Game Recaps

Terriers advance to Beanpot Championship with 4-3 win over Boston College

Photo by Patrick Donnelly.

BOSTON — At last season’s Beanpot appearance, the Terriers entered the bright lights of TD Garden with all the momentum, and on a seven-game win streak, but were humbled by a fourth-place finish. 

This season’s BU team entered with a 1-3-0 record in its last four games and had everything to prove, and albeit, on the biggest stage. After the then-No.1 BU was swept by its rival Eagles in its own barn just 10 days ago, the Terriers needed a statement game. 

On Monday night, the No. 3 Boston University men’s hockey team (18-7-1, 13-4-1 Hockey East) delivered, defeating the No.1 Boston College Eagles (19-5-1, 12-4-1 HE), 4-3, in the Dunkin’ Beanpot semifinal and proving it can hang with the big dogs. 

“Getting swept by BC two weeks ago was tough, and then to respond the way we did…credit to our guys for sticking with it the whole way through,” BU head coach Jay Pandolfo said postgame. 

BU looked as if it succumbed to its old ways early on, and it seemed it was going to be “one of those” opening periods. Sophomore forward Devin Kaplan — playing in his first game back since suffering a lower-body injury against the Eagles on Jan. 26 — took a textbook slashing penalty 32 seconds after puck drop. 

Taking penalties early on in any game is a less-than-ideal way to set the tone, but doing it against a power play as stacked as BC’s is a recipe for disaster. 

However, after a weekend series of pucks bouncing everywhere but into the back of BC’s net, everything seemed to click for BU over the next 15 minutes of the first period.

“I thought we did a good job of playing behind them, pressuring their D,” Pandolfo said of the first. “We were getting pucks to the net, we were reloading very well so they couldn’t get their transition game going.” 

Of his nine games played since coming back from World Juniors, Macklin Celebrini only had one game where he could not light the lamp — his first battle against the Eagles. Over that weekend series, the Hobey Baker nominee fired 12 shots on net, but only one beat freshman goaltender Jaco Fowler. 

Monday was a different story. 

Freshman defenseman Gavin McCarthy’s strong back check lifted the puck out of BU end’s, and M. Celebrini walked into the offensive zone and ripped the rubber past Fowler at 4:00 of the first. 

“You’re not going to score every shot,” Celebrini said postgame. “We’ve been working a lot in practice — just seeing different looks and just talking it over — and when it goes in, it’s really nice.”

A BU team that played catch up in the first two rounds of the Battle of Comm. Ave got on the board early, and most importantly, first. 

Pandolfo was not satisfied with his team’s power play against UNH on Friday, but the man advantage got a chance at redemption a little over a minute later. 

And like clockwork: a no-look pass from sophomore defenseman Lane Hutson at the blue line to Macklin Celebrini at the right circle, and the Terriers had the 2-0 lead 6:10 into the game. 

By the end of the first 20 minutes, the Terriers led in shots on net 19-13, blocks 8-5 and the game 2-0.  

The Terriers managed to walk all over the top-ranked Eagles in the first, but BC was not going to sit back after an uncharacteristic showing. The Eagles flat-out dominated possession, and lucky bounces and a locked-in Caron were the only things keeping BC off the board early on. 

“Second period, they started pushing a little bit. We got away from our game I thought,” Pandolfo said. “They have some talented players over there. We knew they were gonna push.”

On the Eagles’ seventh shot of the middle frame  — to the Terriers’ one — BC finally capitalized at 6:06 of the middle frame on the man advantage to cut BU’s lead to 2-1. First-years Gabe Perrault and Will Smith connected to get their team on the board at the 6:06 mark. 

But in a game of bounces, the score does not always reflect the play of the better team. The Terriers learned that in their second game against the Eagles, and at 11:49 of the second period, the puck bounced off of BC defender Drew Fortescue along the boards and onto the tape of senior forward Luke Tuch. The assistant captain caught Fowler by surprise and beat him on BU’s third shot of the period. 

“I was just trying to get on the forecheck,” Tuch said. “I was out there a little bit longer, so I was just trying to buy some time for our guys changing, and I got lucky.”

The Terriers managed to escape the period with a 3-1 lead heading into the final 20 minutes, and BU led in blocked shots 12-3 and 20-8 overall. 

Sophomore forward Ryan Greene has made great strides during his sophomore-year campaign, becoming a stalwart on the first power-play and penalty-kill unit, but his answer came at even strength at 4:47 of the third. In what became the eventual game-winner, No. 9 one-timed the puck past Fowler on a feed from Tuch for his ninth of the season. 

“His maturity has definitely grown from last year to this year on the ice,” Tuch said postgame on Greene. “He’s so smooth out there, we call him ‘butter.’”

But with the Eagles answering with a goal of their own at 8:07 by senior forward Gentry Shamburger to make it a 4-2 game, the Terriers had to prove they could play with the lead. 

Closing out games has been an issue all season long, even against far inferior teams, and BC turned up the heat in the final minutes. Giving its student section some extra life, Perault added his second goal of the game to cut it to a one-goal contest with 8:32 remaining in regulation. 

Over the final stretch, the Dog Pound held its breath, but the Terriers came away with the 4-3 regulation win by the final horn. 

Caron finished his first Beanpot appearance, against the top-ranked team nonetheless, with a solid 34-save night, and the team collectively had 30 blocked shots. 

Next up, the Terriers will face off against Northeastern in the Beanpot final, and just as they did against the Eagles, they will be hungry for some revenge. 

“We’ve had a hard time with Northeastern since I’ve been here, and they play us very tough,” Pandolfo said. “We certainly have to be ready…we’re trying to just enjoy this right now.”

