BOSTON — Maybe next year they’ll skip the hockey and go straight to the trophy presentation.
Boston University won another Beanpot with its 3-2 victory over Boston College on Monday night — the Terriers’ eighth tournament championship in nine years, their 11th in 14 years, their 13th in 18 years.
In all, BU has claimed 25 titles in the 51-year history of college hockey’s great city championship.
“I can’t imagine not winning it,” said BU sophomore Brian McConnell, another of the splendidly spoiled Terriers unaware of the existence of the consolation game. “I mean, I’ve only been here two years, but I still couldn’t imagine not winning it. And [the history] gives us a little extra confidence. You want to follow all of the former players and do what they did, and you want to have the alumni go around and still be proud of their team’s doing.”
And nothing makes a BU alum more proud than a win over BC.
“Last year was nice, when we beat Northeastern, but this year was even more rewarding because we beat BC,” said McConnell.
In this case, BU’s opponent was further testament to just how much the Terriers have owned these February Mondays.
— BU coach Jack Parker
BC was 3-0 against BU this season going into Monday night, including a two-game sweep less than a month ago. The Eagles came in the game riding a four-game winning streak, including a 5-2 win at No. 2 Maine on Friday.
But BU didn’t seem too worried. Someone always steps up.
“You guys asked why we’ve had so much success. It’s because of the three guys who were sitting right there,” said BU coach Jack Parker, gesturing to the seats occupied by McConnell, forward Justin Maiser, and goaltender Sean Fields at the postgame press conference. “And last year, it was three different guys.”
This season especially, the Terriers have proven themselves to be an excellent tournament team. They began the season by defeating Northern Michigan and Rensselaer to win the Ice Breaker in Wisconsin, then swept through Detroit to claim the Great Lakes Invitational over the holidays, leaving hometown powers Michigan State and Michigan in their wake.
“Tournaments are traditionally won with defense and goaltending, and over the years those have been our strong points,” Parker said. “Defense beat offense tonight. This was absolutely the kind of game we wanted to play.
“Most of the time we like to win 3-1.”
Monday night’s final was close to that — and, given that this is BU and the Beanpot we’re talking about, it shouldn’t be surprising that “close” was close enough for another trophy.
Fields Key For BU
For a guy from Edmonton, Sean Fields sure has a handle on this Beanpot thing.
“Sean came up big for us when he had to,” Parker said after Fields’ 31-save performance against BC.
And he has a couple trophies to show for it. Fields received the Eberly Trophy, given to the goaltender with the best save percentage in the tournament, after stopping 59 of the 62 shots he faced (.952).
Fields was also the tournament Most Valuable Player, putting him in the company of Rick DiPietro (2000) and Michel Larocque (1999), other BU goaltenders who won both awards.
But Fields, true to his quiet demeanor, was quick to spread the praise.
Asked what he saw on the BU penalty kill, which neutralized all but one of BC’s eight power plays, Fields said, “I saw the back of [Dave] VanderGulik, I saw the back of [Ken] Magowan, and Freddy [Meyer]. Our penalty killers were unbelievable. They were getting in shot lanes all over the place.
“Anyone on this team could’ve been the MVP. Everyone was keeping shots to the outside. It was a gutsy effort by this whole team.”
Still, it was hard to deny the brilliance of Fields, who has allowed just three goals during his last four games and stopped 108 of 111 shots for an eye-popping .973 save percentage over that span.
But for all his heroics Monday night, it may be a save Fields made in the Terriers’ 2-1 win over Harvard in the semifinals that remains the most remembered of the tournament.
With the game tied at 1 in the third, Harvard’s Charlie Johnson sent a perfect feed on a 2-on-1 to Noah Welch, who had nothing but an open net in front of him. Somehow, Fields got his toe on Welch’s redirect, and it flipped harmlessly to the corner.
Meyer scored the game winner moments later to send BU to the finals for the ninth straight year.
And Fields took it from there, proving his mettle against the Eagles with a 15-save second period and 13 more in the third.
“When you face a lot of shots like that, it keeps you focused,” he said. “It makes you stay in the game.”
Even after BC’s Dave Spina scored with an empty net at 18:27 of the third period, Fields didn’t waver. When Eagles coach Jerry York called timeout with under a minute to go, Fields didn’t even skate over to the bench.
“I was just thinking, ‘Don’t let in a goal,’” Fields said. “In 30 seconds you’ll get your Beanpot.”
And in 30 seconds, that’s exactly what he had.