Northeastern held off a furious third-period rally by Boston College to successfully defend its Beanpot title with a 4-2 win Monday night at TD Garden.
In the opening-round win over Boston University, it was freshman Tyler Madden that scored the game-winner. In the title game, seniors Austin Plevy, Patrick Schule, and Lincoln Griffin staked the Huskies to a 3-0 lead.
“Three of the four goals were from seniors,” said Northeastern coach Jim Madigan. “You need your seniors to step up in the big times, and they did.”
Sophomore goalie Cayden Primeau made sure the lead held, recording 33 saves, including 13 in the final period as the Eagles scored twice to pull within 3-2, but could never push across the equalizer. Primeau was named the Eberly winner, given to the goalie with the highest save percentage in the tournament (.952, stopping 59 of 62 shots in two games), as well as the MVP.
It’s only the second time the Huskies have won back-to-back Beanpot titles, and the first since in 34 years, when Madigan played on the 1984 and 1985 tournament champions. It was their sixth title overall.
“It’s incredible. It’s such a great feeling to get a win in the Beanpot tournament,” said senior Eric Williams. “It’s an amazing feeling, something that none of us are ever going to forget. I wish I could play in this tournament every year until the day I die.”
Northeastern (17-9-1) broke a scoreless tie with 38.8 seconds remaining in the first period when Plevy, a transfer from UMass, knocked in a rebound of a shot from Griffin past BC goalie Joe Woll (31 saves). Freshman Jordan Harris was also credited with an assist. The Huskies outshot BC, 14-12, through the first 20 minutes.
“A huge game for him,” Madigan said of Plevy. “He’s worked hard. He had a lot of blocked shots today, too.
“That was a huge goal. He’s at the door front, that’s where he scores, in tight. He’s got a good stick. We needed that. If we can get that first goal, because we haven’t been scoring a lot, when you get the first goal, it takes the pressure a little bit off. I thought he did a really good job.”
The Huskies were able to expand the lead in the second period, again striking late. Madden carried the puck down the right side, juking a defender before giving the puck up to Matt Thomson, who then circled behind the net and found Schule in front to the left.
The senior gathered the puck and held it for a split second, long enough to see Woll go down to his knees, and delivered a wrister that beat the goalie top shelf. It was Schule’s second goal of the tournament.
“His consistency has been really good all year long,” said Madigan. “He’s had a lot of looks. He’s worked his tail off.”
Northeastern outshot the Eagles, 12-8, in the middle period and entered the final 20 minutes with a 26-20 advantage.
The lead became 3-0 early in the third when Griffin, a Walpole native, backhanded a rebound of a Liam Pecararo shot past Woll.
The Eagles (10-14-3) did not wait long to respond, finally breaking through when freshman Oliver Wahlstrom went behind the net and found David Cotton in front for a quick score to pull BC to within 3-1 with 15:51 left.
“I thought our team really battled back,” said BC coach Jerry York. “I thought we played pretty well in the first and second period, but in the third period, the last 17-18 minutes, I thought we played extremely well.
“We made some good plays, but Cayden made some excellent saves late in the game.”
Eight minutes later, BC pulled to within 3-2 when Cotton backhanded a pass from behind the net and found JD Dudek alone in front. Dudek whistled the puck past Primeau with 7:46 left in the game.
The Eagles had several opportunities to draw even, but Primeau made sure they were unable to cash in. It was not until Zach Solow deposited the puck in the empty next with six seconds remaining that the 14th-ranked Huskies could breathe easy.
BC appeared to jump out to a 1-0 lead 6:15 into the game, but the goal was waved off after it was ruled that the net was dislodged before the puck crossed the line. The call was reviewed, but not overturned.
Northeastern had opportunities of its own, with Biagio Lerario sending a pass across the goal to Grant Jozefek, but he couldn’t control the puck in front of an open net, and the game remained scoreless.
Primeau then denied Marc McLaughlin on a rebound, lunging to his right and extending his leg to make a pad save to keep BC off the board.
Northeastern went on a power play after Wahlstrom was whistled for slashing 14 seconds into the second period and had several good chances, but Woll was up to the task.
More photos from the Beanpot final: