Tuesday, February 04, 2014

BC and Northeastern to play Beanpot final once more

Boston, MA -- The 62nd annual Beanpot final will feature two schools who are no strangers to the championship contest in recent times.

Ryan Fitzgerald, Kevin Hayes and Johnny Gaudreau lit the lamp as Boston College topped bitter rival Boston University, 3-1, in the late semifinal from TD Garden.

‘‘We’re playing really well together right now,’’ said Gaudreau, who leads the nation with 53 points. ‘‘It’s fun to see because we’re such good friends off the ice.’’

Thatcher Demko made 27 saves for the Eagles, who are seeking their fifth consecutive championship and will face the program it bested for the 2011 and 2013 titles.

In the process, BC extended its unbeaten streak to 13 games (12-0-1).

Robbie Baillargeon provided the Terriers' lone offense, while Matt O'Connor halted 29 pucks in defeat. BU, which has claimed 29 Beanpot crowns, hasn't won since 2009.

Earlier on Monday, Clay Witt stopped all 27 shots he faced and Kevin Szmatula added a goal and two assists, as Northeastern beat Harvard, 6-0.

‘‘You need goaltending,’’ Northeastern head coach Jim Madigan said in reference to Witt, who posted his fourth shutout of the season. ‘‘We obviously feel confident with our goaltending.’’

Braden Pimm, Kevin Roy, Colton Saucerman and Dalen Hedges each posted a score and a helper for the Huskies, who are once again on the cusp of their first tourney win since 1988.

Raphael Girard gave up five goals on 21 shots in just over two periods for the Crimson, who haven't won it all since 1993. Steve Michalek finished up by stopping all 11 shots he faced.

Boston College beat Northeastern by a 6-3 count last year, and both teams hooked up for a 7-6 overtime thriller three years ago ultimately won by current Florida Panthers forward Jimmy Hayes. Also featured in that contest was current Dallas Stars defenseman Jamie Oleksiak. 

Only BC and BU have won Beanpot titles since 1995, and both schools have combined for 47 total championships. The Eagles are bidding to become the first school to win five in a row since the Terriers took home six straight from 1995-2000. 

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