62d Beanpot Tournament Final

NU the last roadblock in BC’s drive for five

Some years, the Beanpot has proven to be the great equalizer. For a team not having a great season, it can turn out to be a high point or a springboard for a strong stretch run.

In the case of the 2014 Beanpot semifinals on Monday night at TD Garden, though, the rich just got richer.

Second-ranked Boston College continued its impressive roll, extending its unbeaten streak to 13 games (12-0-1) with a 3-1 victory over struggling Boston University.


The Eagles will be looking for their fifth straight Beanpot title next Monday night against No. 10 Northeastern.

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The Huskies (16-8-3), who have shocked everyone in the college hockey world but themselves, advanced to the tournament final for the third time in four years with a 6-0 rout of Harvard.

Despite the Terriers’ 15th defeat of the season, dropping them to 8-15-3, BU showed a lot of heart against the Eagles (20-4-3).

“That’s the best effort we’ve had in a while,’’ said BU senior captain Garrett Noonan. “I thought we played a pretty thorough 60 minutes.

“Sometimes you’ve just got to tip your cap to BC. It always stings a little more losing to BC, but our young guys are going to win some Beanpots. This program is headed in the right direction.’’


BU, which has just one win in the last 12 games (1-9-2), didn’t have many lucky bounces against BC. Junior left wing Evan Rodrigues had four shots on net and was all around the goal but did everything but score. He wasn’t alone.

“You always need puck luck,’’ said first-year coach David Quinn, whose team has another stern test when it hosts UMass-Lowell at Agganis Arena Friday. “I always tell our guys, ‘I don’t want to rely on luck, but it’s certainly nice to have it.’

“We didn’t get any of it, but at the end of the day, you’ve got to continue to make your own bounces and your own luck. Against a team like that, you need a little luck. You need great goaltending, you need to be thorough, and you need a little luck and I thought we had two of the three.’’

For the Huskies, who haven’t won a Beanpot title since 1988, there is plenty of optimism surrounding the program.

Junior goaltender Clay Witt has been a revelation, and the team has just three losses in its last 16 games (10-3-3).


One of the more impressive things in the win over Harvard was that NU lost captain Josh Manson at 14:12 of the first period to a five-minute major and game misconduct. The young defense managed to rally in front of Witt, even during shorthanded situations, and kept the puck out of the net.

“It was a huge loss for us — he’s an outstanding player and definitely the heart of our team,’’ said Witt, who had 27 saves. “Everybody had to pitch in a little bit. We had some guys really step up big. I thought we did a great job of that in all situations, those guys played well.’’

In past years, the Huskies couldn’t be trusted with a lead, but this year has been different.

“This is a different team than last year,’’ said third-year coach Jim Madigan, whose team hosts UMass-Amherst at Matthews Arena Friday. “I really like this team because they come to practice every day and work their rear ends off and want to get better each and every day.

“A lot of that is due to [having] a lot of young players. There is an infusion of young energy. It’s a group that truly does get along very well. And those freshmen have contributed to push the upperclassmen. We’re in a pretty good rhythm now offensively.’’

Harvard (6-12-3) will be looking to regroup against Dartmouth Friday.

For BC, the dangerous combination of junior left wing Johnny Gaudreau, senior center Bill Arnold, and senior right wing Kevin Hayes has given everyone fits since coach Jerry York put them together Dec. 6 against New Hampshire.

BC hasn’t lost since the trio combined their efforts. In fact, the Eagles haven’t lost since Nov. 29 to Holy Cross.

Gaudreau (24-29-53) has a nation-best 22-game point streak with 45 points in that span, 21 of them goals.

“Kevin’s line with Billy and Johnny, they scored one goal early and a second goal in the third in an open net [on Monday], but I thought they created an awful lot of offense,’’ said York. “They almost won every shift they were on the ice, so I thought that line was very instrumental in how well we played.’’

Nancy Marrapese-Burrell can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @Elle1027.