One year after finishing ninth in Hockey East, Boston University is the league’€™s regular-season champion. It took the Terriers longer to wrap up the outright title than they would’€™ve liked — they lost their previous two league games when a single point would’€™ve done the trick — but they ended up clinching it during the first period of their regular-season finale against Northeastern thanks to Notre Dame‘€™s 3-1 win over Boston College, the only team that still had a chance to catch BU.

Winning the title outright in and of itself would’€™ve made Saturday night a good one for the Terriers, but playing well was just as important given how poorly they played in Friday’€™s loss to Northeastern. They did just that, sprinting out to a 3-0 lead and ultimately winning 6-1.

Jack Eichel registered two goals and an assist, extending his point streak to eight games and increasing his nation-leading points total to 55 (18 goals, 37 assists). He also became the first Hockey East player to finish the regular season with two points per game in conference play since New Hampshire’s Jason Krog in 1998-99.

Bruins prospect Matt Grzelcyk scored his eighth goal in the last 10 games and added two assists in the win, while Ahti Oksanen scored his team-leading 21st and 22nd goals of the season.

BC’€™s loss combined with Providence’€™s 5-2 win over Maine means the Eagles will be the three-seed for the Hockey East tournament, with the Friars winning the tiebreaker and getting the two-seed. The Eagles outshot Notre Dame 56-28 Saturday night, but Irish goalie Cal Petersen made a career-high 55 saves as he stayed hot going into the playoffs (.961 save percentage over his last seven games).

UMass-Lowell wrapped up the fourth and final first-round bye with a 2-2 tie against Vermont, although the River Hawks can’€™t feel too good about posting just 15 shots on goal in the game. A little further down the standings UNH clinched the eight-seed with a 3-0 win over Merrimack, meaning the Wildcats will host UConn in next weekend’€™s opening round.

Here’€™s a look at the full bracket for the Hockey East tournament, which starts with the best-of-three opening round next weekend. The quarterfinals the weekend after are also best-of-three, while the semifinals and championship on March 20 and 21 are single elimination. Every game in the best-of-three series is played on the higher seed’€™s home ice.

Opening round
(5) Notre Dame vs. (12) UMass
(6) Northeastern vs. (11) Merrimack
(7) Vermont vs. (10) Maine
(8) New Hampshire vs. (9) UConn

Quarterfinals
(1) Boston University vs. lowest remaining seed
(2) Providence vs. second-lowest remaining seed
(3) Boston College vs. third-lowest remaining seed
(4) UMass-Lowell vs. highest remaining seed

Blog Author: 
Scott McLaughlin

The Boston University Terriers have a lot to be excited about right now. They just won their first Beanpot since 2009 and they’ve already clinched at least a share of the Hockey East regular-season title. They can clinch it outright with a single point this weekend against Northeastern.

There was a hiccup this week, though. The day after BU’s Beanpot victory, a video surfaced that showed star freshman Jack Eichel bragging about “drinking beer out of the Beanpot” and then taking a gulp.

A player — even an underage one — celebrating this way is not surprising and not really a big deal, but the fact that it was caught on video and posted on a blog and that Eichel is the likely No. 2 pick in this summer’s NHL draft was enough for a couple national media outlets to pick up the story. A second video from earlier in the season that shows Eichel drinking also surfaced.

BU coach David Quinn briefly addressed the situation on WEEI’s College Puckcast on Thursday.

“Yeah, we talked about it,” Quinn said.

Quinn was then asked if Eichel would be disciplined at all.

“Any discipline will be done in-house, and that’s between Jack and I,” he said.

While Quinn didn’t elaborate any further on that situation, he had plenty of good things to say about Eichel’s game and how he’s improved throughout the season.

“An underrated part of his game is defensively,” Quinn said. “He’s so strong. He’s aware of his body positioning. When he’s in 1-on-1 situations defensively, he doesn’t lose it. He ends the play. Jack has the athleticism and the strength not only to end the play, but he’ll end up picking the puck up and start your breakout. He backchecks with a vengeance. He understands pressuring the puck. There’s a lot of things that he’s done to improve his game, and that’s why I think he’s going to be an elite player at the next level.”

In Monday night’s Beanpot final, Eichel’s line didn’t find the scoresheet until he and linemate Evan Rodrigues assisted on Matt Grzelcyk’s game-winner, but the trio controlled play throughout the game, established long offensive-zone possessions and created plenty of chances. That has been the norm for Eichel and his linemates all season, and Quinn talked about the effect that kind of possession can have on a game.

