The Boston University Terriers thought their late-game magic could carry them to their 31st Beanpot title over Northeastern University after freshman forward Trevor Zegras tied the game with less than two seconds to play in regulation, but in double-overtime, the clock struck midnight on BU’s 2020 Beanpot bid.
Northeastern sophomore defenseman Jordan Harris scored the game-winner 79 minutes and 33 seconds into the second-longest Beanpot championship game in history, which featured a pair of two-goal comebacks and an all-time Beanpot-best 17,850 fans packed into TD Garden.
BU head coach Albie O’Connell felt his Terriers (10-9-8, 7-5-5 Hockey East) were done in by a series of questionable penalties, including senior forward Patrick Harper’s late trip on Northeastern senior defenseman Ryan Shea that led to Harris’ winner for the Huskies (15-8-3, 8-7-1 Hockey East) on the ensuing power play.
“The diving in that game that was called? It’s just a tough thing to watch,” O’Connell said. “Karma didn’t catch up to that one. It will.”
On the opposite bench, Northeastern head coach Jim Madigan did not have a response to O’Connell’s comments about the Huskies diving. While Madigan sympathized with the Terriers for the untimely penalties, he felt that the game was officiated fairly.
“From a BU perspective, I’m sure they didn’t like the [Harper penalty],” Madigan said. “I thought the officials did a good job.”
After going down by two goals before winning 5-4 in double overtime in the Beanpot semifinals last Monday, BU improved its start in the final, jumping ahead 2-0 lead within eight minutes on strikes by sophomore forward Jake Wise and Zegras.
Northeastern answered at the start of the second period, scoring four goals in 11 minutes through sophomore forward Tyler Madden, freshman forward Aidan McDonough, junior forward Zach Solow and senior forward Grant Jozefek. After the Northeastern flurry of goals, BU graduate goaltender Sam Tucker replaced freshman netminder Ashton Abel.
Junior forward David Farrance helped BU chip away at the two-goal lead on the power play two minutes into the third period, and when it seemed like the Huskies would finish off the win in regulation, Zegras poked in a last-second equalizer to force the game into overtime.
BU outshot the Huskies 29-27 in regulation and tacked on another 15 shots on goal to Northeastern’s six between both frames of overtime. Overall, O’Connell was very pleased with his team’s performance throughout the game.
“I thought we played a terrific game pretty much from start to finish,” O’Connell said.
BU was knocking at the door late but the Huskies had the last laugh when Harris’ wrister found its way in from distance, earning Northeastern its third consecutive Beanpot title. For their captain, Shea, winning the Beanpot in his fourth and final season at Northeastern was nothing new.
“Three years in a row? Why don’t you just give it [to us],” Shea said with a laugh.
Madigan thinks it will be difficult to match what his team has been able to accomplish over the last three years.
“This is a team that people will be chasing for a while,” Madigan said.
The Terriers will be back in action on Friday night when they open up a home-and-home series with the University of New Hampshire (15-11-2, 9-8-1 Hockey East). Puck drop is set for 7 p.m. at the Whittemore Center in Durham, New Hampshire.