by JOSHUA KUMMINS
BOSTON – The second Monday of February has just passed and the Boston College Eagles continued their recent dominance in the Beanpot Tournament, beating the Northeastern Huskies, 6-3, for the title in the 61st annual rendition at TD Garden.
With the win, the Eagles clinched the championship for the fourth year in a row and for the 18th time in history. NU’s 26-year title drought will have to wait another year to see an end, despite a 3-2 semifinal win over Boston University – its opponent during its last title in 1988 – last Monday, Feb. 4.
As BC head coach Jerry York stated, the Beanpot “takes two ordinary Monday nights in February and makes them special. With that in mind, here are some interesting storylines and stats, as penned from high above the ice (the ninth floor) on Causeway Street:
1. Kevin Roy
This rookie’s performance was certainly hard to top. The Huskies’ stunning freshman scored his first-career hat trick in the semifinal and two more goals in the championship defeat en route to earning Tournament MVP honors. College hockey’s top scorer among freshmen lit the lamp five consecutive times over the two weeks for NU, including a goal in each period of the semifinal win to account for all of the team’s scoring. According to long-time historian Tom Burke, that mark is believed to be a Beanpot first since BC’s Mike Powers tickled the twice five times in a row in a 9-8 win over Northeastern in 1973. As far as his MVP honor was concerned, it was the first in a defeat for his team since BU’s Sean Fields in 2004. He was also NU’s first MVP since goaltender Bruce Racine in 1988 and the seventh rookie in Beanpot history to take home the award.
2. Gaudreau leads Eagles, seniors to ‘Pot four-peat
With this Monday’s victory over NU, the Eagles earned their fourth consecutive Beanpot title, sending their senior class – Patch Alber, Brooks Dyroff , Milner, Pat Mullane, Patrick Wey, Steven Whitney and manager Tom Maguire – out with a perfect career record in the tournament. Leading the way was sophomore Johnny Gaudreau, who was named Tournament MVP last year, as he added two goals and an assist just one week after being shut off the scoresheet in a 4-1 loss to Harvard. With his goal and two assists in the title game, Whitney, a Reading, Mass. native, tallied at least one point in seven of his eight games to finish his career with six goals and 12 points. With the victory, the Eagles improve to 73-49 all-time in the Beanpot, including 33-9 against the Huskies.
3. Luke Greiner and Harvard’s compete in consolation
Harvard’s veteran centerman was very impressive on the ice in both games, capping off the consolation game with a shorthanded empty-netter with eight seconds to play for the tournament’s second hat trick in as many weeks. The Faribault, Minn. native has scored a goal in 18 of his 113 career games and no more than a single tally in any previously. In the 7-4 win to knock BU to fourth place for the second time in three years, the Crimson set a new season-high in goals, all after falling behind 2-0 in the first 12 minutes of the game. In his final Beanpot game, fellow senior Marshall Everson potted two goals for Harvard, one each in the second and third periods (like Greiner). Rookie Peter Traber was vital in the Crimson victory as he made 43 saves in his first-career win. Despite falling 4-1 to BC in the second semifinal, Harvard bounced back for their second win over the Terriers this season.
4. BU’s seniors shutout of title
For the first time since 1965, the Terriers’ senior class was held short of winning at least one Beanpot title in their careers. In fact, this group lost to Harvard in the consolation game in two of their final three seasons. BU has won nearly half (29) of the titles in the tournament’s 61-year history, but has now finished fourth five times, including in two of the last three years. BU tied a season high with 47 shots on goal in this past Monday’s defeat, but dropped its third game in a row, dating back to a 5-1 drubbing at UMass on Feb. 1. Harvard has compiled just a 2-13-2 mark since beating No. 10 Cornell in Ithaca, N.Y. on Nov. 16, 2012, but its two wins have both come against BU. In its last seven games this season, the Terriers stand at just 1-5-1 – their worst stretch since ending a skid of equal length on Nov. 21, 2009.
Odds and ends: Entering the tournament, Boylston, Mass. native and NU senior Robbie Vrolyk was the lone current Husky with a goal in his Beanpot career. At its conclusion, Roy had five goals and fellow senior Vinny Saponari added one in the title game. … Jim Madigan became the first NU head coach to lead the Huskies to a first-round Beanpot win in his second year behind the bench. … Harvard’s leading scorer Jimmy Vesey, a rookie from North Reading, was held from the point column in the opening round vs. BC and did not dress in the consolation win. … Half of BU’s four points in the semifinals came from Massachusetts native freshmen as Danny O’Regan (Needham) and Matt Grzelcyk (Charlestown) found the scoresheet in their first twirl on TD Garden. … BC’s win over Harvard continued a ten-game Beanpot win streak since the 1999 consolation game, while BU’s 15-game streak over the Huskies, which dates back to NU’s last ‘Pot title in 1988, was snapped.