Boston College, Northeastern to meet in Beanpot final

By Richard Murray

Thatcher Demko - Boston College - 2014 Beanpot Tournament - Semifinals

Photo: Boston College goaltender and 2014 prospect Thatcher Demko stops a shot by Boston University forward Nick Roberto in Monday’s Beanpot Tournament semi-final game at TD Garden in Boston, MA (courtesy of Richard T Gagnon/Getty Images)

The 62nd annual Beanpot Tournament began on Monday, with four teams battling it out to see which schools would meet in next week's final. The first game featured Northeastern and Harvard, while Boston College and Boston University renewed their heated rivalry in the day's second game.

Northeastern 6, Harvard 0

In last season's Beanpot, Northeastern’s Kevin Roy (ANA) scored all but one of the Huskies goals, but it was a different story this time around.

Northeastern had six different goal scorers and stormed past Harvard, 6-0, in the opening round of the 62nd annual Beanpot on Monday night at TD Garden.

“We have developed a little more lately, and this is a different team than last year,” Northeastern coach Jim Madigan said.  “They come to practice and work everyday, and a lot of that has to do with the infusion of young energized players out there. The (seniors) are all excited about these younger players, and it is a group that gets along very well.”

Roy and teammates Braden Pimm, Torin Snydeman, Mike Szmatula, Colton Saucerman and Dan Hedges all found the twine. Roy finished with a goal and an assist.

Northeastern will face Boston College for the third time in four years for the Beanpot title. If Northeastern wins next week it would be the first team not named Boston College or Boston University to win the Beanpot since Harvard did it in 1993.

The Huskies juggled the defensive pairings as top pairing defenseman and captain Josh Manson (ANA) exited the game in the first period after receiving a game misconduct and major penalty for contact to the head.

“It was a big concern,” Madigan said. “He’s our captain and leader. We came in down a defenseman, so it put a lot of pressure on four guys back there. If they score on that power-play, it’s a different game.

Boston Bruins draft selection and freshman defenseman Matt Benning was able to step up with his team short on the back end. He dished out an assist on a power-play goal and was key to the Huskies penalty kill. Benning and goalie Clay Witt (27 saves) shutdown the Harvard power play as the Crimson went 0-for-7 on the man advantage.

“At one point we had three defenseman in the box,” Madigan said. “We had to tell Benning to double shift and it was kind of like youth hockey telling him not come off until we called him. He’s been very well coached.”

Boston College 3, Boston University 1

Johnny Gaudreau gets most of the attention for Boston College, and deservedly so, but linemate Kevin Hayes continues to produce and is currently the second leading scorer in the entire country.

Hayes scored the game-winner in lifting the Eagles past archrival Boston University, 3-1, in the opening round of the 62nd annual Beanpot on Monday night.

Gaudreau picked off a pass and set up an offensive zone rush with center Bill Arnold leading the charge. Hayes was able to sneak right in for an easy backdoor one-timer as BU goalie Matt O’Connor (29 saves) couldn’t get across the goal.

“Johnny picked off a pass, gave it to Billy and he got into space,” Hayes said. “It looked like he was going to go around the net, but luckily I was there. It was a wide-open net.”

BC will meet Northeastern in next week's Beanpot final.

Eagles freshman goaltender Thatcher Demko gave BU very little to shoot at, stopping 27-of-28 shots en route to his first Beanpot victory.

“It’s a huge situation, my first Beanpot and there is a lot of hype around the event,” he said.  “It didn’t take me too much [time] to get into the game. I was excited and had been looking forward to it. It felt good to get that first big [win].”

Eagles freshman forward Ryan Fitzgerald (BOS) scored the opening goal on the power-play by picking the top corner and beating O’Connor top shelf. Fitzgerald’s goal was the first time since 2006 a freshman opened Beanpot scoring for BC.

“The first goal by Ryan really helped us,” Eagles coach Jerry York said. “He made a really good play and that got us going.”

Islanders prospect and BU defenseman Doyle Somerby left the game after receiving a five-minute major for checking from behind and that penalty kill helped BU push back. After killing the penalty, the Terriers changed the flow of the game and started to create chances. Finally, Senators prospect Robbie Baillargeon beat Demko on a wrist shot from the top of the right circle.

Demko would not be beat again as the freshman made save after save.

Eventually, Gaudreau iced the game late with O’Connor pulled, scoring on an empty net.  The Hobey Baker favorite extended his point streak to 22 games, notching a goal and an assist. He leads the nation with 53 points.

“It’s fun to watch Johnny G., isn’t it?” York said. “Even from the bench I get shocked with some of the things he does with the puck. He was a certainly a catalyst for us tonight.”

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