Monday night Boston College took on Harvard in a top-10 matchup for the opening round of the 64th annual Beanpot. The Eagles' 3-2 victory over the Crimson brings them to their ninth Beanpot final in 11 years.
This years' tournament is one of the most competitive years yet. BC, Harvard, and BU are ranked 5, 7, and 8, respectively, in the PairWise rankings. With Northeastern rounding out the top 30, this years' tournament is seeing some of the most talented rosters in years.
The first period began with Casey Fitzgerald ripping a slap shot past Harvard goalie Merrick Madsen from the top of the left-wing circle off a great feed from older brother Ryan Fitzgerald to put the Eagles on the board in only 1:35. The Eagles held the Crimson at bay with a great forecheck until 9:47, when Harvard forward Ryan Donato was able to break away and rush down the middle off a feed from Tyler Moy to beat Thatcher Demko and a scrambling Colin White from low in the slot.
BC fans were stunned when, less than five minutes later, Harvard freshman Adam Baughman --- in only his second game --- scored his first college goal with a wrister from above the right-wing circle. The play was reviewed as Demko had been knocked down; he lost his stick after Jim Vesey collided with him and was barely up when he was scored upon. However, it was determined that this collision did not interfere with Demko’s ability to stop the puck. The first period ended with Harvard two for two and leading 2-1.
In the second period, the Eagles came back with a vengeance to fight off the Harvard offense and hold them to two goals. With outstanding defensive play from BC, Harvard struggled to make plays or even retain possession of the puck. Meanwhile, on offense the Eagles were able to capitalize on power play opportunities.
Zach Sanford tied the game at 6:05 from right up front off a rebound from Alex Tuch after Ian McCoshen sent it in from the blue line in a torrent of shots.
Three minutes later, star freshman and team leader in points, Colin White, lit the lamp again with a beautiful play. He skated right through a crowd in front of the net to blast a shot past Madsen and give BC a 3-2 lead.
While BC was not quite as effective offensively, a strong forecheck combined with great defense and an unshakable Demko earned the Eagles a win.
In the third, the Eagles held the Crimson to 21 shots on goal total and prevented them from pulling Madsen to add the extra skater. Remarkably, the Eagles played a passionate and high energy game, but were more disciplined than ever before. They concluded the game with few penalties and eliminated the fighting and game misconducts from play, which have plagued them throughout the season.
The Eagles play next at Conte Forum this Friday against New Hampshire. The Friday night game will honor and celebrate Coach York for his recent 1000 win milestone. On Monday, the team will return to TD Garden for the Beanpot final and will face crosstown rivals and defending champions, Boston University. If the Eagles win, it will be the sixth championship in the last seven years and could bode well for future success, as trophy season is fast approaching.
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