Tag Archives: Vinny Saponari

Off Season News and Notes

April 19, 2012

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Northeastern
  • Northeastern’s captains were announced at the year end banquet last week.  Vinny Saponari will be the Captain, with Robbie Vrolyk and Ludwig Karlsson as his alternates.  You can read about the event and all of the awards that were given out here.  Saponari, a transfer from BU, could be considered a bit of controversial pick, but personally I like it.  Its been clear since Saponari arrived at NU that he is extremely grateful for getting a 2nd chance.  He won a national championship with BU, and he also served as a leader on his Dubuque team that won the USHL title.  He looks like a changed man and I think he is the perfect guy to lead the team.  Vrolyk is an obvious choice.  No one outworks him.  Karlsson is interesting.  Definitely a popular guy among teammates and fans alike.  I guess he is going to lead by example.
  • Never say never, but I don’t think Northeastern will suffer any more losses this summer.  So that means the team is losing 5 forwards and just 2 defenseman.  They have 3 forwards and 4 defenseman coming in.  I’m speculating here, but even though the numbers matchup, I don’t think the scholarship money does.  I believe Bitetto, Quailer and the Daniels were all on pretty large scholarships.  Out of the guys coming in Darcy will almost certainly be getting a full ride or close to it.  I would guess Gunn and Belonger are getting a decent amount as well.  The three Canadians kids are all in their 20’s already, so I’m betting they aren’t getting much.  So while we can’t say for certain, I think that NU might have some money to go get another forward if thats what they want to do.   Don’t be surprised to see Madigan bring someone in this summer.
  • Who might that player be? Hard to say.  It could be another older kid from Canada, or it could be someone committed to another college for 2013 that wants to play in the NCAA next season.  St John Prep star Sam Kurker could fit the bill.  The Reading, MA native is committed to BU for 2013, but rumors have been swirling regarding him wanting to play college hockey next season.  BU doesn’t have a scholarship for him next year, so he may be on the open market.  Northeastern was among his final 3 before he decided on BU, but that was when Greg Cronin was still the coach.  Kurker had this to say about choosing BU: “It’s Division 1, a Hockey East and Beanpot school … everything you dream of”.  So you have to think NU could be a possibility.  
  • Another guy who is still out is Mike Vecchione of Saugus, MA.  Vecchione played at Malden Catholic before leaving for the USHL’s Tri-City Storm.  He decommited from UNH this winter when they asked him to come in 2013, and he has not committed anywhere yet.   
  • The schedule for next year is starting to take shape.  Fans on the USCHO forum have for the first time in history contributed something positive to society besides massive amounts of laughs.   They have created a master schedule for next year based on teams that have released info.  Northeastern has not released any info, but from spreadsheet we learn that NU will be hosting St. Lawrence of the ECAC the Friday after Thanksgiving.  We also know the Notre Dame and Michigan owe them return games.  Notre Dame will probably be at Matthews for 1 game this season.  Michigan will probably buy their way out of it, if they didn’t already do that in the initial agreement.  On the flip side, NU owes RPI a return game from 2010, but RPI’s schedule for next year does not include NU.  So maybe it was pushed back, maybe it was cancelled.  The two Beanpot games are given which means NU only gets 5 OOC games.  So that means there is still 2 (3 if Michigan bails) games to fill. A home game against Alabama Hunstville has been rumored on DHD.  We should have more on this as the summer goes on.
 Hockey East
  • We will continue updating our Hockey East Off-Season Movement article with any additional departures around Hockey East.  Our most recent update added the announced Captains for Maine and UNH.
  • UConn to Hockey East remains the big story.  Nothing official yet, but it is clear UConn is the favorite.  I just don’t see UConn being a successful team in Hockey East, especially playing games off-campus.  Hockey East would have been better off just sticking with the 10-team, bus league that we all know and love.
Alumni
  • Joe Vitale and the Penguins are down 3-1 in their first round series against Philadelphia.  Vitale has played in 3 of 4 games and he picked up a game misconduct last night.  The playoff games are the first of Vitale’s NHL career.  He has yet to register a point.
  • In the AHL, the playoffs begin tonight.  Tyler McNeely and the Bridgeport Sound Tigers are the 3 seed in the Eastern Conference.  They host the Connecticut Whale.  Brad Thiessen and the WBS Penguins are the 4 seed.  They host the Hershey Bears.  Anthony Bitetto has joined the Milwaukee Admirals, but he won’t play in their playoff series.  
  • All of NU’s ECHL players have seen their seasons end either by missing the playoffs or being knocked in the first round.    
  • Best wishes to Kyle Kraemer.  He was injured in Game 3 of his team’s playoff series when he was “head-checked” by an opponent.
  • Jamie Oleksiak and his Niagara are in the Eastern Conference Finals of the OHL.  They face Ottawa in a best of 7 that starts Friday.
Recruits
  • Cam Askew is headed to Cushing Academy in the fall.  He is accelerating his studies and is planning on playing for Northeastern in 2015.
  • Daniel Willett was selected by Plymouth in the OHL Draft.   Should he choose to sign with them, he would lose his NCAA eligibility.
  • While most of the recruits’ seasons have ended, the USHL playoffs are just getting underway.  Mike Gunn (’12), Ryan Belonger (’12)  and the Youngstown Phantoms head to Green Bay as the 4 seed in the East this weekend.
  • Zach Aston-Reese (’13) and Lincoln are the 1 seed in the West.  They host Fargo this weekend.  Colton Saucerman (’12) also plays for Lincoln, but he season was ended by a torn ACL.
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The New Era of Northeastern Hockey

