The Takeaway: Boston College Wins 18th Beanpot Championship

Posted by: Joe Meloni

BOSTON — Boston College defeated Northeastern, 6-3, on Monday night to win the 61st Beanpot championship. The victory gave BC its 18th title and fourth in a row.

After a scoreless first period, BC scored twice in 1 minute, 15 seconds in the second period to establish a 2-0 lead. The goals came from Bill Arnold and Johnny Gaudreau. Kevin Roy halved the lead at 15:04 of the period, but the Eagles struck twice more before the end of the period and carried a 4-1 advantage into the third.

Roy scored his second of the game — fifth of the tournament — 11 seconds into the third and Braden Pimm redirected a Vinny Saponari shot past Parker Milner 2:45 later to make it 4-3. The Huskies created several scoring chances on Milner, but they failed to tie the game. Gaudreau’s second of the game at 14:37 of the third gave the Eagles a 5-3 lead, and Pat Mullane’s empty-net goal sealed the 6-3 win with 1:28 remaining the game.

Mullane, the Eagles’ captain, heads a senior class that became the first at BC to win a Beanpot all four years. Roy picked up the tournament’s MVP award despite playing on the losing team. He scored three goals in NU’s 3-2 win over Boston University last Monday to go along with the two he managed against BC.

What I Saw

  • Three of BC’s second-period goals resulted directly from Northeastern defensive mistakes. The Eagles thrive on pressuring the puck at all times. Whether on the penalty kill, forechecking or fighting for a tying goal late in the game, BC’s forwards never make it easy for the opposition. Northeastern navigated the waves of forwards effectively for the most part. The Huskies’ few mistakes, however, quickly turned into goals. On BC’s first goal, Mike Gunn in a race for a puck, which left him out of position. A similar lapse from Cody Ferriero cost NU on the Eagles’ third goal. The Huskies didn’t make too many defensive mistakes on Monday night. Then, BC doesn’t need many to capitalize.
  • BC’s skill kept Northeastern’s forwards on their heels for most of the game. Among the Huskies’ best weapons is their forecheck. Moreover, the BC defensemen have struggled to start effective breakouts for long stretches this season. Aggressively attacking the puck-carriers and forcing them into undesirable passing options leads to goals. Northeastern used this same blue print to create some scoring last week against BU. Monday night, they were too cautious in attacking BC’s suspect defensemen, and it led to easy breakouts for the Eagles.
  • Michael Matheson’s emergence on the blue line for BC has prevented some of the issues it experienced in January from becoming long-term problems. BC’s defensemen are fantastic defensively as a group. Their puck movement has been an issue at times this season, especially when Patch Alber suffered a torn meniscus in December. Matheson, the best of a group of four BC defensemen, also missed some time in January with concussion issues. Since returning — and for most of the season — Matheson has been one of the best blue liners in Hockey East. Monday, he  finished the night with an assist and a plus-2 rating. Aside from his offensive contribution, he continues to play excellent defensive hockey for the Eagles.

What I Thought

  • Roy’s pair of goals on Monday helped him become the first player from a losing team to win tournament MVP since Sean Fields in 2004. Roy scored five goals in the two games — three last week against BU and two against the Eagles. In its two Beanpot games, Northeastern scored six goals. Roy’s freshman season began with some question marks given the cloudy route he took to Northeastern. Since, he’s emerged as one of the best players in Hockey East. His Beanpot performance left him with 17 goals on the season to go along with 15 assists. The Anaheim Ducks’ draft pick has Northeastern fans excited about his time at Matthews Arena. Should he stay for at least three seasons, Roy won’t fail to endear himself even more.
  • This tournament may’ve meant the resurgence of Gaudreau. Prior to Monday’s final, Gaudreau had scored just once in his previous seven games. His usual dazzling playmaking was present, but he failed to provide the goals BC needed to win games. Against NU, he scored twice in two very different fashions. His first came after pestering a Northeastern defenseman behind his own net to steal a puck and walk out in front of Rawlings. His second tally began with dazzling puckhandling from Matheson and good work along the wall from Steven Whitney. Gaudreau, just onto the ice, darted from the bench to the slot to send Matheson’s pass into the goal. His assist on Mullane’s empty-net goal gave him three points on the night and 36 for the season. This is usually the time of year when BC starts clicking, and Gaudreau looks ready to lead the way.
  • With all the trophies and astounding plays made by Gaudreau, it’s not surprising that some BC players would be lost in the shuffle during conversations for national and regional awards. Whitney and Hayes, however, deserve some recognition for their contribution to BC on the season. Aside from their remarkable offensive campaigns, the pair has spent most of the second half playing defense on the penalty kill. With Alber out and an inexperience group, York has opted to his talented wingers on the blue line when the Eagles go down a man. They’ve thrived in the role. On Monday, Whitney’s goal with 0.4 seconds remaining in the second period turned the game completely and proved the game-winning goal. Whitney’s dogged pursuit of the puck until the period was over created the scoring chance. Hayes’ silky puck movement — and a misplay from Northeastern — created BC’s first goal.

What They Said

“Credit to our coaches. … There was no negativity on our bench. We stayed composed. We knew what our job was, and I think we played pretty well after that.” — BC captain Pat Mullane

Northeastern responded to BC’s 4-1 lead with two quick goals in the third period. For long stretches of the season, the Eagles have looked uncharacteristically flappable. They’ve struggled to find the second or third gear they so often use to blow past teams. Additionally, third periods haven’t always yielded the suffocating and smart defensive play that makes it impossible for opponents to overcome deficits. When Northeastern struck twice early in the third, BC seemed headed for a similar fate. They weathered the Huskies’ onslaught, though, and Gaudreau’s clincher eventually put the game away.

Teams have often used this tournament as a springboard for even more success later in the season. BC’s win on Monday wasn’t as smooth as many its seen in the past. It was, however, another successful hunt for a trophy for York’s club.

What They Didn’t Say

Northeastern coach Jim Madigan is an alumnus of the university. A former administrator at the school even. The school has, obviously, been a major part of his life, and the Beanpot means more to him than it does to most. After last week’s win to advance to Monday’s final, Madigan was excited about the possibility of ending the program’s 25-year drought in the tournament. Naturally, the loss in the final was pretty devastating for the coach. He talked about how his club has more to play for this season, and it does. It was clear, though, that Madigan saw this as a great opportunity for his program. There will be more chances to win trophies, but it’s clear this one won’t sit well with the second-year coach.

What Else You Should Know

  • Northeastern defenseman Josh Manson left the game after the first period with an apparent injury. Madigan referred to it as a “mid-body injury” in jest, but he seemed to be favoring his ribs when he left the ice in the first. His status moving forward is questionable.
  • Northeastern winger Ludwig Karlsson missed the game with an injury. He’s missed most of the second half for the Huskies.
  • Milner won the Eberly award as the tournament’s top goaltender.
  • Harvard defeated Boston University, 7-4, in the consolation game before the final.

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