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Boston College Wins Thrilling Beanpot Championship on Alex Tuch OT Goal

Boston College captured its 20th Beanpot title in dramatic fashion on Monday night at TD Garden, defeating archrival Boston University in overtime, 1-0.

Billie Weiss/Getty Images

BOSTON -- In its 64-year history, the Beanpot Tournament had never seen a game like Monday night's championship between Boston College and Boston University.

And those who braved the snow to see it certainly got their money's worth.

BC sophomore Alex Tuch sent a wrist shot from the middle of the slot past seemingly unbeatable BU netminder Sean Maguire for his 11th goal of the season and the only one of the night as the Eagles earned a 1-0 victory over their bitter archrivals at TD Garden.

"I thought it was a terrific hockey game played by two outstanding teams," BC head coach Jerry York said. "A classic goaltending battle. I thought Thatcher (Demko) and Sean Maguire traded saves back and forth, and it took a really hard, well-placed shot by Alex Tuch to send the Beanpot to our dressing room."

Tuch's goal sent the Beanpot to Chestnut Hill for the 20th time ever and ended the first 1-0 game in Beanpot history. The contest was also the first shutout in a Beanpot championship game since 1981 and just the fourth all-time.

Lost amid the overtime heroics and Maguire's unbelievable effort was the ninth shutout of Demko's junior season, setting a new BC single-season record.

"I'm really proud of our players to stay patient," York said. "One of the hardest things to do is 0-0 through 60 minutes. It seems like every shift is going to be a factor in the game, but I really thought Thatcher was outstanding in goal tonight and we got big performances from a lot of different people."

The first period was a true microcosm of the game, featuring everything but a goal. While Maguire stole the show with his 23 saves, a set of dimmed lights halted play in the period's middle stages and forced a 29-minute delay.

The lengthy delay did not slow down the storied rivals in their 270th all-time meeting, but neither team was able to find the back of the net.

Both sides buzzed early with Maguire and Demko held down the fort to cease end-to-end action. Demko denied leading BU scorer Danny O'Regan at the end of a 2-on-1, stopping the point-blank shot in a full split.

The Eagles took ten of the first 11 shots in the period and finished with a 23-12 advantage, but Maguire was equal to every task.

The second period lacked the same excitement as the first, with the Eagles' advantage a much slimmer 9-8 in shots on goal. The Eagles had three power-play chances, but could not crack the scoreboard and managed just two shots.

"I'm really proud of our guys with the way we rebounded after a dismal first period when it could have been 4-0 if it wasn't for Sean," BU head coach David Quinn. "I thought we started playing some pretty good hockey."

End-to-end action returned in the third as each team had golden opportunities to draw first blood. BC's Ryan Fitzgerald looked to break free, but BU senior defenseman and fellow Boston Bruins prospect Matt Grzelcyk caught him on the backcheck and knocked the puck away.

BU freshman Jordan Greenway broke free just seconds later, driving the net hard before crashing into Demko. The Eagles' stopper was shaken up, but remained in the game and finished off the 30-save performance.

"I kind of told (BC athletic trainer Bert Lenz) to get out of my face," Demko said. "He asked me if I could finish the game, and I just looked at him like he was crazy."

Tuch fired a no-look wrister from the right side of the slot to score the winning goal.

The Minnesota Wild prospect cut to the middle off an assist from second-year classmate Zach Sanford and fired home his third goal in six games across the grain and inside Maguire's right-hand post.

"I think if I saw all of it, I would have stopped it, but he made a great shot," Maguire said. "He shot cross-body, post, and in. I mean, that's a pro level shot. Kudos to him. I guess I didn't see too much of it, but I've made that save 1,000 times. But it's just one that has to beat me."

The Eagles were quick to grab momentum in the extra session, taking four of five shots on goal.

Tuch saw Sanford develop the play, and he made no mistake.

"We really felt we were going to win after that third period," Tuch said. "I saw Sanford was driving the net on the left side and I just tried to put a low one on net. I think one of the BU defensemen screened it and the goalie didn't see it, so I'm lucky it went in."

For the Eagles, the first two Mondays of February launch what York calls "trophy season" leading to the Hockey East and NCAA Tournaments.

After losing to Northeastern in last year's semifinal, Demko knew how important finishing the Beanpot with a victory this time around was.

"I thought last year, obviously, we weren't satisfied with the outcome. It wasn't something we were proud of, so this year we really put a point on making sure that we did get this win," Demko said. "It's not something we take lightly here."

That's one trophy down, and more left to chase.

***

Freshman Adam Gaudette scored twice and added an assist as Northeastern rolled to a 5-1 win over Harvard in the consolation game earlier Monday. The Huskies never looked back after building a three-goal lead in the first period, despite Crimson freshman and Bruins prospect Ryan Donato's second-period tally.

The Huskies had lost in three straight Beanpot title games before capturing their first third-place finish since 2010, while the Crimson finished fourth for the sixth time in head coach Ted Donato's 12-year tenure.