Men’s Hockey: No. 3 BU’s Beanpot dreams ended by Northeastern’s Whitehead and Fontaine

Featured image by Joe Eachus

By Devora Slonim

The energy in TD Garden was electric before the puck even dropped at center ice.

Boston University men’s hockey (19-8-1, 13-4-1 HEA) faced off against the Northeastern Huskies (13-12-2, 6-11-0 HEA) for the sixteenth time in the Beanpot Finals on Monday night at TD Garden. The Huskies took home their 9th Beanpot title, and fifth in the last six editions, 4-3 in overtime against the Terriers.

“[We’re] clearly disappointed with the end result… we ended up on the wrong side of [the game] tonight, and we lost, so you know it’s a tough way to go,” coach Jay Pandolfo said.

The first period opened up with great chances for both sides. Still, both goaltenders were sharp early as junior Mathieu Caron and freshman Cameron Whitehead came up huge in the first 10 minutes, making big saves in front to keep the game scoreless.

With just five minutes remaining in the opening period, Caron’s cross-crease diving save kept the Terriers in the game.

BU found a 1-0 lead off a sloppy turnover from the Huskies, which put the puck on freshman forward Jack Harvey’s stick. Harvey found freshman phenom and projected number-one pick in the 2024 National Hockey League Draft, forward Macklin Celebrini, who found the back of the net for the fifth time in four games.

The intensity of the first period carried on early into the second; the student sections were vibrating with energy, and chants bellowed inside TD Garden.

NU Graduate student forward Matt DeMelis tied the game at one with just over five minutes in the second frame. Caron made the initial save, but left the rebound for DeMelis, who was waiting in the crease and tapped the puck in.

The Terriers regained the lead from sophomore forward Devin Kaplan, but it was quickly negated as Huskies’ captain center forward Justin Hryckowian beat Caron to tie the game at two 30 seconds later. Hryckowian’s shot was sent off the endboards thanks to a BU stick, but Caron was unable to cover the near post in time and the NU captain fired it short-side.

BU struggled to put a shot on net during a tripping call to NU graduate student forward Liam Walsh, the first penalty call of the game.

With just seven seconds left in the period, sophomore defender Lane Hutson gave the Terriers a 3-2 lead off a feed in front from sophomore forward Jeremy Wilmer.

Tensions were high as the third period began.

An early-period call on Huskies’ defenseman Hunter McDonald resulted in an unsuccessful power play for BU. The Terriers were still aggressive on the forecheck in the third, dominating in puck possession and shots on goal 30-15.

However, NU Sophomore forward Jack Williams tied the game up yet again on the Huskies’ first power play opportunity of the night.

With ten minutes remaining, both teams were hungry for the puck and spent time in their opponent’s offensive zone, looking for the go-ahead goal.

BU sustained pressure for nearly the entire final five minutes of the third period, but despite several great looks at the net, they were unable to prevent sudden-death overtime.

The entire arena was on its feet, eagerly awaiting the winner. The Terriers were dominant throughout, registering six shots before Northeastern had even one, and holding the puck for nearly the whole frame.

However, one shot proved to be all Northeastern needed, as Huskies’ forward (and tournament MVP) Gunnarwolfe Fontaine netted the game-winning goal and secured NU their 9th Beanpot title.

“I liked the way we played. I liked our competitiveness. I thought we owned the puck most of the night,” Pandolfo said. “We’ve got to be ready to bounce back. You know we have a couple tough weekends coming up… so we have to put this one behind us and move forward.”

BU will take on the Providence College Friars in a home-and-home series this weekend. The first of the matchups will be in Providence on Fri. Feb 16th, at 7 p.m. The game will be available for streaming on ESPN+.