On a great night of college hockey at TD Garden, it felt fitting that the 2015 Beanpot final was decided in overtime-a 4-3 thriller by BU over Northeastern. Junior captain and defenseman Matt Grzelcyk will forever be a hero on Commonwealth Avenue as he scored a power-play goal just 51 seconds into the extra session. To make the storybook ending even more unreal, he is a Charlestown native and 2012 draft pick of the Bruins. The Terriers picked up their first Beanpot title since 2009 and their 30thoverall (by far the most all-time) while the Huskies’ drought extended to a mind-boggling 27 years (1988 was the last time that they won it).
“It was an incredible game,” said BU head coach Dave Quinn. “I can’t say enough about our two seniors (forwards Evan Rodrigues and Cason Hohmann) and captain (Grzelcyk). You don’t win tournaments by accident, Matt has been working on his shot for a long time and both of his goals were a direct result of his hard work.”
Northeastern (15-12-4) looked lifeless in the third period when they trailed No. 4 BU (19-16-5) 3-1. That’s when the Huskies rallied for two goals in a span of 1:35. The game started off with unlikely fireworks as BU’s fourth-line junior center Mike Moran scored on a breakaway 2:19 into the first period. Northeastern answered on the following shift as third-line sophomore center John Stevens tied it up at 2:47. Both goaltenders played well as Huskies senior goaltender Clay Witt (30 saves) made a spectacular glove save on Rodrigues later in the first period. BU superstar freshman Jack Eichel had set up Rodrigues with a perfect backhand pass.
The Terriers dominated the second period with a goal by sophomore center Robbie Baillargeon following a juicy rebound from Witt. Grzelcyk made it 3-1 at 14:18. His blast from the point through traffic stung the upper corner of Northeastern’s net. The Huskies bounced back with their standout junior forward Kevin Roy sparking them with a great individual move and goal at 9:18. Junior defenseman Dustin Darou tied it at 10:53 after a mad scramble in front of Terriers junior goaltender Matt O’Connor (30 saves).
Overtime had barely started when Northeastern sophomore defenseman Matt Benning was called for a questionable hooking penalty. BU’s power play cashed in on their second man advantage of the contest. Grzelcyk put a low shot near ice level that was out of Witt’s reach. Rodrigues and Eichel had the assists on a historic tally by the local guy. It was a dramatic conclusion to another excellent title game. With the Hockey East Tournament semifinals and final at the Garden in March not to mention the Frozen Four in April, the Terriers hope to make winning here a habit.
“With my dad working at the Garden (on the bull gang) and growing up in Charlestown, to win the Beanpot was a childhood dream,” explained Grzelcyk. “I don’t think that it has set in yet.”