“It gives you confidence,” Quinn said. “Number one, you’re wearing down the other team because they have to defend. And two, you’re sitting on the bench and you’re feeling good about your team. When you step on the ice, it gives you a little bit of an extra jolt of confidence. When you have an elite first line like we have, there’s so many things it brings to the table. Not only when they’re on the ice you have an advantage, but I think it’s infectious. I think your team kind of plays off it. The impact that an elite first line has at times can be immeasurable.”

Quinn also talked about his goalie, junior Matt O’Connor. TSN’s Darren Dreger reported this week that 14 NHL teams have expressed interest in the undrafted goalie, who could turn pro after this season and finish up his degree over the summer. The 6-foot-5 O’Connor has a .929 save percentage this season, good for second in Hockey East among goalies who have played at least half their team’s minutes.

“We haven’t really sat down and talked lately about it,” Quinn said when asked about the possibility of O’Connor turning pro after the season. “I know he had a chance to leave at the end of last year. I’m sure he’s going to have many chances to leave after this year. Now that he’s going to have his degree and have the success he’s had, there might be a different viewpoint of it when the season ends.

“I’m sure he’ll sit down with his family and talk to us about what he should do. We’ll certainly give him the best advice we can, and if it’s time for him to leave, it’s time for him to leave. We certainly would never hold a player back. If we think it’s in the best interest of him, then we’ll certainly help him make that decision and give him the advice that he’s going to need to have success at the next level.”

Click here to listen to the entire podcast, in which Quinn addresses a number of topics as his team gets ready for the postseason.

Blog Author: 
Scott McLaughlin

Northeastern hockey coach Jim Madigan has been suspended two games by Hockey East for “unsportsmanlike behavior directed at officials,” the league announced in a statement. The incidents leading to the suspension took place in Saturday’s game at Maine and Monday’s Beanpot final against Boston University, both of which were Northeastern losses.

Madigan was previously suspended for the first game of this season after criticizing officials following Northeastern’s final game of last season.

Madigan was visibly upset with the refs Monday night after BU won the game on an overtime power play resulting from a questionable hooking call. In his postgame press conference, he tried to convey his feelings about the call without violating the league’s rule against criticizing officials in the media.

“We can’t answer some of those questions,” Madigan said. “We live in a democratic society here. We can criticize the president of the United States on CNN and Fox and we can do all those things. We can’t criticize officials. We’re censored.

“Yeah, I think we thought we deserved better, but we can’t go there. So don’t ask questions about the officials, the penalty, because I’ve sat out already. We’re censored. We can’t say things against the league or the officials. Referee made a call. We didn’t agree with it. BU won the game on a power play.”

Madigan will now miss the Huskies’ final two regular-season games against BU this Friday and Saturday, with associate head coach Jerry Keefe leading the team in his absence. The Huskies are currently tied for sixth in Hockey East and are just one point out of the top four. The top four teams get a first-round bye and home ice in the Hockey East quarterfinals. Madigan will be eligible to return for Northeastern’s first playoff game.

“Coach Madigan’s actions are not consistent with the expectations we have for our department,” said Northeastern athletic director Peter Roby in a statement. “We hold all members of our department to a high standard, and we expect our representatives to treat others with respect and to conduct themselves in an appropriate manner both on and off the field of competition.”

Here is video of the penalty Madigan took exception to Monday night:

Blog Author: 
Scott McLaughlin

After going five years without winning the Beanpot — their longest drought in 50 years — the Boston University Terriers are once again Beanpot champions. They beat Northeastern 4-3 in overtime Monday night to capture their tournament-leading 30th title.

Matt Grzelcyk, BU captain and Bruins prospect, scored the game-winner 51 seconds into overtime with a power-play goal. After a Jack Eichel centering pass for Danny O’Regan drew a penalty just nine seconds into overtime, the Terriers set up on the man advantage. Evan Rodrigues kept a puck in at the right point and slid it over to Grzelcyk, who wristed a shot past Clay Witt (30 saves) for his second goal of the game.

With the win, the Terriers improved to 20-6-5 on the season and moved up to sixth in the Pairwise rankings that determine the NCAA tournament field. The Huskies, whose Beanpot drought is now at 27 years, dropped to 15-13-4 and fell to 22nd in the Pairwise, meaning they are now seven spots back of the final NCAA at-large spot.

The Terriers took control of the game in the second period, outshooting the Huskies 12-7 in the frame and outscoring them 2-0. They took a 2-1 lead 5:31 into the period when Cason Hohmann cut to the middle of the ice and threw a low shot on goal, producing a rebound that Robbie Baillargeon buried for his first goal since opening night way back on Oct. 10.

Baillargeon, BU’€™s leading scorer a year ago, has had a trying season, as he missed a month and a half with mono around the middle of the season and has struggled enough recently that he was a healthy scratch Saturday night.

Grzelcyk made it 3-1 nine minutes later with a big goal in what he hopes will be his home arena sometime in the future. He stepped into a slapper from the left point and found the back of the net through a Nick Roberto screen for his sixth goal of the season.

But then the Huskies came storming back in the third to force the game to overtime. They cut the lead to 3-2 with 10:42 left in the game when leading scorer Kevin Roy cut to the middle and beat Matt O’€™Connor blocker side for his 17th goal of the season.

They tied it a minute and a half later. After a long scramble in front of the BU net, Dustin Darou swooped in from the point and poked a loose puck through a maze of bodies and over the line. Darou, who came into this year’€™s Beanpot with one goal in 63 games, also scored the game-winner against Boston College in the semifinals.

The Terriers opened the scoring 2:19 into the game when Northeastern’€™s Trevor Owens failed to keep a puck in at the blue line, leading to a Mike Moran breakaway and the junior center’€™s fourth goal of the season. It took the Huskies just 28 seconds to answer, though. John Stevens held the puck in the high slot and moved to his left to open up a shooting lane before wristing a shot high glove.

The rest of the first period remained just as wide open as the first three minutes, but BU’€™s Matt O’€™Connor and Northeastern’€™s Witt made some big saves to keep the game 1-1. Witt’€™s two best saves came against BU’€™s dynamic first line. First he made a quick reactionary save and held onto a Eichel redirect of a nice saucer pass from O’€™Regan.

Then with less than a minute left in the first, Eichel, the nation’€™s leading scorer, appeared to create another highlight-reel goal to put on his resume. He intercepted a pass in the neutral zone, led the rush the other way and drew two defenders before making a great backhand pass to linemate Rodrigues. Witt slid across and made a beautiful, sprawling glove save to deny Rodrigues, though.

Eichel’s line — the most dominant in the country — didn’t find the scoresheet until overtime, but they dominated possession all game long and created chances throughout. It was one of those chances that led to the overtime power play and Grzelcyk’s winner.

O’€™Connor’€™s best save of the first also came in the final minute, when he denied Zach Aston-Reese on a semi-breakaway after Aston-Reese got around BU defenseman John MacLeod.

BU and Northeastern play each other two more times this weekend to close out the regular season. The Terriers can clinch the Hockey East regular-season title outright with a single point in the series, while the Huskies are fighting for a top-four spot and the first-round bye that goes with it. They are currently one point back of a three-way tie for third that features Providence, UMass-Lowell and Notre Dame.

In Monday’€™s consolation game, Boston College beat Harvard 3-2 in overtime in a contest that actually meant a lot for both teams in the Pairwise. The Eagles remained ninth with the win, while the Crimson dropped to 18th with the loss. Bruins prospect Ryan Fitzgerald scored the game-winner 1:16 into overtime when he buried his own rebound after taking a nice feed from Destry Straight.

Blog Author: 
Scott McLaughlin

With two weeks left in Hockey East’€™s regular season, let’€™s take a look at where each team stands as the postseason approaches. A few reminders before we get going: All 12 teams make the Hockey East tournament now. The top four teams get a first-round bye, with teams five through 12 playing best-of-three series to advance. The quarterfinals are also best-of-three, while the semifinals and championship are each one game. As for NCAAs, 16 teams make it — the six conference tournament champions plus 10 at-large teams. The field and seedings are determined by the Pairwise rankings — an objective, mathematical formula that is explained here.

Boston University (19-5-4, 13-3-2 HEA)
Hockey East: First (28 points)
Pairwise: Third
Despite a surprising loss at UNH on Saturday (one that snapped a seven-game winning streak), the Terriers are in really good shape all around. They can clinch Hockey East’s top seed and an outright regular-season title (their first since 2009) with three more points, or one more win combined with one more BC loss or tie. It’€™s possible they’€™ll enter Monday night’€™s Beanpot final with the regular-season title already locked up. On a national level, the Terriers are in position to grab one of the four one-seeds for the NCAA tournament. If they stay in the top four, they would be guaranteed to play in either Manchester or Providence for regionals. Even if they slip to fifth or sixth in the Pairwise, there would still be a good chance they’€™d be kept east.

