BU had a 2-0 week with a 4-2 win at Vermont and a 5-4 double-overtime victory over Boston College in the Beanpot semifinals. The come-from-behind Beanpot win stole the week’s headlines for good reason, so this column will be very Beanpot-heavy, but as always, here is my weekly column about the state of BU men’s hockey. All opinions are my own.
BU-BC was college hockey at its finest
People online pointed out that Monday’s Beanpot semifinals were perfect examples of what’s bad (game one) and what’s good (game two) about college hockey. Harvard vs. Northeastern had multiple extended video reviews that killed the flow of the game, while BU vs. BC had few penalties, end-to-end action, and drama all the way up to the overtime game-winner. That was the kind of game that hockey fans drool over – it was a classic.
BU’s late push made the difference
The Terriers looked dead and buried when David Cotton’s off-balanced effort trickled in late in the second period, but BC’s offensive-zone penalty in the middle stages of the third opened the door for BU to strike twice to tie the game, and from there it was all Terriers. BU has altered the game’s outcome in the third period of each of the last four games, but this final effort was by far the most significant of the bunch.
In the end, Abel outlasted Knight
Ashton Abel had a shaky start to his first game under the bright lights of TD Garden, giving up two goals within the opening eight minutes. The freshman settled in, though, making a collection of critical saves to keep the Terriers in the game and enable them to go win it in double-overtime. On the other end, highly-touted freshman Spencer Knight caved in under BU’s late pressure, conceding a game-changing comeback.
The stars came out when they had to
With BU down 3-1 after 40 minutes on Monday night, I felt that we hadn’t seen much out of BU’s big-name players, aside from a first-period goal by Patrick Curry. Well, the Terrier leaders responded as veterans Patrick Harper and David Farrance combined to tie the game late before first-year playmaker Trevor Zegras set up a go-ahead goal within the final two minutes. When BU needed them, the stars showed up.
Can BU collect its 31st Beanpot?
It wasn’t easy, but the Terriers are back in the Beanpot championship game. Their opposition, the Northeastern Huskies, are aiming for a tournament three-peat, but they had their own struggles getting past Harvard in their own semifinal. BU beat the Huskies 6-3 earlier this season, but lost to them at TD Garden twice last season. With so many storylines, all we can do is eagerly anticipate this Beanpot-deciding contest set for 8 p.m. on Monday night.
Can BU get two points out of Merrimack?
The Beanpot final certainly holds more significance than a game against a team that’s second from the bottom of Hockey East, but this conference matchup should not be overlooked. The Warriors took BU to the wire in their meeting less than a month ago, and BU is in a neck-and-neck race atop the conference. The Terriers need all the points they can get right now, and Merrimack presents an excellent opportunity to earn two.
Will Chabot stick with the top line?
Coming off of two goals in two games, Gabe Chabot was bumped up alongside Trevor Zegras and Patrick Harper atop BU’s line chart for Monday’s Beanpot semifinal. He didn’t end up seeing as much ice time as his linemates, especially down the stretch, so it will be interesting to see whether or not Chabot stays with the Terrier first line or if he goes back to being BU’s extra skater as he was for almost all of January.
BU will host Merrimack on Friday at 7:30 p.m. before going to the TD Garden to battle Northeastern at 7:30 p.m. with a trophy on the line.