Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Four-peat: BC beats Northeastern, wins another Beanpot

by Bob Herpen
Phanatic Hockey Editor

Boston,  MA -- Trophy season has officially kicked off on the Heights, and once again, the first piece of hardware taken was one that let an entire city know who's boss.

Johnny Gaudreau  posted  two  goals and  one assist  as Boston College doubled up Northeastern, 6-3, in the championship of the 61st annual Beanpot from TD Garden.

Steven Whitney had a goal and two helpers for the Eagles, who set a new school record for consecutive tournament victories with their fourth in a row and claimed their 18th overall title in this perennial Boston battle.

"We have a great group of guys, and better people for a lot of years now...but this  is  special, a four-bagger,"  said BC  head coach Jerry York immediately following the victory.

Patrick  Brown,  Bill Arnold  and Pat  Mullane also tallied  to back a 20-save performance  from  Parker Milner, who  was given the  Eberly Trophy as the top goaltender.

"You can't win championships without an outstanding goaltender," York said of his senior goalie. "Parker is very inward-looking... he reflects on each game. He's that type of player. He's been a backbone to our team."

Freshman  sensation  Kevin Roy --  who won tournament  MVP honors -- notched a pair  of scores  in defeat for the  Huskies, who are still seeking their first crown  since 1988 after losing to BC for the third time in the last five title games.

"It was awesome, a really great experience. The energy and excitement around the games were awesome, said Roy, a native of Lac-Beauport, Quebec. "We had a great tournament. We had a bad second period and that cost us the tournament. I'm really honored, even though the outcome isn't what we wanted."

Chris Rawlings allowed all six goals on 30 shots in the setback. It was not a classic performance by the imposing goaltender, who was punctured for seven goals in a 7-6 overtime loss two years ago to these same BC upperclassmen.

Arnold  registered the first goal of the contest, coming with 9:07 left in the second period, one-timing a Kevin Hayes feed home from the right wing. BC  took  a 2-0  lead 1:15  later as Gaudreau  slammed a  loose puck home from inside the crease while being squashed against Rawlings.

Roy halved the Huskies' deficit inside of five minutes left in the period, and less than two minutes later was robbed on a breakaway by a sweeping glove save by Milner.

It  was  3-1 for the  Eagles at 18:37  on a shot  which trickled over the goal line, this time a double deflection credited to Brown off a left-point floater from Isaac MacLeod. Whitney then added a marker that beat the buzzer for a 4-1 BC edge after 40 minutes.

Roy made it 4-2 only 11 seconds after the start of the third, and Northeastern got within a goal on a Braden Pimm power-play score at 3:56.

But  the  defending champs clamped  down and  extended their edge when Michael Matheson and Gaudreau worked a perfect give-and-go in close and the Eagles led 5-3 with 5:23 to play.

Roy was left to his own devices to the left of Milner several shifts later, but despite his best chance to record yet another hat trick like in Monday's Beanpot-opening win over Boston University, failed to gain control of the puck and didn't release a shot. 

The desperate Huskies pulled Rawlings with over two minutes while shorthanded, and the move backfired when Mullane scored into the empty net with 1:28 left.

"It's  unbelievable...just  to  be  a  part  of  this.  I  think  that's  more important  than us  winning out fourth in six, was them (the freshman) getting their first," Mullane said. "We never let any doubt creep into our game."

Both sides endured close calls in a scoreless first period, none better than Arnold, who cruised in alone on Rawlings and beat him cleanly, except for ringing his shot off the crossbar. 

Northeastern dodged another bullet four minutes into the second when MacLeod coasted down the left side before ripping one that rang off the right post, and rubbed their lucky rabbit's foot again with 10:05 remaining in the second when Mullane tipped a Patrick Wey shot from the right side that got past Rawlings but clipped the crossbar.

"I think the past three years, whatever happened, happened. The way I look at it, it's not what happened before, but what's going on now that counts," said Huskies head coach Jim Madigan. "We've been there so many times and given up goals late in games, we thought we had more poise coming into a situation where we trailed late but were close."

Notes: BC's senior class finished 8-0 in Beanpot competition...Roy leads all freshmen with 17 goals and 32 points...York won his seventh Beanpot since taking over in Chestnut Hill in 1994..Roy was the first non-winner to capture MVP honors since Sean Fields, a Boston University goalie, won in 2004, and became the first player to record at least five goals in the tournament since BC's Mike Powers in 1973...Boston College became the first school to win as many as four in a row since BU claimed six straight from 1995-2000.

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