Given that they have the best line in the country, a second line that’€™s heating up, a talented (if young) defense and a very good goalie, the Terriers are absolutely a national title contender. Getting to stay east for regionals before potentially playing about three and a half miles from campus for the Frozen Four would be a pretty nice path for them. Either way, one piece of hardware that should end up at BU this year is the Hobey Baker Award. Jack Eichel is the clear favorite to win it right now, as he leads the country with 47 points and 1.74 points per game.

Boston College (18-10-2, 11-6-2 HEA)
Hockey East: Second (24 points)
Pairwise: 11th
It would take a fairly shocking collapse from BU for BC to have a shot at the regular-season title, but the Eagles at least have the inside track for one of the other spots in the top four. They have a four-point lead over the two teams tied for fifth (Northeastern and Notre Dame), although both of them do have a game in hand on BC. The Eagles are a little above the Pairwise bubble right now and therefore in pretty good shape NCAA-wise, but they could still drop out of the top 15 (the Atlantic Hockey champ will take the 16th spot) with a few more losses and/or an early exit in the Hockey East tourney. BC has two big games against NCAA bubble teams coming up in the next week — first against Lowell on Friday night, then against Harvard on Monday in a rare Beanpot consolation game that actually means a lot for both teams.

UMass-Lowell (17-10-4, 10-7-2 HEA)
Hockey East: Third (22 points)
Pairwise: 18th
The River Hawks have gone 3-7-1 since Jan. 10 and played themselves out of the regular-season title race and onto the NCAA bubble in the process. Right now they’€™re on the outside looking in at an NCAA spot, but a strong finish — something they hope Saturday’€™s 7-1 trouncing of UMass was the start of — could get them back in position to earn an at-large bid, especially considering their last three regular-season games are against teams ahead of them in the Pairwise (one against BC and two against Vermont). The flip side is that if they continue to slide, they’€™ll have to win the Hockey East tourney in order to reach NCAAs for a fourth consecutive year.

Providence (18-10-2, 10-7-1 HEA)
Hockey East: Fourth (21 points)
Pairwise: 12th
After splitting at Notre Dame over the weekend, the Friars currently sit one point ahead of Notre Dame and Northeastern for the fourth and final first-round bye. Of those three, the Friars definitely have the easiest remaining schedule, as they have a home-and-home with UMass this weekend before hosting Maine for two games to close out the regular season. If they can pile up those wins, they’€™ll also put themselves in pretty good shape to get an at-large NCAA berth. If the Friars do make NCAAs for a second year in a row, look for them to potentially end up in the East Regional just two miles from campus at the Dunkin’€™ Donuts Center — although it’€™s worth noting that the NCAA doesn’€™t have to put them there since they are not the host for that regional (Brown is).

Northeastern (14-11-4, 9-7-2 HEA)
Hockey East: Tied fifth (20 points)
Pairwise: 20th
The Huskies started the season 0-8-1 and since then they have the second-best record in the country, including a current eight-game unbeaten streak. They still have some work to do to get a top-four spot and/or an NCAA at-large bid, but it’€™s amazing that they’€™ve even gotten themselves in position to make those things possible. After traveling to Maine this weekend (a series they need to take advantage of), the Huskies end the regular season with three straight games against BU, including Monday night’€™s Beanpot final, where they’€™ll look to end their 27-year title drought in that tournament. One thing worth noting here: there’€™s the potential for the Huskies to benefit from Hockey East’€™s new tournament format if they don’€™t finish in the top four because then (in theory) they could pick up two extra wins in the first round of the tourney, which would help them in the Pairwise.

Notre Dame (13-15-4, 8-6-4 HEA)
Hockey East: Tied fifth (20 points)
Pairwise: 36th
The Fighting Irish are going to need to win the Hockey East tournament to make NCAAs since they struggled so much out of conference. Getting into the top four and getting a first-round bye would be a big boost, but it won’€™t be easy to do that considering that their last four games are BU twice and BC twice. It’€™s worth noting that if the Irish do manage to win Hockey East, they would be placed in the Midwest Regional on their home ice since they’€™re the hosts there.

Vermont (17-11-2, 9-8-1 HEA)
Hockey East: Seventh (19 points)
Pairwise: 16th
The second half has not been kind to the Catamounts, who are 4-8-1 since winter break. They still have a shot at the top four, though, and more importantly they’€™re still right in the thick of things in the Pairwise (right now they would be the first team out of NCAAs). Obviously they need to finish strong, though. That starts with a home series against struggling Merrimack this weekend before ending the regular season with a big series at Lowell. Like Northeastern, the Catamounts are a team that could potentially benefit from the new-look Hockey East tourney if they have to play in the first round, assuming they take care of business against whomever they face.

