There was a recurring theme in the first round of the Beanpot last week. In both games, goals were hard to come by, with Boston College and Northeastern advancing to Monday night’s championship game with 2-1 victories. And in each contest, the winning goal was scored by a freshman.
Both of BC’s goals against Harvard came from freshmen, with Patrick Giles taking a nice feed from junior Graham McPhee for the first goal of his career.
The Eagles (10-13-3) were able to take care of business in regulation, when Jack McBain skated along the left boards, dished the puck ahead to fellow freshman Oliver Wahlstrom, and cut back to the center for a give-and-go to deposit Wahlstrom’s pass into the back of the Crimson net with 7:38 remaining.
Wahlstrom has three goals and five assists in his last eight games, including three multipoint outings. The Quincy native is starting to show why he was selected by the New York Islanders with the 11th overall pick of the 2018 NHL Draft.
“He started slow with us. He was a high draft pick, 18 years old, and comes into a new program for him,” said coach Jerry York. “I’ve seen it over the years that it just takes a while to adjust. Expectations are through the roof.
“The reality is that he’s a young kid, a very good player going against much older players, so it took him a while to adjust to it.
“I think playing at the World Juniors gave him confidence. He’s going to have a huge impact on the success in front of us as we look at the rest of our season.”
Northeastern freshman Tyler Madden was a teammate of Wahlstrom’s on the United States team that took the silver medal at the World Junior Championship, and he does not appear to suffer from a lack of confidence.
“I think he’s had confidence his whole life,” said Huskies coach Jim Madigan. “He’s a confident young man. He hasn’t played any differently from the beginning of the year to what he is now. What has happened, he’s become a little more seasoned and experienced.”
Madden buried the winner for the Huskies 51 seconds into overtime in the first round of the Beanpot against Boston University, scoring on a breakaway to send No. 13 Northeastern (16-9-1) to the final for the second year in a row. Madden celebrated in style, sliding on his back to make a snow angel as he was mobbed by his teammates. That followed his celebration last month against UMass, in which he skated along the boards before dropping to the ice in a feetfirst slide while using his stick as a kayak paddle.
“There’s confidence and there’s cockiness. Then there’s arrogance,” said Madigan. “He doesn’t have that. He’s just a confident young man, and he’s doing it on a big stage.”
Harvard (12-7-3) and BU (10-13-3) will meet in Monday’s consolation game at 4:30 p.m.
Follow Andrew Mahoney on Twitter @GlobeMahoney.