By Matt Noonan
BOSTON, Mass. – Boston College punched its ticket to its fifth straight Boston Beanpot championship as the Eagles defeated archrival Boston University, 3-1, in the tournament’s semifinal on Monday evening at the TD Garden.
With the win, the Eagles advance to next Monday’s championship against Northeastern, a squad they defeated last season, 6-3. BC also defeated Northeastern in the 2011 championship, 7-6 (OT).
Ryan Fitzgerald, Kevin Hayes and Johnny Gaudreau each netted goals for the Eagles, while Thatcher Demko deflected 27 of 28 shots between the pipes.
“He’s been a good goaltender for a lot of years,” Boston College head coach Jerry York said of his team’s netminder. “I don’t think it was a surprise that he could handle something like this (game).”
The shot Demko was unable to defend, though, was a strike from the top of the slot by BU’s Robbie Baillargeon at 6:43 in the third period, which was assisted by Danny O’Regan. That tally sliced the deficit and brought the Terriers within one point, but it didn’t spark any additional strikes as the Eagles defense turned away potential scoring chances before Gaudreau sealed the win by flipping the puck into an empty net with 30 seconds remaining.
Gaudreau, who entered the contest with a 21 game point-streak, extended it the streak to 22 games. He currently leads the Hockey East in point scoring with 53 points (24 goals and 29 assists), as well as all Division 1 hockey players in goals and points.
“It’s fun to watch Johnny G.,” said York with a big smile. “If you like hockey, see what he does with the puck, (especially by) the plays he makes.
“Sometimes he even shocks us with some of the things he does with the puck and he certainly was a catalyst for us tonight.”
BC, which has now defeated BU three times this season, will look to earn its third straight win over the Huskies this season. In their prior meetings, which took place in November, the Eagles defeated the Huskies, 4-2 and 4-3.
Yet, despite two early season victories, York knows Northeastern will provide challenges for the Eagles.
“Jim (Madigan) has done a terrific job with his club,” said York. “There’s no surprise that they’ve won so many games this year. They’ve got a really good club.”
As for BU, they’ll look to bounce back in the consolation match next Monday, which is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. They’ll be facing Harvard, a squad that defeated them in the same game last season, 7-4.
“We certainly understood the challenge we had tonight and I can’t tell you how proud I am of our team. I thought we were ready to play from the get-go,” said Boston University head coach David Quinn. “We competed from the drop of the puck until the whistle blew.
“I said to them, ‘We’ve still got a lot of hockey left.’ There was nothing I was going to say that was going to make them feel better, but the season isn’t over, we need to build on this, we’ve got nine games left I think and we’ve set the bar a little bit higher than we’ve been playing lately, so we’ve got to make sure that we take this approach, not only during the Beanpot when we’re playing BC, but for the rest of this season. If we do that we’re going to crawl back into this thing and put ourselves in a good position.”