BU beats BC in 2OT, to face Northeastern in Beanpot final
BOSTON (AP) — The biggest goal of Wilmer Skoog’s career won’t count in the official NCAA statistics.
Sure didn’t dampen the moment.
Skoog scored 7:20 into the second overtime and Boston University rallied past No. 4 Boston College 5-4 in the nightcap at Monday’s Beanpot opening round.
The Terriers (10-8-7) will face two-time defending Beanpot champion Northeastern, which beat Harvard 3-1 earlier in the night, in the final at TD Garden next Monday. BU will be looking for its 31st Beanpot, most in the tourney’s 68-year history.
Due to NCAA rules that were implemented for this year’s tourney, BU and BC started overtime with a five-minute period after the Terriers came back from 3-1 down in the third period. The game will be officially recorded as a tie for both teams, and no stats from the ensuing 20-minute, sudden-death overtime will count.
Hardly an issue for Skoog, a freshman from Sweden who only had two career goals prior to this. He smacked in the second rebound against goalie Spencer Knight, then got smothered by teammates after punching BU’s ticket to the final.
“That was just an awesome feeling,” Skoog said. “It’s the biggest game I’ve ever played. I was just super happy.”
BC seemed to have the game in hand before BU’s three-goal rally in the third. Robert Mastrosimone cut in alone and slipped a shot past Knight to push the Terriers ahead 4-3 with 1:42 left in regulation.
David Cotton’s second of the game — a tough-angle wrist shot from the right circle with Knight pulled for an extra skater — tied it with 57.9 seconds left.
“It’s going to be hard for our guys,” BC coach Jerry York said. “A lot of guys pointed to this and came back to school, to have a successful year and win a Beanpot. Like I just told them, there’s other trophies. We’ve got to learn from this one.”
The Terriers sliced it to 3-2 on David Farrance’s goal at 12:36 and tied it on Patrick Harper’s power-play score 70 seconds later.
The Eagles (16-7-1) opened a 2-0 lead in the initial 7:19 of the first period on goals by Patrick Giles and Alex Newhook. They made it 3-1 when BU’s Vlasic knocked the puck into his own net late in the second.
BU goalie Ashton Abel made two splendid stops just less than two minutes apart — one on Marc McLaughlin’s clean breakaway — but Cotton’s spinning, turnaround backhander from the slot was stopped by the netminder but caromed in off Vlasic’s stick.
In the opener, Brendan van Riemsdyk scored the tiebreaking goal and Craig Pantano stopped 27 shots for the Huskies (15-7-2), who have never won three straight Beanpot titles.
The tourney features the four local Boston-area Division 1 college programs, which are located within a few miles of each other, and is played the first two Monday night’s in February.
“It’s emotionally draining,” NU coach Jim Madigan said. “Guys don’t sleep well the night before. ... For all our seniors, this is our last kick at the can, so we want to have a lasting image for them.”
Northeastern has six titles, the least of the four schools and far behind BU and BC’s 20. Harvard has won 11, its last in 2017.
“I know it’s going to be a big thing all week long because we haven’t done that,” said Madigan, a 1986 Northeastern grad, of getting three in a row. “I was fortunate to be on the 1984 and ’85 teams that won it back-to-back.”
Northeastern, ranked No. 13 in the nation, took a 2-1 lead in the final half-minute of the second period when Grant Jozefek sent a pass from the right corner out front to van Riemsdyk, where he redirected it from the top of the crease past the stick of goalie Mitchell Gibson inside the right post. The goal stood after a lengthy video review to see if the play was onside.
“It was a good play by their guy. He threw it kind of blind at the edge of the crease,” Harvard coach Ted Donato said. “It was a lack of communication leaving the net-front open.”
Van Riemsdyk is the younger brother of NHLers James and Tyler.
Ryan Shea scored an empty-netter with 51 seconds left.
The teams had traded first period power-play goals. Jack Drury gave Harvard (10-7-4) a 1-0 edge 5:17 into the game before Zach Solow tied it just over seven minutes later.
As usual, all four school bands combined with thousands of students to fill student sections around TD Garden. They traded chants across the upper bowl — “Safety school!” usually the loudest and most prominent.
Three of the schools — BU, BC and Northeastern — face each other as members of the Hockey East, while Harvard is in the ECAC league.