Beanpot experience a dream come true for Boston-based players

By Richard Murray

Bill Arnold - Boston College

Photo: Boston College forward and Calgary Flames prospect Bill Arnold has added another Beanpot title to a resume that includes previous Beanpot wins as well as NCAA championships (courtesy of J. Meric/Getty Images)

As a child growing up in the Boston area, there is probably only one thing other than playing in the Stanley Cup finals for the Bruins that every young hockey player dreams of playing for and that is the Beanpot.

Boston College’s Bill Arnold has had the ultimate experience so far, winning all three of the Beanpot tournaments he has participated in. Arnold had a big goal to get the offense going by breaking a scoreless tie in Monday’s 6-3 win against Northeastern, in the title game. On the season, Arnold now has 23 points in 26 games. For the seniors at Boston College, they will leave the tournament undefeated.

“It’s a great feeling [to win the Beanpot], and it still feels great winning it for the third time,” Arnold said. “It’s also great because we got the freshman their first Beanpot win, and we know how special that is for them. It’s also really special for the seniors because they have won it all four seasons, and that is a crazy accomplishment.”

As if winning the Beanpot three times straight wasn’t enough for the Calgary Flames draft selection, Arnold also tallied the game winner in overtime against Boston University last season.

“Going to BC and being a part of the Beanpot is a dream come true, so scoring that [game winning] goal [last season] is something that I will never forget,” Arnold said.

Arnold now has now won three Beanpot tournaments, two NCAA national titles, and has represented the United States at the World Junior Championship, but playing in the Beanpot still ranks right up there for him.

With BC winning it’s fourth consecutive Beanpot, it left BU’s seniors without a Beanpot title. It was the first time since 1965 a BU senior class failed to win the tournament.

Boston Bruins prospect and Charlestown, MA native Matt Grzelcyk is only a freshman, but he and his teammates were hoping to win this tournament for the seniors.

“As a Boston kid, I really wanted to win this, but I don’t feel bad for myself,” Grzelcyk said. “I feel bad for my teammates, especially the seniors who never got to experience winning a Beanpot. I am disappointed that we couldn’t get one for them.”

There is obviously a lot of disappointment when BU doesn’t win the tournament because it has the most Beanpot titles with 29. Like the other Terriers, Grzelcyk was upset, but as a Boston native he also realizes what a great opportunity it has been to just participate in the games.

The BU defenseman will have more opportunities to try and bring the Beanpot back to campus.

“It’s tough to think about next season’s Beanpot because we really wanted to win this year, but it was a really fun experience out there on the ice,” Grzelcyk said. “Either way, I am excited at the prospect of playing in it again next season, and I hope that next year is a different outcome.”

BU has been struggling a bit as of late, so they will be depending on Grzelcyk and others to help turn the tide. Grzelcyk has 17 points through his first 25 collegiate games, but after being cut from the United States' World Junior team that won gold and now losing the Beanpot, he is ready for all tasks.

“I am trying to move forward, but I am definitely using the fact that I was cut [from the World Junior team] as a tool for some extra motivation down the stretch run,” Grzelcyk said.

Harvard freshman, Jim Vesey won gold at the 2013 World Junior Championship, but the North Reading, MA native and his team came up short in the Beanpot.

“It was a really good experience to play in this tournament, but it obviously wasn’t the result that we were looking for,” Vesey said. “I have been watching this tournament since I was a little kid, so it was an amazing feel to be on the ice for it. Playing in this tournament has been one of my goals since I was a little kid.”

Vesey, a Nashville Predators prospect, has 14 points through his first 19 games at the collegiate level and has won a gold medal at the WJC, but winning the Beanpot would have had a lot of meaning considering where he comes from.

“To some extent I might be a little bit more upset being from Boston, but I think everyone on the team regardless if they are from Boston or not knows how big the Beanpot is,” Vesey said. “We came out hard and battled hard, so it is disappointing to fall short.”

In 2014, Bill Arnold will try and grab his fourth consecutive Beanpot title, but Jim Vesey and Matt Grzelcyk might have something to say about that.

Follow Richard Murray on Twitter at https://twitter.com/Richie_Murray