Two NCAA titles in three years. The No. 1 team in the nation. And only now can Boston College also claim the undisputed college hockey bragging rights in its hometown.
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Defending champion BC won the Beanpot for the third time in four years on Monday night, beating Northeastern 7-6 when Jimmy Hayes scored 6 minutes into overtime. It was the Eagles’ 16th Beanpot in 59 years, but their first in back-to-back years since 1963-65.
"Our senior class is certainly going to be excited about that. In the modern era it’s the first time we’ve done that at BC," coach Jerry York said. "It’s a hard tournament to win."
Tournament MVP Chris Kreider scored twice and assisted on the winner for BC (22-6-0). Tommy Cross, who scored in overtime to beat archrival Boston University in the semifinals, had a goal and two assists, and John Muse stopped 21 shots for the Eagles.
The tournament pits the region’s four college hockey powers against each other on the first two Monday nights in February, but BC, Harvard and Northeastern have been so dominated by Boston University in the event that locals have referred to it as the "BU Invitational."
BU won 29 of the first 58 Beanpots, and it reached the championship game 25 times in 27 years before losing to BC in overtime in this year’s semifinals. The Terriers lost to Harvard 5-4 in the consolation game earlier Monday – their first fourth-place finish since 1980.
In fact, their appearance in the third-place game was so unusual that it even threw off the public address announcer, who mistakenly called BC’s first goal in the championship a "Boston University goal." The BC fans booed the mix-up, but there were plenty more goals to come.
"BU’s certainly won a lot of Beanpots – but always tight games," York said. "I think there’s been really good competitive balance through the years. … If you’re looking for competitiveness and tight games, Monday nights in February seem to bring that to us."
Brodie Reid scored twice for Northeastern, and Wade McLeod had two assists and a game-tying goal with 1:54 left in regulation to force overtime. Chris Rawlings made 39 saves for the Huskies(10-12-6), who have not won the tournament since 1988 – the longest drought of any of the four Beanpot schools; BU won in 2009, and Harvard last won in 1993.
"Going into the game, I’m very much aware that we haven’t won it in 22 years. That’s all I hear about," Northeastern coach Greg Cronin said. "I was doing the Hail Mary and the rosary and everything else to get that cloud off us."
Northeastern led 2-1 after one period, and it was tied 4-all after two. BC scored twice in a 92-second span midway through the third period, tying it when Bill Arnold scored and drew a slashing penalty on the play; Kreider scored on the resulting power play to make it 6-5.
McLeod sent it into overtime, but once there BC outshot the Huskies 6-0.
BC finished it off when defenseman Brian Dumoulin sent a crossing pass to Kreider, who fed it into Hayes for the one-timer. BC players poured over the boards to celebrate, and they remained on the ice kissing the silver Beanpot trophy long after the sold-out crowd of students had returned to their respective campuses.
Kreider was less interested in his MVP trophy than the tournament prize.
"I just wanted to win the Beanpot," he said. "When you go to BC, Harvard, BU or Northeastern – that’s what you go there for, to win the Beanpot. I wanted to put (the MVP trophy) down so I could hold the Beanpot. Guys want to be a part of it."