April 2, 2012

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When Greg Cronin left last summer, he left behind a program that was trending upwards.  The team was coming off a strong second half that included a huge playoff victory at BU.  The overtime loss in the Beanpot and the 1 goal loss in the Hockey East Semifinals, both to BC, were tough to swallow, but it was hard not to be proud of the team for really turning it around after a rough start.

Fueling the optimism was the fact that the recruiting class coming in was considered to be Cronin’s best yet.  Despite losing the top scorers to graduation and early departures, people were definitely excited about this team and the future of Northeastern hockey.

When Cronin left, that optimism took a hit.  No matter who they brought in, the new coach was going to have to steady the ship and keep all of the recruits on board before anything else. Unless they hired from within (Sebastien LaPlante), that was always going to be a tough task.  Even with LaPlante, they likely would have lost one or two.  But overall, it seemed like the next coach that came in would have a solid base and they would pick up where Cronin had left off.

When Jim Madigan was hired, he decided not to take that course. He chose to blow up the foundation Cronin built and start down his own path.   Most of the time when a new coach comes in, they do clear out memories of the old regime and craft the team into their own model.  Madigan’s supporters this year have been quick to point out that Cronin did the same thing when he came in.  To be fair though, the situation Cronin walked into was a far cry from the one Madigan did.  Unlike when Cronin came in, Madigan had plenty of talent to work with.  Still, he decided that he was better off doing things his way and getting his guys in.

Was this the right move by Madigan? We can’t say.  Not now at least.  If Madigan brings in his guys and can get a Beanpot or an NCAA tournament win, I don’t think anybody is going to still be upset about missing the playoffs this year.  But if Madigan’s plan can’t take the program to new heights, then it will probably feel like he did waste what Cronin left here.

Either way, its too early to tell if this the right course of action or not.  But its the course Northeastern is on.  For the second year in a row, its been a difficult summer for Northeastern and when the team takes the ice next season, it will be one major step closer to a Madigan-designed team.  “Cronin’s guys” have been heading for the exits: some by their own will (Bitetto), some because they had no reason to stay (Dongara).  There will be more departures before this summer is over.  Besides Chris Rawlings, Luke Eibler will probably be the biggest reminder of Cronin next year.  Look at the likely Top 6 forwards

1. Ludwig Karlsson (never played for Cronin)

2. Vinny Saponari (never played for Cronin)

3. Braden Pimm (3rd/4th liner under Cronin)

4. Garrett Vermeersch (Member of Cronin’s Doghouse.  4th liner in Cronin’s last season)

5. Cody Ferriero (President of Cronin’s Doghouse.  Suspended once, benched multiple times in just 1 year under Cronin)

6. Adam Reid or Joe Manno (never played for Cronin, Manno committed to Madigan)

Defense isn’t much better.  Just Drew Ellement and Luke Eibler will have played under Cronin.  And of course, Madigan has gotten commitments from his own recruits and let some of Cronin’s go (McKee, Renz).

Its a bit shocking when you look at it.  Obviously Madigan was going to mold the program in a way that suited him, but it is surprising just how quickly he has cleared out Cronin’s guys.  And for fans who watched Cronin turn this program around, that can be a little hard to swallow.  All will be forgiven if Madigan can win, but right now it feels like Northeastern hockey is back to square 1 and it might take a few years for this plan to get going.

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Saponari, Huskies End the Year on a Positive Note

March 4, 2012

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Photo Courtesy of Dave Luca

Things didn’t go according to plan for Northeastern this season.  A year after heading to the TD Garden for the Hockey East Semifinals, the Huskies found themselves already eliminated from playoff contention heading into the final game of the season.  Coach Jim Madigan said that the Huskies had just pride to play for.  Nowhere was that more true than in the case of Vinny Saponari.

