Notebook: Beanpot Championship

The Title’s The Thing

Boston College will potentially play for five tournament titles this season. With a victory in the Beanpot, the Eagles have already captured three.

BC won the Ice Breaker in October with a shootout win over Minnesota-Duluth after a 2-2 tie, followed by a 4-1 win over Findlay. In December, the Eagles beat Michigan 4-1 and Michigan State 4-3 to win the Great Lakes Invitational.

“It’s nice for our seniors, winning three championships,” said Eagle head coach Jerry York. “Every time you play in front of a big crowd, it helps your confidence.”

The next two titles that BC might have a shot at — the Hockey East tournament and the NCAAs — will take place at the FleetCenter, like this Beanpot. Boston College is 19-11-1 all-time at the Fleet.

Monday’s overtime win came without the aid of captain Ben Eaves, who has been sidelined with a fractured kneecap that looks to keep him out another two or three weeks.

“To [win] without Ben Eaves is remarkable,” said York. “When he gets back in the lineup, we’ll be that much better.”

Fields Of Gold

Besides dominating the Beanpot in recent years, Boston University has also dominated the Most Valuable Player award. A Terrier has taken home the MVP in nine of the last ten years, including this year’s winner, Sean Fields. It was the first time in Beanpot history that the MVP was given to a player from the losing team.

“Tonight that was the right choice,” said York.

Fields also won the Eberly Trophy, given each year to the goalie with the best save percentage in the two games of the Beanpot. Fields finished with a .954 mark this year.

Last year, Fields also won both awards, which makes him the first player to win both in back-to-back seasons.

“He’s got himself in the record books quite nicely,” said BU coach Jack Parker.

In an odd coincidence, last year in the Hockey East championship game, also at the FleetCenter, Fields was named the MVP in a losing effort as the Terriers dropped a 1-0 overtime game to New Hampshire. Fields stopped 88 of 94 shots in two games that weekend.

Accolades or not, Fields was unhappy about the loss.

“It’s a lot of disappointment,” he said. “Our whole team was confident we could take this game. It’s heartbreaking when you come up short.”

“I have a feeling he’d give up the MVP if someone from our team could have scored that game winning goal,” Parker quipped.

Oh Offense, Where Have You Gone?

BU had just 13 shots on net for the entire game, including overtime. This was in stark contrast to BC’s 52 shots.

The Eagles are used to outshooting opponents. This season, they have only been outshot exactly once, in a 3-2 win over BU on January 17.

The great difference in shots, explained Parker, came from the fact that BU scored just 3:30 into the first frame.

“Last time, they were protecting the lead and we outshot them,” said Parker. “This time, it evolved into us protecting the lead.”

York tried to keep his players from feeling pressure when Fields made save after save.

“On the bench, we just tried to keep loose,” York explained. “We have a good offensive squad.”

With just four minutes remaining in regulation, it looked like the contest might set a Beanpot record for the lowest-scoring game in the 52-year history of the event. The holder of that distinction is 1981 championship, in which Harvard downed BC 2-0.

It also would have been the first shutout in the FleetCenter, which has hosted the Beanpot since 1996. But Ty Hennes’ goal with just 3:30 remaining changed the complexion of the game.