It was a scene that had popped into dreams so often it was familiar — yet it was like seeing it for the first time.
A puck sitting alone. A net open. And a guy named Bourque jetting to poke it into the empty net.
Pandemonium ensued. The Bruins had won the Stanley Cup.
Close, but not really.
Monday night that dream was realized, but it had nothing to do with the for-all-intents-and-purposes canceled NHL season.
Instead, the dream sequence was the reality for Boston University nation. As Chris Bourque poked home the game-winning goal at 14:10 of overtime, his Terriers had once again proved their dominance of Boston’s holy grail of college hockey, the Beanpot, this time with a 3-2 overtime victory over Northeastern.
Invisible for most of the game, Bourque teamed up with defenseman Bryan Miller — a senior who himself was nearly the hero, scoring a shorthanded goal earlier before setting up Bourque to finish things off — to score what ranks as every BU fan’s favorite current hockey moment.
In essence, Bourque’s role is a surprise. BU head coach Jack Parker said before the tournament that generally freshmen don’t play major roles in the Beanpot. The tournament simply is too much for rookies to handle. That seemed to run true until Bourque’s OT heroics. But instead of doubting Parker, maybe you have to look at the player himself.
This is the FleetCenter. This, along with its predecessor, the Boston Garden, is the rink in which his father, Ray, played some of his biggest games for the Boston Bruins.
After Monday’s overtime miracle for the Terriers, who captured the Beanpot title for the 26th time in the tournament’s 53-year history, Bourque remembered a similar moment for his father.
“It’s cool to score the game winner kind of like [my father] did in 1996 in the All-Star game,” said the younger Bourque, who was only 11 years old at the time. “It’s cool to just play in the rink in which my father played and to look up at his jersey [which is retired, in the rafters].”
The goal may seem like a reward for Bourque, who has played well most of the season but battled injuries that carried all the way into last Monday’s semifinal victory over Boston College.
“To be honest, I’m feeling a little sore,” said Bourque, who arrived at the postgame press conference with an ice bag on his recovered knee. “You’re not going to let a little injury stop you from playing in the Beanpot, though.
“The Beanpot was one of the reasons I came to Boston University. It was an unbelievable experience in the first two games. We had fun out there.”
Parker hopes that Bourque’s goal can help restore the confidence that may have been lost while the rookie nursed the injury.
“Chris getting the game winner is certainly a boost for him and his confidence, and a big boost for us, obviously,” said Parker. “I was real happy for Chris, because he was frustrated, he wasn’t getting many chances.”
Parker, who admitted that Northeastern outplayed his Huskies for the entire regulation, and that, in Parker’s words, BU “dodged a bullet,” sees the Bourque goal as having two-fold benefits.
“In general, it was a good recovery for our team,” said Parker, “and it was good for Chris as well to get the game-winning goal.”
So as beers are cracked across the BU section of Commonwealth Ave., as players celebrate at the famous post-Beanpot watering hole, the Dugout, rest assured that, even without the NHL this year and without a Stanley Cup, in Boston at least, some dreams still come true.