Mass. College Hockey: Power Play Goals Lift No. 5 BC Past No. 7 Harvard In Beanpot Semifinal

Boston College freshman Casey Fitzgerald netted the quickest goal in the last 10 years of the Beanpot as the Eagles beat Harvard in Monday's semifinal. (Photo Credit: BCHeights.com)

Boston College freshman Casey Fitzgerald netted the quickest goal in the last 10 years of the Beanpot as the Eagles beat Harvard in Monday’s semifinal. (Photo Credit: BCHeights.com)

By Matt Noonan 

BOSTON, Mass. – A pair of second period power play goals by sophomore Zach Sanford and freshman Colin White proved to be the difference as the fifth-ranked Boston College Eagles defeated seventh-ranked Harvard University, 3-2, in the 64th Boston Beanpot semifinals on Monday evening at the T.D. Garden.

With the win, the Eagles will compete in their 35th championship in program history. Boston College will face either ninth-ranked Boston University or Northeastern University next Monday, February 8 at 7:30 p.m.

The Crimson will compete in the consolation game with puck drop scheduled for 4:30 p.m.

Boston College freshman Casey Fitzgerald provided the Eagles with an early lead, potting his third goal of the season at 1:35 in the opening stanza. Fitzgerald’s goal was the quickest marker since Bryan Ewing lit the lamp 10 years earlier as a member of the BU Terriers.

Harvard, which did not register a single shot for close to 10 minutes, capitalized on its initial attempt as freshman Ryan Donato netted his first-ever Beanpot goal after racing into the Eagles zone at 9:47. Classmate Adam Baughman pushed the Crimson ahead, 2-1, minutes later as he slid the puck past BC junior goalie Thatcher Demko at 14:44. The goal marked Baughman’s initial collegiate marker.

The Crimson would not locate the back of the net for the remainder of the game as Demko turned aside 21 shots. Harvard sophomore goaltender Merrick Madsen denied 30 shots, including 13 attempts in the final session.

“(Boston College) played a strong game and were really able to limit us. (We) didn’t get the amount of zone time and possession of the puck that we needed (so we could) create more offense, so give them a lot of credit for (the win), but we’re disappointed and frustrated that we didn’t execute a lot of the things we needed to do to be more successful,” said Harvard head coach Ted Donato.

Monday’s win marked Boston College’s 12th consecutive victory against Harvard in the Beanpot, while head coach Jerry York improves to 14-1 against the Crimson.

“It was a good test for us,” York said following his team’s 18th win of the season. “I thought Harvard gave us all we could handle tonight, I thought the ability for us to kill (a late third period) penalty was a major factor, and then our five versus six – we never really let them get settled coming up the ice, so those are kind of key parts of the game.”

62nd Boston Beanpot: BC Claims Fifth-Straight Beanpot Crown, Tops NU 4-1

By Matt Noonan 

BOSTON, Mass. – For the fifth consecutive year, Boston College skated around the TD Garden with the coveted Boston Beanpot cup following their 4-1 victory over Northeastern University.

The win marked the third time in four seasons that the Eagles have topped the Huskies in the tournament’s final and claimed some additional hardware.

“It is something that we strive for and when you accomplish something you strive for it’s a real proud moment,” said Boston College head coach Jerry York, who has guided the Eagles to eight Beanpot championship victories in 15 attempts. “I think a quality we have is we’re happy for other peoples’ success, which is a hard quality to possess.

“Our seniors were talking about how it was great to win four straight as a class, but it was better to look at the freshman and see them win it for the first time. I think that is great that our team can be happy for each others’ success.”

Boston College has a lot to be happy about, especially after their team’s 22nd win. The Eagles, who’ve now won 19 Beanpot championships, will look to continue their momentum heading into the final stretch of the regular season.

BC is currently the top squad in the country and hasn’t dropped a contest since falling to Holy Cross after Thanksgiving.

“Everyone’s working hard every day in practice, no one is taking days off and no one hiding,” said BC senior captain Patrick Brown, who netted two goals last night, including the go-ahead strike at 14:30 in the third period.

“We’ve got talented guys, but they’ve got to work hard too and the guys with less talent have got to work harder.”

The Eagles worked hard for their team’s eighth consecutive win by setting up scoring chances, while assisting first-year goaltender Thatcher Demko, who finished with 29 saves.

“Each possession was just huge for each team,” said Demkow, who is now 11-1-2 between the pipes. “You never knew what was going to happen with guys going up and down the ice here and there, so it was a really fast paced game and a really fun game to be a part of.”

