BOSTON — True to form, Boston College and Boston University battled deep into overtime in tonight’s 60th Beanpot Championship. The game was ended by sophomore Bill Arnold with a slapshot goal to win the third Beanpot in a row for the Eagles with just 6.4 seconds left in the twenty minute OT period.
BC struck early at 8:54 in the first when junior Pat Mullane took a feed from junior Chris Kreider to put the Eagles on the board while shorthanded. The next three goals would be scored with either a power play or a 5 on 3 advantage, the first being a BU equalizer from sophomore Garrett Noonan.BC regained the lead when Kreider took a wrister off a pass from freshman Johnny Gaudreau on the power play, but the Terriers answered in the third period when Noonan notched his second goal of the night — just as BU was coming off a 5 on 3 advantage to the power play.
Goaltenders were huge for both BC and BU in tonight’s game, with each team’s goaltender facing 34 and 47 shots, respectively. Kieran Millan made 44 saves in almost 80 minutes of hockey, but it was Parker Milner’s 32 saves for BC that would prove to be victorious in the teams’ twenty second meeting in the Beanpot Championship.
What I saw
Special teams were essential for both teams tonight. With four goals resulting from a penalty, special teams won and lost tonight’s game. The teams were really allowed to battle in the overtime period when calls were sparse.
The BC first line of Barry Almeida, Bill Arnold, and Steven Whitney played tonight like one of the best lines in Hockey East, and the way Whitney connected with Arnold at the last second for the game winner speaks to that. These three could be dangerous for contending Hockey East teams down the stretch.
Goaltending tonight on both ends of the ice was beyond superb. Even though he didn’t come out with the win, Kieran Millan was a rock for BU and allowed his team to play with the utmost confidence with him behind them in net. 44 saves is nothing to scoff at, especially not with two teams playing at this level.
What I thought
As much as BC and BU have dominated Beanpot Championship games, tonight’s game proves why both teams deserve to do so. Matchups like tonight’s make the Beanpot Tournament what it is. It’s a game everyone will be talking about, and it certainly gave a boost to college hockey in Boston tonight.
That being said, BU didn’t look like they were really in it until they scored the second period equalizer to tie the game at 1. Then, it looked like a fire had been lit and the Terrier offense looked just as hungry as that of the Eagles.
There was a level of competitiveness tonight that isn’t always seen, but in the 19th minute of overtime it looked as though the Terriers and the Eagles could have played another three periods before one began to crack and allowed the other victory.
What they said
“Over the last few years people talk about, has the Beanpot kind of lost its luster, how are the crowds, and where is college hockey in the Boston Area. Well I’ll tell you what’s a statement, is that place was jammed with fans of college hockey, whether they’re associated with BU or BC or Harvard or Northeastern. I think the Beanpot’s in good hands. It has been for a long time and it’s going to continue, especially with that kid of hockey game tonight.”
– Jerry York on the Beanpot in Boston
“It was awesome. There were penalties at the beginning of the game and heck, there were good calls and at the end they let them go and both teams got to play. I thought that was the way hockey is supposed to be played and it was certainly fun to be a part of.”
– Tommy Cross on the lack of penalties during overtime
“We definitely took a stride forward in our effort. That was playoff hockey at its best, those are the types of games you play in March and April, and we’ll be well prepared for them down the road, but hats off to BC. It was just a good, hard fought game between two good hockey teams.”
– Chris Connolly
“I’m hoping we’re in championship games later on and they’re probably hoping they will be, too. We both feel like we have two very, very strong teams, but neither one of us are even in first place in our league. We’ve got to go play Lowell next week and they’re in first place so it’s a real battle all the way from everything that’s going on here to down the stretch, from home ice to the top eight…It’s a long way to get to another championship, that’s for sure.”
– Jack Parker on seeing BC in the future
What they didn’t say
No one came right out and said it, but officiating determined so much of what happened in this game. The only goal to come for either team not resulting from a penalty was, fittingly, Bill Arnold’s game winner. By the end of the second period, 13 penalties had already been called, eight of them coming in that second period alone.
What else you should know
This was the twenty-second meeting of BC and BU in the Beanpot Championship game and BC’s third Beanpot win in a row.
BC and BU are tied for second in Hockey East as they look down the final stretch of the season.
Looking back to conference play, BU plays Hockey East first place Mass. –Lowell in a home and home series this Friday and Saturday. BC has a crucial home and home series of their own against Merrimack, a team tied for fourth in the conference with Maine and just one point behind both BC and BU.