Beanpot Post-Mortem: Various Observations, Parting Thoughts

Monday’s Beanpot final between BU and BC was an instant classic, a 1-0 overtime decision in which the first 81 shots on goal were for naught. And anything less would’ve been a disappointment.

That’s the standard that has been set by these two teams over the years, going back to the foundations of the rivalry, which kicked off 98 years and three days ago, in which BC routed the Terriers to the tune of a 3-1 final on Feb. 6, 1918. Monday was meeting No. 270, the 22nd time with the Pot of Beans on the line.

A back-and-forth affair that saw everything a hockey fan looks for (with the exception of scoring, of course), the game’s lone goal was scored 1:57 into the overtime period, when BC sophomore Alex Tuch eluded BU netminder Sean Maguire on a snipe through traffic from high in the zone.

Never had there been a 1-0 final in 64 years of Beanpot play. And it was the best case for the 1-0 hockey game made on TD Garden ice in nearly five years, when the Boston Bruins outlasted the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 7 of the 2011 Eastern Conference final, 1-0, a game in which no penalties were called and the game’s only goal scored by Boston’s Nathan Horton in the third period.

Here’s some other takeaways from the game:

*How crazy was it that there had never been a 1-0 final in the 255 previous Beanpot games? In a tournament where two-goal games are akin to blowouts, and 11 of the last 14 title games had been one-goal decisions, ever had there been such an outcome. Unbelievable.

*There had been 84 one-goal games in the 255 prior Beanpot matches, so about one-third of Beanpot games have been decided by a goal. The most frequent score among those one-goal games? 5-4, with 25 such instances.

*Just nine of the 256 games have been 1-0 or 2-1 finals. And these tournaments have featured the likes of Sean Fields, John Curry, Cory Schneider, Jim Craig, and Rick DiPietro, among others. Goes to show goaltending isn’t about how you make the saves as much as it is when you make them.

*If you were a Minnesota Wild fan, there’s no way you didn’t leave the Garden with a smile on your face. Jordan Greenway, a BU freshman forward with 6-foot-5, 230-pound dimensions who was drafted by the Wild in the second round of the 2015 NHL Draft, was making his presence known all over the ice on Monday. Don’t think he’ll be invited to any parties in Chestnut Hill anytime soon.

Tuch, who was Minnesota’s first round pick in 2014, scored the only goal of the game, an absolute beauty; a wrist shot through traffic from the top of the zone that beat Maguire blocker side. The sophomore has 11 goals and 23 points in 27 games, well on pace to eclipse his 14-14–28 totals from his freshman season at the Heights.

*BC freshman forward Miles Wood was lucky he wasn’t told to go hit the showers after he was penalized for a vicious hit on BU senior Ahti Oksanen at 15:44 of the first period. Wood was called for boarding, but replays showed Wood leading with his head and making contact with the head of Oksanen. According to Rule 45.1 of the NCAA Hockey rule book, contact to the head calls for major and a game misconduct. Should’ve been a slam dunk call for the officials. That outcome would’ve proven a tall test for BC’s fifth-ranked penalty kill, forced to stave off BU’s man-up unit that’s ranked 15th nationally for five minutes.

*Maguire, who made 41 saves on Monday before sweeping the Eberly and Beanpot MVP Awards, now has a .960 save percentage in his last seven games, allowing just nine goals. Stopping 65 of 67 shots, his .970 save percentage (the ultimate criteria of the Eberly Award) is the third-highest recorded since the award was first handed out in 1974. The two best performances? Also BU netminders, John Curry (.985, 2007) and Rick DiPietro (.981, 2000).

*Zach Sanford seemed to constantly be around the net for the Eagles, and picked up his team-leading 20th assist of the season on Tuch’s goal. Like Tuch, Sanford is a big-body, playmaking forward. The Manchester, N.H. native was a second-round pick by the Washington Capitals in 2013. He may not be at BC much longer, diddo Tuch.

*Final thought: Not much love lost between these two teams. But you already knew that.

*Second final thought: Northeastern will win the Beanpot in 2017.

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