February 13, 2007
Beanpot Championship
As He Had Always Imagined
First goal of the season for Brian McGuirk is Beanpot winner

By Jeff Howe

Boston University 2,
Boston College
1 (OT)

Team Goal Str
Time Assists
First Period
1-BU Chris Higgins (11) EV
2:33 E. Thomassian, P. MacArthur
Second Period

No Scoring

Third Period
1-BC Nathan Gerbe (14) EV
2:40 A. Aiello, B. Boyle
2-BU Brian McGuirk (1) EV
5:06 John McCarthy
BU: John Curry, 64:57, 37 saves, 1 GA
BC: Cory Schneider, 65:06, 24 saves, 2 GA
Penalties: BU 7/14; BC 7/14
Power Plays: BU 0-5; BC 0-5
Attendance: 17,565

BOSTON – Brian McGuirk is the chorus in the song of the unsung hero. He's the local kid who scored his first goal of the season — the overtime winner — to capture the crown of one of the most storied college hockey tournaments in the country.

And he did it for Boston University, the team he grew up rooting for. And for Jack Parker, the coach he always wanted to play for. It was against Boston College, the team he grew up hating.

This is the stuff people dream about; the stories that movie directors write about. But that's how it all went down.

Five minutes into overtime, John McCarthy outdrew Dan Bertram for a faceoff at the right point in the BC zone. McGuirk sprung loose into the slot, and the puck squirted directly to him. He quickly fired a shot that clanged hard off the crossbar and into the net to give the Terriers a 2-1 win.

McGuirk waited for a second before celebrating because he wasn't completely sure he scored, but just as referee Tim Benedetto pointed to the net, teammate Dan McGoff jumped on top of him. And he didn't forget the Cinderella slipper.

"It's pretty nice," McGuirk said. "I grew up a BU fan. I grew up wanting to play for BU. I always watched the Beanpot. I was always very into that BC-BU rivalry. It's just a blessing to be able to play for BU and Jackie Parker. It's just great to get the win here at the Beanpot."

"It's unbelievable," BU captain Sean Sullivan said. "We were talking about that. It's the unlikely heroes that get it done. It's great to see someone like Brian, who has been struggling to put goals in the net, finally score it. I don't think any goalie could have stopped that one. It was an absolute cannon."

For someone to beat Cory Schneider with a clean shot Monday night, that almost certainly needed to be the case. Schneider was a rock between the pipes, stopping 24 shots and getting stronger as the night progressed.

"I've known him for awhile, and I played against him growing up in high school," McGuirk said. "He and Johnny Curry are definitely the best goalies in the country. Usually, you can't beat Cory Schneider on one shot. I caught him in a bad area. He is a tremendous goalie, and he has always given us a hard time. Luckily, I was able to get one by him this time."

Beanpot MVP and Eberly Trophy winner John Curry said that even though it was McGuirk's first goal, his shot is difficult to stop. With his quick release, it's tough to get a good read on the puck off the stick.

"I wasn't surprised," Curry said of McGuirk's goal. "I'm actually surprised to hear it was his first goal of the season. I'm not surprised at all. His role on the team hasn't been to be a goal scorer, but he can be if we need him to step up. He's been on the fourth line, which is our grinder line, and he plays great on that line. But he has offensive capabilities and can score goals."

It also lifted Parker to his 20th Beanpot crown as a head coach. McGuirk dreamed of playing for the legendary bench boss. Now, he has helped him reach a milestone.

"It's pretty big for him, and it's pretty big for our team because our team knows how hard [they work] and how much they contribute on the fourth line for us," Parker said. "It doesn't show up on the score sheet all the time."

But that's what makes it so sweet.


