By Josh Brown
Close but just short.
That was the case for the #12 Northeastern Huskies (16-10-3) Monday night in the Beanpot Championship as they fell 4-1 to the #1 ranked Boston College Eagles (22-4-3), in what could arguably be called Northeastern’s best executed game of the season. The win is Boston College’s 5th consecutive Beanpot title, and the second straight against the Huskies.
Northeastern came out strong in the first period out-shooting the Eagles 16-11 behind a relentless offensive attack and strong defense across the board for the Huskies.Despite this, Boston College scored the lone goal of the first period on Kevin Hayes 21st goal of the season assisted by Bill Arnold and Johnny Gaudreau.
In a reversal of fortune in the second period the Eagles out-shot the Huskies 14-8 but Northeastern scored the only goal of that period on John Stevens’ 6th of the season assisted by Kevin Roy. The Northeastern defense was able to block 12 shots in the second period alone, which helped take the ease off Clay Witt, who once again was his team’s backbone all game long.
Northeastern Head Coach Jim Madigan was confident where his team was at, after heading into the locker room tied after two periods.
“I like the way our team played, [they] competed hard. They battled for the whole game and through two periods I liked where we were,” Madigan continued, “If you can be 1-1 or up a goal or down a goal going into the third period, you’ve got a chance to win. I just liked where we were going into that third period.”
Despite the consensus that Northeastern outplayed the Eagles in the first two periods, the tide changed in the third with the Eagles out-shooting Northeastern 16-6, and scoring three goals to seal the game.
The first one came at 14:30 of the period on a Patrick Brown tip off of a Isaac MacLeod shot that just right by the shoulder of Clay Witt. Johnny Gaudreau gave the Eagles a two goal lead at 18:44 of the period on an empty-net goal, followed by another Patrick Brown goal with the 50 seconds left in the period that got over the glove of Witt.
Witt ended the night with 37 saves on 40 shots, and ended the Beanpot saving a combined 64 of 67 shots he faced.
Coach Madigan talked about Witt’s performance, and how he kept this Huskies team in the game all game long.
“I thought he played fabulous. I thought both goalies played really well tonight and Clay gave us a chance to win,” Madigan added, “It’s 1-1 after two periods and their goalie makes a great save to keep it out of the net… and Clay makes a few good saves there and he just couldn’t get the tip. It was well placed and he just couldn’t get it. But he was really good. He’s given us a chance to win all year long.”
Kevin Hayes took home Beanpot MVP honors as Eagles freshman goalie Thatcher Demko got the Eberly Award, given to the goalie who accumulates the highest save percentage in the tournament.
The season is still by far not over for the Huskies, who have Hockey East Championship and NCAA Tournament goals in mind. The Huskies will travel to Amherst to try and get revenge on Massachusetts who beat them 3-0 Friday night.