BC and BU to meet for the Beanpot Tournament Championship

By DJ Powers

Boston College and Boston University will meet for the 18th time in the Beanpot Championship game next Monday night after both teams defeated Northeastern and Harvard respectively last night in the Beanpot opening games by final scores of 5-2 and 5-3. The Eagles will look to reclaim the tournament championship while the Terriers will look to repeat as champions.

Both games featured a little of just about everything. Many current (and some possible future) NHL prospects figured prominently in both games.

Boston College and Northeastern faced off in the early game that saw a combined 17 freshmen making their Beanpot Tournament debuts. Northeastern came out with some good early jump in the game and created several good scoring opportunities.

One line that the Eagles wanted to get more offensive contributions out of was the line combination of sophomore Dan Bertram (CHI) and freshmen Nathan Gerbe (BUF) and Brock Bradford (BOS). Boston College would get just that at the 8:36 mark when Bradford notched his fifth of the season and first in 16 games on a beautifully executed tic-tac-toe play. Bradford finished the play when he beat Huskies freshman goaltender Doug Jewer five-hole coming in the backdoor.

The Eagles got some great play out of their seniors and perhaps none stood out more than defenseman Peter Harrold, who was stellar at both ends of the ice.

Harrold netted Boston College’s next goal at the 11:48 mark with his fifth of the year. The goal came as a result of a communication breakdown by Northeastern that allowed Harrold to go in completely unchecked before beating Jewer with a nice backhander.

One area that the Huskies have had trouble in all season long has been the number of unnecessary penalties taken. Coming into the Beanpot Tournament, Northeastern led Hockey East in average penalty minutes per game with a whopping 23.92.

The number of penalties that the Huskies were taking would eventually catch up with them as Boston College extended their lead to 3-0 on a five-on-three power play when senior and Hobey Baker candidate Chris Collins tallied his 22nd of the year.

After giving up three goals in the opening period, Northeastern head coach Greg Cronin decided it was time for a change in goal. He pulled Jewer and replaced him with junior Adam Geragosian. Geragosian actually fared better than Jewer.

The second period saw Northeastern play their best hockey of the game. The Huskies did an excellent job of playing the body and worked hard in their pursuit of puck possession. The tenacity of the Huskies would lead to a couple of power play opportunities early in the period that they would fail to capitalize on.

That would all change at the 13:45 mark when junior Bryan Esner would finally get the Huskies on the board on the power play with his fifth tally of the year. Esner did a great job of following up a rebound that Eagles sophomore goaltender Cory Schneider (VAN) had given up.

After seeing their lead cut to 3-1, Boston College went back to work and put some significant pressure on Northeastern. However, Geragosian was up to the task and held the Eagles off the scoreboard.

As great as the Huskies played in the middle period, they weren’t able to continue it in the third period as Boston College began to gradually take over the momentum of the game and extend their lead in the process.

Once again, penalties would prove to be costly for Northeastern. At the 2:36 mark, diminutive senior Stephen Gionta would restore Boston College’s three-goal lead with his fifth tally of the year on the power play. Gionta redirected freshman defenseman Brett Motherwell’s cannon-like shot from the blue line that beat Geragosian for the score.

The elation would be short-lived as Northeastern still had some fight left in them.

At the 4:48 mark, freshman Dennis McCauley would cut the Eagles lead again with his fourth of the year. McCauley gloved down a shot that was flipped up before firing it by a sprawling Schneider for the score.

Northeastern would be given a glorious opportunity to cut into Boston College’s lead even further when Eagles freshman Andrew Orpik (BUF) would sent off for obstruction interference at 8:51.

Instead of benefiting the Huskies, it would be a heartbreaker for them as Collins notched his second of the game and 23rd on the season. It came off of a crucial turnover that would lead to Collins’ nation-leading sixth shorthanded goal. Collins was set up by Gionta who made a great heads up play to get the puck to his linemate who darted in all alone on Geragosian and slipped it by the Huskies netminder for the score.

Schneider would get the win stopping 28 of Northeastern’s 30 shots. Jewer ended up with the loss giving up three goals on ten shots.

Once again, Boston College’s sensational top line of Collins, Gionta and towering junior Brian Boyle (LA) came up big for the Eagles. The trio accounted for three of the Eagles five goals. Boyle did not register a point but did turn in a solid performance for Boston College.

Washington Capitals prospect and Northeastern sophomore Josh Robertson notched two assists for the Huskies in the losing cause.

With the win, Boston College would face the winner of the late game between Boston University and Harvard.

The late game was a rematch of the BU-Harvard game that ended in a 2-2 tie back on November 22nd at Harvard’s Bright Center.

The Boston University Terriers, riding an eight-game winning streak, were without the services of senior John Laliberte (VAN), who is still nursing a knee injury.

While the upperclassmen were much of the story for Boston College and Northeastern in the early game, the underclassmen would be a big part of the story for Boston University and Harvard in the late game.

The Terriers came out with the early jump and it didn’t take them long to get on the board. Sophomore Bryan “Boomer” Ewing would tally his seventh of the year at the 1:23 mark. He wristed a shot off of a nice feed from linemate, junior Ken Roche (NYR) that beat Harvard senior goaltender John Daigneau over his glove for the score.