BC’s Kevin Hayes provided the Eagles with a 1-0 lead from the top of the slot during the first period before Northeastern answered in the middle frame with John Stevens, who redirected a shot attempt from Kevin Roy, which sailed past Demko.

The 1-1 tie concluded during the final minutes of the third period when Brown tipped a shot attempt by Isaac MacLeod from the point into the Huskies cage, which provided the Eagles with all the momentum.

“Isaac MacLeod works really hard and he’s always shooting for sticks, he’s got a great shot pass,” said Brown. “I was just trying to find a spot in the slot where he could hit my stick. I was getting mauled a little bit and I fell down, but just got my stick on it because he made a great tape-to-tape pass.”

Northeastern attempted to even the score and force an extra session, but a turnover in the neutral zone with less than two minutes to play resulted in an open net goal by Johnny Gaudreau, which sealed the win.

Brown scored his team’s final goal literally 30 seconds after Gaudreau’s strike when he raced down the nearside wing and flipped the puck past Northeastern goaltender Clay Witt.

“In the third period we just couldn’t match their speed in that third and they came at us and we didn’t have a quick enough response to that,” Northeastern head coach Jim Madigan said. “I thought we did a good job actually on their winning goal in tying up Brown down at the net and he was falling and he had a stick and somehow he got a stick on it and scored the winning goal.

“So, congratulations to (Boston College) and we’ve got another rabbit to chase – we’re chasing a Beanpot rabbit and we’re chasing a Hockey East playoff opportunity. So, we’ll take a day off and then get ready for UMass on Saturday.”

While Northeastern will have an additional day to prepare for the Minutemen, a squad that recently defeated them 3-0, Boston College will get back to work on Friday when they travel to Vermont for a weekend series with the Mountaineers.

Both teams aren’t schedule to face-off again this season, but could meet in the Hockey East playoffs.

62nd Boston Beanpot: BC, Northeastern To Square Off In Beanpot Championship

By Matt Noonan 

Boston College will look to capture its fifth straight Boston Beanpot championship this evening when they meet Hockey East foe Northeastern University at the TD Garden at 7 p.m.

The 62nd Beanpot Final will be a rematch of last year’s championship, which saw the Eagles claim a 6-3 win. BC also defeated Northeastern in the 2011 title match, 7-6 (OT).

The 62nd Boston Beapot begins this afternoon with Harvard vs. Northeastern followed by Boston College vs. Boston University. (Photo Credit: BeanpotHockey.com)

The 62nd Boston Beapot Championship is the evening between Boston College and Northeastern University. (Photo Credit: BeanpotHockey.com)

Northeastern hasn’t hoisted the coveted trophy since 1988, the same year the Denver Broncos lost in the Super Bowl. Prior to the Huskies’ first contest last Monday against Harvard University, the Broncos lost to Seattle in Super Bowl XLVIII, 43-8 (maybe that’s a good omen for the Black and Red?).

The Huskies have won four tournament championships, but this particular squad might be able to provide the university with its fifth.

Against the Crimson, the Huskies were able to net six goals from six different skaters, while goaltender Clay Witt did his job between the pipes, stopping 27 shots en route to his 14th win of the season.

Northeastern ranks second in the Hockey East in scoring offense. They’ve netted 91 goals this season. 34 of their strikes have been recorded in the final frame. The Huskies have also recorded one goal in the extra session, which came off the stick of Braden Pimm against Providence College on January 7.

Kevin Roy leads the Huskies in point scoring with 33 points (15 goals, 18 assists). He netted one goal last Monday in his team’s 6-0 win over Harvard, which ended his scoring drought. He hadn’t located the back of his opponent’s cage since scoring one goal against UMass on January 4.

Boston College isn’t new to the title game. In fact, this will be their 34th appearance in the championship. The Eagles have faced the Huskies four times prior to this evening’s clash and have won three of those meetings.

Eagles head coach Jerry York has guided Boston College to seven tournament championship titles, including the unit’s last four championships.

Boston College ranks first in the conference in scoring offense (123 goals), as well as first on the power play (24/108) and penalty kill (117/128). They’re second in scoring defense (60 goals).

Johnny Gaudreau leads all Division 1 skaters in points (56), goals (24) and assists (32), while Kevin Hayes ranks second in points (47). Hayes’s classmate, Bill Arnold, is fourth in the country in assists (30).

The Eagles and Huskies have faced-off twice this season with Boston College winning both contests.