Northeastern 3,
Harvard 1
Team Goal Str
Time Assists
First Period
No Scoring

Second Period

1-NU Ray Ortiz (2) EV
3:46 Y. Lewis, J. Santilli
1-H Alex Meintel (10) EV
8:52 P. Dufault, R. Maki
2-NU Steve Birnstill (2) PP
15:54 Unassisted
Third Period
3-NU Rob Rassey (2) EV
10:03 J. Santilli, R. Ginand
NU: Brad Thiessen, 60:00, 25 saves, 1 GA
H: Justin Tobe, 60:00, 23 saves, 3 GA
Penalties: NU 9/18; H 6/12
Power Plays: NU 1-5; H 0-8
Attendance: 17,565

Northeastern had a little extra motivation to come out and knock off Harvard in the Beanpot consolation game. Clutching a newspaper article that trashed the Huskies for losing a pair of games last week after a January resurgence, Greg Cronin vocalized his displeasure of the outside world hyping this up to be the fall of Rome.

"It's funny how things happen," Cronin said. "Today and yesterday, people were bellyaching about, 'Oh, here comes Northeastern again. They're taking a dive.' It was gloom and doom after all the positive stuff. I got tired of hearing it. I've got a newspaper article here about, 'Here go the Huskies again.' It just pisses me off. You've got to build off of that."

And that's what they did. Northeastern trumped the Crimson 3-1, and Cronin won his first Beanpot contest in the process.

The Huntington Hounds were Hockey East's flavor of the month after carrying a 6-2-2 streak into the Beanpot, but they fell to the Terriers, 4-0. They followed that up with a 1-0 loss to UMass Lowell last Thursday night.

After getting built up for a week, Cronin saw his young group take a brutally emotional hit after just 60 minutes of hockey against BU, and it took quite some time to relieve their stomachs.

"I was so pissed off after that BU game, and I really wanted to vomit on myself after the Lowell game," Cronin said. "That was a bad hockey game. I don't know if they were hungover after that game against BU. I had been in seven-game playoff series in the Stanley Cup, and I walked into locker rooms after and the guys were just drained — emotionally and mentally drained. When I walked into the locker room after the game against BU, I said to [assistant coach] Shawn [McEachern] that was like the feeling in the locker room after a seven-game playoff series."

The Huskies, who play 14 freshmen and sophomores, have done a lot of growing up in the last month, particularly in the learning-how-to-win department. Lately, Northeastern has taken a crash course in how to deal with adversity, which could be every bit as valuable down the road.

"I think there was so much of a positive buzz about our team that they were believing it," Cronin said. "We had a couple functions, and our alumni were involved. They were talking about how important it was to win the Beanpot, and I think they felt the gravity of that. When they let the Northeastern community down, I think they felt let down. The next practice, it's like what do you do. Do we throw firecrackers at them? We had to get out of this."

Monday night, at least temporarily, they did snap out of the brief funk. Cronin won't be adding any more negative clippings to his file Tuesday morning. After nearly quadrupling his team's win total from a season ago, he probably shouldn't have had to in the first place.

INCH's Three Stars of the Night

3. Nathan Gerbe, Boston College
Stepped up again when BC needed him to, scoring the tying goal in the third period.

2. Brian McGuirk, Boston University
A nice time to score his first goal.

1. John Curry, Boston University
He stopped 37 shots, including 12 in the third period and three in overtime. Most of the third-period saves were of the "Did he just do that?" variety.


The problem with consolation games – not just in the Beanpot, but any tournament – is the attendance. While one ticket will get you into both games, no one seems to care about showing up for the matinee. There certainly weren't even 1,000 people in the Garden by the first intermission. That, of course, is an improvement from the opening faceoff, when there were more bodies on the ice than in the stands.

Mike Morris (back), Jimmy Russo (sick), Joe Vitale (sick) and Chad Costello (sick and hurt) were all out of the Northeastern lineup Monday.

Each team has hit the post in the first five minutes of the first game, and both teams have had a couple more quality scoring chances on top of that. All in all, it was an entertaining first period.

Justin Tobe started in net for Harvard in place of Kyle Richter, who guarded the pipes during the opening round loss to BC. Brad Thiessen minded the net for Northeastern again. Tobe, if you remember, got his first career Beanpot start in last year's consolation game and shut out the Huskies, 5-0. It was also Ted Donato's only Beanpot victory as a coach.

