None from the current crop of players on the No. 7 Boston University men’s hockey team was on the 2012 BU team that lost to Boston College in the Beanpot championship in overtime.
This year’s seniors were still a few months removed from Commonwealth Avenue when BC forward Bill Arnold scored the game-winning goal at TD Garden.
But four years later, this year’s team is pretty engrained in the Beanpot tradition, and now well acquainted with a similar heartbreak.
A scoreless, physical game throughout Monday night, No. 3 BC finally broke through 1:57 into overtime when Alex Tuch wristed home the first and only goal, defeating BU 1-0 in the Beanpot title game.
BC (20-4-4, 11-1-4 Hockey East) has now won the Beanpot five times in the last six years.
“Certainly an exciting game for everybody in the stands, and the last two periods it was a competitive hockey game,” said BU head coach David Quinn. “That’s what people expect when they see BU and BC play, and up-and-down action, both teams had great chances in the second and the third, they certainly had a majority of the chances in the first and we felt very fortunate to get out 0-0 after one.”
It was scoreless for almost 62 minutes, but that’s not to say there isn’t a lot to talk about. We’ll break this one down in this Beanpot championship Pluses and Minuses.
Senior netminder Sean Maguire was on his game throughout the title game and really the entire Beanpot Tournament. BC had a good deal of chances throughout the first three periods of the game, but Maguire stood on his head just about every time.
One of the few times Maguire didn’t see the puck, though, things went wrong for BU (16-8-4, 9-4-3 Hockey East). After both teams tried to get their legs back at the beginning of overtime, the Eagles got the first real opportunity about two minutes in and made it count.
As Tuch skated into the high slot area, BU’s defense tried to contain him before he could shoot, but the bodies standing in front of Maguire caused an unintentional screen, setting up an unpleasant result.
“I think if I saw all of it I would’ve stopped it,” Maguire said after the game. “But he [Tuch] made a great shot, and the shot crossed body post in. That’s a pro-level shot.”
Slog of a start
Against a rival like BC, and in a game of importance such as this one, it’s generally pertinent to get things started in the first period on the right foot. The Terriers, however, did not have one of their better opening periods on Monday night.
One thing that stands out right away on the shot chart is the fact that BC not only attempted 32 shots in the opening stanza, but a majority of them came in the slot and home plate area. Life was not easy for Maguire, to say the least.
BU was mostly kept to the outside of the faceoff circles and did not really kick things into gear until the second period.
Sloppy play, Greenway to the box
For anyone who’s watched a BU-BC, you know it can get chippy and downright nasty during and after the play. This one was no different, especially on the BU end of things.
Freshman forward Jordan Greenway seemed to be in the middle of it all on Monday, drawing the ire from a lot of the BC contingent in the arena.
Greenway was involved in a play in the third period in which BC goalie Thatcher Demko was knocked down for a few minutes, and he also drew three penalties during one scrum in the second period, including a 10-minute misconduct. BU killed off all of the penalty time, but was without Greenway’s presence until early in the third period.
“Well certainly missed him, but I thought we continued to play a pretty good second period,” Quinn said. “…But any time you’re missing a guy who’s 6 foot 5, 230 pounds against that team with the big, strong D corps that they have for an extended period of time, it’s not going to help you, that’s for sure, but I don’t think that had anything to do with the outcome of the game.”
BU’s offense could not muster a goal in what turned to be Demko’s ninth shutout of the season (a new single-season BC record), but the real issue tonight was the lighting at TD Garden.
With 8:53 to play in the first period, the main lights above the ice slowly dimmed and then turned out. The teams skated around the ice to stay loose, but were eventually sent back to their respective dressing rooms. The situation was finally resolved after nearly 30 minutes, but it took longer than a normal intermission to get the lights up and running.
BC head coach Jerry York said after the game said both teams were offered the chance to play a 29-minute second period instead of finishing the first, but York said he and Quinn declined the opportunity.
Maguire nearly perfect
We’ve mentioned it in this article a few times already, but Maguire was good in this one — really good.
He kept BU in the game with 23-first period saves and finished with 41 stops on 42 chances. Maguire, for the tournament, saved 65 shots on 67 opportunities for a .970 save percentage. He wouldn’t carry the Beanpot trophy, but he did earn Beanpot MVP and the Eberly Award for the highest save percentage in the tournament.
The only two goaltenders to have a higher single-tournament save percentage than Maguire were former BU netminders John Curry (.985) and Rick DiPietro (.981).
Sarah will have more on Maguire’s stellar performance in her sidebar.
The first period was not one BU will be writing home about anytime soon. The rest of the game, especially from a defensive standpoint, the Terriers did a much better job in their own end.
BU pushed the Eagles to the perimeter and limited the number of “Grade-A” opportunities they could get on net. By game’s end, the total shot attempts were closer than the first period may have indicated, with BC holding a slight 68-62 edge.
“…I thought in the second and third period we did a much better job of being decisive and just making a decision and doing it with conviction,” Quinn said, “and that made everybody else’s job easier and that’s why you saw the dramatic drop in shots and scoring chances and made it a hockey game.”