It was a play that would be frowned upon in youth hockey. And yet, there was the pass by Boston University’s Ben Rosen, the puck going far too close to an open goalmouth, the goalie in no position to do anything when Northeastern’s Kevin Roy intercepted the puck and poked it in.
Sure, Rosen was attempting a pass to teammate Sean Escobedo. But with the goal unoccupied it was risky at best, and calamitous at worst. And in looking at Rosen’s face once the puck had crossed the goal line, the BU player knew just how badly he had erred.
That goal put Northeastern up by a score 12 minutes and 36 seconds into the second period, and proved the key as the Huskies took a 3-2 win in the first game of the Beanpot tournament at TD Garden Monday night, with all of NU’s goals by Roy, a freshman.
“He’s opportunistic,” Northeastern coach Jim Madigan said. “I said to him before the third period started — we’re in the runway — you’ve got three in you. There’s another one in you. The bigger the stage for him, the bigger the event is, he likes to rise to the occasion.”
The play that led to the second goal started when BU goalie Matt O’Connor went behind the net to corral the puck. He sent it over to Rosen along the boards. And Rosen did what he never should have done.
“It was a little bit of a letdown, obviously, but mistakes happen,” BU captain Wade Megan said. “We need to move on when stuff like that happens. We’re a young team so that’s something that we need to keep learning along the way. What are you going to do?”
Roy finished with the first hat trick in the Beanpot since 2002. And for his team, he ended an even longer tournament drought. It was the first win for Northeastern over BU in the Beanpot since Feb. 8, 1988.
That was the last year the Huskies won the tourney, a feat they’ll have a chance to replicate next Monday against Boston College. And BU will move on to the consolation game.
“It was a real disappointing loss for us,” BU coach Jack Parker said. “We’re in a bad frame of mind here, bad stage of the season here for us. We’ve been up and down too much since we came back in January. It was not a solid 60-minute effort.”
Especially on the power play.
Near the end of the second period, after Northeastern had taken the lead, the Huskies seemed primed to give it right away. They allowed BU a five-on-three chance, followed immediately by a five-on-four, the penalties stacking up.
As Madigan said, “For my heart, it doesn’t do a lot [of good].”
In all, BU had six chances with the man advantage. The Terriers couldn’t get a single goal. That was partly because of excellent work by NU goaltender Chris Rawlings, who stopped 32 shots, and partly because of the work by his defense, which had been inconsistent this season. Madigan said, despite the situation, there was a “calmness and composure” on the Huskies bench.
Not so on the BU side.
“We just demoralized ourselves with the power play, 0 for 6 on the power play,” Parker said. “Only got four shots in. Northeastern did a good job killing it, but we kind of butchered ourselves on many occasions. That was the difference in the game.”
It was the first Beanpot game without a power play goal in five years.
It also marked the end of a chance at a Beanpot title for Parker’s seniors, including Megan, who have gone 0 for 4. That’s not exactly something that happens often at BU, a team with 29 titles.
The senior, when asked about leaving the school without a championship, nearly broke down.
“It’s pretty devastating,” Megan said. “Just wanted it so bad for my teammates, my classmates, the school in general, the BU community.”
For NU, this is something new. The Huskies are moving on to the second Monday with a chance to turn around years of defeat at the hands of BU and BC and Harvard.
The Huskies led after two periods — a good sign, given that the team came in 7-1-1 in that situation — and went up by two goals on Roy’s third, after he scored on a rebound from the side of the net.
Northeastern, though, wasn’t going to get away that easily, giving up a goal with 71 seconds left to bring the margin to just one.
But the Huskies came through. And next Monday, this Northeastern team will get a chance to do what just four of its predecessors have done — win a Beanpot title.
Not that Madigan is interested in the statistics or the the record of futility.
“I’ve heard all the facts and figures of what Northeastern’s record’s been the last  years, and this and that,” Madigan said. “At the end of the day, facts and figures don’t win hockey games. It’s will.”