The seconds ticked away; the Beanpot championship game had been a total mismatch. For 56 minutes Boston College had skated circles around the Boston University Terriers, dominating them territorially and in almost every statistical category.
On a BU power play, it looked like even strength; even strength looked like a BC power play. By game’s end, the numbers would be eye-openers — shots attempted, 96-26; shots on goal, 52-13; shots on the power play, 9-1. This was no game of ebbs and flows. The period-by-period shot disparity would speak of an almost exclusively Eagle flow: 18-5, 15-5, 13-2 and 6-1.
Only one blemish marred the Eagles’ domination: the scoreboard. With four minutes remaining in regulation, BU led, 1-0. At 3:30 of the first period Kenny Roche had buried a shot into the top of the net and since then that lead had held up, territorial domination by BC or not.
There was only one reason why BU not only hadn’t buried itself, but actually led. And his name was Sean Fields.
“It’s a 5-0 or 5-1 game with the Eagles walking away with this thing if it wasn’t for Sean,” BC coach Jerry York said. “Sean Fields almost stole the game.”
When he wasn’t making the stops himself, good fortune was shining on him. Boston College hit four posts and an apparent game-tying goal six minutes into the third was waved off because of an innocuous-looking, but goal-negating skate in the crease.
Fields once again owned the FleetCenter. A year earlier, he had earned Beanpot MVP and Eberly Award (for best save percentage) honors before going on to be selected Hockey East Tournament MVP. Yes, he owned this building.
Not until a Ty Hennes goal from in front with 3:30 remaining in regulation could the number one team in the country crack Fields. The tally came on BC’s 39th shot of the game. And not until its 52nd shot would the Eagles get a second one past him for an overtime 2-1 victory.
“It’s a big game and you always want to come with your A game for big games,” Fields said. “Last year, just like tonight, I got some lucky bounces, a couple of posts. But not enough lucky bounces, I guess.”
Becoming only the fourth two-time Beanpot MVP and the first ever selected from the losing team did little, if anything, to ease the pain.
“[There’s] a lot of disappointment,” Field said. “The whole team was confident that we could get this game. The whole team put their 110 percent into it. We put our hearts on the line and came up short. It breaks your heart.”
Fields certainly impressed his opponents.
“He was standing on his head all night,” Ryan Murphy said. “He was remarkable, [but] we knew that we could finally get to him. I mean, 40-some-odd shots is just ridiculous.”
Added York, “Think about it, the MVP is the goaltender on the losing team. He almost won it for them. My hat is off to Sean. That’s a remarkable performance.
“I don’t think I’ve played in many tournaments where the MVP is on the losing team. But tonight it was the right choice.”
Finishing his Beanpot career with a loss, even one in overtime while covered with distinction, isn’t the way anyone wants to go out. Even so, Fields’ place in the tournament’s history is secure.
“He certainly has had a great run in the Beanpot, winning two of them as a sophomore and a junior,” BU coach Jack Parker said. “He played spectacular tonight. It was probably his best game.
“[But] I’m sure he would have liked it better if someone else [on BU] won the award for scoring the winning goal.”