The men’s hockey Terriers’ dream of winning a 30th Beanpot championship ended in a defeat last night after Northeastern freshman Kevin Roy pulled off a hat trick to give the Huskies a 3-2 win in the first round of the tournament at the TD Garden.
“It’s a real disappointing loss for us,” acknowledged BU head coach Jack Parker (SMG’68, Hon.’97) after the game. “We’re in a bad stage of the season. We’ve been up and down, and it was an up-and-down game for us. I feel bad for my seniors, but especially for my captain, who competed so hard.”
It looked as if the Huskies would take control early on, when Roy scored just 2:09 into the game. But the Terriers fired right back less than four minutes later when Danny O’Regan (SMG’16) finished off a gorgeous tic-tac-toe passing play with captain Wade Megan (MET’13) and Evan Rodrigues (SMG’15) to knot the game up at 1-1.
The two teams then proceeded to trade chances at another goal throughout the period, the best one courtesy of Matt Nieto (CGS’12, MET’14). The Long Beach, Calif., native walked in alone towards the Huskies net, but was stoned on the breakaway by Northeastern goaltender Chris Rawlings.
Not to be outdone, BU goalie Matt O’Connor (SMG’16) came up with a couple of dandies of his own. Nearly midway through the second period and with Northeastern on a power play, O’Connor stopped one shot from the point, before flashing the pad and kicking out another attempt by Roy, who was sitting on the doorstep. O’Connor finished with 23 saves on the night.
The score remained tied until a Terriers gaffe in the second period resulted in Northeastern scoring a second goal. With just over seven minutes left in the period, O’Connor came out of the crease to play the puck. The goalie left the puck for Ben Rosen (SMG’13), who passed it in front of the net to a wide-open Roy. The Northeastern freshman deposited it home for his second goal of the game and 14th of the season.
At one point late in the second period BU had a shot at retying. With the Huskies down two men, the Terriers had 1:57 of 5-on-3 time to try and get the score to 2-2. But BU’s power play failed to manufacture any real chances, and the power plays came to naught.
The Terriers came out hungry in the third period, outshooting the Huskies 13-7 in the final frame. They appeared close to tying the game once again, but Rawlings stood tall and helped keep the puck out of the Northeastern net, making 32 stops in all.
With five minutes left in the third, the Huskies got the puck into the offensive zone and put on the first sustained pressure of the period. Garrett Vermeersch tried a shot towards the net, and the puck deflected right onto the stick of Roy, who fired home his third goal of the game.
“I love to play in these types of games,” Roy said after the Huskies’ victory. “When the pressure is higher, I feel like I play better. Everyone did what they needed to do, and we got a great team win.”
Thanks to Sahir Gill (CGS’12, SHA’14), the Terriers were able to get one back with just over a minute left, making it 3-2, but the team was unable to muster any chances in the final minute. It was the second time in three years that BU fell in a semifinal game. The game was notable for another reason: this is the first BU senior class since 1965 to graduate without having won a Beanpot championship.
The Terriers have lost five of their last six Beanpot games. Last night’s loss was only the second time since 1994 that BU has given up a game to a team other than Boston College and the first time in 25 years that the Terriers have fallen to Northeastern in a Beanpot tournament. That game, in 1988, was also the last time that Northeastern won the championship. The loss marks the first time since 1965 that seniors on the team have not won a Beanpot.
“It’s pretty devastating,” Megan said after the game. “I just wanted it so bad for my teammates, for my classmates, and for the school. But there’s a lot of season left, and we’re looking towards it.”
The BU men’s hockey team will take on the Harvard Crimson next Monday, February 11, in the Beanpot consolation game at TD Garden at 4:30 p.m. The game will be televised on NESN. The championship game pits defending champ Boston College against Northeastern.
Paul Ryan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.