By: Dan Shulman
The 2015 Beanpot Tournament can be most remembered for snow delays, overtimes, and thrilling victories. All four games in the tournament were decided by one goal, and a new champion arose for the first time since 2009.
On the first Monday in February, all four teams remained home to do yet another pounding blizzard wreaking havoc across the Northeast. After the snow settled and the plows treated Causeway Street, the Beanpot finally began on Tuesday, February 3.
The first game featured a rematch of the last two consolation games, pitting Boston University against Harvard. Both teams came into the game ranked top ten in the nation. BU got on the board late in the first period before Harvard evened the score before the end of the frame.
In the second period, Harvard scored twice in the opening ten minutes, opening up a 3-1 advantage. However, as they had done all year, the Terriers came back, matching Harvard’s pair to tie the game in the final seconds of the middle frame.
After a scoreless third period and first overtime, the teams took the ice for the fifth period of hockey. BU had only scored thrice on 66 shots on goal, and on shot number 67, the Terriers made the breakthrough. A turnover in the Crimson’s defensive zone gave Danny O’Regan the puck, and the local kid buried it to give BU a 4-3 victory in double-overtime.
In the second preliminary round game, Boston College and Northeastern played in a rematch of the 2014 final, with Northeastern exacting revenge on the Eagles, winning 3-2.
After a scoreless opening twenty minutes, the teams traded goals twice in the second period, leaving the sides stalemated at 2-2.
Looking like another overtime game was in store, the Huskies’ Dustin Darou netted the winning goal with 1:34 remaining in the third, putting Northeastern into its third consecutive championship game.
However, the tournament would once again be delayed due to another blizzard. Two weeks and a few feet of snow later, the tournament resumed at TD Garden.
In a consolation game for the ages, Boston College took on a Harvard team that had cooled down considerably since the start of the tournament. Once again, the Crimson forced their opponent to overtime and put BC coach Jerry York in danger of finishing fourth in the Beanpot for the first time ever.
Just over a minute into overtime, the Eagles took down Harvard as Ryan Fitzgerald poked home a rebound chance to give BC a 3-2 win.
Northeastern and BU then took the ice for the final game. The teams had not yet played each other in the regular season, and were now slated to meet three times at three different venues in the same week.
The final started off with a bang as BU and Northeastern traded goals in the opening three minutes of the contest.
Tied after one, the Terriers came to life, scoring twice in the second period to lead 3-1 with only twenty minutes remaining. Undefeated when leading after two, the Terriers were in a prime position. Northeastern wasn’t concerned with that record, and scored twice in a span of two minutes midway through the third period to tie the game and eventually forcing overtime.
Just nine seconds into the extra period, BU drew a hooking penalty on Northeastern, setting up a power play goal from Terrier captain Matt Grzelcyk, his second of the game, to give BU its 30th Beanpot title.
Grzelcyk won tournament MVP honors and Harvard goaltender Steve Michalek, despite going 0-2 in the tournament, was awarded the Eberly Award for top goaltender. Michalek was the first Crimson goalie to claim the award since Wade Lau in 1981.