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BOSTON, Mass. - Freshman Alex Chiasson broke a 1-1 tie with 5:47 remaining in regulation to lift the Boston University men's ice hockey team to a 2-1 victory over Northeastern in the opening round of the 58th Beanpot tournament on Monday evening at TD Garden. The Terriers will attempt to claim their 30th Beanpot title when they face their archrival, No. 14 Boston College, in next Monday's championship game.
After junior Colby Cohen opened the scoring midway through the game on a power play with his team-leading 10th goal of the season, the Huskies drew even with a power-play goal of their own with 10:26 left in regulation
Chiasson tallied the game-winner on an odd-man rush started by sophomore David Warsofsky to help the Terriers regain the lead, but a BU penalty with 88 seconds left in regulation gave the Huskies one last chance.
NU pulled freshman goaltender Chris Rawlings to gain a two-man advantage, but the Terrier defense was up to the task. Sophomore goaltender Kieran Millan made a fantastic glove save with 32 seconds left to play and senior defenseman Eric Gryba blocked the Huskies' last shot attempt of the game to allow the Terriers to advance to the Beanpot title game for the 25th time in the past 27 years.
Millan finished the game with 26 saves, while Rawlings recorded 33. The Terriers converted on one of their five power-play chances and limited the Huskies to one tally on their six opportunities with the man advantage.
After a scoreless opening period, the Terriers used the power play to get on the board. Sophomore Chris Connolly found Cohen at the bottom of the left circle, where the defenseman sent a low-angle shot towards the net that eluded Rawlings and went in at 8:23 of the second. Junior Nick Bonino also assisted on the play.
Both teams created the majority of their chances in the middle period, as BU recorded 15 shots to NU's 13 in the stanza, but the Cohen goal stood through the second and well into the third.
The Terriers were handed a great opportunity to double their lead early in the third when sophomore Alex Tuckerman received a five-minute major and a game misconduct for a hit from behind. Northeastern, however, killed off the penalty and in the process drew two BU penalties within 21 seconds of each other that created a minute-and-a-half 5-on-3 power play for the Huskies.
Soon after the first BU penalty expired, a seeing-eye wrister from the left point by senior Kyle Kraemer found the back of the net to tie the game at 9:34 of the third. Freshman Garrett Vermeersch and junior Tyler McNeely earned helpers on the tally.
The decisive goal came off a pick-off by Warsofsky, as the sophomore defenseman sent up a cross-ice pass to Chiasson, who was streaking up the right side, to set up a 2-on-1 rush with senior Zach Cohen. With the passing lane clogged, Chiasson skated towards the net before flicking a wrister that went off Rawlings' save before trickling in. It was Chiasson's first tally in seven games and all of his previous 10 points on the season had come in conference play.
Boston College posted a 6-0 shutout victory over Harvard in the first semifinal. The BU-BC rivalry will be played out in its fourth different venue of the year, as the Eagles posted a 4-1 win at Agganis Arena before the Terriers won twice in January (3-2 at Fenway Park - 1/8; 5-4 (ot) at Conte Forum - 1/22)
The Terriers will return to action on Friday (Feb. 5) when they visit UMass Lowell to wrap up their season series with the River Hawks. Game time is set for 7:30 p.m.
Before facing Harvard in the Beanpot consolation game, the Huskies will travel to face Merrimack on Friday (Feb. 5) at 7 p.m.