College goalie posts inspiring tournament performance after season marred by concussion

Sean Maguire put up an incredible performance in the Beanpot despite a disappointing result.

Monday night was supposed to be a shot at redemption for Boston University goaltender Sean Maguire as he manned the crease for the Terriers in the championship game of the Beanpot Tournament against a Boston College team ranked No. 3 in the nation. Maguire, a Pittsburgh Penguins prospect, is the only returning member of the No. 7 ranked BU team who has not won a Beanpot championship as he was forced to sit out the entirety of last season with a concussion.

Maguire was well enough to return to the crease this season, and as a senior, he was determined to finally earn his own trophy. But his efforts fell just shy Monday night. Maguire made 41 saves in the game — including 23 saves in the first period alone — and looked unbeatable as he shut out a BC offense ranked No. 4 in the country through 60 minutes of regulation. Then Eagles sophomore Alex Tuch played the spoiler as he finally beat Maguire on a shot through a double screen 1:57 into overtime to hand BC the 1-0 win.  

Despite the final score, Maguire’s performance completely upstaged that of opposing goaltender Thatcher Demko, a Vancouver Canucks prospect who set a new program record for shutouts in a single season by recording his ninth shutout of the year Monday night (the previous record holder was New Jersey Devils goaltender Cory Schneider). 

But it was Maguire’s performance that was the talk of the evening Monday. He held strong on breakaways and stuff attempts in the crease and turned aside the BC power play three times en route to winning the Beanpot’s Eberly Trophy, an award given to a goaltender with the best save percentage of the Beanpot, by posting a .970 mark through the two-game tournament. He also took home the Beanpot MVP award despite playing for the losing team. 

Maguire served as a reminder of how athletes should behave even in the face of adversity and tough losses. Although clearly devastated, an emotional Maguire patiently answered questions in a post-game interview with NESN and was the only BU player to sit through a post-game press conference — a stark difference from the behavior of Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton in his post-Super Bowl press conference Sunday. 

Maguire had plenty of reason to throw a pity party for himself. He will graduate BU as the only member of his class without a Beanpot championship, a trophy which is almost a rite of passage for any BU hockey player considering BU has won the Beanpot 30 times in the tournament’s 64-year history. Maguire also missed out on the chance to play behind Jack Eichel as the No. 2 pick in the 2015 NHL Draft enjoyed a historic season with the Terriers last year. 

There was no immediate success for Maguire this season, as he had to battle through the early parts of the year as he adjusted to playing in college games again for the first time in 18 months. But after starting the season 2-3-0 while splitting time in net with sophomore goaltender Connor LaCouvee, Maguire earned his spot as BU’s starting goaltender with an impressive 8-2-1 record in his last 11 games. He showed his mettle both in how he handled his lengthy absence and how he worked to get back in top shape once he returned.  

The Beanpot loss does not mark the end of Maguire’s story. There are still games left to be played this season at BU, and Maguire should have a chance to attempt an NHL career after he graduates. Perhaps by then the Beanpot loss will be just one more bump in the road to a bright future, and if Maguire’s resilience so far is any indication, he is bound to enjoy better days soon.