As time ticked away at the end of the second period of Monday night’s Beanpot championship between Boston College and Northeastern University, BC senior Steven Whitney stayed focused. Northeastern goaltender Chris Rawlings turned the puck over to Eagles junior Bill Arnold in a failed attempt to clear away a rebound, and Arnold passed across the crease to a waiting Whitney, who put it past Rawlings as time expired in the second period.
Time ran out on Steven Whitney’s Beanpot career Monday night, but like his goal, the results were good. The Eagles captured their fourth consecutive Beanpot title via a 6-3 victory, and Whitney and the rest of the Boston College senior class finished their Beanpot careers a perfect 8-0 in the tournament.
The six seniors (goaltender Parker Milner, defenseman Patrick Wey, defenseman Patch Alber, forward Brooks Dyroff, forward Pat Mullane, and Whitney) are the first class in BC Beanpot history to pull off the four-peat. The only other school in Beanpot history to win four or more Beanpots in a row is Boston University, who won six straight from 1995-2000 and four straight from 1970-1973.
“We’ve had some very, very good teams,” said BC coach Jerry York. “Luck plays a certain amount in winning this many Beanpots in a row for sure, and I think our players understand that.”
Indeed, while BC has dominated the tournament results in the past four years, it has not been a cakewalk. BC won the past three Beanpots by one-goal margins, and the 2011 and 2012 Beanpot wins came in overtime.
This year, the final score makes it look as if BC blew Northeastern away, but the game was much closer than the score indicates. The Eagles were clinging to a 4-3 lead until sophomore Johnny Gaudreau scored with 5:23 remaining to provide a bit of a cushion. The sixth goal was an empty-net goal with 1:28 remaining in the game.
Fittingly, the seniors played a large role in securing the win for BC. Whitney’s goal at the very end of the second period ended up being the game-winner, and it was Whitney who was able to hold the puck in the offensive zone by himself while BC changed lines before setting up the Gaudreau goal to make it a 5-3 game. Mullane netted the empty-net goal, and even Milner factored into the scoring by earning an assist on Mullane’s tally.
“We’re all so excited. I think this is awesome for us,” Whitney said of winning a fourth Beanpot. “It’s awesome that we all did it together and we’re excited the freshmen got a Beanpot and we gave all the other guys a chance to go 4-0 too.”
Whitney’s remarks echoed those of his classmates and coach in noting that the achievement is more about continuing a legacy of BC dominance than any singular class’s accomplishment.
“They didn’t win four Beanpots for themselves, the senior class,” York said. “They understand that. We have a lot of other good players who were with them.
“But what impressed me most about our guys was yesterday, we were talking about winning four straight. I think Patrick Wey had said, ‘Listen, we want to win for the freshmen. They’ve never won a trophy.’ So they deflect that back to, it’s not all about the senior class. So I think that’s pretty good. I like that in players.”
Still, York reflected on both the skill and luck this senior class had over its four years in the Beanpot. He mentioned that he thought Brian Gionta’s senior class, a class that included future NHLers Rob Scuderi, Bobby Allen and Scott Clemmensen along with Gionta, might have had the skill to win four straight Beanpots. That class was unfortunate enough to play during BU’s six-championship win streak, however, and Gionta and friends graduated with just one Beanpot.
There’s no telling how many of this year’s BC seniors will go on to join Gionta, Scuderi, Allen and Clemmensen in the NHL, but there is still more history for this class to write. In addition to their perfect Beanpot record, the BC seniors are undefeated at the Garden in the Hockey East Tournament. Come March, they will look to preserve that record, set yet another winning example for the classes below them, and maybe eke another championship out of their four years.