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It’s another full pot for Arnold

BC wing feeds off atmosphere

By Diana C. Nearhos
Globe Correspondent / February 14, 2012
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Boston College forward Bill Arnold grew up watching the Beanpot from the stands. The Needham native thought he had achieved the ultimate dream when he scored a goal in last year’s championship game, but he topped that this year.

Arnold scored with 6.4 seconds left in overtime last night to give the Eagles a 3-2 victory over rival Boston University at TD Garden.

Linemates Barry Almeida and Steven Whitney demonstrated their strong passing skills to set up Arnold. On an odd-man rush, Almeida pushed the puck ahead to Whitney, who sent it across the ice to Arnold. The sophomore fired a wrister past goaltender Kieran Millan high to the glove side.

Arnold, who skated to center ice and did a belly-flop before he was mobbed by teammates, was modest after the game, saying the win was more important that who scored the goal.

“We won last year [against Northeastern] and we won again this year and that’s what it’s all about,’’ said Arnold. “To score the goal feels nice, but winning is what’s important. And that feels much better.’’

Arnold grew up a BC fan after being introduced to the Eagles by his best friend’s parents, both of whom were alumni. He never missed a Beanpot, securing a spot in the stands every year until he earned his place on the ice last year.

Having grown up around the tournament gives it a bit of extra meaning; the local kids know all the history before they even step foot in the Garden.

Of the 27 players on BC’s roster, 10 are from Massachusetts and another six are from other New England states.

“We definitely had to explain to some kids what the Beanpot was, but there are a lot of kids from Massachusetts who grew up watching it,’’ Arnold said. “I guess that adds something to it, but the kids who aren’t from Boston are feeling just as good right now.’’

The Beanpot is electric and the excitement draws in newcomers quickly, whether they are players in their first tournament or kids in the stands.

Growing up, all youngsters pretend to score the championship-winning goal.

“You play out certain scenarios, but I don’t know if I ever dreamed of this exact one,’’ Arnold said. “It doesn’t matter who scores, you just want to win it, that’s an incredible feeling.’’

The goal was Arnold’s 13th of the season, surpassing the 10 he scored last year, and the first since moving to a line with Almeida and Whitney. The trio was on the same line for part of last season and has proven to be dangerous.

“Barry and Steve are two guys that are really fun to play with,’’ said Arnold. “I think we have chemistry and both of them made great plays on that goal that I was the benefactor of.’’

Arnold last season was the team’s highest-scoring freshman with 20 points, and was part of a team that won the Beanpot, regular-season Hockey East title, and tournament championship.

So far, he has topped it with the winning goal in a second Beanpot championship, this time over his team’s biggest rival.

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