BC denies NU bid, wins Beanpot in OT
Only four players who dressed for Northeastern last night in the 59th Beanpot championship game against Boston College had been born the last time the Huskies won the title. It was 1988 and the oldest player on the team now — senior defenseman Mike Hewkin — was just 16 months old.
In addition to the coaches and players, the fans and alumni were crossing their fingers that this was the year the drought would end. Unfortunately for them, though, they will have to wait at least another year.
Junior forward Jimmy Hayes scored from the top of the crease at the six-minute mark of overtime for a 7-6 win, lifting the No. 1 Eagles to their third Beanpot crown in four years and second in a row in front of 17,565 at TD Garden. BC sophomore left wing Chris Kreider received the most valuable player award, scoring twice and assisting on Hayes’s winner.
BC improved to 22-6-0 and NU is 10-12-6. Coach Jerry York had nothing but praise for the Huskies.
“They’ve really become a very, very good hockey team,’’ he said. “I think [coach Greg Cronin] has done an outstanding job with the program. They compete hard, they play very disciplined hockey. They’re strong from the goaltender to the defense to the forwards. It was a really hard win for us to accomplish. I feel very good about the ‘W’ but also the fact we beat a very, very good hockey team.’’
For Hayes, a Dorchester native, it was a dream come true not just for himself, but for all of the Eagles.
“I don’t know where it ranks,’’ he said. “I was more excited just to celebrate with my team. That’s what we strive for all year. We set goals at the beginning of the year and this is one of our goals we wanted.’’
The Eagles got on the board first at 9:12 of the opening period on a goal by junior defenseman Tommy Cross.
The Huskies rallied to tie it during a power play on defenseman Luke Eibler’s shot from the right point at 17:04. NU took the lead at 18:12 on another man-advantage tally. With the Huskies skating four players to three for BC, right wing Brodie Reid got his first of two when he beat senior goalie John Muse (21 saves) on a one-timer from the left circle.
BC pulled even in the first minute of the second period when sophomore center Pat Mullane capitalized on a fortuitous bounce and beat sophomore goalie Chris Rawlings (39 saves) from the left circle at the 53-second mark.
Left wing Rob Dongara made it a 3-2 Huskies lead on a shorthanded goal. Hewkin made a tremendous defensive play to spring Dongara, who raced up the left side and then cut in. He outdueled BC sophomore defenseman Philip Samuelsson and roofed a shot over Muse at 2:47. It was the third straight NU goal scored by a freshman.
The Eagles tied it up again during a power play at 5:25. The team displayed some spectacular passing skills with Kreider finishing it off from the slot after taking a perfect feed from Mullane, who was in the left circle.
BC went ahead, 4-3, when it beat the Huskies during a three-on-two at 12:07. This time it was sophomore right wing Steven Whitney, who converted a rebound to beat Rawlings to the far side.
NU scored its first even-strength goal to make it all square at 13:24. Just 12 seconds after being released from the penalty box, Huskies captain Tyler McNeely bolted to the net. Senior right wing Wade MacLeod took the initial shot and McNeely was there to bang home the rebound.
Reid regained the lead for his team when he scored his second of the night at 8:44 of the third. He got off the initial shot on his backhand from just to the right of Muse and the goalie stopped it, but he couldn’t stop Reid’s second backhand bid and it was 5-4. But the Eagles rallied for a pair of goals in 1 minute and 32 seconds to go back on top.
Freshman center Bill Arnold tied it at 10:12 when he converted on a give-and-go. Kreider potted his second of the night during a power play when he drove hard to the net, cut into the slot, and kept going. Rawlings pokechecked the puck but it bounced up and glanced off the body of Kreider and past the netminder at 11:44.
NU pulled even again with 1:46 remaining in regulation. Senior center Steve Silva had the puck in the slot and relayed it to MacLeod in the right circle. MacLeod’s one-timer beat Muse and it was on to overtime tied at 6.
For Cronin, it was an obvious disappointment to be so close and come up empty-handed.
“That game had more drama, back and forth, character from both teams,’’ said Cronin, whose team faces BC again twice this weekend. “I said to myself after the third period, ‘It’s a shame somebody is going to lose this.’ ’’
Nancy Marrapese-Burrell can be reached at email@example.com.