Boston University earns 27th Beanpot title
Boston University is in familiar territory. Thanks to MVP Pete MacArthur, the Terriers skate away with their 27th Beanpot title.
BOSTON -- Another year. Another hero. Another Beanpot title.
It was business as usual for the boys from Boston University on the second Monday night in February as the Terriers beat Boston College 3-2 at the TD Banknorth Garden to capture the 54th Annual Beanpot.
Last year it was freshman Chris Bourque who picked up the MVP honors after scoring the overtime winner against Northeastern. This year, sophomore center Pete MacArthur brought home the honor after scoring the game-winner and adding an assist on a pair of highlight-reel plays.
The win gave the Terriers (18-8-2) their 27th overall Beanpot -- including their 10th in the last 12 years. It also extended BU's current win streak to a nation's best 11 games as Jack Parker's club now hasn't lost since Jan. 6.
"You can't overestimate the answer that Peter MacArthur made right after they made it 2-2," Parker said. "We came right back on the power play and scored. It brought us right back to the top of our game and didn't allow them to build any momentum.
"I thought that was huge."
BC (19-7-2) had tied the game at 2-2 on a goal by right wing Stephen Gionta at 6:24 of the third period. Just 23 seconds later, center Brian Boyle was whistled for an ill-timed high stick against Jason Lawrence. And BU, which was 0-for-4 on the power play, wasted little time in converting its next chance with the man-advantage.
"The first thing that came into my mind at that moment was, 'All right, we're going to score right now and take the wind out of their sails,'" MacArthur said.
And he delivered on his thought and even told goalie John Curry about what he planned to do. "Pete came over to me after they took the penalty and said, 'We're gonna score here.'" Curry said. "I couldn't believe he was able to pull it off."
It only took 26 seconds.
Defenseman Sean Sullivan was able to keep the puck in at the blue line and he fired a pass from the right point to Bryan Ewing in the left circle. He took a moment to settle the puck and then put a shot on Cory Schneider, who made the initial save but left a rebound for a waiting MacArthur who was right there to bat the puck out of mid-air and into the net for the 3-2 lead at 7:18.
The goal was MacArthur's 12th of the year, which ties him for the team lead. And his assist meant that he's recorded multiple points in six of the Terriers' last 10 games.
|“||I think that we have the capability to do a lot this year and we're not going to stop short of anything we're capable of. We're going to enjoy this, but I think we have some big things in store for this year.”|
|—BU goalie John Curry|
"It kind of hit me in the chest so I wasn't able to get my hands up in time," said Schneider about the game-winner. "It popped right to MacArthur and he just batted it in. Nice job by them to get open and get fortunate."
From there, BU was able to shut down BC to close out what has become an annual rite for the Terriers.
"It was a great defensive effort," Parker said. "We clamped down a lot in the second and third periods and didn't give them a lot of Grade A chances. That second period was one of our best periods of college hockey in a long, long time."
The Terriers limited the Eagles to just 11 shots over the final 40 minutes.
Quite simply, BC was outshot, outplayed and outworked.
"I thought the second period was our undoing," BC coach Jerry York said. "We were careless with the puck, lost a lot of one-on-one battles and had trouble getting the puck out of our zone. They just took control of the game in the second period.
"We didn't play for 60 minutes, so I'm disappointed in the effort."
BU was in great position to take a lead early in the game, thanks to a pair of BC penalties. Center Benn Ferriero was whistled for boarding Dan Spang at 10:24, and then left wing Nathan Gerbe was shown the box at 11:20 for hooking Brandon Yip.
The two penalties gave the Terriers a sizeable 1:04 with the two-man advantage.
But Schneider answered the challenge. He made several big saves and got help from the left post on an open-net try by Kenny Roche.
After the Eagles killed off both penalties, the momentum and the ice seemed to tilt in BC's favor.
When Ewing was called for high sticking at 17:21, the Eagles went right to work.
Boyle won the faceoff and sent the puck ahead to Chris Collins, who found a streaking Peter Harrold up the right side. The defenseman wheeled around Spang in the right circle and put a backhand shot on Curry. The prone Terrier goalie never had complete control of the puck and it went under his right arm and across the goal line -- possibly aided by the skate of BU defenseman Matt Gilroy.
It took just seven seconds.
And it gave the Eagles a 1-0 lead that they would take into the dressing room after 20 minutes. But right as the period ended, Spang and Collins collided against the boards near the BU bench. Spang ended up on top of Collins, who was on the receiving end of a knee to the neck -- intentional or not -- which sent a message that carried over into the second period.
BU had the jump early and often in the middle period and took the play to BC from start to finish.
Early in the period, MacArthur skated up the right board against BC defenseman Tim Kunes, pulled the puck back behind his left leg and then pushed it forward between his legs. The move seemed to freeze Kunes and MacArthur went around the freshman in the right circle and put two shots on Schneider as he skated from right to left across the deep slot.
The second shot, from the left circle, deflected off Schneider's left shoulder and back into the slot where a waiting Ewing buried to make it 1-1 at 4:07.
"I tried to make a move, which coach doesn't really like at the blue line, so if I messed that up I probably would have gone to the bench for the rest of the game," MacArthur said. "I just tried to make a move to the net and I wasn't able to finish it, but Boomer Ewing is great goal scorer and he went to the net, made a great play and finished it off."
The Terriers continued to pressure BC throughout the second period.
Freshman left wing Jason Lawrence, who scored the game-winner in last Monday's 5-3 Beanpot win over Harvard, picked up a loose puck in the neutral zone and skated into the Eagle zone before centering to Yip. The puck ended up back on Lawrence's stick and he sent the fluttering puck from the left circle to and through Schneider for a 2-1 BU lead at 9:52.
Despite having to kill off three penalties, the Terriers managed a 13-5 shot advantage in the second period.
"I thought it was a great college hockey game," Parker said. "BC played extremely well in the first period and we were back on our heels a lot. I thought we played a tentative game in the first but came back and played well."
Up next for No. 5 BU is the final three weeks of the regular season -- starting this weekend against New Hampshire -- before entering postseason play.
All of the recent Beanpot success hasn't necessarily translated into national tournament success. BU has made the NCAAs in eight of the last 11 years, but the Terriers haven't reached a Frozen Four since 1997 and haven't won a national title since 1995.
This BU team has the potential to be different.
"This is the best Terrier team I have seen in the last four or five years," BC's York said. "They are quicker and more creative and they used that tonight."
Curry, who had a lot of time to watch his teammates in front of him on Monday night, couldn't agree more.
"I think that we have the capability to do a lot this year and we're not going to stop short of anything we're capable of," Curry said. "We're going to enjoy this, but I think we have some big things in store for this year."
That would give Terrier fans another reason to celebrate the boys from Beanpot University.
David Albright is the senior coordinator for college sports at ESPN.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.