The historic Battle of Commonwealth Avenue between Boston College and Boston University had a new chapter written Monday night. Boston College defeated Boston University 1-0 in overtime in the Beanpot Final to take home their 20th tournament championship.
Close games between BC and BU are common in this storied rivalry. The historic part is the score. Out of the previous 256 Beanpot games this was the first to end with a score of 1-0. It was also just the second game since the schools joined Hockey East that they have battled to a 1-0 finish. The first was in December of 2006.
"BU brought out the very best in us tonight. I thought that it was a terrific hockey game played by two outstanding teams," BC coach Jerry York said following the game. "Both our teams are way better now than they were in November. We've [both] improved since that January series."
All season the Eagles and Terriers have proven that they are among the best teams in Hockey East. Monday night proved that they have two of the best goaltenders in the conference as well. Both Sean Maguire of BU and Thatcher Demko from BC made highlight reel stops including stopping multiple breakaways and odd-man rushes. Even though Maguire eventually gave up the game winning goal he finished with a .970 save percentage in the Beanpot, which is the third best all time.
"A classic goaltending battle," York said. "I thought that Thatcher [Demko] and Sean Maguire traded saves back and forth. It took a really hard, well placed shot by Alex Tuch to send the Beanpot toward our dressing room."
It was fitting that this game was so close. Nine of the previous ten Beanpot games between these schools have been decided by one goal, and five of those games went into overtime.
The teams are close in the standings too with just five points separating the two. Since the New Year they have combined for a 13-1-4 record entering the Beanpot Final. The only loss was when BU fell to BC in a January contest. With about half a month to go until the conference tournament both teams should feel confident that they are playing their best hockey of the season.
"We've got to switch gears now. We put the Beanpot in our locker room and we try to add three more to it," York said. "If you don't birdie the first hole you can't birdie them all so we got a birdie in the first major."
The consolation game between Northeastern and Harvard, on the other hand, was a much higher scoring affair. The Huskies scored first, getting three goals in the first period, and cruised to a 5-1 win.
The Huskies Adam Gaudette led the way with two goals while Mike McMurtry netted a goal and had an assist.
Entering the contest Harvard was the team that was used to starting the game hot. Entering the game the Crimson were +13 in the first period while Northeastern was a -17. But it was the Huskies that netted three goals in the first. The power play was another area that Harvard usually excels at but in this contest they were held scoreless on three power play opportunities. "[Northeastern] won all of the battles in the game, beat us to pucks first. They were obviously a lot more ready to play than we were," Harvard coach Ted Donato said.
Fatigue may have played a role in helping Northeastern jump out to an early lead. Harvard played two road games over the weekend while the Huskies had Saturday and Sunday to rest.
"I think we took a little bit of an advantage of Harvard who had two games this weekend," Northeastern coach Jim Madigan said. "It was a good win for us. That is the number seven team in the country . . . For us it's just continue building momentum."