Well, there you have it. The Boston University terriers have won the 63rd annual Beanpot in thrilling fashion. The Terriers came out in their pre-Beanpot 1949-1950 alternate uniforms and played an old fashion, hard hitting game of hockey. The Huskies gave one of the best teams in the country all they could handle and almost took the win away from the Terriers with an excellent third period. Although the Huskies may not be ranked, they are a team that is definitely on the rise and could sneak into the Top 20 before the end of the season.
Although there is no fighting in college hockey, this game had a certain amount of nastiness and competitiveness that we unfortunately rarely see anymore. With fighting slowly becoming a thing of the past in the NHL, there seems to a lack of passion night in and night out. Well, there was plenty of passion here. The Beanpot Championship Game almost filled the Garden and the fans of these four schools were louder than ever. Let's breakdown the game and then evaluate these two teams for the the remainder of the season after.
Both teams came out with a lot of intensity and fire to start the game. 2:19 into the first, BU forward Mike Moran stole the puck at the blue line and beat NU goaltender Clay Witt on a breakaway goal. But Northeastern was not going to keel over to the Terriers. 28 seconds later, NU forward John Stevens scored the equalizer against Terrier goaltender Matt O'Connor from the left face-off circle. The rest of the first period was dominated by the Huskies, yet they were unable to score and take the lead.
The second period opened and everyone watching the game could tell that BU came out with guns blazing. They were getting to pucks quicker and hitting hard along the boards. 5:31 into the second period Robbie Baillargeon scored his second goal of the season off of a right pad save rebound by Clay Witt. Bruins prospect and the junior captain of the Terriers Matt Grzelcyk shoots a rocket past Clay Witt at 14:18 and gives the Terriers a 2 point lead. Northeastern had a few quality chances, but BU dominated the second period.
Northeastern had to have a phenomenal third period to have any chance of getting back into this. And they did just that. Half of the period had gone by and it looked like Northeastern was not going to be able to keep this a competitive game. However, Anaheim ducks prospect and the Huskies leading scorer Kevin Roy ripped a powerful shot from the slot and beat goalie Matt O'Connor to cut the lead in half. A minute and a 35 seconds later, a scramble in front of the net occurred with bodies flying everywhere. Although it looked to be goalie interference, Dustin Darou buried the puck behind O'Connor and tied the game. Prior to this year's Beanpot, Darou had scored 1 goal in 63 games. In this Beanpot tournament, Darou scored the game-winner in overtime against BC a couple weeks ago and tied the Beanpot Championship game against one of the best teams in the country. Clutch, huh? Northeastern was able to score two goals in 95 seconds, yet there was no more scoring for the rest of the regulation game.
9 seconds into overtime, Matt Benning was penalized for hooking and BU would go on the power play. 42 seconds later, after a nice assist from likely-top-2 pick Jack Eichel, Matt Grzelcyk scored his second goal of the game and gave the Terriers the 2015 Beanpot Championship trophy.
So what is going to happen to these two teams now that the annual Beanpot Tournament is over? Well, we definitely know where one team is going. The Boston University Terriers are going to make a lot of noise before they hang up the skates this season. Ranked 4th in the country as of yesterday, this team has consistently been in the top 4 for most of this season. The Terriers can finish no lower than co-champions in Hockey East. They could lose to a tie breaker, as they lost to Boston College earlier in the season, but it would take a complete collapse. BU would have to be swept by Northeastern, while Boston College would have to sweep Notre Dame in South bend, who recently have been on fire. Any team except for BU could finish between 2nd and 7th, while Northeastern could fall as far as 8th. Northeastern should finish the season strong, as they have played some good hockey as of late, yet anything could happen.
BU has a ton of fight in them, yet it seems that they are never ready to start a game. They frequently fall behind early or cannot capitalize in the first period. Coach David Quinn must give them some type of speech at intermission because they then come out and play like the best team in hockey for the remainder of the game. BU is stronger, faster and more skilled than most teams in college hockey, yet I wonder if they can fall behind to another top team and be able to play make-up hockey. As for Northeastern, they started the season terribly, but have been on fire since. If they can finish the season strong and end up in the NCAA Tournament, anything can happen for them.
There should be a lot of quality hockey in the Hockey East up until the NCAA Tournament. Aside from BU locking up at least a part of the Hockey East title, nothing else is for certain. Gotta love college hockey, right?
By Pete Packowski @Pete_BBS