Men’s Hockey: No. 3 Terriers finish off No. 1 BC in Beanpot Semifinal thriller

Featured image by Jacob Ireland

By Alexa Podalsky

“Not from Bos-ton!”

“We can’t hear you!”

Despite sitting 468 feet across from each other, the two rival student sections were communicating back-and-forth, as the beauty of college hockey rivalries was apparent to its fullest extent. It was another Battle of Comm. Ave. matchup on Monday during the 71st Beanpot semifinals and the last of three meeting these teams would have against each other in the regular season.

The No. 3 Boston University Terriers (17-7-1, 12-4-1 HEA), fueled by revenge after a sweep just over a week ago at the hands of the top-ranked Boston College Eagles (19-4-1, 12-3-1 HEA), beat the Eagles 4-3 in the 71st Beanpot Semifinals. The Terriers skated onto the TD Garden ice hungry for a win, and after two Terrier goals in the first period, the Eagles couldn’t fight their way back, sending BU to the Beanpot finals for the 56th time in program history.

“Getting swept by BC two weeks ago was tough,” coach Jay Pandolfo said.

Freshman forward Macklin Celebrini opened the game with two tallies that were assisted by Quinn and Lane Hutson, respectively. Widely expected to hear his name called first at June’s NHL Entry Draft, the 17-year-old phenom quickly cut through the Eagles’ defense and fired the puck past BC freshman netminder Jacob Fowler to record his 20th and 21st career goals. 

The energy quickly shifted after BU pulled ahead early in the first period. The BU student section continued to chant, “Why so quiet?” Though this time, no reply came from the Newton faithful.

The Eagles put themselves on the board in the second period after freshmen forwards Gabe Perreault and Will Smith threaded into BU’s zone to send junior goalkeeper Mathieu Caron sliding on his knees. The briefly-quieted chants from BC started to return. 

Senior forward Luke Tuch scored to make it 3-1 after BC turned the puck over in front of their net, and the Montreal prospect fired the puck from the right face-off circle past Fowler and doubled the Terrier lead.

“That gives me chills,” Tuch said. “Anytime [the BU student section is] in our building or TD Garden here, they do an amazing job.”

Sophomore forward Ryan Greene brought the lead to 4-1 at 4:47 into the third period off an assist from Tuch.

However, the Eagles answered soon after with a goal of their own at 8:07 when senior forward Gentry Shamburger’s shot left Caron fishing the puck out of the back of his net.

BC brought the game within one goal with eight minutes left on the clock after the puck whipped in front of the goal and Perreault snuck it to the back of the net. The chants grew even louder as both sides still believed it could be anyone’s game.  

The Terriers held steady for the remaining seven minutes of gameplay, despite BC pulling their goaltender for the last minute of the third period in hopes of sending the game into overtime. Perreault struggled to make one final shot attempt on Caron and ultimately was swarmed by the victorious Terriers who had successfully made it to the Beanpot finals for the second time in three years.

Pandolfo said one of the contributing factors to BU’s loss against Northeastern the week before was due to penalties, which he wants the team to continue working on in the weeks ahead. “I would like it to be a little better when you get a penalty 30 seconds in,” he said with a chuckle. “We still haven’t completely got the message, but we’ll continue to work on it.” 

The Terriers will play Merrimack College at home on Friday, Feb. 9 before they face off against the Northeastern Huskies on Monday at TD Garden for the Beanpot Finals. The two teams will meet under these circumstances for the 16th time and for the first time since 2022, a 1-0 result for the Terriers.

“Northeastern is, especially recently, very good in the Beanpot. We’ll be ready for them, we’ll be prepared,” Pandolfo said.