Boston University took charge early and began to run with it. The Terriers did a nice job of creating chaos in the Crimson crease area.

Harvard would get an early chance to get the equalizer on their first power play of the game when Terriers junior defenseman Kevin Schaeffer (NSH) was called for interference at the 5:15 mark. Instead, it would continue to show the struggles that Harvard has been experiencing with the man-advantage of late.

At the 9:08 mark, the Terriers would extend their lead to 2-0 on one of the most spectacular goals scored in recent Beanpot Tournament memory. Boston University freshman Chris Higgins notched his fifth of the season that was one for the highlight reels. The play began with fellow freshman and linemate Brandon Yip (COL) getting the puck up to Higgins. Higgins then proceeded to skate down the left wing boards. He cuts through two Harvard defenders before pushing the puck towards the Crimson net. From there, Higgins proceeded to jump by Harvard sophomore defenseman David MacDonald (SJ) to retrieve the puck before slipping a backhander by Daigneau for the score.

While the goal was a setback for the Crimson, it wouldn’t take long before they would answer.

Harvard’s outstanding sophomores Paul Dufault and Jon Pelle would get together on the game’s next goal at the 12:06 mark. Dufault would register his sixth of the season to finally get the Crimson on the board. The came was another beautifully executed goal that came as a result of a key defensive mistake by towering Boston University junior defenseman Thomas Morrow (BUF). Dufault made a nice move to get around a Terriers defender before putting the puck behind a sprawling Boston University junior netminder John Curry for the score.

The Terriers continued to dominate going into the second period, which began on the power play for them.

It wouldn’t be until the 15:32 mark that Boston University would restore their two-goal lead. Senior Brad Zancanaro would notch his 11th of the season on the power play. Fellow senior and linemate David Van der Gulik (CGY) picked up the loose puck in the corner and made a nice feed to Zancanaro. The diminutive senior then proceeded to fire a shot behind Daigneau for the goal.

Things would go from bad to worse for Harvard in the latter stages of the period. With junior Ryan Maki (NSH) and freshman defenseman Jack Christian both in the penalty box on interference calls, Boston University was handed a five-on-three power play opportunity. It would be an opportunity that they would take full advantage of.

At the 18:26 mark, freshman Jason Lawrence would notch his seventh of the year that would become the eventual game-winner. The goal would also be hotly contested by Harvard head coach Ted Donato and the entire Crimson team. The goal got started with a booming shot from the blueline taken by Schaeffer. Lawrence provided a screen in front of Daigneau. As the shot came in, Lawrence redirected the shot that beat Daigneau five hole for the score. The protest by the Crimson bench stemmed from Lawrence’s right skate coming in contact with Daigneau stick prior to the puck’s arrival. After a review by the officials, the goal stood.

The final period saw Harvard play its best and most relentless hockey of the game. The Terriers netminder Curry would literally earn the win himself for Boston University. Harvard had two opportunities early in the period to cut into the Terriers lead but it was not to be. Nevertheless, the Crimson kept attacking the Boston University net.

The work and a little luck would finally yield Harvard’s next goal at the 6:09 mark when sophomore Alex Meintel notched his third of the season. Meintel banked in a rebound that Curry had given up off of senior defenseman Tom Walsh’s (SJ) initial shot from the point. As Daigneau tried to get into position to stop Harvard’s rebound opportunity, Terriers sophomore Peter MacArthur inadvertently knocked his goaltender out of position, thus allowing Meintel a relatively easy shot at the Boston University net for the score.

With the Terriers lead cut to 4-2, Harvard continued to press hard, forcing Curry to make save after save as the period went along.

At the 17:39 mark, sophomore defenseman Dave Watters would cut Boston University’s lead to 4-3 on his fifth tally of the year. The imposing Crimson defenseman rifled a shot off the draw that was won by Dufault from just outside of the faceoff circle. The wrist shot beat Curry top shelf for the score.

Needing just one more to tie the game and time winding down in regulation, Harvard kept the pressure on but time and again they would be denied by Curry.

At the 19:53 mark, with Harvard’s net empty in favor of an extra attacker, Terriers team captain Van der Gulik would put the frosting on the cake with his first of the year. The goal resulted from a great heads up play by senior defenseman Dan Spang (SJ), who picked up the loose puck near the corner boards in the Terriers zone and skate up the ice with it. In a classy and unselfish gesture, Spang opted to pass to Van der Gulik for the goal rather than taking the shot at the empty net himself.

Van der Gulik, along with Boston University’s top defensemen Schaeffer and Spang all finished the game with two points apiece.

The win, thanks to a 25-save third period and a 38-save overall performance by Curry, vaults the Terriers into another meeting with their familiar adversary from Chestnut Hill. Harvard’s Daigneau stopped 21 shots in the losing cause.

The Crimson’s valiant effort came up short and denied them once again at a Championship game appearance. They will meet Northeastern in the Beanpot Tournament consolation game, which is the early game, next Monday.

Copyright 2006 Hockey’s Future. Do not reprint or otherwise duplicate without permission of the editorial staff.