Prior to BC-Northeastern, Boston University and Harvard will skate in the consolation match. Both teams met in this game last year with the Crimson claiming a 7-4 victory. The Terriers rebounded and earned a spot in the conference championship, but fell to UMass Lowell, 1-0. That game was the final contest that legendary head coach Jack Parker coached.

Follow updates from this evening’s Beanpot Championship on Twitter (@NoontimeSports or @NoonSportsBlog). Matt Noonan is the head editor/founder of NoontimeSports.com. He can be reached at NoontimeSports@gmail.com

62nd Boston Beanpot: BC 3, BU 1 (Game Summary)

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.”

Mass. College Hockey: 62nd Boston Beapot Preview

The 62nd Boston Beapot begins this afternoon with Harvard vs. Northeastern followed by Boston College vs. Boston University. (Photo Credit: BeanpotHockey.com)

The 62nd Boston Beapot begins this afternoon with Harvard vs. Northeastern followed by Boston College vs. Boston University. (Photo Credit: BeanpotHockey.com)

By Matt Noonan 

The 62nd Boston Beanpot is set to commence this afternoon with Harvard and Northeastern facing off in the late afternoon contest, which will be followed by Boston College and Boston University.

The Eagles will attempt to defend their title by skating into their fifth straight Beanpot championship. As noted on the BC athletic website, if the Eagles were to capture their fifth straight crown, they’d be one title shy of matching BU’s six straight championships from 1995-2000.

Yet, before we drop the puck, let’s meet all four teams that’ll be competing this afternoon and evening.

Boston College (19-4-3, 12-1-1) – Since falling to Holy Cross in November, the Eagles haven’t dropped a single contest. They have skated to a few ties, though, but have won various conference (Hockey East) and non-conference tilts.

On Friday, the Eagles defeated Providence College on the road, 2-0, thanks to Thatcher Demko, who earned his first-career shutout by stopping 30 shots. Johnny Gaudreau extended his point streak to 21-straight contests by netting her 23rd goal of the season. Gaudreau leads the Hockey East in point scoring with 23 goals and 28 assists. Behind Gaudreau are Kevin Hayes (19 goals, 26 assists) and Bill Arnold (eight goals, 28 assists), two players that skate on the same line.

Under head coach Jerry York, the Eagles are 26-12 in the tournament and have won seven Beanpot crowns.

Boston University (8-14-3, 3-8-2) – The underdog Terries will look to earn their first win against Boston College this season, as well as claim their first title since defeating Northeastern in 2009, 5-2.

First-year head coach David Quinn told BU Today that winning this tournament would provide his squad with a ‘big psychological lift’ heading into the final few weeks of the regular season.

As a team, the Terriers rank 10th in the Hockey East in scoring offense (2.48 goals per game), 11th in scoring defense (3.40 goals allowed per game), fifth on the power play (22-for-113), and have scored a majority of their goals in the second period (27). Ahti Oksanen leads the conference in power play points with four goals and nine assists, while first-year Nick Roberto has deposited seven shots and recorded 10 assists.

Harvard University (6-11-3, 3-9-3)It’s been quite some time since the Crimson skated into the championship contest. In fact, their last appearance occurred in 1994 when Harvard lost to Boston College in overtime, 2-1. Harvard’s last victory came a year earlier when they defeated Boston University, 4-2.

Ted Donato’s squad snapped a four-game skid on Friday by topping Princeton, 3-2. Harvard received three first-period goals from Greg Gozzo, Alexander Kerfoot and Jimmy Vesey to secure the win.

In 20 games this season, Harvard has registered 50 goals, 32 in ECAC conference play and 81 assists. The Crimson are averaging 2.50 goals per game.

Northeastern University (15-8-3, 8-5-1): The Huskies have been college hockey’s biggest surprise of the season. Predicted to finish last in the Hockey East, Northeastern is currently tied for second place with UMass Lowell.

Kevin Roy is tied for fifth in the conference in point scoring with 14 goals and 17 assists. He didn’t record a point in his team’s last outing against Notre Dame on January 25, but did register at least one point in the seven games prior to the Huskies’ 3-0 setback. Roy was named the tournament’s most valuable player last year. He was the first Northeastern skater to earn that honor since Bruce Racine did in 1988.

A win over Harvard would punch the Huskies’ ticket to their second consecutive Beanpot title, third in four seasons. Northeastern lost both championship contests to Boston College and haven’t hoisted the trophy since defeating Boston University in 1988.