Maine (12-17-3, 7-9-2 HEA)
Hockey East: Tied eighth (16 points)
Pairwise: 41st
The Black Bears need to win the Hockey East tournament to make NCAAs. Highly unlikely. The only real question left is whether they’€™ll finish in the top eight and host their first-round series or finish in the bottom four and have to go on the road. Series against Northeastern and Providence will make for a tough finish to the regular season.

UConn (9-15-7, 6-9-4 HEA)
Hockey East: Tied eighth (16 points)
Pairwise: 39th
Same situation as Maine, except with an easier remaining schedule — home-and-home with UNH followed by a home game vs. UMass.

New Hampshire (11-17-2, 6-11-1 HEA)
Hockey East: 10th (13 points)
Pairwise: 37th
Same situation as Maine and UConn, except probably not getting home ice. If by some miracle the Wildcats actually win the Hockey East tournament, they would have to be in the Northeast Regional in Manchester because they’€™re the hosts there.

Merrimack (14-13-3, 5-11-2 HEA)
Hockey East: 11th (12 points)
Pairwise: 29th
The Warriors started the season 10-4-1 and looked like they might contend for an NCAA tournament spot, but they’€™ve struggled big-time in conference play and have just one win in nine league games in the second half. It’€™s probably not mathematically impossible for them to get an at-large berth, but it’€™s pretty close to it.

UMass (9-19-2, 4-14-1 HEA)
Hockey East: 12th (9 points)
Pairwise: 44th
The Minutemen can clinch last place with two more losses.

Blog Author: 
Scott McLaughlin

Monday’s Beanpot championship game has been postponed to Monday, Feb. 23, due to the snow storm that will be in the area through Monday night, sources have confirmed to WEEI.com.

This marks the second week in a row the Beanpot has been postponed because of snow. Last Monday’s semifinals were pushed back to Tuesday. This week’s championship had to be pushed back even further, though, because the Bruins are at TD Garden Tuesday, the Celtics Wednesday and then Disney on Ice for a week and a half.

Boston University beat Harvard 4-3 in double overtime in last week’s first semifinal and Northeastern beat Boston College 3-2 in the second, ending BC’s quest for a sixth straight Beanpot title in the process.

BU and Northeastern will now meet at 7:30 p.m. in the championship game on Feb. 23. Northeastern hasn’t won the Beanpot since 1988, while BU last won in 2009. BC and Harvard will meet in the consolation game at 4:30 p.m.

This will be the latest the Beanpot final has been played since 1978, when it was pushed back to March 1 because of the Blizzard of ’78.

Blog Author: 
Scott McLaughlin

Boston College‘s quest for a Beanpot six-peat is over. Northeastern saw to that Tuesday night, as the Huskies knocked off BC, 3-2, in the semifinals.

The teams entered the third period tied 2-2, but scoring chances were scarce in the third period and the game appeared destined for overtime. That all changed with 1:34 to go. Northeastern junior defenseman Dustin Darou got the puck at the left point, waited for his teammates to set a screen and then fired a shot through traffic that gave the Huskies a 3-2 lead they wouldn’€™t relinquish. Northeastern will now face Boston University in next Monday’€™s championship game. The Huskies are looking to win their first Beanpot since 1988.

After a lackluster first period that featured a dearth of scoring chances, Northeastern struck just 21 seconds into the second with a power-play goal. Kevin Roy sent a pass to the front that Mike McMurtry couldn’€™t handle, but fortunately for the Huskies, Colton Saucerman was right behind him to snap the loose puck into a yawning net.

The Eagles tied the game four minutes later. Bruins prospect Ryan Fitzgerald easily won a race to a loose puck and found himself on a breakaway. Clay Witt somehow denied him with a sprawling toe save, but Destry Straight was right there to bang in the rebound.

The Huskies regained the lead with another power-play goal at the 11:21 mark of the second. Mike Szmatula made a nice cross-ice pass to John Stevens at the left point, and Stevens walked in a few steps before snapping a shot blocker-side past Thatcher Demko.

The Eagles clawed back again, though. Fitzgerald ended up with another breakaway, this time while shorthanded, and this time he finished the chance as he flipped a backhander past Witt to tie the game at 2-2 with 1:31 left in the second.

Northeastern improves 11-11-4 on the season, while BC drops to 16-9-2.

