Northeastern wins Beanpot opener
BOSTON -- Boston University's quest for Beanpot title No. 30 will have to wait another year, as Kevin Roy and Northeastern dispatched the Terriers 3-2 in the opener of the 61st edition of the tournament at TD Garden on Monday.
"It was a big game for our guys," Northeastern coach Jim Madigan said. "Now we have a chance to win the Beanpot. The goal is to get to that second Monday with a chance to win."
The win was Northeastern's first over BU in the Beanpot in 15 games going back to 1988 -- the last year the Huskies won the famed tournament. BU's loss also means that its senior class will be the first since 1965 to graduate without a Beanpot crown.
"It's pretty devastating," said BU's senior captain Wade Megan, barely holding back tears.
Roy, NU's dynamic freshman from Quebec, was hardly fazed by the bright lights of TD Garden, tallying a goal in each period to pace the Huskies (8-13-3) while senior goaltender Chris Rawlings (32 saves) shut the door at the other end to deny the Terriers (13-11-1).
"For sure, it's a bigger stage, but I love to play those games," Roy said.
The squads traded goals in the opening period, with the Huskies lighting the lamp first just two minutes into the contest. After breaking up a BU rush in the neutral zone, former Terrier and current NU captain Vinny Saponari collected the puck and dished it to Roy on the right wing. Roy waltzed in on BU's Matt O'Connor (23 saves), but the big goaltender made a great right pad save. However, Roy and Saponari crashed the net, jarring the puck loose, and Roy shoved it in.
BU tied it at 5:53, when freshman Danny O'Regan finished off a spectacular passing play. Megan was sprung on the left side by a super touch pass from Evan Rodriguez, and then snapped a perfect cross-ice feed to O'Regan, who tucked a shot past Rawlings' left pad.
The Huskies forged ahead at 12:36 of the second, thanks to a gift from BU's defense. O'Connor, playing the puck behind his net, slipped a pass up to Ben Rosen. The senior defender immediately sent a pass to the slot, where an opportunistic Roy intercepted it, depositing the puck into a vacated net for an unassisted tally -- his second goal of the game -- and a 2-1 NU lead.
A questionable boarding call on NU defender Josh Manson gift-wrapped a present for BU at 18:58 of the middle stanza, seconds after the Huskies killed off an extended two-man Terriers power play. But the Terriers squandered the opportunity.
"We just demoralized ourselves with our power play," said BU coach Jack Parker, whose Terriers went 0-for-6 with the man advantage.
Desperate for the equalizer, BU turned up the heat in the third period with 13 shots but couldn't solve Rawlings. Roy put the game away at 15:22, making a tremendous play on a wild deflection. After Manson's point shot caromed off O'Connor, BU defender Garrett Noonan went to swat the puck into the corner. But Roy redirected the clearing attempt with the shaft of his stick past a startled O'Connor, netting the hat trick on his 15th goal of the season while giving the Huskies an insurance marker.
"It wasn't pretty, but when you go to the net, good things happen," Roy said.
The Huskies would need the extra goal. At 18:49, with O'Connor pulled for an extra attacker, BU's Matt Grzelcyk went on a rink-long rush, fired a shot that Rawlings blocked, collected his own rebound, and shoveled it in front. BU's Sahir Gill pounced, stuffing the puck past Rawlings to cut NU's lead to 3-2. But it was the Terriers' final bite, and BU was relegated to next Monday's consolation game.
"We weren't unfortunate tonight," Parker said. "Northeastern was the better team."