BOSTON - It was apparent that Boston College, the nation's top ranked team, was better than Northeastern on paper in almost every way. Based on numbers alone, there was no way that the Huskies could compete toe-to-toe with a powerhouse like the Eagles.
Yet the games aren't played on paper, and Northeastern reminded Jerry York and the Eagles of that on Monday night. The Huskies scratched and clawed their way to a 6-6 tie at the end of regulation, leaving hope that Northeastern would walk away with its first Beanpot title since the 1987-88 season.
Jimmy Hayes dashed those hopes abruptly, scoring the game-winning goal six minutes into overtime, sending Boston College to its second consecutive Beanpot title in front of 17,565 fans at TD Garden.
"It was a pretty formidable opponent we played," said longtime Boston College head coach Jerry York. "If we just picked up the pace and saw the one loss record for both teams, we would think that, hey, this was going to be a relatively easy game for BC. But we followed Northeastern, we watched the current improvement, and I think it was a very hard win for us to accomplish tonight. So I feel very good about our win, but also the fact that we beat a really good hockey team."
BC's Chris Kreider was named the tournament's MVP. Hayes' goal was his 14th of the year, and was assisted by Steve Silva and Brian Dumolin. The game-winning tally was the 13th goal of the night.
"I was coming down the right side, coming down hard and I think Pat Mullane moved to the side, and Chris Carter put it on net," said Hayes. "I just went down with my stick on the ice and it ended up on my stick and I just put it in the empty net."
Hayes was one of six Eagles (22-6-0) who scored in Monday night's title bout. Tommy Cross (5), Mullane (4), Chris Kreider (8,9), Steven Whitney (5) and Bill Arnold (8) all scored for Boston College. The Eagles outshot the Huskies, 46-27, in the game and 6-0 in overtime.
Luke Eibler (2), Brodie Reid (6,7), Rob Dongara (6), Tyler McNeely (11) and Wade MacLeod (14) all scored for the Huskies (10-12-6). Northeastern had 10 penalties for twenty minutes while BC had nine penalties that totaled 18 minutes.
"I said to myself after the third period, you know it's a shame somebody is going to lose this," said Northeastern head coach Greg Cronin. "[Those who] came in here and bought tickets, they got every pennies worth of their money. If somebody told me it was going to be a 7-6 game, I would have been shocked."
John Muse turned away 21 shots for Boston College while Northeastern's Chris Rawlings, who won the Beanpot's Eberly Award for best goalie, had 39 saves.
"I thought that the Northeastern team, they really become a very good hockey team," said York. "I think [Northeastern head coach Greg Cronin] did an outstanding job with the program. "They compete hard, they play very disciplined hockey, they're strong from the goaltenders to the defense to the forwards."
Cross opened up the scoring for Boston College, scoring the game's first goal with 10:48 remaining in the first period. The goal was Cross' fifth of the season and was assisted by Kevin Hayes.
Eibler knotted the score with his power-play goal that came with 2:56 left in the opening period. It was only Eibler's second score of the season, and it was assisted by Jamie Oleksiak and Garrett Vermeersch.
The Huskies grabbed their first lead of the game with 1:48 left in the period of Reig's first goal of the night, assisted by MacLeod.
BC erased the lead 53 seconds into the middle period on Pat Mullane's fourth tally of the season, tying the game 2-2. Northeastern took the lead back, however, as Dongara's score with 17:13 left in the second put the Huskies on top, 3-2.
Kreider potted his first goal with 14:35 left in the second, once again tying the game at 3-3. BC took its second lead of the game with 7:53 left in the second period on Whitney's goal, giving the Eagles a 4-3 edge.
But once again, Northeastern had an answer. McNeely scored with 6:36 left in the second to tie the game at four goals a piece. Miraculously, neither team would score for the final six minutes of the period.
The high-scoring affair continued in the final period, and Northeastern took a 5-4 lead on Reid's second goal of the game with 11:16 left in the period. Bill Arnold issued the rebuttal for BC, scoring with 9:48 left to tie the game at five.
Kreider scored a power-play goal, his second of the game, to put BC up 6-5 with 8:16 left in the period. MacLeod saved the day (momentarily) for Northeastern, scoring the game-tying goal with 1:46 left to force overtime, where Hayes led the Eagles to victory.
"At the end of the game, the team that possessed the puck the most won, and it think BC had control of the puck," said Cronin. "They established a forecheck and a cycle game early in overtime and got us on our heels. They finished us off with what they do better than anyone in the country, and that's play a tremendous transition game, so obviously a lot of credit to them."