Boston College Bounces Boston University 4-3 for Beanpot Title

Boston College Bounces Boston University 4-3 for Beanpot TitleFinal, BC 4-3: That one was certainly exciting at the end, but BC manages to hold on for its second Beanpot title in three years, defeating the defending national champions 4-3.

What looked like a blowout at the beginning of the third frame quickly became a nail-biter, as BU registered two third-period goals and was about a millimeter away from tying the game with less than a minute remaining, but John Muse came up with a huge save on a Nick Bonino bid to carry BC to the victory.

BU finished with a 34-32 shot advantage. Muse saved 31 of 34 shots, while Kieran Millan stopped 28 of 32. Muse earns goaltender and MVP honors.

Not only does BC take Beantown hockey’s biggest honor, but it evens the season series with BU at 2-2.

Scoring for the Eagles were Steven Whitney, Carl Sneep, Chris Kreider and Barry Almeida. Kevin Shattenkirk, Colby Cohen and David Warsofsky lit the lamp for the Terriers.

Third period, 19 seconds, BC 4-3: BU is thisclose to tying the game as Nick Bonino takes the puck behind the net and tries to dump it in, but John Muse manages to fall on it and then get his glove on top of it.

BC clears with about seven seconds on the clock to put it away.

Third period, 1:56, BC 4-3: Somehow, Brian Gibbons ends up between the circles with the puck and a clear, unobstructed view of the goal. He winds up and shoots it right at Kieran Millan.

Millan has now been pulled.

Third period, 2:46, BC 4-3: Now it’s really a game. Colby Cohen takes a rebound of a Nick Bonino miss and sneaks it under John Muse for the power-play goal.

BC promptly calls a timeout.

Third period, 3:16, BC 4-2: Brian Gibbons makes up for the hit by absolutely laying out Eric Gryba as he loses the puck just inside the blue line. Gryba looked like a wideout coming across the middle who promptly became roadkill courtesy of a lingering defensive back.

I would tell you what the student section is chanting, but this is a PG-rated blog.

P.S., Tommy Cross just went in the box.

Third period, 5:12, BC 4-2: As the power play expires, BU gets a turnover against the boards and almost gets the puck to Joe Pereira as he’s streaking out of the box, but the pass is just out of his reach.

Third period, 7:40, BC 4-2: Brian Gibbons takes a rebound just to the right of the goal, right outside the crease, and he is just about as close as you can get to pounding it into the net — and then he gets absolutely tackled by Joe Pereira.

You know that scene in The Blind Side where Michael Oher says he wants to hit the defensive lineman so hard it would send him all the way out to the bus in the parking lot? Yeah. That’s what this hit looked like.

As a result, BC is on the power play.

Third period, 7:53, BC 4-2: BC kills it off, but it definitely wasn’t easy. BU moved the puck very well and had two particularly good opportunities, but on both, the puck was mishandled and trickled away before the Terriers could put it on net.

Third period, 10:01, BC 4-2: Sophomore Paul Carey goes in the box for slashing, giving BU another golden opportunity to make this one exciting down the stretch.

Third period, 10:12, BC 4-2: It’s still a game. BU’s David Warsofsky narrows the deficit to two with a slick short-handed goal, coming in one-on-one against Muse and eluding him on the glove side.

And he kind of brings back the home-run-swing celebration. Kind of.

Third period, 12:16, BC 4-1: Wade Megan goes in the box for interference. BC is 1-for-5 on the man advantage tonight with five shots.

As an aside, BC’s 3.8 goals per game are good for third-best in the nation.

And the Superfans have begun the, “Jesus loves us,” chant. Can’t argue with that one. I feel as though BC fans are to college hockey chanting what Notre Dame fans are to college football chanting. It’s pretty impressive. Do they get together and practice these cheers?

Third period, 13:52, BU 4-1: Colby Cohen tees up a one-timer from right in front of the blue line and golf-swings it high up off the glass. I was afraid that one might take out a fan.

Third period, 15:21, BC 4-1: Another insurance goal as Barry Almeida snags a turnover on the blue line, takes it all the way up the ice and sneaks it past Kieran Millan on the glove side.

