Photo Courtesy of Dave Luca
Tonight Northeastern enters a tournament that they haven’t won in 23 years against a team who they have beaten just once in their last nine meetings. And they do it without 2 first line players. Its easy to dismiss the Huskies Beanpot chances every year. And for much of the season, thats what every NU fan does. But for some reason, as the tournament gets closer, people begin to talk themselves into believing theres a chance. And every time Lucy pulls the football away at the last minute. This year is no different. The Huskies find themselves in the familiar role of underdogs, but how can you not be excited for tonight?
In the 59 previous Beanpots, NU has finished last in almost half of them. Their 29 fourth places finishes are the most by far. There are 4 championships and 10 second place finishes are the least by far. And they don’t have a winning record in the Beanpot against any of the other 3 teams.
So for all the magic and great moments the Beanpot has brought, NU’s involvement has been limited to disappointment on most occasions. Its been 23 years since the Huskies last won the ‘Pot and there is no reason to believe that streak is ending this year. NU coaches are 0-7 in their first Beanpot game. Only 3 skaters that will dress tonight for NU have ever scored in the Beanpot (Rob Dongara, Luke Eibler, and Mike McLaughlin). And they are playing a team that has already beat them 3 times this season.
If it seems like the odds are stacked against the Huskies, i’ts because they are. With each passing year, the pressure only grows. And since 1988, even the best Husky teams have found a way to come undone on a Monday night in February.
This will be the 9th meeting between BC and NU in the past two season, and every single one of those games has been decided by 1 goal, except for a 2-0 BC win where the 2nd goal was an empty netter. In last year’s Beanpot, BC broke Northeastern’s heart in overtime with a thrilling 7-6 win. A week later the two teams met again. This time NU managed a 7-7 tie at Conte Forum, and then finally beat the Eagles the next night with a 2-1 win at Matthews. The teams would meet at the Garden again in the Hockey East Semifinals. Again BC came out on top with a 5-4 win. The teams have met 3 times this season (in 3 different locations) and the Eagles have come out with a win all 3 times. They won in OT at Matthews, scored a goal with 2.7 seconds left to win at Conte, then beat the Huskies again by 1 at Frozen Fenway.
When it comes to playing BC, Northeastern just can’t seem to get over the hump. But on a positive note, the last time BC and NU met in the first round of the Beanpot, the Huskies cruised to a 6-1 win.
The Huskies will be without Cody Ferriero and Steve Quailer. Quailer leads all active NU players with 4 Beanpot points (3 of which were vs BC). The Huskies don’t have much Beanpot experience and they graduated a lot of Beanpot points this summer. Garrett Vermeersch has 4 assists in 4 games. Mike McLaughlin has 3 goals in 6 games. Rob Dongara has a goal and an assist in 2 games. Those 3 are the only Huskies with more than 1 Beanpot point to their name. This of course ignores Vinny Saponari, who played on the 2009 BU team that won the Beanpot over Brad Thiessen and Northeastern. His experience will be key for the Huskies.
The Huskies need a hero. Its time to bring the Beanpot back to Huntington Ave. Beanpot history is full of improbable heroes and epic moments. Northeastern will need some of that tonight. On paper, the Huskies have no chance to win this thing. And thats exactly why, as a Husky fan, you’ve got to have faith. The Beanpot is always won by the best team. Its won by the team who can just win on back to back Mondays. Tonight’s game should be great, win or lose, but I think its about time that Northeastern wins this thing.