There was no trophy waiting for the winner, but Northeastern and Boston College still fought desperately in the consolation game of the 65th Beanpot Tournament Monday night at TD Garden.
The lead was pulled back and forth until only 43 seconds were left in the third period with the game deadlocked. That’s when Northeastern’s Dylan Sikura ripped in a shot from the top of the slot to give the Huskies the final lead. Adam Gaudette’s empty-netter made it a 4-2 final.
It was Sikura’s fifth game-winner of the season, tied for second in the country.
Moments earlier, BC seemed to get the go-ahead goal when David Cotton lifted a rebound out of a scrum in front of NU goaltender Ryan Ruck. After a review, the goal was disallowed for goalie interference.
“It was an unbelievable loss,” said BC coach Jerry York, who did not agree with the official’s call. “We’ve just got to handle it.”
York lost for the first time in a Beanpot consolation game. In 22 previous Beanpots, York had nine titles, six runner-up finishes, and seven third-place showings.
NU took a 2-1 lead in the third period off the stick of freshman and Lynnfield native Matt Filipe, who scored his second of the game at 6:47. BC’s Colin White tied it again at 13:29, getting two swipes — a shot and a rebound — after Casey Fitzgerald centered a pass from the right boards. The second went in.
Brendan Collier set up Filipe’s second goal, coming out of the right corner with the puck and shooting a pass across to Filipe, which froze the lone BC defender and gave Filipe an open net for his ninth goal of the season.
In the first period, marked by the echoing sound of puck on stick in front of a typical small first-game crowd in TD Garden, Northeastern outshot BC, 15-8. But it was the Eagles who scored, working a smooth breakout from Chris Calnan and White. White fed the puck to Cotton at the left dot, and his sharp-angled shot hit a defenseman’s stick and deflected over the right shoulder of Ruck at 17:31.
The NU power play, which entered the game ranked second in the nation at 28 percent, had scored at least once on the man advantage in 18 straight games.
But the Huskies squandered two opportunities in the first.
NU had two more PP tries in the second period, including 1 minute 1 second of 5-on-3 time, but could not threaten BC goalie Joe Woll.
It was an even-strength goal from Filipe that tied the game. Filipe picked up a misplayed puck at the NU blue line and skated off, uncorking a pill from the right circle that zipped over Woll’s right shoulder at 12:36.
BC (18-11-2) already had swept the season series from Northeastern (13-12-5).
BC is tied for 13th in the PairWise Rankings, which determine NCAA Tournament bids and seedings. That puts the Eagles on the bubble.
The Eagles’ 6-3 loss to Merrimack last Friday didn’t help their cause, and they skidded from seventh to 11th in the latest USCHO.com poll. BC has two-game series remaining with 16th-ranked Vermont and No. 6 UMass Lowell.
Northeastern is 24th in the PairWise and would have to win the Hockey East tourmament to move on to the NCAAs.
BC can win the Hockey East regular-season race. The Eagles are in first place with 27 points, 3 ahead of BU and 4 ahead of Notre Dame and UMass Lowell.
The Terriers, who won the title two years ago, are home-and-away with New Hampshire before finishing with two home dates against Notre Dame.
Should the teams tie in points, BU would earn the top tournament seed, having swept BC last month.
BU is third and Harvard fourth in the PairWise, with the schools reversed in the USCHO.com poll.
Harvard’s trophy season, which began Monday night with its first appearance in a Beanpot championship game in nine years, continues the next two weekends as the Crimson go after two elusive titles.
By tying Yale on the road Friday they can wrap up their first outright Ivy League crown since 2006.
Then, by subduing Clarkson and St. Lawrence at home on the final weekend (assuming victories this weekend over Yale and Brown), Harvard can claim its first ECAC regular-season laurels since 1994 and collect the Cleary Cup named for its former player and coach.
The Ivy task figures to be more challenging. Harvard, which shared last year’s title with Yale, hasn’t won a regular-season game at Ingalls Rink since 2005 (0-9-2) and is 4-4-4 in its last 12 games at Meehan Auditorium.
The Crimson, who are 1 point shy of ECAC leader Union (whom they blitzed, 6-2, last Friday) and are 9-0-2 at home, swept St. Lawrence (4-2) and Clarkson (7-3) on the road for the first time in 14 years.