After a brief one-year hiatus, the Beanpot is returning to Babcock Street thanks in large part to the two-goal effort by Terrier freshman Justin Maiser (Edina, MN), who helped lead B.U. to a 5-3 win over Northeastern on Monday night (February 11th) in front of 17,565 fans at the FleetCenter.
It was the 50th anniversary of the tournament that was once called the social event of the winter in Boston. During the first half century, the Terriers have now won the coveted 26-pound silver trophy an incredible 24 times. They had actually won it a record six straight years from 1995 through 2000. Then, last year, Boston College took the trophy from the Terriers in a 5-3 win in the title game. The Eagles' hopes of successfully defending the Beanpot ended last Monday night (February 4th) when the Terriers returned the favor of a year earlier with a 5-3 win. As a result, the Eagles played in Monday night's (February 11th) consolation game and blanked Harvard, 4-0.
For Maiser, it marked his first collegiate multiple-goal game and it couldn't have come at a better time as his offensive exploits earned him the tournament's Most Valuable Player award.
His first goal of the game opened the scoring at 7:52 of the first period. The play was set up when Terrier freshman David Klema (Roseau, MN) stole the puck from Northeastern defenseman Arik Engbrecht just inside the Huskie blue line. Klema fed the puck down low where Maiser was camped on the Northeastern goal line. With seemingly no open area to shoot at, Maiser let go of his shot and it went just to the left of Northeastern goalie Keni Gibson's skate.
The score remained 1-0 at the first intermission even though the Terriers dominated play, outshooting the Huskies, 14-7. Gibson's excellent play in net kept the Terriers to just that one goal.
Freshman Ryan Whitney (Scituate) upped the B.U.'s lead to 2-0 after he intercepted a clearing pass by a Northeastern defenseman. He came skating down the left wing boards, cut across the slot and beat Gibson to the far right hand side of the goal on a nifty play by Whitney. The goal, which was unassisted, came at 4:47 of the second period.
At that point, the Terriers were dominating play, but Northeastern, which had been one of the hottest teams in Hockey East, was on the verge of staging a three-goal outburst.
Two of the goals came on the Northeastern power play, both of which were scored by Chris Lynch. The first came at 12:43 of the second period when he deflected a shot in front of Terrier sophomore goalie Sean Fields (Edmonton, ALTA). The initial shot was taken by the Huskies' Jim Fahey, and Lynch was there to deflect the shot.
Lynch's second goal came at 14:18 of the period. He had won the faceoff at the right circle, and as the Terriers were trying to clear the puck out, Lynch intercepted it and came in on Fields. The Terrier goalie made the initial save but Lynch jammed it home for the equalizer.
It appeared the score would remain knotted at 2-2 through two periods. But, with just 10 seconds to play before the break, Northeastern's Jim Fahey put his team ahead, 3-2, when his slap shot from the top of the left faceoff circle trickled off Fields' pads into the net.
"At that point, it had been a tale of two games," Terrier head coach Jack Parker said after the game. "For the first 34 minutes, we had put on a clinic out there. We had done everything we wanted to, and we were playing a real solid game.
"Then, we took some penalties and got down a couple of men," said Parker, who has now won the Beanpot 16 times as a coach and had won it three times as a player. "You have to give Northeastern credit. They came back with those two power play goals, and they had us back on our heels. Then, they scored that goal at the end of the period and it really deflated us.
"But, we have had a resilient team all year, and we came back in the third period," said Parker, whose team had been 2-5-0 this year in game in which they trailed after two periods. "I have to give my team credit to come out and play as hard as they did."
Certainly, one of the biggest goals of the game was scored by senior Mike Pandolfo (Burlington), whose 18th goal of the year tied the game at 3:54 of the third period. The play was set up by freshman Bryan Miller (Wayne, NJ), who came across the Northeastern blue line and fired the puck off the boards behind Gibson.
"When I saw Bryan fire the puck, I skated as hard as I could down low," said Pandolfo. "I knew the puck was going to bounce back out, and I thought it might bounce over the defenseman's stick. I picked up the puck and knocked it past their goalie."
"That was a huge goal for us," said Parker. "It got the momentum away from Northeastern."
With the clock winding down, and fans thinking of overtime, Maiser scored what proved to be the game-winning goal at 18:48. Klema got the puck to sophomore Kenny Magowan (Kelowna, BC). Magowan took the puck behind the Northeastern goal where he dumped it out to Maiser. The Terrier freshman wasted little time in lifting the puck over Gibson, who had flopped down to the ice.
In an effort to tie the game, Northeastern coach Bruce Crowder pulled Gibson with just under a minute to play. The move backfired when senior Jack Baker (South Boston) found the empty net to account for the final margin. Whitney picked up an assist on the play.
"I was really surprised at how poised our freshmen were tonight," said Parker.
The statistics will bear him out as Maiser had two goals, Whitney had a goal and an assist, Klema had two assists, and Miller had one assist.
"I thought Klema and Maiser had one of their best games this year," said Parker. "And, I thought that Miller and Whitney had excellent games.
"This was a fabulous game," said Parker. "This was a typical B.U.-Northeastern game. It was a hard-fought game with a lot of great hitting. We played four games against Northeastern this year and we are 3-1. I think it shows the kind of heart our team has."