Northeastern's first goal was a tough one for the Crimson to swallow. Just seconds after Brad Thiessen made a spectacular save to rob Nick Coskren on a breakaway, the Huskies quickly worked the puck up the ice to Ray Ortiz, who beat Justin Tobe with a nice wrister.

There were three women in the crowd wearing referee uniforms.

Harvard defenseman Alex Biega leveled Chris Donovan against the boards in the Northeastern zone late in the third period. On the next shift, Dennis McCauley flattened David MacDonald behind the NU net. MacDonald responded by punching McCauley in the face while he was on the ground. Both got to bond in the penalty box afterwards.

The Boston University faithful made themselves heard early on in the evening. In the third period of the consolation game, the BU fans were chanting, "Five-year program" at the Northeastern students.

Northeastern's three goals came from players who entered the night with just one all season.

This starts a great week for Boston College athletics. The newly-ranked men's basketball team hosts Duke on Wednesday and North Carolina on Saturday. The hockey team brings in Maine Thursday and Friday. What a downer Tuesday must be.

No one was safe. Every fan on the video board was booed by the opposing team's student section, even a young child and his mother donning BC garb.

But, it was pretty funny to see the video board show a picture of BU and BC fans at the same time because the student sections had no idea whether they wanted to cheer or boo.

The crowd was electric for the drop of the puck in the championship game, creating a great atmosphere compared to the first game.

Nathan Gerbe nearly scored 10 seconds into the game after getting a pass in the slot, but John Curry stoned him. Both teams had two great scoring opportunities in the first two minutes before Chris Higgins dented the scoreboard.

Andrew Orpik blindsided Eric Thomassian with about 6:40 to play in the first period, leaving Thomassian on the ice for nearly a minute before be taken off by the trainers. Thomassian never returned. After the game, a source within the team said Thomassian suffered two dislocated shoulders.

Cory Schneider made a nice save with four minutes remaining in the first period. Matt Gilroy's hard one-timer from the left point appeared to be enough to beat Schneider, who had to lunge from the opposite post. He barely got his right skate in the way.

Brian Boyle got away with punching Dan McGoff in the face. A few seconds later, John McCarthy wrecked Nathan Gerbe at the BU blue line, drawing a roughing penalty. Gerbe, who only stands at 5-foot-6, is one of the toughest players on the ice. Less than two minutes later, he was cross-checked in the throat by Tom Morrow next to the BU net.

The mascot interaction got a little more entertaining during the second intermission. Rhett gave Baldy a Valentine's Day card. Baldy opened it up, and it said "BU rules." Baldy then ripped it up. It still doesn't live up to last year's game of Beirut at center ice.

John Curry's Beanpot shutout streak of 116:16 was halted when Nathan Gerbe's backhander found the back of the net at 2:40 of the third period.

Sean Sullivan provided the hit of the night on – who else? – Nathan Gerbe at the BU blue line midway through the third period, trucking him head on. Once again, Gerbe got up.

Kenny Roche appeared to have beaten Cory Schneider with a backhander from the low slot with 3:43 remaining, but the referee waived it off. The play was under review by Tom Quinn, the replay official, and upheld – correctly.

Benn Ferriero nearly scored with 9.3 seconds left in regulation. Ferriero sent the puck towards Curry from the back of the net, and it deflected off the back of his glove, nearly trickling in. Tom Quinn went back to work and upheld the play.

John Curry won the Eberly Trophy (best save percentage) and the MVP. His .985 save percentage set a new tournament record. His .958 career save percentage in the Beanpot also set a new record for goalies who have participated in at least two Beanpots.

"It's a great feeling," Curry said. "I guess it will soak in a little bit later. Just to win the Beanpot is definitely the biggest thing. Being a senior and going out with three in a row tops the other two trophies."

Jack Parker has now won 20 Beanpots as a head coach. "I think they all pale in comparison to the first one," Parker said.

After Sean Sullivan said no goalie could have stopped Brian McGuirk's game-winner, I asked him if John Curry could have.

"I think Curry could stop pretty much everything. They threw everything but the kitchen sink at him. I think Curry might have had a shot at it, but who knows?"