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Beanpot: BU Overwhelms Northeastern

Boston University advanced to the Beanpot Tournament championship game for the 51st time with Monday's 3-1 win over Northeastern at TD Garden.

Matt Dewkett

BOSTON -- For the first time in four years, Boston's chief college hockey rivalry will take center stage on Causeway Street.

No. 9 Boston University made goals from junior Robbie Baillargeon and freshman Charlie McAvoy in the first period stand up in a 3-1 victory over Northeastern in Monday night's second Beanpot Tournament semifinal at TD Garden.

The Terriers advance to play in the Beanpot final for a whopping 51st time in 64 years. Their opponent? Archrival Boston College, next Monday at 7:30 p.m.

"I just thought it was a really good team effort. From start to finish, I thought we were ready to play," said BU head coach David Quinn. "I thought our forwards had a good night, our defense had a good night, and our goalie," Quinn added.

BU, which finished a five-win month of January by beating Merrimack on Friday, now stands 15-7-4 on the season.

The teams felt each other out for the first several minutes of the opening period, but the Terriers scored twice in less than four minutes to carry a 2-0 lead into the first intermission.

"BU's a tough team to play. They play with pace, and they had more pace than we did, I thought, in tonight's game," Northeastern head coach Jim Madigan said. "They're a big, heavy team and strong on pucks."

Baillargeon opened the scoring at 13:14, tipping home rookie Bobo Carpenter's backhanded shot on NU goaltender Ryan Ruck's right post.

Carpenter's initial shot came from just outside the left circle and looked destined to become the North Reading, Mass., native's eighth goal of the season, but Baillargeon deflected the puck out of mid-air and past the Huskies' rookie stopper.

McAvoy doubled the BU lead at the 16:40 mark, taking a drop feed from senior assistant captain Danny O'Regan in stride above the right faceoff dot. The goal was McAvoy's first since the Oct. 10 season opener at Union and stood as the game-winner.

McAvoy rifled a high shot over Ruck after taking O'Regan's drop feed. The primary assist was the 21st for O'Regan this year, a mark that continues to lead the team.

The Huskies' 2-0 deficit into the second period was not for a lack of effort, but BU senior Sean Maguire was equal to every test he faced in net through 40 minutes.

Quinn has used both Maguire and sophomore Connor LaCouvee an even amount in net this season, but there was little to decide given the former's recent stretch of strong play.

"He's been playing so well," Quinn said of Maguire, who has now started nine consecutive games in goal for BU. "Sean struggled early ... but since then, he hasn't looked back. He's kept a great attitude. He's played some great hockey in the last month and a half, and there really wasn't much of a decision to play him tonight."

NU's chances seemed to be few and far between, especially when it was outshot 15-8 in the middle frame. Five of the Huskies' 16 total shot attempts in the second were blocked, while three more missed the net.

"I just thought, from our perspective, we had good effort, but we didn't have that second gear to our game that allowed us to jump on loose pucks in front of their goal," Madigan said. "We didn't have that extra energy that you need in this game. Our kids gave a good effort, but we were on the outside a little too much."

BU also had chances to extend its lead in the second, but NU Ruck stood tall and made 15 saves in the middle frame.

Ruck was equal to what may have been the biggest chance less than three minutes in, as freshman Jordan Greenway broke in alone after coming out of the penalty box.

Ruck continued to stand his ground in the third, keeping the Huskies in the game until they finally cracked Maguire with just 3:12 remaining. Junior John Stevens scored his eighth goal of the season, banging home a rebound at the crease after defensemen Matt Benning and Colton Saucerman traded passes.

The Terriers responded with a strong shift from senior Matt Lane's line, before junior defenseman Doyle Somerby lifted a puck from the right faceoff circle on the opposite end of the ice into an empty NU net at 19:19.

"I thought we had a great response from the guys," O'Regan said. "(NU's goal was) definitely a dagger. With three minutes left, the guys were starting to get a little worried. ... It was a huge shift to get the momentum back and kind of ease everyone up a little bit."

Next Monday's title game will mark the 22nd all-time between the Eagles and Terriers, but the first since 2012 when the Eagles emerged victorious in overtime. The BC-BU final is a scenario the Needham, Mass., native senior has drawn up once or twice before.

"It's always been a dream of mine to play them in the finals," said O'Regan. "It's kind of how you draw it up. We definitely owe them after a few weeks ago, so we're all definitely excited to play them."