After losing in the finals for the past two years, the Boston College Eagles soared victoriously over the Harvard Crimson, 6-5 in overtime, and won the 56th Beanpot because of a freshman with very good timing. Rookie defenseman Nick Petrecki scored the first two goals of his college career and helped BC to their 14th Beanpot title and first championship since 2004.
“[From the start], I knew we were going to be in for a hard game,” said BC head coach Jerry York.
“[It was] a very exciting hockey game. Both teams battled,” said Harvard head coach (and former Boston Bruin) Ted Donato. “[It was] a little bit of a see-saw affair…[but] I couldn’t be prouder of the effort.”
The first few minutes of the first period were uneventful, but at 3:51, on only the second shot of the night, Eagles left-winger Joe Whitney put his team on the board with some help from Matt Price and Pat Gannon.
The Crimson captain Mike Taylor answered soon after, sliding the puck past BC’s John Muse with 12:33 remaining in the period.
Harvard goalie Kyle Richter kept the score tied with a spectacular pad stop after a two-on-one shot from Eagle Matt Greene.
“He’s been [making key saves] all year for us,” said Taylor, “and every game he’s good for one or two really good saves that give us a jump.
A BC giveaway near center ice led to a breakaway from Matt McCollem, who crossed the blue line and outdistanced two Eagles defenders, netting the puck over Muse’s glove hand at 11:15 and putting Northeastern up 2-1.
The teams played a strong defensive game with very few shots being allowed on either net. At the end of the first 20 minutes, BC had nine shots, while Harvard had five.
But Boston College took control of the game during the second stanza.
Just a minute and a half into the second, Beanpot MVP Brian Gibbons took advantage of a screened Richter and tied the game at two.
BC then regained the lead just before the midway point of the period, as Petrecki neatly tucked the puck just under the Crimson crossbar.
The third period began with a power play goal for the Crimson, which tied the score at three, when Doug Rogers sent a flutter-puck towards the BC goal, which knuckled like a Tim Wakefield pitch over the shoulder of Muse at 2:35.
The back-and-forth continued, and a Harvard penalty allowed the Eagles to take advantage of the ensuing power play opportunity and put themselves in the lead again with a goal by Gannon at 5:48 -- just after the power play itself had ended.
“Momentum swings during games so quickly,” said the Eagles Mike Brennan. “The resiliency of all the players, I think, was big.”
Reminiscent of a similar situation during the previous period in the opposing goal, a pile-up in front of Richter’s net led to a disputed BC goal at 10:22 by Andrew Orpik that put the Eagles up 5-3.
Not a minute later, however, the Crimson countered when a BC defenseman collided with a linesman, leaving a wide-open hole for Jon Pelle to waltz through and beat Muse, making the score 5-4.
Harvard was not ready to go down without a fight, and at 15:36, Captain Taylor scored his second goal of the night at the most opportune moment, tying the score at five at leading to overtime for the 9th time in Beanpot history, the fourth in the last five years.
It was the third time BC and Harvard played each other in OT in the championship game.
“We talked from the outset that we needed to compete all the way to the end, and…sometimes you do a lot of things right versus good hockey teams and still fall behind a little bit,” said Donato. “Our guys kept battling, kept putting pucks on net, and I really believed the entire time…that we were going to have a chance to come back in the game.”
After 60 minutes, both Muse and Richter had 21 saves.
A lucky save from Richter, which actually went off his glove twice, kept BC from scoring early in OT, but the Eagles' Patrecki scored his second collegiate goal, and his second of the night, at 7:07 to turn the Boston College Eagles into 2008 Beanpot Champions.
“It’s just being in the right place at the right time,” said Patrecki. “I just closed my eyes, took a swing at it, and luckily it went in.
“That’s every little kids dream…to [score] the OT winner in the Beanpot, so it’s a dream come true.”
“The OT, I really thought we played to win the game and win a trophy,” York said. “We were probably playing our best hockey during the overtime.”
NOTES: Boston University defeated Northeastern 5-4 in the 5 p.m. consolation game.
The fifth Terriers goal caused controversy when Huskies d-man David Strathman had his stick ripped from his hands and jettisoned into the air. Colin Wilson took advantage of the spectacle, stealing the puck and putting it in net past Brad Thiessen.
The goal secured third place in the tournament for BU for the seventh time in tournament history.
Northeastern has placed fourth 29 times, including tonight.
Northeastern’s Thiessen received the Eberle Award for the highest save percentage in the two Beanpot games. He stopped 70 of 78 shots, .897%.