Kreider enjoys moment

MVP more interested in raising iconic pot

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By Barbara Matson
Globe Correspondent / February 15, 2011

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When Beanpot officials handed Chris Kreider the MVP trophy after last night’s championship game, the Boston College sophomore winger had to force a smile. After scoring two goals and setting up Jimmy Hayes’s game-winner in BC’s 7-6 overtime win over Northeastern, Kreider scarcely looked at the fancy hardware. He said he wanted to put it down on the bench so he could get his hands on the good stuff.

“I wanted to get that Beanpot bad,’’ he said. “I don’t even know what the name of the [MVP trophy] was — I mean, I’m honored to get it, but you play so you can win the Beanpot.’’

When the portly little pot was finally handed to BC, that’s when Kreider broke out the grin, happily mugging for the cameras with his teammates, celebrating the Eagles’ third Beanpot title in four years. BC, ranked No. 1 in the nation, is 22-6-0 and riding high into a weekend home-and-home series against none other than Northeastern (10-12-6).

“We can enjoy the Beanpot for a few minutes,’’ Kreider said. “Then we prepare for the weekend.’’

Hayes put an exclamation mark on an incredible game at 6:00 of overtime, pushing BC’s 46th shot past NU goalie Chris Rawlings. The Huskies had 27 shots.

Barry Almeida started the winning play with a rush off the right wing, feeding a pass across the zone to Kreider, who sent the puck toward the net. The puck slid past Rawlings and Hayes punched through a maze of skaters to tip it into the net.

“I was trying to pass, actually,’’ Kreider said. “If I wanted to shoot it, I would have caught it and cocked it, but I was just trying to snap in the direction of Jim, because I saw him going hard to the net. I figured Jim’s going to snap on the net because that’s what Jimmy does.’’

Kreider, who’s from Boxford, scored a power-play goal at 11:44 of the third period to give BC a 6-5 lead in a game so ripe with goal scoring it nearly split down the middle. Kreider carried the puck down the left side of the NU zone, cut across the goalmouth, and lifted a backhander at Rawlings. The defensemen chasing him could only watch as the puck hit the goalie’s stick and fell into the net.

It was the third time BC took the lead in the highest-scoring Beanpot final decided by a single goal.

“There are certainly times after shifts when you’re spent,’’ said Kreider, “but you recover pretty quick when you acknowledge that you’re in such a big game and such a great atmosphere. It’s hard to stay tired, I guess.’’

Indeed, NU’s Wade MacLeod tied the game for the sixth time at 18:14 with a sharp shot from the right circle.

“[Northeastern] plays an honest brand of hockey just like we do,’’ said Kreider. “They get pucks to the net and they go and they go and they go — they don’t try to cheat the game. I think it’s a fun brand to watch, too. But it’s certainly not the most relaxing style of play.’’

Kreider has experience with pressure-filled games. He played in the World Junior Championship in January 2010, and he played for BC in the Frozen Four last April.

So like many of his teammates, he was composed in the intermission before overtime.

“There were actually a few smiles in the [locker room],’’ he said, “because you’re so excited to be a part of it.’’