If it’s the first Monday in February then it is time for the semi-final games for the Beanpot — played at TD Garden. Unlike the ridiculous amount of snow that the 1978 semis received, instead on Monday, February 4, 2019, the weather was exceptionally nice—a high in the 60s. Despite some frigid days leading into it, that nice weather didn’t stop people from heading to the Garden to cheer on their favorite teams.
Harvard University Crimson vs. Boston College Eagles
The first match-up was between the Harvard Crimson and the Boston College Eagles. The players were ready, the pep-bands were tuned up and the puck dropped. Despite the Crimson outshooting the Eagles, Patrick Giles put the Eagles on the board first with an assist from Graham McPhee. The Eagles Oliver Wahlstrom (tripping) and Marc McLaughlin (cross-checking) would both get whistled, but Joseph Woll stood strong in between the pipes for the Eagles. That’s how things would stand going into the first intermission.
The second period for both teams was a revolving door to the penalty boxes. Just ten seconds into the middle frame, Harvard’s Baker Shore was sent off for boarding, a penalty the Crimson was able to kill. At 3:33 a bit of frustration boiled over and the Eagles’ JD Dudek and Harvard’s Jack Drury were both sent off for hitting after the whistle, and the teams played four-on-four. With 31 seconds remaining in the four-on-four, Henry Bowlby for Harvard was sent off for hooking, giving the Eagles some four-on-three time, and then after Dudek was released the power play continued for Boston College. Once again Harvard was able to kill the penalty, but 13 seconds after being released, Bowlby was right back in the box, again for hooking. One can only guess what Bowlby was told after his teammates killed off his second penalty. The last penalty of the second period was a holding penalty on the Eagles’ Chris Grando. Despite all of the man advantage time neither team was able to capitalize and the second half of the middle period was penalty free. Amazingly, regardless of all of the power play time, the shots on goal were limited for both teams—speaking to the skills of their penalty killers. In fact, the next goal would be scored even strength, and perhaps would get Bowlby a little out of Harvard head coach Ted Donato’s dog house, since Bowlby got Harvard on the scoresheet at 15:37 with his fifth goal of the season, assisted by John Marino and Reilly Walsh.
The third period had some people wondering if the game would go into overtime, as has happened with a few of the Beanpot semi-final games in recent memory. However, 12:22 into the final twenty, the Eagles Jack McBain got his sixth goal of the season, with assists from Wahlstrom and Luke McInnis to put the Eagles up 2-1. After the Crimson was able to kill off Jack Badini’s tripping penalty at 14:58, they seemed to get a little life. And when Julius Mattila got called for a tripping for the Eagles with 1:57 remaining in regulation, it was not surprising to see Harvard use their time out to hopefully work one of their set plays on the faceoff and tie the game.
Thirty seconds into their power play, Hess coach Donato pulled Michael Lackey to give the Crimson a six on four opportunity. Coach Jerry York used th Eagles’ time out just after that. And when the horn sounded the end of regulation, Harvard had been unable to find something that worked, and it would be the Boston College Eagles going to the Championship Game.
Northeastern University Huskies vs. Boston University Terriers
The second game of the evening pitted the Northeastern University Huskies and the Boston University Terriers in a rematch of sorts from the Championship game of 2018 — the first Beanpot that Northeastern had won since 1988, when they beat the Terriers 6-3. The 2018 tournament saw the Huskies get a 5-2 win over the Terriers. However, Monday night’s game would not have anyone with a big lead, despite the attempts by the Huskies throughout the game. By the time the game was over, Northeastern would have peppered Terriers’ Jake Oettinger with 49 shots on goal, 47 of which he stopped. For the Terriers, it wasn’t quite as many shots on Cayden Primeau, but what they lacked in numbers, they made up for in quality chances—freshman Joel Farabee had two quality breakaway opportunities that Primeau denied.
Coming into Monday night’s game, both Primeau and Tyler Madden, had some bright lights, big game experience having both played in the World Junior Championships in Vancouver over the winter break. And for Primeau, he definitely saw more time than perhaps was expected when fellow goaltender Kyle Keyser ended up injured and unable to play. Primeau came on the scene slow for the Huskies in his freshman season last year until Ryan Rusk ended up hurt and then Primeau grasped his opportunity and made himself their starter for the remainder of last season. For freshman Madden, he definitely is not lacking in confidence.
“I just kind of had all the time in the world,” Madden said about his OT winner. “It was bright lights out there and I shine in those.”
Huskies head coach Jim Madigan could be seen smiling at that comment and stressed later on that Madden’s confidence is not arrogance. Which if you didn’t see him play you could mistake as such.
The lights were definitely bright when the Terriers and the Huskies were unable to determine a winner throughout regulation. In fact, after Northeastern had notched the first goal of the game at 3:14 of the first period from Patrick Schule and Farabee, for BU, got things tied up at 19:39 of the opening twenty, no one scored another goal until overtime. Northeastern gave the Terriers four opportunities on the man advantage, but the Huskies limited many of their chances, and what did get through Primeau saw and defended.
For the Terriers, who gave up two penalties in the third — both interference calls on Kasper Kotkansalo — Oettinger likewise was stingy between the pipes. Despite his difficulty at the start of the season, Oettinger had no issues with his confidence in Monday’s game and gave his teammates every opportunity to get the win.
As the clock ticked down it became clear that indeed overtime would be needed to determine who would meet the Boston College Eagles in the Championship Game. In games past, this has sometimes taken more than one overtime. The Beanpot games are played like Stanley Cup Playoff games in that full 20-minute periods are used and there are no shootouts.
However, with those bright lights on him, and lots of space—Madden took advantage of a misplay by the Terriers and was off to the races, putting the puck behind Oettinger just 51 seconds into the first OT period.
The Boston University Terriers and the Harvard Crimson will meet in the consolation game on Monday, February 11, 2019 at 4:30pm. Following that game, or at 7:30pm, the defending champion Northeastern Huskies will take on the Boston College Eagles. The last time these two teams met in the Championship game, the Eagles beat the Huskies 4-1, which was in 2014.