That’s four unanswered lamp-lighters for the Eagles who, in their last four games, have now tallied 22 goals.

Third period, 18:26, BC 3-1: BC is 14-1-1 when leading after two periods. Just some food for thought.

Second intermission, BC 3-1: It’s quite a different story heading into the second intermission, as BC has completely turned the tables on BU with three second-period goals.

BU had its chances, but John Musemade some timely stops and got an assist from the iron on aVinny Saponari shot.

BC outshot BU 14-10 in that period and now holds the overall advantage, 22-19.

Second period, 1:18, BC 3-1: The last thing BU needs is to go down a man, but they will be, courtesy of an Alex Chiasson interference penalty. BC has a chance to put it away before the second intermission.

Second period, 3:15, BC 3-1: Chris Kreider scores one for the highlight reel, slipping the puck through a defender’s skates before beating Kieran Millan for the insurance goal.

Millan’s made some big stops tonight, but there was no stopping Kredier, who was flying through the zone.

Second period, 7:04, BC 2-1: Remember that thing I said about the crowd being heavily in BC’s favor? This place erupts as Carl Sneep tallies his eighth of the season, grabbing a rebound right inside the blue line and sending the one-timer whizzing right over Kieran Millan, who didn’t seem like he even saw it coming.

BC had a ton of opportunities on that sequence but couldn’t manage to corral a rebound until Sneep got the job done.

Matt Lombardi and Matt Price assisted on the goal.

Second period, 9:44, 1-1: A streaking Cam Atkinson takes a feed from Brian Gibbons and shoots a one-timer in from the right circle, but he never quite gets a handle on it and it misses pretty badly to the right. Another good opportunity squandered.

Shot totals: BU 16, BC 15. Still neck-and-neck.

Second period, 11:02, 1-1: With 20 seconds left in the power play, Zach Cohen gets a short-handed opportunity, firing in a shot from right in between the circles before getting his own rebound and missing wide right.

In the minute after the power play, BU misses out on a huge opportunity, leaving a rebound out right in front of the net that gets picked up by BC’s Jimmy Hayes, who takes it up the ice and misfires right on a decent opportunity of his own.

Second period, 12:59, 1-1: Justin Courtnall is in the box for elbowing.

BC is 1-for-3 on the power play tonight with three shots.

Second period, 14:20, 1-1: John Muse makes perhaps his best save of the night, jutting his leg out just in time to save a shot from sneaking in past the post.

Right after that, BU’s Luke Popko comes in on a 1-on-1 and shoots one right off Muse’s pads. After that sequence, BU now holds a 13-11 shot advantage.

In the same way that the first 20 minutes of the Fenway Park game between BC and BU saw a lot of back-and-forth action, neither of these teams has yet to make the other side adapt to its rhythm. There’s still a lot of intensity and aggression on both ends but nobody can really establish a dominant presence offensively.

Second period, 18:25, 1-1: That didn’t take long. 1:01 into the second period, Steven Whitney shell-shocks BU with a goal just as the 5-on-3 expires. He shoots it right at Kieran Millan from the right circle, but Millan accidentally does himself in by juggling it up on his stick and eventually back into the goal.

End of first period, BU 1-0: BC will have a little under a minute remaining on the 5-on-3 when the second period commences, but so far, BU has the very slight offensive edge.

Both teams have been pretty even offensively thus far, as BU holds the slight edge in shots, 9-8.

BC’s John Muse and BU’s Kieran Millan each have eight saves thus far.

First period, 31 seconds, BU 1-0: BC gets a 5-on-3 as Colby Cohen joins Escobedo in the box for slashing.

Cam Atkinson rifles one just wide right off the boards as time expires in the first period.

First period, 58 seconds, BU 1-0: BC gets its second power-play opportunity of the night, as Sean Escobedo heads to the box for holding.

Right out of the box, Ben Smith gets a rebound right in front of the net and whiffs on a chance to put it in.

First period, 2:24, BU 1-0: In the first minute of the power play, the Eagles are able to seize control and clear the puck a couple of times to burn time off. But with a minute left, Kevin Shattenkirk gets a nice bid in on the net and the rebound almost gets past John Muse but he manages to deflect it.

