1 win over Boston College

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Here are the 5 biggest takeaways from the semifinals of college hockey's most historic midseason tournament. 

TJ Semptimphelter was brilliant 

It’d be hard to blame anyone picking against Northeastern on Monday night. Being without a nominee for the Hobey Baker Award is never easy — especially when he’s your star goalie. Devon Levi’s is also a favorite for the Mike Richter Award. The sophomore has been nothing short of brilliant. 

But there was freshman TJ Semptimphelter taking the reigns while Levi competes for Team Canada in Beijing. It didn’t matter that Semptimphelter had only registered two starts before jumping onto the biggest regular-season stage in college hockey. 

Against BC in Monday night’s Beanpot semifinal, he made 41 stops on 42 shots en route to a 3-1 win for Northeastern. 

Not bad for a third-career start, right? 

His best save of the night came in the second half of the middle 20 minutes when he went post-to-post to rob BC graduate student Brandon Kruse of a sure goal. BC controlled play for much of Monday night’s game, but it didn’t matter. Semptimphelter was there to turn their chances aside. 

Teams missing goalies at the Olympics succeeded while teams missing skaters fell short 

Every team had one thing in common heading into this year’s Beanpot: They’re all missing at least one valuable player due to the Olympics. 

BU and Northeastern are missing their starting goalies in Drew Commesso and Levi. While Harvard and BC have their No. 1 netminders, they were missing valuable members of their scoring attack. The Crimson are missing junior Nick Abruzzese and first-year Sean Farrell — both are top-five on their team in points. The Eagles are without seniors Marc McLaughlin and Jack McBain, who are their two leading scorers. They’re also without one of their best defenseman in junior Drew Helleson. 

After Monday night, it’s clear which teams were hurt most by their missing stars. 

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Harvard put up a goal in the first period and then added two at the end of the second period to cut the BU lead to 4-3. They couldn’t find a goal to tie the game in the third. It’s easy to imagine that with Farrell and Abruzzese, that elusive fourth goal may have been easier to earn. BC didn’t score its first goal until the third period. Relying on a score from McLaughlin or McBain would’ve been a nice luxury to have. 

On the other side, BU sophomore goalie Vinny Duplessis stopped 22 of the 25 shots he faced. It was enough for the Terriers to escape with the 4-3 win. In Game 2, Had Semptimphelter worn a Levi sweater on the ice, no one would’ve thought anything of it. That's just how good he was. 

BU looked like one of the hottest teams in college hockey 

The Terriers started their season 6-9-3. Since the second half started, they’re 9-1 and one of the hottest teams in college hockey. They looked like it Monday night against Harvard. 

BU controlled play for most of the night, only allowing the Crimson back into the game with two minutes left in the second period. Even after that, the Terriers held a 4-3 lead for all of the final period. 

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Two of their four goals came by way of the power play. Both penalties drawn were from hustle plays and both goals scored on the ensuing power plays had junior Wilmer Skoog screening Harvard goalie Mitchell Gibson. 

And how about the effort from senior Logan Cockerill on the opening goal? 

The Terriers look like a team with a ton of upside. They’re playing well at the right time, which isn’t just great for the Beanpot tournament — it's also quite a good idea for the tournament. 

Harvard hung in there with BU 

Harvard had the tough task of stopping BU’s hot streak Tuesday night and even though the Crimson lost, they were never out of the game. 

In the first period, senior Casey Dornbach scored with a snipe just 37 seconds after Cockerill opened the scoring. 

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Late in the second period while down 4-1, first-year forward Zakary Karpa pushed a rebound past Duplessis to cut the lead to two goals. Then, senior Jack Donato knocked home a rebound just 22 seconds later to bring Harvard to within a goal. 

Harvard couldn’t get a goal in the third period, but the Crimson had multiple attempts around the BU net. 

BC is going through a serious rough patch, but outplayed Northeastern 

The Eagles are 0-9-1 in their last 10 games, which is extremely uncharacteristic of Boston College. Still, despite the struggles, they played Northeastern really well. 

BC outshot Northeastern, 42-29. Without the play of Semptimphelter in net, there’s a strong chance we’re looking at a BC-BU final. 

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The freshman netminder had two huge stops in the first period with one coming on Eagles d-man Jack St. Ivany, who had a golden opportunity that Semptimphelter turned away. Kruse’s chance midway through the second period was robbed. 

Throughout the game, they controlled play and set up legitimate scoring chances. Judging off of Monday, it’s a safe assumption that they’re on their way out of their funk. 

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