Northeastern to face BC for Beanpot title

KEN POWTAK Associated Press Published:

BOSTON (AP) -- Boston College displayed its dominance again at the Beanpot tournament.

Quinn Smith scored a pair of goals, Parker Milner stopped 19 shots, and the three-time defending champion Eagles beat Harvard 4-1 on Monday night.

Boston College (16-7-2) will be seeking its 18th title and a school-record fourth straight championship next Monday when it faces Northeastern, a 3-2 winner over Boston University in the opening game.

At one time, the Beanpot was jokingly referred to as the "BU Invitational." Now, it's the Eagles -- located about a mile up Commonwealth Avenue -- who have owned the annual event at TD Garden.

"It's definitely a comfortable feeling coming in here," said Milner, a senior. "We love coming in here on the big stage. That's what you sign up for when you play at BC. As a senior class we're really trying to appreciate the Beanpot and how special of a tournament it really is."

It was the 13th time in the past 14 tournament matchups that the Eagles defeated the Crimson (5-15-1).

Steven Whitney and Michael Matheson also scored for the Eagles.

"It would mean a lot to me to win four in a row," said Whitney, a senior winger from Reading, Mass., about 10 miles north of Boston. "I grew up watching the Beanpot."

Danny Biega netted Harvard's goal.

The Crimson, who have won just once since mid-November -- an overtime victory at Boston University on Jan. 9 -- haven't captured the Beanpot title since 1993.

"It's definitely been a difficult period," Biega said of Harvard's struggles this season. "It takes its toll."

Smith had the only goal of the first period, scoring off a rebound in front when he gathered the puck on his backhand before shifting for a forehand shot over goalie Raphael Girard's right shoulder.

Smith then made it 2-0 with 1:42 left in the second. He put in a forehand off a rebound from the bottom of the left circle.

Matheson's one-timer past Girard from the right circle during a power play with 51 seconds left in the second made it 3-0.

Biega scored midway into the third before Whitney answered at 14:57.

BC, which outshot Harvard 46-20, dominated play for most of the game, quieting the mostly college crowd that usually offers a variety of interesting chants.

Many of the students in Harvard's section had left before the third period.

In the tournament opener earlier Monday night, Kevin Roy scored three goals as Northeastern snapped a 15-game losing streak against Boston University in Beanpot play.

Roy netted his second goal off a turnover in the second period and then batted home an attempted clearing pass late in the game that kicked off the 61st annual tournament.

Chris Rawlings made 32 saves for the Huskies (8-13-3), who will be trying to claim their fifth Beanpot crown -- the fewest by far of the four schools -- and first since 1988.

Danny O'Regan and Sahir Gill scored for the Terriers (13-11-1). It is just the fourth time in 30 years that Boston University won't be playing in the title game.

The tournament pits the Boston area's four Division I hockey programs -- located just a few miles apart -- against each other annually on the first two Mondays in February.

"I've been a part of this tournament for a long time and heard all of the facts and figures on how Northeastern hasn't beaten Boston University for 15 years," Huskies coach Jim Madigan said. "The facts and figures don't win hockey games. It's hard work."

Boston University owns 29 titles, and Harvard has 10.

This is BU's first senior class since 1965 that won't capture at least one Beanpot title.

"It's disappointing," senior captain Wade Megan said, fighting back tears. "I feel bad for my teammates, classmates."

Roy, a freshman, certainly didn't look bothered by his school's past failures.

"I knew BU had more wins," he said. "Every year, teams change and you can't look back at the history of what happened."

With Northeastern clinging to a 2-1 lead, Roy, positioned to the right of the net, swatted in Matt Grzelcyk's attempted clear from in front of the crease.

BU got within 3-2 on Gill's goal with 71 seconds left. The Terriers pulled goalie Matt O'Connor for most of the final minute, but were unable to get any scoring chances.

The Huskies, who came into the tournament having beaten all three teams this season, grabbed a 2-1 edge midway into the second period off a giveaway by BU center Ben Rosen.

O'Connor left the crease and got to a loose puck to the right of the net. He fed a pass along the right boards to Rosen, who tried to center a pass to one of his defenseman in front of the uncovered net. But Roy skated in, dived, and tipped the puck into the empty net.

While trailing 2-1, BU had a 5-on-3 power play for 1 minute, 56 seconds, but failed to get many good shots on Rawlings.

Seconds after killing off the power play, the Huskies were short-handed again when Josh Manson was whistled for boarding.

Again, BU was forced to take long attempts from the outside.

The Huskies grabbed a 1-0 lead 2:09 into the game when Roy banged in a rebound in front before the Terriers tied it on O'Regan's goal 3 1/2 minutes later.