With less than 30 seconds left, BC gets a steal at the offensive blue line and clears it, and then Joe Whitney gets a steal in the same spot and gets a shot off as the power play expires.

First period, 4:23, BU 1-0: And right afterward, Alber goes into the box for hooking, giving BU its first chance on the man advantage.

First period, 4:29, BU 1-0: Patch Alber gets a loose puck in the neutral zone and tries to hammer it in from just outside the blue line, just barely missing wide right on a shot that looks hopeless at first.

First period, 5:53, BU 1-0: BU strikes first. Defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk fires in a wrist shot from the left circle and it flips right over John Muse‘s stick. The goal is unassisted.

And the very vocal Eagles faithful have been temporarily silenced.

First period, 8:25: Comical moment — two UNH fans get on the JumboTron and there’s finally something that both student sections can agree on. Lots of boos.

First period, 11:00: At the very end of the 4-on-4, BU gets a 3-on-2 and gets a perfect shot off from the left circle but misses wide. A couple of really big missed opportunities for each side here.

Both penalties are killed off.

First period, 12:32: There’s a scrum in front of the BC net, and Joe Whitney is promptly put in the box after he appears to knee a BU forward and then grab his mask.

It’s a 4-on-4 for another 1:30.

First period, 12:40: Steven Whitney (younger brother of Joe) streaks down the left side and fires one from just outside the circle and just barely misses to the left.

A minute later, Joe Whitney is on the doorstep facing an open net and can’t corral the puck to get the shot off. Big opportunity missed there.

BC is on its first power play, as Eric Gryba is in the box for hooking.

First period, 15:53: Both teams are pretty even offensively right now — both aggressive and hungry, but nobody is dominating. Lots of end-to-end action, just like in the first game.

Meanwhile, the fans don’t appear to need a game to watch. They’re doing just fine verbally torturing each other.

8:08 p.m.: Ayla Brown is singing the national anthem, and you know what this means … free American Idol pimpage opportunity for me!

Hollywood Week starts tomorrow, woohoo!

8:03 p.m.: Another injury update — BC captain Matt Price, who left in the first period of Friday’s game with what was deemed an upper-body injury, is in the starting lineup tonight.

8:00 p.m.: By the sound of things during the pregame video montage, it appears that we have a crowd heavily in favor of BC. The boos got pretty deafening whenever a BU player was shown on the JumboTron.

That could also be because the BC student section is directly below the press box.

7:47 p.m.: One thing to keep your eyes on tonight: BC’s Brian Gibbons-Joe Whitney-Cam Atkinson line, which completely victimized UMass on Friday night. Whitney had two goals, Atkinson had one and Gibbons had three assists.

Atkinson currently leads the Eagles with 17 goals and Gibbons leads the team with 24 assists and 34 points.

In other BC-related news, for those of you who didn’t catch Friday night’s game, BC’s four-man blue line rotation is no longer. Sophomore Tommy Cross returned from injury sooner than expected to give the Eagles a little more support on D. Patrick Wey, however, is still not expected back until possibly this weekend.

7:34 p.m.: Northeastern took the consolation game 4-1 over Harvard, and now it’s time to get down to some championship business at the TD Garden, where BC and BU will face off with a Beanpot title at stake. If the Terriers can seize it, it will be their 30th.

BC is on a bit of a mini-roll right now, winning at least three in a row for the first time since early December. Since a Jan. 29 defeat of Providence, the Eagles throttled Harvard 6-0 in the first round of the Beanpot before dominating UMass 6-1 on Friday evening in Amherst. In those three games, the Eagles have outscored their opponents 18-3.

BU, meanwhile, is also on a three-game win streak of its own and has won five of its last six. Over the weekend, the Terriers took down UMass-Lowell 3-2.

So far this season, BU holds a 2-1 advantage in the series and has taken the last two meetings by a combined score of 8-6. BC won the first meeting 4-1 back on Dec. 5 and looks to even things up.

Faceoff is just over a half-hour away, so keep checking back for updates as we get closer to game time.

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