BOSTON -- David Warsofsky, by all rights, probably shouldn't have been in the game at all.
The Boston University defenseman had thrown a flagrant cross-check at the head of Northeastern's Wade MacLeod midway through the third period. Referees already had tossed one player for checking from behind, and it appeared for a moment as though Warsofsky would be the next to go.
"I saw the refs talking about it, and it kind of crossed my mind that I might," he said.
"It looked bad," BU defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk said. "It definitely looked bad."
Warsofsky instead was assessed a two-minute minor and had just come out of the penalty box when Northeastern's Kyle Kraemer tied the game at 1. Five minutes later, though, Warsofsky made the play that earned the Terriers a 2-1 win and their 15th trip to the Beanpot title game in the last 16 years. The defenseman poked the puck away from the Huskies' Justin Daniels and sparked a 2-on-1 rush the other way that Alex Chiasson snuck past goaltender Chris Rawlings to give the Terriers the lead late in the third period.
"The game-winning goal was a reflection of playing with fire with BU," Northeastern coach Greg Cronin said. "You cant turn pucks over. It was kind of a costly turnover."
Warsofsky came close to getting the boot at the tail end of a five-minute major penalty Northeastern's Alex Tuckerman had drawn for drilling BU defenseman Sean Escobedo into the boards from behind. Warsofsky couldn't quite corral the puck as it slid over the blue line, and MacLeod was right in front of him when he lifted his head. Warsofsky hit him square in the face.
"He kind of came at me, but I put my stick up before he even got to me," Warsofsky said. "It was a mental breakdown. It was kind of stupid."
At 5-foot-9 and 170 pounds, Warsofsky isn't the type of defenseman who's usually going to get into tussles. Eleven different Terriers had more penalty minutes than he did last season. But there Warsofsky was, nullifying a BU power play and coming oh-so-close to earning himself an early shower.
"With his size, he's not a guy who's going to be taking penalties a lot," Shattenkirk said. "He really doesn't let things affect him. It's rare to see him in the penalty box, and knowing that he was in there and what he did, he knew he wasn't going to let it affect him the rest of the game."
Given new life, Warsofsky redeemed himself. He'd made a mental note earlier in the game that the Huskies forwards liked to cut toward the middle of the ice when breaking into the zone and when Daniels made his move, Warsofsky had his stick in the right place to break up the play.
"A couple of times they'd come down on me and cut to the middle right away, so I had an idea they were looking for the late guy coming in," Warsofsky said. "I was one step before him. I was trying to catch him off-guard."
One pass and one shot later -- as well as one last trickle through the arm of Rawlings -- the Terriers were back in the Beanpot title game.
Brian MacPherson is a frequent contributor to ESPNBoston.com. His e-mail address is email@example.com.