Here are some other observations from the game:

Penalties, special teams were huge
The Eagles haven’€™t been a particularly undisciplined team this season (their 10.4 penalty minutes per game are middle of the pack in Hockey East), but they sure were Monday night. They took the first five penalties of the game, and Northeastern made them pay on two of its power plays. The Huskies had good possession and good movement on most of their power plays, as BC struggled to really get pressure on the puck. The Huskies got nice movement right through the slot on their first goal, and Saucerman ended up wide open in the slot. Then on Northeastern’€™s second goal, the Eagles gave Stevens way too much time and space to walk in from the point and pick his spot. The Eagles finally got a power play of their own near the end of the second, but they killed the last 1:15 of it themselves by taking a too many men penalty.

Then everything changed. Once that 4-on-4 ended, the Huskies had a 45-second power play and looked absolutely awful on it. First they gave up a shorthanded breakaway to Chris Calnan that was turned away, but then they gave up another shorthanded breakaway just 12 seconds later, and Fitzgerald finished this one to tie the game at 2-2.

Fitzgerald stepped up for BC
The Bruins’€™ 2013 fourth-round pick is starting to look like the player who had seven goals in the first eight games this season rather than the one who had just one over the two months following that. Fitzgerald had a hat trick last Saturday against UConn and then a goal and an assist Tuesday night. He used his speed to create a number of chances throughout the game, including two breakaways for himself. The Eagles don’€™t have any big-time offensive stars like they did last year, but they have guys who are capable of scoring, and Fitzgerald is certainly one of them. Him getting hot down the stretch would be a big boost for BC as it enters Jerry York‘€™s favorite time of the year — trophy season.

Blog Author: 
Scott McLaughlin

The 2015 Beanpot got off to one hell of a start. Boston University dominated most of Tuesday’€™s first semifinal, but Harvard goalie Steve Michalek made a tournament-record 63 saves to force the game to double overtime. The Terriers’€™ relentless pressure never stopped, though, and 2:18 into the second overtime they finally scored to pick up the 4-3 win and advance to Tuesday night’€™s championship game.

The winning goal came from BU’€™s top line of Jack Eichel, Evan Rodrigues and Danny O’€™Regan — the best line in the country, but one that had been held off the scoresheet to that point despite combining for 25 shots on goal. Rodrigues picked off a pass at the offensive blue line and then fed O’€™Regan for the game-winning tally.

BU controlled most of the first overtime and nearly won it twice in that frame. Michalek robbed Rodrigues on a beautiful pass to the front from Eichel four minutes in. Then with BU on the power play, Brayden Jaw came up with a huge block in the crease after Rodrigues hit O’€™Regan at the back door.

Harvard then nearly ended it right after killing that penalty, as they got a 3-on-1 as soon as Alex Kerfoot left the box. Matt O’€™Connor (31 saves) came up with a big glove save on Jaw, though. The Crimson had another great chance with eight minutes left in the session when Tyler Moy ended up with a breakaway. Moy fumbled the puck at the last second, though, and failed to get a shot off.

BU took a 1-0 lead with 3:10 left in the first. Brien Diffley broke up a Harvard rush in the neutral zone, leading to a BU rush the other way. Rodrigues, who had six assists against UMass on Friday night, held the puck on the right side before making a nice centering pass to a wide-open Cason Hohmann for an easy tap-in.

The Crimson tied the game just 1:15 later. Clay Anderson made an indirect pass down the left side for Jimmy Vesey, who used his speed to get deep before throwing a pass to the front that deflected off a skate and went right to the stick of linemate Kyle Criscuolo for the finish.

Harvard took a 2-1 lead 22 seconds in the second when Criscuolo collected a Matt Grzelcyk turnover and centered for Kerfoot, who was playing his first game since getting injured at the end of November. The Crimson extended the lead to 3-1 eight minutes later when Sean Malone scored from the slot on a play that should’€™ve been blown dead after BU got possession during a delayed penalty (more on that later).

The Terriers didn’€™t roll over, though. They cut the lead to one with 4:26 left in the second when Nikolas Olsson buried a rebound off a Nick Roberto shot. Then they tied it with 23 seconds left in the period when Hohmann, who had a game-high 11 shots on goal, fed Ahti Oksanen in the slot for the junior winger’€™s 17th goal of the season.

The game was just the fourth in the Beanpot’€™s 63-year history to go to double overtime. The Terriers improved to 17-4-4 on the season, while the Crimson dropped to 12-6-2. The win snapped BU’s five-game Beanpot losing streak, its longest ever in the tournament.