But before then, BU will take on the Merrimack College Warriors for the third time this season. Friday’s puck drop at Agganis Arena is set for 7 p.m., and the Boston Hockey Blog will have full, on-the-ground coverage so be sure to follow along on Twitter (X) @BOShockeyblog and Instagram


  1. I am totally sold on Caron being a goalie with whom we can win an NCAA title. Last night I was impressed to see that even while BC was mounting their comeback, we still had some high-quality offensive rushes that almost gave us an insurance goal late in the third. And the shot blocking skills of Webber, Case McCarthy and Gallagher made a huge difference for us.

  2. Great job boys let’s bring it home Monday night!! That said few things I wanna talk about let’s start last weekend series vs bc… Friday game were lost but 2 empty net goals made it worse then it was and Saturday night we deserved a better result some of the officiating calls that was called against us is insanely bad and the timing of them changed that game Saturday night any close call went bc way that’s just wrong with a talented team like that u give them a 5 on 3 it’s a goal and that what happened… On Tuesday we come back from 2 goals at Huskies have total control on ot and get a too many men whole he was 2 feet away from boards no where near puck Huskies scored .. Pando didn’t even wanna say anything about it that’s how bad it was even nhl experts said wow … Looks like eagles will and always get calls and we wont.. Sad hockey east is so obv about it.. Now we lost to bc 2 times last week some of u totally overreacted vinnie etc seeing how we didn’t drop in ranking and pairwise kicking them out last night felt soo good it makes those 2 loses irrevalant… Now we have the Huskies I want pay back !! Hockey east u can do better !!! Also #71 is a monster and few of u had doughts on caron those are a past memory… Enjoy what this team coaching staff etc is doing its special and we not done !!! Go BU 🐾

  3. Glenn, Please allow me to agree with your observations: Caron is absolutely a championship quality goaltender. He was good to start with, and he has been getting better as the season has progressed. Not only has he been rock steady, but he has been making spectacular saves when necessary. He is absolutely the real deal. The shot blocking of our “D” corps has been outstanding all season, and especially so as of late. The self-sacrifice required to post the numbers of blocked shots we have recorded is also a component of any championship team.

    Rui, I would also like to agree with your points, and vent my frustration with H/E as well. The outcome of Saturday’s game was pre-determined by H/E officiating. Horrible penalty calls, compounded with their timing, sealed the outcome of that game. In fact, it was so egregious that the on ice officials tried to extricate themselves from their blunders by calling an embarrassingly non-existent hook on BC after the damage had been done. That feeble attempt at a “make up call” only highlighted their previous bias, and did nothing to level the game, as the irreparable damage had been done, and could not be undone. As you said (paraphrasing), H/E has a penchant for ignoring calls against BC that will always be called against BU. This is nothing new.

    On Tuesday we again had a game determined against us by H/E. As you noted, we staged a comeback, and were dominating in OT. In fact, Northeastern did not even touch the puck in the OT. So, with the play at the middle of the blue line, we were called for “too many men” at our bench; which was laughable. Akin to the Saturday’s phantom make up call, H/E officials drew attention to their scheme by staging a mid-ice conference, turning off their body cameras, and copsplaining their rationale to each other. Whereas I may be accused of wearing a tinfoil hat anyway, let me postulate that benefiting BC in the standings, more so than NE in that game, may have been a motivating factor.

    Finally, I have not forgotten what H/E officials did to us in MSG. Insurmountable back-to-back erroneous calls determined that game as well. Yes, this coaching staff, and these players, are “something special”. PSD

  4. Forgot to mention the Beanpot. Somebody please correct me if I am wrong, but my understanding was that if a defensive player dives to bat the puck away, and the puck is touched before the attacking player trips, there is no penalty. That appeared to be what happened, and yet we were called for a trip. Immediately thereafter, (back-to-back timing again) we had a standard check deemed to be “boarding”. As Roy said, it is not just the validity of the calls, but their timing as well. PSD

  5. Big difference in Monday night’s game was that terriers got ahead early and continued to press for the third goal with an incredibly awesome PP later in the 1st period which would have put the game away if we had converted. A bit of a lull in the second period allowed eagles back in the game and I am still concerned with the lack of 60 minute efforts in games by BU. They seem to play in furious flurries, terrific starts , terrific finishes but otherwise somewhat lazy and indifferent play which again allowed the eagles a chance at a comeback after building a seemingly insurmountable 4-1 lead 5 min into third. I thought in fact the terriers were quite lucky not to allow the tying goal and then who knows what happens in OT and we might be having a different conversation today. Caron has been a backbone no question and of course goaltending is always the key to winning trophies. On the other end fowler for BC was a little shaky showing maybe a weakness on stick side where the terriers were shooting
    I got a kick out of listening to the BC radio coverage on 850 AM and how they whine every time BC messes up a scoring chance. They also commented that Caron was shaky because he “flopping around like a fish” out there. Well who the heck cares if he’s keeping them out.
    The final will be a real battle. NU over the past several years has made the beanpot “their” tourney for some reason winning 4 of last 5 and often at BU’s expense. The games are always very close and I expect the same Monday. However I predict the terriers will prevail due to their superior talent and goaltending now that Levi is no longer there.
    Seems to be a lot of discussion about the officiating. I didn’t see much controversy Monday night. Last sat. I attended game vs BU and the first BU penalty which started their problems was just a stupid one swinging stick in front of net. They was a question about a hit from behind from a BC player which was reviewed and a major was not given at center ice which was debatable. However let’s not put the blame on the officials or talk about a conspiracy against the terriers or in favor of eagles. Let’s remember as much h success as BC has had in past quarter century they have wom absolutely nada the past 8 years, no trophies or titles so any supposed favoritism hasn’t helped them much