Keeping the lid on
BC staves off late BU rally, wins Beanpot
It has been nicknamed “The Boston University Invitational’’ because of how often the Terriers have won the Beanpot. Last night, there was a sign in the stands at TD Garden that read, “It’s not the Beanpot, it’s the Jackpot,’’ referring to veteran BU coach Jack Parker, whose squad had won 12 of the previous 16 crowns.
But Boston College, which went into the final against archrival BU for the 20th time in the tournament’s 58-year history, had plans to rewrite that all-too-familiar script. The 10th-ranked Eagles (16-8-2) scored three times in the second period and then had to hold on in the late going to secure a 4-3 victory in front of a sold-out crowd of 17,565. BC, which last won the Beanpot in 2008 on the way to the NCAA championship, captured its 15th title. It was the 250th meeting between the programs.
BC junior John Muse was named not only the Eberly Award winner as the tournament’s best goaltender (a .955 save percentage) but he was named Most Valuable Player.
“The significance of the game from my viewpoint was that a lot of players have not won a trophy here at BC, our freshmen and sophomores,’’ said Eagles coach Jerry York. “So to win a trophy, I think it’s just a catalyst for our club. The juniors and seniors have won a lot of championships but the freshmen and sophomores have not been successful winning a championship, so that’s a really important phase of our program. I thought the game itself, if there was a classic Beanpot, that would be one of them.’’
Kevin Shattenkirk gave BU (11-12-3) a 1-0 lead at 13:36 of the opening period. He picked off an errant clearing attempt and gunned a shot past Muse (31 saves) from the left circle.
But BC tallied four consecu tive goals, beginning with one on the power play at 1:01 of the second. Cam Atkinson dished a backhand pass from his knees that caromed off a BU defender before landing on the stick of Steven Whitney. Whitney, in the right circle, took a shot that glanced off BU’s Sean Escobedo and past goalie Kieran Millan (28 saves).
At 12:33, the Eagles went ahead to stay. Carl Sneep teed up a slapper from the right point that glanced off Escobedo and into the net, making it 2-1. Chris Kreider, fresh from the penalty box, then blew past a defender in the left circle, cut inside, and beat Millan inside the right post to make it 3-1 at 15:48.
Barry Almeida added the fourth goal, at 4:22 of the third period, with a shot from the left circle that beat Millan over his glove.
BU got one back at the nine-minute mark when David Warsofsky potted the Terriers’ ninth shorthanded goal of the season. Warsofsky beat Muse with a high backhand shot from the slot to pull the Terriers within a pair.
Then Colby Cohen, one of the Terriers’ best clutch performers, pulled his team within one. With BU skating on a six-on-four advantage and Millan on the bench, Cohen rapped in a rebound of a Nick Bonino bid with 2:46 remaining in regulation. But that’s as close as the Terriers came despite two terrific late bids by Bonino with under 20 seconds left.
Parker thought it was an outstanding match, other than the result.
“I thought it was a great college hockey game,’’ he said. “We let it get out of hand in the second period. I thought we played a real solid first period. But typical of the games we’ve played this year so far with this team, closely contested, real emotional, I was real pleased with my team tonight.
“In general, it was a real good effort. It’s a game of mistakes, we made a couple, they made a couple, but we certainly put on a pretty good show for the Garden faithful.’’
Nancy Marrapese-Burrell can be reached at email@example.com.