Here are some other observations from the game:

BU controlled play from the second period on
The Terriers outshot the Crimson 54-22 over the final 40 minutes of regulation and first 20 minutes of overtime and out-attempted them 102-34 in the same timeframe. Harvard did a decent job keeping BU to the outside, but the Terriers still had 22 shots on goal from the home plate area (from the net to the faceoff dots up to the top of the circles and across) in that 60-minute stretch. Harvard had 10. Of course, goals over that 60-minute stretch were an even 2-2, thanks in large part to Michalek’€™s incredible performance.

Eichel’€™s line created a ton of chances
Rodrigues-Eichel-O’€™Regan has been the best line in the country, and they registered 25 shots on goal Tuesday night. Eichel had 10 of them. They were also on the ice for each of Harvard’€™s first two goals, though, both of which came from Harvard’€™s top line of Vesey-Kerfoot-Criscuolo. But the three BU forwards weren’€™t really to blame on either — defensemen definitely deserved more blame, and neither came off a sustained offensive zone possession. Eichel did miss a check that might have prevented the second goal, though. That trio could have gotten frustrated by that lack of luck throughout the game, but instead they just kept the pressure coming and eventually broke through in the second overtime. Harvard’€™s top line, by comparison, finished with 10 shots on goal. The two lines were not exclusively matched up head-to-head.

Vesey continued his own Hobey-caliber season
The main attraction in this game was Eichel, but Vesey reminded us why we should be paying attention to him, too. The junior left wing assisted on Harvard’€™s first goal on a play where he used his speed and strength to get position on BU defenseman John MacLeod. While Vesey didn’€™t get to the net himself, he was able to get the puck there and create a dangerous situation that led to a goal. Vesey, a Nasvhille Predators draft pick, now has points in all 20 Harvard games this season, and his 1.70 points per game lead the country. He recorded a team-high six shots on goal in the game. Eichel is still probably the favorite for the Hobey Baker Award, but Vesey is right there and certainly has a case.

Harvard’€™s third goal should not have counted
One of the more basic rules of hockey is that if the defending team gets possession of the puck during a delayed penalty, the play is blown dead. That didn’€™t happen on Harvard’€™s third goal, though. There was a delayed call against BU, and after a scramble in front, BU’€™s Oksanen got his stick on a loose puck and haphazardly slid it away. For some reason, the refs didn’€™t blow the whistle, play continued, the puck went right to Malone, and he buried it. Considering that these same refs had several quick whistles on pucks that weren’€™t even covered yet, that was an embarrassing — and potentially costly — no-whistle on their part.

But Harvard also had a probable goal ruled no-goal
With 8:45 left in the game and the score still 3-3, Harvard’€™s Seb Lloyd fired into a massive pileup in the BU crease and started celebrating like he had scored. It was ruled no-goal on the ice, and the call was upheld after a review. Replay showed the puck trickle down a Harvard player’€™s back and most likely cross the goal line, but there just wasn’€™t an angle conclusive enough to overturn the call on the ice.

This was not a defensive showcase
It was an exciting game for sure, but most of the goals came on bad defensive mistakes. Max Everson got caught puck-watching on BU’€™s first goal, allowing Hohmann to get wide open right in front. On Harvard’€™s first goal, MacLeod took a bad angle and got beat to a loose puck down the left wing, and while he recovered enough to prevent Vesey from getting to the net, the damage was already done and a scoring chance was unavoidable. Grzelcyk, a Bruins prospect, committed a bad turnover behind his own net on Harvard’€™s third goal, a mistake that was only compounded by Eichel missing a check and MacLeod losing his man in front.

The events leading to BU’€™s second goal started with Harvard defensemen Victor Newell and Desmond Bergin letting Roberto get behind them for a breakaway. From there, the Crimson were caught running around, allowing Roberto to get open again for a shot and Olsson to get to a rebound. BU tied it at 3-3 on another defensive miscue. Kerfoot turned the puck over behind his own net and Hohmann fed Oksanen for a one-time finish.

Blog Author: 
Scott McLaughlin

The Beanpot semifinals, originally scheduled for Monday night, have been postponed until Tuesday due to an impending snow storm. The games will still be held at TD Garden at 5 and 8 p.m. Boston University takes on Harvard in the first semifinal, while Boston College and Northeastern face off in the nightcap. The championship and consolation games will still be Monday, Feb. 9.

Blog Author: 
Scott McLaughlin

No. 17 Boston College remained undefeated since the start of December, beating No. 2 Boston University 4-2 at Agganis Arena Friday night to improve to 6-0-2 in its last eight games. Freshman forward Alex Tuch registered two goals and an assist, while classmate Noah Hanifin had a goal and an assist. The Eagles improved to 13-7-2 on the season and 6-4-2 in Hockey East, breaking a fourth-place tie with Providence in the process. The Terriers fell to 12-4-4 overall and 7-2-2 in Hockey East and dropped out of a first-place tie with UMass-Lowell.

