BU Wins 30th Beanpot in OT Thriller
It was six years in coming, but Boston University finally captured the school’s 30th Beanpot title on Monday night. Well, 6 years and almost three weeks to be exact, as the season’s staggering snowfall totals forced the game between BU and Northeastern to be delayed. But when the puck finally dropped, the results proved to be worth the wait.
The BU men’s hockey team last won the city’s annual NCAA Division I pucks derby in 2009. Ranked #4 in the country, the Terriers were favored to win against upstart Northeastern, which stunned 5-time defending champ B.C. in the semi-final.
The teams traded goals in the game’s third minute, and then traded chances throughout the rest of the first period as both goaltenders played well. Despite double-digit shots for each team, the score was 1-1 after one period.
BU turned up the pressure in the second, beating NU goalie Clay Witt twice on goals from Robbie Baillargeon and junior captain Matt Grzelcyk, a native of nearby Charlestown. The period ended 3-1 BU.
In the third period, The Huskies came out determined, and scored two goals within two minutes in the middle of the frame to tie the game at 3-3. It was fitting that the final to this particular Beanpot would need overtime to find a winner.
Overtime started with immediate controversy. A BU rush off the opening faceoff led the Terrier’s Danny O’Regan to get tangled up with Huskie defenseman Matt Benning in front of the Northeastern net. Up went the referee’s arm, sending Benning off on a very questionable hooking call. BU was quick to cash in on the OT power play opportunity. Grzelcyk took a pass at the top of the left circle and fired the winner low to the stick side and past Witt at :51 seconds.
It was a bitter pill for Northeastern to swallow. They have now played in each of the last three Beanpot finals, yet have not won the trophy since 1988.
For the Terriers, it took back-to-back wins in overtime to secure the Beanpot. The win came in familiar fashion for this team. They were led by Grzelcyk, who was named tournament MVP following his two-goal effort, and they won on a late goal. More than half of BU’s goals this season have come after the start of the third period.
As for Grzelcyk, a Boston Bruin’s draft pick whose father worked at the Boston Garden when he was growing up, the moment could not have been sweeter.
“It’s obviously a childhood dream. It still hasn’t really set in.”, Grzelcyk said. “We just wanted to make sure we had fun because you never know when you’re going to come back here. So you just want to make the most of it, and I’m glad we did.”