BOSTON – The Northeastern Huskies waited 68 long years to finally be able to use the term “three-peat” when talking about the Beanpot championship.
And on Monday, they had to wait a little longer than they hoped before finally lifting the trophy.
The Huskies let a two-goal third period lead slip and allowed Boston University to force overtime on Trevor Zegras’ second goal of the game with 1.2 second left in regulation.
But a Jordan Harris power play goal at 14:33 of the second overtime sent the Northeastern portion of the largest crowd in Beanpot history (17,850) into hysterics and gave the Huskies their third straight Beanpot championship.
— NESN (@NESN) February 11, 2020
Northeastern is the eighth team in tournament history to win three or more straight titles.
Harris’ game winner came after tripping was whistled to Patrick Harper with 6:42 left in the overtime period. Boston University coach Albie O’Connell was none too happy about the call and, even when trying to stay diplomatic after the game, struggled to hold his tongue.
“I’m not going to comment on officials,” started O’Connell, followed seconds later by, “I will say that diving in that game that was called [for penalties] was unreal. Karma didn’t catch up to that one, but it will.”
Northeastern coach Jim Madigan was sympathetic to the pains of losing on a power play goal via a questionable call, he said, having lost the 2015 title game to the Terriers in a similar fashion.
“From a BU perspective, I’m sure they didn’t like the call,” said Madigan. “We’ve lost to BU on a PK situation in overtime.”
Despite what anyone may have thought of the overtime penalty, most will agree Monday’s final was an instant classic. Both teams at one point or another held a two-goal lead only to watch their opponent battle back.
Zach Solow, who scored a goal and an assist in Monday’s final and set a perfect screen on the Harris game winner was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player.
The game looked like it might end in regulation. Four second-period goals by Northeastern gave the Huskies a 4-2 lead. But David Farrance scored on the power play at 1:56 of the third and then, after a frantic flurry with the goalie pulled, Zegras tallied with 1.2 second left in regulation to tie the game and force overtime.
— NESN (@NESN) February 11, 2020
It is the second consecutive week that Boston University faced overtime and, after five minutes, neither team was victorious, meaning the game is officially recorded as a tie for NCAA purposes. Prior to last Monday, no game in the previous 67 years of the Beanpot ended in a tie.
The Terriers dominated the five-minute overtime, outshooting Northeastern, 5-0. But after the ice was resurfaced and teams came back for the second overtime period, this one 20 minutes in length, the Huskies seemed a little more settled.
“We needed to get through the first five minutes of overtime to get back to the locker room,” said Madigan. “We needed to reset and I thought we reset in the locker room.
“Our captain Ryan Shea stood up and spoke and said some words that were compelling and gave out guys believability.”
Through the first twenty, Boston University held a 2-0 lead. And given the way the period went, particularly the first 10 minutes when the Terriers held a 10-1 shot advantage, Northeastern was lucky the result wasn’t worse.
Jake Wise opened the scoring at 2:49. At 7:50, Zegras fired home his ninth goal of the year, over the glove of Northeastern’s Craig Pantano (40 saves).
Though the Huskies tried to find some offense late in the period, BU held and 11-6 shot advantage through one.
The second period, particularly the first 11-and-a-half minutes of the frame, couldn’t have been more polar opposite from the first.
The Huskies showed more zip from the faceoff and, at 2:53, Tyler Madden wristed home a shot from the slot to cut the lead in half.
Two seconds short of three minutes later, from the exact same spot on the ice, Aidan McLaughlin matched Madden, his shot deflecting off BU’s Ethan Phillips.
With the game tied, penalties became a problem for the Terriers.
Cam Crotty (tripping) and Alex Vlasic (cross-checking) were assessed minors 26 second apart, and the Huskies capitalized twice.
First it was Zach Solow from the bumper position beating BU netmider Ashton Abel (10 saves) over the blocker and then, seconds after Solow rang a shot off both posts, Grant Josefek’s shot through Brendan van Riemsdyk’s screen gave Northeastern a 4-2 lead.
That goal chased Abel from the game in favor of Sam Tucker (18 saves).
When all the damage was done, the Huskies had turned a 2-0 deficit into a 4-2 lead in a span of 8:30.
That, though, only set the stage for the drama that culminated with the Huskies hoisting the Beanpot to kick off a celebration 68 years in the making.
Consolation Game: Boston College 7, Harvard 2
Jack McBain scored twice and three other Eagles added a goal and an assist as Boston College routed Harvard, 7-2, in the Beanpot consolation game.
The Crimson jumped to a 1-0 lead on Casey Darnbach’s 11th goal of the season 2:13 into play. But BC responded with five consecutive tallies to take control before the second period was over.
Spencer Knight stopped 26 of the 28 shots he faced as the Eagles improved to 17-8-1 on the season. Harvard dropped to 11-8-4 with the loss.