Here are some observations from the game:

Penalties kill BU
BU gave BC two extended 5-on-3s, and the Eagles scored on both of them. The first came during a rough-and-tumble start to the game that saw the teams combine for 11 penalties in 10 minutes. In the middle of all that, Danny O’€™Regan and A.J. Greer took penalties 29 seconds apart and Hanifin ripped a slap shot past Matt O’€™Connor for the 5-on-3 goal.

Penalty trouble struck again midway through the second when Matt Grzelcyk and Robbie Baillargeon went to the box just 10 seconds apart. Once again the Eagles capitalized, with Ryan Fitzgerald feeding an open Tuch in the slot. Penalties haven’€™t been a huge problem for the Terriers most of the season, but they have now surrendered 14 power plays in their last two games. That will obviously be something to watch moving forward, especially since their next game on Sunday is against first-place Lowell, owner of the best power play in Hockey East.

BU’€™s freshmen finally look like freshmen
Arguably the biggest reason for the Terriers’€™ success this season has been the play of their freshmen. Jack Eichel has been even better than most people expected, and the team’€™s four freshman defensemen have been a strength from the get-go, with very few hiccups along the way. On Friday night, there were some hiccups. BU coach David Quinn said after the game that he thought it was the first game where his freshman D really looked like freshman D, and he pointed to gap control as one of the team’€™s biggest problems in the game. That was evident throughout, as BC had way too many easy transitions through the neutral zone and easy entries into the BU end. That passiveness led to chances on the rush for BC as well as easy offensive-zone setups. No one should be panicking about the freshman defensemen because we’€™ve seen all year what they’€™re capable of, but Friday night should provide a good teaching moment about what happens when they sit back too much.

Eichel also didn’€™t play one of his best games. While his line still had the puck a lot (according to Ryan Lambert of College Hockey News and Yahoo Sports, BU had a 64-percent Corsi with Eichel on the ice and 43.1-percent with him off the ice), they weren’€™t able to generate enough quality scoring chances. BC deserves a lot of credit for keeping them mostly on the perimeter, but Eichel and friends should be able to get to the net more against pretty much anyone. On top of that, Eichel had a miscommunication with a defenseman on a 4-on-4 that led to a BC goal and turned the puck over twice during a 6-on-5 at the end of the game while BU was looking for the tying goal. Eichel did still have an assist in the game and he’€™s still the best player in the country, but Friday night might get left off the highlight reel.

BC has depth, BU still has a question mark
As you might be able to tell by that 43.1-percent Corsi without Eichel on the ice, BC won the depth battle, at least in terms of possession. BU’€™s third line did score a goal on a nice play by Matt Lane and BC’€™s bottom two lines did not have a goal, but BC’€™s bottom six forwards outshot BU’€™s bottom six 8-4 in the game. The Eagles don’€™t have a line like Eichel’€™s (or like their own top line last year), and the two teams’€™ second lines are pretty even (especially if Baillargeon, who missed nine games with mono, can get back to how he played last year for BU), but BC has 47 points from its bottom six this season compared to 31 for BU. The Terriers still have the better offense on the season (3.40 goals per game vs. 3.09 for BC), but Friday showed how they might struggle against teams with good depth if the Eichel line doesn’€™t take over (which, by the way, they’€™re completely capable of doing). Sunday’€™s game against Lowell will provide another good depth test for BU.

BC can still make some noise
BC coach Jerry York said after the game that his team can still be “a pretty good club” this season, and he’s absolutely right. As we mentioned earlier, the Eagles are now 6-0-2 since the start of December and they’€™re looking like the team most of us expected them to be before the season. Defense and goaltending are finally looking like strengths, as the team has cut down on mistakes in its own end and Thatcher Demko has looked like the high-end goalie we know he can be rather than the mediocre one who was battling the flu and hip issues the first two months. BC is also finding enough scoring to win consistently, even if it doesn’€™t have that go-to, dominant first line.

The Eagles have scored three or more goals six times during this eight-game unbeaten streak and are now up to third in the league in scoring. They’€™ve allowed two or fewer in all eight games and Demko has a .955 save percentage over his last seven starts. It’€™s never really a good idea to write off a York-coached team, and this year’€™s BC squad could be in the midst of showing us why.

Blog Author: 
Scott McLaughlin