He scored the game-winner on his back.
With the scored tied, 1-1, in the third period of a nail-biting Beanpot championship between Boston College and Northeastern Monday night, Eagles senior center Patrick Brown set up in the slot, trying to get in position for a tip.
It’s a move Brown works on in practice, over and over. So when BC defenseman Isaac MacLeod got the puck at the left point, Brown slipped into place. But Northeastern’s John Stevens was stepping into the same spot, and he hauled down Brown from behind. MacLeod unleashed his shot and Brown, from the ice, reached out with his stick and tipped the puck past Huskies goalie Clay Witt to give the Eagles a 2-1 lead with 5:30 remaining. BC went on to claim a 4-1 victory for its fifth straight Beanpot .
“In the heat of the moment, late in the game, to reach out and redirect the puck past a goaltender, that’s a pretty special play,’’ said BC coach Jerry York. “I’ll remember that for a long time.”
Stevens could not have done much more to stop Brown.
“I thought we did a good job, actually, on their winning goal in tying up Brown down at the net,’’ said Northeastern coach Jim Madigan. “He was falling and we had his stick and somehow he got his stick on it.”
“[I’ve scored] a few tips, but nothing like that,’’ said Brown, who tried to deflect the attention to his teammate.
“Isaac MacLeod works really hard at shooting for sticks, he’s got a great shot pass. I was just trying to find a spot in the slot where he could hit my stick. I was getting mauled a little bit, I fell down, and just was able to get a stick on it because he made a great tape-to-tape pass.”
Brown’s goal broke the tension of a tight game and BC salted it away with Johnny Gaudreau’s empty-netter at 18:44 and another goal from Brown at 19:10.
Brown, the 21-year-old BC captain, is having the time of his life in his senior season. BC born and bred, Brown’s father, Doug, spent four years at the Heights before embarking on a 15-year NHL career. His mother, Maureen, played golf for BC, and his uncle, Greg, is the hockey team’s associate coach. But Patrick was only “lightly recruited” according to York, and played sparingly his first year. He had to work his way into the lineup.
“He just had something about him, he kept working and getting stronger,’’ said York. “Most teams you see in the country, the very best player is their captain; historically, that’s the way it is. Patrick has got such leadership skills that he didn’t have to be our best player. He didn’t have to be an All-American or a Hobey Baker candidate for the team to recognize him. We vote for our captains and it was unanimous that he be our captain.”
Brown is among four BC seniors — MacLeod, Bill Arnold, and Kevin Hayes the others — who have won the Beanpot in each year of the college careers, but he was only chasing one victory.
“It’s not about winning five in a row, it’s about winning one,’’ Brown said. “We’re trying to win that game. The key is just not to change your game. You’ve got to keep working hard, you’ve got to keep getting to the net. Really just keep a third guy high and then play smart hockey and we got a good bounce there.”
Brown said BC always competes to the very end, because they know what winning the Beanpot feels like. “You really can’t get enough of it,’’ he said. “It’s a great feeling. The most important thing is our freshmen got their first one. It was great to see them lift that trophy.”