February 10, 2003
Trio leads Terriers to 25th Beanpot title

Boston University 3,
Boston College 2

For the 25th time in the tournament's 51-year history and the eighth time in the past nine years, the Beanpot belongs to Boston University.

The Terriers jumped out to a 3-0 lead midway through the second period and withstood a Boston College rally to win, 3-2. Goaltender Sean Fields made 26 of his 31 saves in the final two periods, and took home the Beanpot MVP trophy (along with the Eberly trophy for top save percentage).

Brian McConnell had a goal and an assist for the Terriers to lead the way offensively. His slapshot from the top of the left faceoff circle beat BC goalie Matti Kaltiainen just 23 seconds after BU had taken a 2-0 lead, and it proved to be the game-winner.

The Eagles outshot BU 13-4 in the third period and had three power play opportunities, but could only beat Fields once, while Kaltiainen was pulled for an extra attacker. BC finished 1-for-8 on the power play for the game.

Team Goal Str
Time Assists

First Period

1-BU Justin Maiser EV
9:59 B. McConnell, M. Mullen
Second Period
2-BU David VanderGulik PP
9:03 J. Cronin, R. Whitney
3-BU Brian McConnell EV
9:26 Unassisted
1-BC Ryan Shannon PP
17:29 A. Alberts, J.D. Forrest
Third Period
2-BC Dave Spina EX
18:27 B. Eaves, R. Shannon
BU: Sean Fields, 60:00, 31 saves, 2 GA
BC: Matti Kaltiainen, 58:57, 15 saves, 3 GA
Penalties: BU 9/18; BC 4/8
Power Plays: BU 1-4; BC 1-8
Attendance: 17,565

By Juan Martinez

In the end, there was never really any doubt.

The endless trips to the penalty box didn’t matter. Neither did the paltry 18 shots on goal. No, in fact, the only bit of information that was of any importance on this snowy night in Boston was that this was the championship game of the Boston University Invitational – known to the rest of the world as the 51st annual Beanpot Tournament.

For despite handing Boston College eight power play opportunities and giving up nearly twice as many shots as they took, the BU Terriers skated to a 3-2 victory to capture a remarkable 25th Beanpot title. It’s BU’s second title in a row, eighth since 1995 and 11th since 1990.

The BC Eagles had defeated BU in each of their three matchups this season, but this was the Fleet Center and this was the Beanpot.

“I thought we had to do one thing differently than in the previous three games against them,” said BU coach Jack Parker, “and that was not take dumb penalties, but we did so anyway.”

Thanks to strong penalty killing (BC was 1-for-8 with the extra man), however, the MVP goaltending of Sean Fields and the redemption of sophomores Brian McConnell and Justin Maiser, BU could do no wrong on this night.

“The keys to this game were Field’s ability to stop key shots and our inability to score on the power play,” explained BC coach Jerry York. “In big games, you need your special teams to get big goals, but we missed our chances.”

Facing Hockey East’s top power play unit, BU was stellar in getting in front of point shots and limiting BC to but a few good chances. When those opportunities did come up for BC, Fields was there to slam the door.

It’s become a cliché in hockey to say that a goaltender is a team’s best penalty killer, but Fields proved the theory once again.

Over both Beanpot games, he helped BU kill off 12 of 13 shorthanded situations, stopped 59 of 62 shots overall for a .952 save percentage and captured the Eberly Trophy – given to the netminder who plays both games and finishes with the best save percentage. Fields was also name the Beanpot MVP, marking the first time since BU’s Rick DiPietro four seasons ago that a goaltender had captured both pieces of hardware.

“It’s unbelievable to win both awards,” said Fields. “Anyone on this team could have gotten the MVP. All I saw tonight [on the penalty kill] were the backs of my players going into shots and getting into shooting lanes.”

The Terriers are a Jekyll-and-Hyde team, alternating between disciplined play and wearing out a path to the penalty box. As a result, Fields has been the key to the season thus far. His consistent goaltending and ability to bolster the penalty killing efforts of the Terriers is what has BU at 18-10-2 this season (Fields’ record is 17-9-2).

Leading Hockey East in average penalty minutes per game (21) also means that nearly all of Terriers have been the focus of Parker’s ire at some point this season.

Two of those targets have been Maiser and McConnell. Parker has benched each forward at different times this year because of undisciplined play. McConnell, in fact, missed the Beanpot opener while serving out his punishment.

“It was tough watching last week from the stands,” said the Norfolk, Mass., native. “I took some bad penalties at UNH and coach sat me out because of it.”

McConnell also sought redemption on this night for having what he termed “two terrible games” against BC. He sat out the third contest against the long-time rivals.

On this night, however, the past was forgotten as McConnell tallied BU’s third goal just 19 seconds after rookie David VanderGulik put the Terriers up 2-0 nine minutes into the second period.

McConnell, who had an assist on the opening goal, also had the hit of the tournament – and maybe the season – when he laid out BC rookie Chris Collins. The Eagles’ 5-foot-8 winger was at full speed as he crossed the red line, but made the costly mistake of having his head down as the 6-foot-2 McConnell stepped up and flattened Collins. Speeding car, meet brick wall.

“The goal was better than the hit,” said McConnell, “but it was definitely a nice feeling to get a big hit.”

As for Maiser, he notched BU’s first goal mid-way through the first period off a screened slap shot that caromed in off the post. The Edina, Minn., native has a hand for timely Beanpot goals, having scored three in his tournament career – all in championship games. Last season, Maiser tallied the game-winner in BU’s late comeback against Northeastern.

“It’s been all luck,” said the sophomore about his key goals. “I just wanted to get back and help. I had hurt this team with bad penalties before and it hurt to have to sit out.”

Redemption was his as well on this memorable evening, but for the Terriers as a whole, it was simply business as usual. Just one step in a long season.

“Good teams win Beanpots,” said Parker. “Great teams win big games at the end of the year.”


Harvard defeated Northeastern 4-1 in the consolation game, with Tom Cavanagh and Dominic Moore each scoring twice … Harvard senior netminder Ben Weiss, from nearby Newton, Mass., played the final 2:28 in goal for the Crimson. Weiss has overcome a broken orbital bone, knee surgery and a broken collarbone in the last two seasons. It was his first game action ever at Harvard after serving as one of the backups for four years … Northeastern lost both games in this year’s Beanpot, one season after nearly upsetting BU in the finals. The Huskies have not won the tournament since 1988, the end of a five-year span in which the captured three titles … Harvard’s last Beanpot title came in 1993 … the loss was only BC’s second in the last 10 games and only the second time they’ve scored two or fewer goals since a 3-2 loss to Massachusetts on Jan. 3 … BC forwards Ben Eaves and Tony Voce have registered 40 points over the last nine games, although BU limited the pair to one assist (by Eaves). Eaves has 23 points (nine goals, 14 assists) over that span, while Voce has tallied 17 (seven goals, 10 assists).

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