Boston College took care of BU last week and powered past Northeastern a week later. Credit: Glen Cooper/Metro
Believe it or not, there was a time when Boston College actually struggled to win a Beanpot under legendary head coach Jerry York. t
That all changed, however, in Montreal Canadiens captain Brian Gionta’s senior year in 2001, when the Eagles knocked off BU, 5-3. Since then, BC has made it a habit of collecting trophies, both of the Beanpot (seven) and NCAA tournament variety. Monday, top-ranked BC (22-4-3) held off No. 12 Northeastern (16-10-3), 4-1, at sold-out TD Garden to pick up their fifth straight Beanpot championship, a new program record. The Eagles are now one Beanpot title away from tying BU’s all-time record of six in a row (1995-2000).
“There is so much excitement about the Beanpot in our locker room,” said York, whose team is unbeaten in its last 15 games (14-0-1). “It’s a real proud moment; the part that impresses me the most is that they are so happy for other people’s success which is not often the case in life. They all wanted to see the freshmen win it for the first time.”
The Huskies really couldn’t have done much more. Redshirt junior Clay Witt (37 saves) played like the best goaltender in the country (which he very well might be) and it was a 1-1 game with less than six minutes left in regulation. But like they have so many times in the last 13 years, the Eagles found a way to come out on top thanks to role players having the games of their lives.
In this instance, senior captain Patrick Brown was the hero. He plays on the third line and had 13 career goals coming into this game but his incredible tip-in (when he was lying on the ice) turned out to be the game-winner and a highlight that York noted he’ll never forget. Brown also added the last goal that made it 4-1.
York talked about Brown’s father - Doug - being such a big influence on his son since he played 15 years in the NHL. His uncle Greg Brown is also an assistant coach for the Eagles.
“We compete to the very end,” explained Patrick Brown. “When you come here, you learn the culture and want to win trophies.”
There are only five games left in the regular season for Boston College and they hope to be back at the Garden on March 21 for the Hockey East tournament semifinals. From there, they’ll probably have a top seed and will no doubt be one of the favorites to take home another NCAA title in Philadelphia on April 12. Northeastern has five games left in the regular season as well and the Huskies still have plenty to play for, namely home ice in the Hockey East playoffs and a spot in the NCAA tournament.
Huskies head coach Jim Madigan has done a great job turning around a woeful program and they are on the cusp of big things in only his third season behind the bench at his alma mater.
“I like the way we played, we competed hard but we just couldn’t generate enough offense," Madigan said. "We’ll take the day off tomorrow and get ready for UMass on Friday.”
Follow Metro Boston hockey writer Richard Slate on Twitter:@RichSlate