Monday night’s championship game of the 64th Beanpot added another historic layer to the longstanding rivalry between Boston University and Boston College.
The lights went out. Gloves and helmets came off. Hits were hard, goals impossible to come by, and two nationally-ranked teams sharing a street and separated by 3 miles went at each other for the 22nd time in a very emotional Beanpot final.
For the first time in the teams’ Beanpot rivalry — all 43 meetings, not just the 22 coming in the title game — one goal was all it took.
Never before had either BU or BC been shut out by the other in this tournament. In fact, never had any of the first 63 Beanpot finals — or any Beanpot game, for that matter — been scoreless after three periods, the way Monday’s was.
So the first 1-0 final is in the books, courtesy of a goal by Boston College sophomore Alex Tuch, who wristed a shot past BU goaltender Sean Maguire at 1:57 of overtime.
Tuch’s 11th goal of the season pushed the fourth-ranked Eagles (20-4-4) over the Terriers (16-8-4) for the sixth straight time in Beanpot play. It also ended an instant classic.
“The quality of our opponent brought out the very best in us tonight,” said BC coach Jerry York, who won his ninth Beanpot. “It was a terrific hockey game played by two outstanding teams. A classic goaltending battle.”
Said Tuch: “I just tried to put one on net, and I think one of the defenseman on BU screened it and the goalie didn’t really see it. Lucky it went in.”
With the spotlight shining on teams that last met for the Beanpot in 2012, the lights went out.
The overhead lights that illuminate the rink went out at 7:59 p.m., with 8:53 remaining in the first period of a scoreless game. A backup emergency system kicked on, but the ice was noticeably dimmer. Players skated around, stretched, and hung out in the bench area as the public-address announcer said, “We’re investigating the source of the issue and will update you momentarily.”
The outage gave fans an opportunity to go on a beverage run, and the chance for the BU and BC pep bands to perform. As the delay reached 20 minutes, both teams finally left the ice and retreated to the locker rooms. Two minutes later, the main lights came back on, and referees sent word to retrieve the teams.
The first player — Maguire — hit the ice at 8:26 p.m., and play resumed at 8:28. Officially, the delay lasted 29 minutes.
Once the lights came on, the action picked up. No penalties had been called in the game’s first 11 minutes. But in the final 4:55, three penalties, two on BC, which gave BU a brief (34 seconds) two-man advantage that it couldn’t beat.
The best scoring chance, actually, came from the Eagles when they were down a man. With 1:53 left, BC’s Miles Wood took a pass near the red line and took off on a shorthanded breakaway, attempting to slide the puck past a sprawling Maguire. The BU goalie stopped the bid with his left pad, the best of a number of strong first-period saves by both goalies. Maguire and Thatcher Demko put in a lot of work; the teams combined for 35 shots, with BC outshooting BU in the first 20 minutes, 23-12.
The second period was noteworthy because of a scrape between BU’s Jordan Greenway and BC’s Casey Fitzgerald with 12:33 remaining. Greenway charged the net while a shot was being stopped by Demko, and got a little too close to the BC goalie for Fitzgerald’s liking.
The freshmen engaged in some pushing and shoving, with helmets and gloves strewn on the ice. When order was restored, Greenway was given three penalties: goaltender interference, hitting after the whistle, and a game misconduct. While he headed down the tunnel, Fitzgerald was sent to the box for roughing.
BC couldn’t capitalize on either second-period power play.
Northeastern beat Harvard, 5-1, in the consolation game. That one will forever be overshadowed by a championship game that matched the hype typically reserved for BC-BU hockey. This one, on so many levels, did not disappoint.