BOSTON — If you were watching Monday’s Beanpot semifinal between Boston College and Harvard, you might haveÂ spotted something odd on the BC bench: a goaltender wearing a black helmet rather than one that would match a bit better with the Eagles’ maroon, gold and white color scheme.
That would be emergency goaltender Chuck van Kula,Â one of theÂ unlikeliest BeanpotÂ participants in the tournament’s 64-year history.
“We’ve had all the different goaltenders with injuries this year,” BC coach Jerry York explained, unprompted, during his news conference following the Eagles’ 3-2 win over Harvard. “Chris Birdsall went out with a concussion, hasn’t played all year. Backup goaltender Alex Joyce had a cartilage meniscus repair, so he was out. We brought a goaltender in in January (Ian Milosz), and he had a concussion. We said, ‘We need a goalie on the bench to start the game.’
“So, our manager — he’s a junior; he played high school hockey in Pennsylvania — he got dressed (Monday night). The guy with the black helmet. So, that was kind of neat, I thought. A little Beanpot lore there.”
Van Kula, who appeared in 97 games during his four years at Saint Joseph’s Prep in Philadelphia, according to EliteProspects.com, did not see actionÂ Monday night. Thatcher Demko, who’s dealt with injuries of his own this season, stopped 21 of the 23 shots he faced to backstop BC to its ninth Beanpot title game appearance in 11 years.
But if Demko had happened to go down, the Eagles’ net would have been van Kula’s.
“It was either him or me,” York joked.