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Robbie Baillargeon and Charlie McAvoy scored first-period goals and defending Beanpot champion Boston University beat Northeastern 3-1 to set up a tournament championship against Boston College

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BOSTON — Boston University or Boston College will win this year's Beanpot.

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Robbie Baillargeon and Charlie McAvoy scored first-period goals and defending Beanpot champion Boston University beat Northeastern 3-1 Monday night to set up a tournament championship against Boston College.

BC beat Harvard 3-2 in the first game. The Eagles are 1-0-1 against BU this season.

"It's always been a dream of mine to play them in the finals," BU senior forward Danny O'Regan said. "It's kind of how you draw it up. We definitely owe them after a few weeks ago."

The Terriers are headed to their 51st Beanpot championship in the 64th year of the tournament and have won 30 times. Boston College is looking for its 20th title. Either BU or BC has won the Beanpot each year since Harvard captured it in 1993.

"It means so much to each school," BU coach David Quinn said. "We've had an awful lot of success over the years."

Sean Maguire stopped 24 shots for the Terriers.

BU (15-7-4) built a 2-0 lead on goals just over 3 minutes apart and tightened up against the Huskies, limiting their chances.

The tournament matches the area's four Division I college hockey programs and is scheduled for the first two Mondays in February at the TD Garden.

This year's contest features the strongest field in Beanpot history, with three teams ranked in the Top 10 — BC is No. 4, Harvard No. 7 and Boston University ninth. Since the tourney began in 1952, the winner has gone on to win the NCAA title 10 times, and none of the four programs have won an NCAA title in that time without first winning the Beanpot.

Baillargeon batted a puck into the net out of the air from the side and McAvoy put a wrister past Ryan Ruck after a perfect drop pass from Danny O'Regan.

Doyle Somerby sealed it with an empty-netter.

Northeastern (9-13-4) has won the Beanpot just four times, last in 1988. John Stevens scored with 3:12 to play. Ruck made 31 saves.

In the opening game, Zach Sanford and Colin White scored power-play goals in the second period for BC, and goalie Thatcher Demko shut down Harvard the rest of the way.

Demko made 21 saves and Casey Fitzgerald also scored for the Eagles (18-4-4).

"I expect a lot of shutouts from him," Eagles coach Jerry York said jokingly about Demko, who came in with a 1.64 goals-against average and eight shutouts this season.

"It all starts with Thatcher," BC defenseman Ian McCoshen said. "He's rock solid. He's always consistent. We have that reliability back there."

The Crimson scored on their first two shots of the game, but Demko was solid from there. He had a lot of help from BC's forwards, who forechecked well and kept the puck in Harvard's end for nearly all of the final 2 minutes - not letting the Crimson pull goalie Merrick Madsen for an extra skater.

Ryan Donato and Adam Baughman had first-period scores for Harvard (12-5-3). Madsen had 30 saves.

The Crimson haven't reached the Beanpot final since 2008 and last captured the title 23 years ago. It's their longest drought.

"I don't think we executed and weren't as sharp as we needed to be or usually are, but give BC a lot of credit for that," Harvard coach Ted Donato said.

Sanford tied the game 2-2 off a rebound from the edge of the crease 6:05 into the second period.

White put the Eagles ahead just over 4 minutes later by cutting in from the left circle and wristing a shot past Madsen.

Fitzgerald scored on a slap shot from the slot 1:35 into the game for a 1-0 lead.

Ryan Donato tied it on a breakaway 9:47 into the first, beating Demko between the pads.

Baughman got his first collegiate goal with 5:16 left in the first, putting a shot off Demko's right pad and in for a 2-1 lead.

Last year, the Beanpot was postponed twice for the first time due to major snowstorms that clobbered the city with a record-breaking snowfall, most of it coming in February.

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