Fans expected a tight contest; they got an instant classic.
On Monday night at the TD Garden in Boston, the #3 Boston College Eagles defeated the #2 Boston University Terriers to win the 60th Beanpot, 3-2 in overtime. BC’s 2012 title marks their third in a row and fourth in five years. Also importantly, Boston College is on a five-game win streak, bringing their record up to 19-10-1.
The Eagles netted the first goal of the game thanks to Pat Mullane at 8:54 of the opening period. Quinn Smith went to the penalty box for boarding, but being shorthanded was no problem for BC, as Mullane wound up his shot and blasted it past Kieran Millan to give the Eagles a 1-0 lead (Kreider assisted). BC would go on to have a number of prime opportunities to score for the remainder of the period, but they were unable to do so.
The next score was not until the second period, but in between goals, nine penalties were assessed to the two teams. It was Paul Carey’s hit from behind, however, that set up the equalizer. At 15:11, Garrett Noonan converted on the power play to tie the game for the Terriers at 1-1 (Nieto and Chiasson assisted). The tie was short-lived, as a few minutes later BU’s Sean Escobedo was rung up for a cross-check, and Chris Kreider did what he tends to do: score goals in Beanpot games. Kreider got on the board on the man-advantage to put BC back in front, 2-1, at 18:42 (Gaudreau assisted).
The third period did not feature as many penalties overall, but there were two critical ones. Steven Whitney went to the box for a high stick, and then 13 seconds later, Paul Carey was called for boarding (and Eagles fans were none too pleased). It took the Terriers about a minute after that to re-tie the game at 2-2, and once again, it was Garrett Noonan who leveled the score on the two-man advantage power play (Clendening and Chiasson assisted).
Shots were blasted by both teams as regulation neared a close, but both Millan and Parker Milner held their ground, and both defenses hustled to disrupt the other team’s puck movement. That could only lead to one thing: overtime.
For over 19 minutes of overtime, both teams had serious scoring chances while the referees swallowed their whistles and let the kids play. In one particular opportunity, a Boston College shot rang off the post, but on many others, Millan made tough save after tough save. Milner, for his part, stood up to a strong Boston University offensive attack and made some good saves of his own.
Just when it looked like the game was about to go to an unprecedented second overtime, the Eagles were able to take control of the puck in neutral ice for one last go. Steven Whitney and Barry Almeida set Bill Arnold up for a shot, which flew past Millan at 19:53 to give the Eagles a 3-2 overtime win.
Following the game, freshman phenom John Gaudreau was named tournament MVP.
The 2012 Beanpot final was a tremendous battle of wills; both teams left it all out on the ice and played exceptionally hard. One could tell just how much winning meant to them, and they played like it. The result was highly favorable, but in all fairness, give kudos to Boston University as they played an excellent hockey game; in particular, commend Kieran Millan, the Eberly Award winner, who stood up to BC’s offense 44 times.
The contest was intense, physical, and hard-fought, and featured a great atmosphere; thumbs-up to the Eagles fans who made their way to the Garden and were fired up from start to finish.
The Beanpot Trophy will remain at Boston College for another year, and this title may yet help propel them to greater things. There is still much work to be done in this regular season, however, and BC hockey will get back to business on Friday night against Merrimack.