It's BU and BC for the Beanpot Title

Tuesday, February 6th 2007, 7:18 am
By: News On 6

BOSTON (AP) _ The championship game of the Beanpot Tournament will be another rematch between Boston University and Boston College.

Benn Ferriero had a goal and an assist, Cory Schneider stopped 20 shots and BC advanced to the Beanpot final with a 3-1 win over Harvard on Monday night.

Nathan Gerbe and Brian Boyle also scored for the Eagles, who reached the championship game for the fourth time in five seasons and will play BU for the title next Monday night. Earlier, John Curry made 27 saves to lead the two-time defending champion Terriers past Northeastern 4-0.

The annual tournament _ now in its 55th year _ features Boston's four Division I hockey programs vying for a coveted trophy and citywide bragging rights. The Eagles have won the Beanpot 13 times _ second to BU's 27.

The longtime rivals will meet in the final for the sixth time in eight years. BU beat BC 3-2 for last year's championship before the Eagles went on a late-season run and advanced to the national title game, where they lost to Wisconsin.

``That's what all the fans want, that's what all the players want, all the coaches want,'' Gerbe said. ``It will be something terrific to see.''

Dan McGoff had two goals to help BU advance to its 13th consecutive Beanpot title game. Pete MacArthur and Kenny Roche also scored for the Terriers.

BU, which has won 10 of the last 12 championships and advanced to 23 of the past 24 title games, has as many championships as the other three schools combined.

``I thought this was our most thorough game of the year,'' Terriers coach Jack Parker said. ``We did a lot of things very well, which helped us control our own destiny.''

The Terriers, ranked No. 8 in the nation, entered on a three-game winless skid (0-1-2) and were coming off a 0-0 tie last Friday against UMass-Lowell.

``We needed a confidence booster,'' Curry said. ``Last Friday wasn't the best game, but tonight we came out and we really refocused quickly. We only had two days of practice and the next day we were a little bit down, but we had to get geared up for this game. We couldn't dwell on it.''

They didn't. After getting outshot 11-8 in the first period, BU outshot Northeastern 29-16 the rest of the way and scored twice in 48 seconds midway through the second period to break a scoreless tie.

MacArthur retrieved a pass from Chris Higgins just to the right of the crease, then sneaked the puck past Northeastern goalie Brad Thiessen to give BU a 1-0 lead 8:59 into the second period.

Roche made it 2-0 when he faked left, then beat Thiessen to the right on a breakaway at 9:47.

Thiessen saved 33 shots for Northeastern, which hasn't won the Beanpot since 1988 and has failed to advance past the first round in four of the past five years.

``We came into this Beanpot thinking we were going to win,'' Northeastern forward Mike Morris said. ``We've been playing good hockey and we are a confident group.''

The Huskies had a chance to make it a close game, but couldn't get anything past Curry during a 5-on-3 power play spanning the second and third periods.

Curry stopped 11 shots in the first period, nine in the second and seven more in the third to improve to 4-0 in Beanpot competition, including wins in each of the last two title games.

McGoff scored both his goals in the third period to give the Terriers a cushion.

``I really felt this game was men against boys,'' Northeastern coach Greg Cronin said. ``The bottom line is, they outskated us, they outhit us and they out-possessed us with the puck. Game over.''

In the second game, Dylan Reese scored and Kyle Richter made 29 saves for Harvard, which hasn't advanced to a Beanpot final since 1998 and hasn't won the tournament since 1993.

The Crimson jumped out to a 1-0 lead when Reese fired a slap shot through a crowd and past Schneider 8:12 into the first period. But the 15th-ranked Eagles stormed back, outshooting the Crimson a combined 20-14 in the second and third periods.

``I didn't feel that we were ever able to get the pressure or sustain the attack that we've had in the past few games,'' Harvard coach Ted Donato said. ``Obviously, they did a good job of handling any type of pressure we were able to throw at them.''

After BC tied it 1-all by the end of the first on Ferriero's goal from just inside the blue line, Gerbe's short-handed goal put BC up 2-1 6:22 into the second. A streaking Gerbe retrieved a pass from Ferriero, then glided the puck between the post and Richter's glove.

Boyle scored an empty-net goal in the closing seconds.

Schneider, who stopped nine shots in the second period and five more in the third, won last year's Eberly Trophy as the tournament's top goalie. However, the junior has yet to win a Beanpot title, losing to BU in last year's title game and to the Terriers in the first round in 2005.

``It would be a great feeling to get one under my belt,'' Schneider said. ``They've knocked us out the last two years, so it'd be good to even the score.''