Tuesday, February 14, 2012

BC captures 60th annual Beanpot with OT thriller over BU

by Bob Herpen
Phanatic Hockey Editor

The only way the 60th annual Beanpot final on Monday night at TD Garden could have been any better would have been if the game were decided after multiple overtimes.

It very nearly happened.

Boston University was seconds away from escaping to the locker room to regroup, until Bill Arnold's tally with 6.4 seconds remaining in OT sent Boston College to a 3-2 victory against their Commonwealth Avenue neighbors and staked yet another claim to bragging rights over their perennial rivals.

Arnold, a 19-year-old sophomore, accepted a Steven Whitney pass and ripped a shot high over the glove of Kieran Millan from just below the right circle for the winner, touching off a wild celebration.

"I'm in the clouds right now," Arnold said of his title-clinching goal. "You dream about this as a kid and you never really expect it to happen, so this is unbelievable."

Pat Mullane and Chris Kreider each lit the lamp for the Eagles(19-10-1), who took home their third straight crown for the first time since winning three years in a row from 1963-65. Jerry York's squad also picked up its second title-game victory over Jack Parker's charges in the last three years.

It was also a measure of vindication for the two-time defending Hockey East champs, who faltered in two home contests against BU at Conte Forum earlier this season and dropped two of three in the season series.

"BU played an outstanding hockey game," the gracious York said following the contest. "I thought we came right back with the same attitude to our team, so that was college hockey at its finest. We're both ranked in the top five in the country, so we kind of expect that. And then with the rivalry between the two schools, it had all the makings of a classic college hockey game and it unfolded just like that."

Freshman Johnny Gaudreau -- a South Jersey native who scored twice against Northeastern in the semifinals and picked up an assist on Monday -- was voted the tournament's most outstanding player.

Parker Milner stopped 32-of-34 shots as BC claimed its 17th title in school history.

Garrett Noonan potted both scores for the Terriers (17-10-1), who haven't endured a three-year Beanpot drought since 1983-85. Millan was the hard-luck loser despite making 44 saves, but still took home the Eberly Award as the top goaltender.

Mullane put the Eagles up just shy of the nine-minute mark of the first period, beating Millan from the left wing while shorthanded.

Boston University endured a lengthy two-man disadvantage with no damage, then were forced to survive another BC power play before finally hitting the scoreboard on a power play of its own when Noonan rifled home a shot from the left circle with 4:49 remaining in the second.

BC was awarded a two-man edge for 23 seconds late in the stanza, and Kreider beat Millan with a high wrister from between the circles with 1:18 to go.

BU then enjoyed a two-man advantage for 1:47 early in the third period, and Noonan tallied off a redirection of an Alex Chiasson offering from the left side for a 2-2 game at 7:12. The Terriers failed to click on the 5-on-4.

Millan kept his team in the game with multiple key stops, none more than a sprawling glove stop against BC defenseman Brian Dumoulin in the extra session.

In the consolation game earlier on Monday, Luke Greiner notched the winner late in the third period as Harvard topped Northeastern, 3-2.

Alex Killorn and Alex Fallstrom also tallied and Tommy O'Regan added two assists for the Crimson, who fell by a 3-1 count to Boston University in last week's semifinal and haven't emerged victorious in this gathering since 1993.

Steve Michalek stopped 24-of-26 shots for the win as Harvard claimed third place for the second straight season.

Luke Eibler and Robbie Vrolyk scored for the Huskies, who dropped a 7-1 decision to Boston College in the other semi. Clay Witt played well in defeat, making 33 saves.

Northeastern finished fourth for the first time since 2008 and hasn't celebrated a Beanpot win since taking the final of its four triumphs back in 1988.

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