Northeastern Upsets BU in Men’s Beanpot Semifinal
Northeastern Upsets BU in Men’s Beanpot Semifinal
Terriers lose 3-1, and lose chance to defend 2022 title
The BU men’s hockey team tried and tried again to push the puck past Northeastern goaltender Devon Levi, and when they finally did with less than two minutes to go, it was too little, too late.
The third-ranked Terriers battled No. 17/20 Northeastern in the 70th Beanpot semifinal Monday night at TD Garden. The matchup was a rematch of last year’s Beanpot final in which BU bested Northeastern 1-0 on a late Dylan Peterson (COM’24) goal.
BU owns the highest scoring offense in college hockey, averaging 4.23 goals per game. Despite their ability to light the lamp, BU’s work was cut out for them in facing Levi, the defending Richter Award–winning goaltender, who made 28 saves in Northeastern’s victory.
Despite both being juniors, Levi and Terriers netminder Drew Commesso (CAS’24) were making their Beanpot debuts. The 2021 Beanpot was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and both star goalies were away from 2022’s 1-0 final, as Levi played for Team Canada, and Commesso for Team USA, in the 2022 Winter Olympics.
From puck drop to the first buzzer, Northeastern maintained control of the first period. Outshooting BU 10-8 and dominating on the forecheck, Northeastern left multiple Terriers splayed out on the ice in the first 20 minutes. Eventually, the Huskies’ physicality translated into the game’s first score.
With six minutes left in the first period, Northeastern captain Aidan McDonough found the top shelf on Terrier goaltender Commesso’s left side with a well-threaded Vinny Borgesi pass across the crease. McDonough’s 18 goals this season leads the Huskies and the rest of the Hockey East.
BU tried to fight back on the power play, but failed to equalize the score. By period’s end, BU had managed to slip one past Levi just once—but Matt Brown (Questrom’23) saw his shot ricochet off the left post.
Where BU looked lost in the first period, their cautious play did not improve in the second. Less than two minutes after the first intermission, Huskies defenseman Jeremie Bucheler put a slap shot on net, which Commesso knocked down, but not far enough away. Alternate captain Jakov Novak found the loose puck and buried a backhander to extend the Husky lead to 2-0.
That was all Levi would need.
BU’s dearth in offense continued, as the Terriers managed just three shots by the midway point of the second. Despite this, Northeastern continued to provide Boston University with ample scoring opportunities, committing and killing two penalties in the second.
BU’s Wilmer Skoog (CAS’23) was the first Terrier to find his way to the penalty box with less than two minutes left in the first. Staying out of the box was seemingly a focal point for the Terrier game plan, as BU entered play with the worst penalty kill percentage in Hockey East.
The Terriers opened the third period with an increased offensive output, putting 16 shots on Levi, compared to 18 in the first two periods. Shortly into the third, the Terriers once again found themselves on the power play, but it ended in yet another shot bouncing off the post for Brown, BU’s top scorer of the season (37 points, 12 goals, 25 assists).
“Levi is an incredible goalie, Terriers head coach Jay Pandolfo (CAS’96) said postgame. “If he see pucks, he’s going to stop them. We definitely had to do a better job to get out in front and playing a more simple game.”
The Terrier’s offensive output in the third period forced Levi to make multiple heroic saves, excluding a late goal by Brown to put the Terriers on the board after pulling Commesso with less than two minutes to go. With the score 2-1, and the BU fans sensing a miracle finish, the Terriers had several shots on goal—all turned away by Levi. When Northeastern’s Hunter McDonald bounced past a BU defender into open ice, he skated ahead and sent home an empty net goal to send Northeastern through to the Beanpot final.
Pandolfo highlighted a lack of adjustments made between periods, specifically in reference to the Terriers four failed power play campaigns.
“I don’t really know what the reason was,” Pandolfo said. “We needed to simplify our game, and they did a much better job than us in that area.”
Northeastern will face Harvard for the Beanpot title, the first time the two teams have met in the championship in the Beanpot’s 70-year history. The Terriers will face Boston College, who fell to Harvard 4-3 in overtime, in the consolation game at 4:30 pm on Monday, February 13.
The 70th Annual Men’s Beanpot Tournament: The Terriers play in the consolation game on Monday, February 13, at 4:30 pm, against Boston College. The Harvard Crimson bested the Eagles in Monday’s first game and will take on Northeastern in the February 13 championship game at 4:30 pm. All men’s Beanpot games are played at TD Garden, 100 Legends Way, Boston, and will be broadcast live on NESN or NESN+ and WTBU Radio.
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