BOSTON, Mass. — Seven hundred twenty-eight days after the puck dropped on the last Beanpot at TD Garden and moments before Boston College men’s hockey and Northeastern were set to step on the ice, student section chants began to fill TD Garden. Jeers flew from one end of the arena to the other, and marching bands and fight songs made their return. In bold, highlighted font, the jumbotron read, “The Tradition is back.”
After the 2021 Beanpot was canceled due to COVID-19, BC returned to TD Garden on Monday night for the semifinal of the 69th Beanpot. In its 244th all-time matchup with the Huskies, BC (10–14–4, 5–9–3 Hockey East) fell 3–1 to No. 15 Northeastern (18–8–1, 9–6–1). The loss extends the Eagles’ winless streak to 10 games and sends BC to the Beanpot consolation game against Harvard on Feb. 14.
The Huskies left the first frame on a high note, as deflated defensive play kept the Eagles searching for scoring opportunities. The period was riddled with fits of quick energy in deep zone action, but both teams struggled in the neutral zone.
After an Aidan Hreschuk shot hit the crossbar and almost broke the 0–0 stalemate in the sixth minute of the first period, Northeastern entered BC’s zone, and the puck filtered to Gunnarwolfe Fontaine. Fontaine delivered a shot into Eric Dop’s crease and tucked away the loose rebound for Northeastern’s first goal of the night.
BC’s Mike Posma then sailed to the high slot, dragging the puck on Northeastern goaltender T.J. Semptimphelter’s far-side reach and slid a pass to Casey Carreau.
With half the net open, Carreau made a shove of the stick, but Semptimphelter went post to post for the save.
At the end of the period, the stands didn’t stop, and deafening chants filled the arena. A total of 15,535 fans’ energy remained high throughout the night.
“They’re on the bus right to the terminal,” BC head coach Jerry York said of the crowd. “No one’s getting off early—showing us their support. They’re going to ride with us through the whole thing. … We get hot down the stretch, win a playoff championship, [and] it could be really late.”
Northeastern was dominant offensively to open the second period, jumping at every opportunity that came its way. In an attempt to put a shot through the crease, Hreschuk crashed into Semptimphelter, knocking him off balance and sending the Huskies to the powerplay for the first time of the night.
On the man advantage, Northeastern’s points leader Aidan McDonough contemplated pushing the puck to the net before sliding it to Dop’s far side, setting up a Sam Colangelo one-timer that put the Huskies up 2–0.
In the third frame, BC found its tempo. Five minutes in, Patrick Giles crept into the slot alongside wingman Nikita Nesterenko. Giles dropped the puck for Nesterenko, who moved opposite of the Huskies’ defensive check and planted it on Giles’ stick. Giles completed the tic-tac-toe series to cut the deficit to one.
Giles, Colby Ambrosio, and Trevor Kuntar made individual efforts to send shot after shot on Semptimphelter, but BC was running out of time, and Semptimphelter was holding strong.
“When we closed it to 2–1, we had a power play that was knocking on the door,” York said. “Three great chips up front, and I thought we kept moving the puck extremely well through the dangerous areas, but we just couldn’t get that six on five set.”
BC pulled Dop for an extra skater with two minutes to go. After officials sent Jack St. Ivany to the penalty box for cross checking with 35 seconds to play, the Huskies broke the blue line to set up a corner faceoff, and BC brought Dop back to his post.
Off a draw, Justin Hryckowian tripped through the crease to pot an insurance goal for Northeastern with 13 seconds to play, and the Huskies walked away with a 3–1 victory and a bid to the Beanpot Championship Game for the fourth straight year.
As Northeastern’s go-to starting goaltender Devon Levi is away competing for Team Canada in the 2022 Winter Olympic Games, Septimphelter made his fourth appearance for the Huskies Monday. The true freshman made 41 saves.
“The goaltender played very, very well,” York said. “I know Levi’s overseas, but jeez, the kid stepped up, and I think we had 40-something shots on goal, but he made some really, really good saves, so you’ve got to give him that credit.”
Featured Image by Steve Mooney / Heights Editor