Northeastern beats BU in overtime to win back-to-back Beanpot championships

Northeastern University men’s ice hockey team celebrates their 4-3 win over Boston University on Monday. An overtime goal scored by senior forward Gunnarwolfe Fontaine (11) gave the Huskies their second straight Beanpot win. Photo courtesy of Molly Potter/BU News Service.

By Chloe Wojtanik

Boston University News Service

Boston University suffered a heartbreaking overtime loss to Northeastern in the Beanpot championship game on Monday night at TD Garden as the Huskies won their fifth title in six years. 

After a quiet start to the game, BU’s sensational freshman forward Macklin Celebrini broke the silence with his 23rd goal of the season to give the Terriers a 1-0 lead nearly 15 minutes into the first period. Northeastern defenseman Pito Walton was back in the Huskies defensive zone weighing his options for a breakout pass, but luckily for Celebrini, who was also in the defensive zone, Walton fanned on the pass leaving the puck up for grabs. Celebrini scooped up the loose puck and sniped it in the net right past Huskies goaltender Cameron Whitehead. 

The second period was full of offensive power as both teams combined for four goals. Northeastern graduate student Matt DeMelis tied the game up 1-1 five minutes into the second period when he was able to tuck the puck behind the fallen BU goalie Mathieu Caron. 

BU gained back their one goal lead when Devin Kaplan and Sam Stevens charged into the offensive zone on a 2-on-1 and Huskies defensive Hunter McDonald accidently put the puck in his own net while trying to break up the pass. The goal was later credited to Kaplan, who’s fifth goal of the season gave the Terriers a 2-1 lead almost 10 minutes into the second period. 

This back-and-forth second period continued as Northeastern captain Justin Hryckowian tied the game up 2-2 just 29 seconds after Kaplan’s goal. The tie would hold strong until the last minute of the second period, but  Hobey Baker award finalist Lane Hutson was planted in front of the net when he buried Jeremy Wilmer’s pass to give BU a 3-2 lead with seven seconds remaining in the frame. 

BU’s defense was strong in the third period as they were trying to hold onto their one-goal lead for the rest of the game. The Terriers’ Caron was making saves left and right to keep his team in the lead as his mind was set on a Beanpot championship title. Despite the Terriers defending each shot they faced for the first 10 minutes of the third period, the Huskies finally broke through as Northeastern’s Jack Williams scored on the power play to tie the game at 3-3 and eventually send the championship game to overtime. 

With both loyal student sections on the edges of their seats, the Terriers and Huskies headed into a 3-on-3 overtime period where the first team to score would end the game and win not only the Beanpot title, but also ultimate bragging rights in Boston. 

The two teams traded grade-A chances back-and-forth but both goalies deflected pucks away like it was nothing, leaving the score knotted at 3-3. With just 38 seconds left in the five minute overtime period, the man with the clutch gene in the Beanpot tournament, Gunnarwolfe Fontaine, ended the game for the Huskies with the biggest goal of his collegiate career. 

Fontaine also scored the overtime goal in the semifinals when Northeastern beat Harvard 3-2 in overtime to send them to the championship game. Fontaine shining under the bright lights of TD Garden throughout the entire Beanpot tournament led to him taking home the tournament’s MVP award. 

“We have got to get past this,” BU head coach Jay Pandolfo said. “We have to keep our heads high—we played a good hockey game. We can’t get discouraged by it, we can’t get down, we have got to be ready to bounce back. We have a couple of tough weekends coming up, Providence is a very good team, so we’ve got to put this one behind us and move forward.”

BU still holds the title for most Beanpot wins at 31 titles in the 71 year history of the tournament. BC has the second most championship wins at 20, followed by Harvard at 11, and defending champion Northeastern at 9.

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