Saponari, who was kicked out of BU 2 years ago, has been quiet in his first season on Huntington Ave.  That’s not to say he hasn’t been an asset, though.  His stats may not have reached the same level they did in his second year at BU, but having his veteran presence on the team has been good for a young group.

While the Northeastern fans have enjoyed watching such a talented skater, BU fans, for the most part, have not forgiven the former Terrier.  In addition to harassing him on Twitter (including not just one, but 2 fake Vinny Saponari Twitter accounts), they have targeted him with chants and signs every time the teams have met.  And up until last night, those meetings had not gone well for the Huskies.   In the first meeting back in January, the Huskies blew an early 2 goal lead at home.  That loss proved to be the sign of things for come as the Huskies season began a downward spiral that the team was unable to recover from.   And then there was Friday.  The Huskies returned to Agganis for the first time since knocking BU out of the playoffs there last spring.  It was also Saponari’s first time playing there as a visitor.  And, as if the game needed any more drama, the Huskies playoff lives were on the line.  The Huskies jumped out to an early lead, while BU seemed determined to kill Saponari.  BU’s Patrick MacGregor even broke a pane of glass when he missed laying a huge hit on Vinny.  Saponari survived, but the Huskies went on to lose and be eliminated from the playoffs when out-of-town results went the wrong way, rendering Saturday’s season finale meaningless in terms of the standings.

But it was never going to be meaningless for Vinny Saponari.  With the pressure off, the Huskies came out playing harder than they have all season.  And Saponari was no exception.  The game felt like a playoff game the whole way through: high intensity, tons of hits, up and down action, and plenty of Jack Parker shenanigans.  So when the game went to overtime, it was hard to be surprised.  About halfway through the OT period, Luke Eibler had a chance to win it for Northeastern, but BU’s senior goaltender, Grant Rollheiser, made the save.  But the save produced a rebound.  A rebound that fell right to a Northeastern stick.  A Northeastern stick belonging to none other than Vinny Saponari, who sent the puck into the back of the net to give the Huskies the win.  The goal happened to occur right in front of the section of BU fans.  Saponari skated right over to them. jumped into the glass and then held up the Northeastern logo on his jersey for all to see.  The entire team mobbed him right there. It may have been a meaningless goal, but don’t tell that to Saponari.   It was the perfect ending for the imperfect season for both Saponari and the Huskies.  It may not have meant anything, but it can serve as a building block for next season, one that needs to be better than this season was.  One that is going to need contributions from Saponari.

And if Husky fans didn’t love Saponari after his game winning goal, then they will certainly love him after his refusal to shake Jack Parker’s hand after the game.   You can call it immature or whatever you want, but to Husky fans, its just awesome.  The BU fans may hate him, but after last night, Northeastern fans definitely love him.

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Final: Huskies 4, Maine 2

February 25, 2012

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With their backs to the wall, Northeastern pulled out a huge victory last night over Maine, 4-2

Photo Courtesy of Dave Luca

The Basics

  • Garrett Vermeersch, Justin Daniels, Vinny Saponari and Adam Reid had goals for Northeastern.
  • Anthony Bitetto, Joseph Manno and Justin Daniels had 2 points.  Steve Quailer and Luke Eibler also had assists.
  • Chris Rawlings made 29 saves and didn’t allow any soft goals.
  • The Huskies were outshot 31 to 28.
  • NU 2-5 on the PP.  Maine was 0-2, but got 1 shorthanded goal.
  • Mike McLaughlin and Alex Tuckerman both sustained concussions.
What You Need to Know
  • The Huskies came to play right from the get go.   And Garrett Vermeersch scored on their first PP of the game to give them an early lead.
  • The second period got off to a bad start.  Maine grabbed a goal 15 seconds in to tie it.
  • Then the Huskies reverted to their old habits when Maine gave them a 5 minute major.  NU couldn’t get the puck of their own zone and Maine scored eventually to take the lead.  NU looked to have tied it, but after a lengthy review, it was ruled McLaughlin kicked the puck in.
  • Justin Daniels, who picked up 3 points, tied it up for a real a minute later on a tough angle shot.   
  • The game looked destined for OT until Joe Manno found himself on a breakaway.  His attempt was saved, but Adam Reid was there to put home the rebound with just 1 minute left.
  • The Huskies then sealed the deal with an empty netter.  Steve Quailer broke in, but then in an unselfish move, passed it to Vinny Saponari.
Lines:
Karlsson-McLaughlin-Saponari
Quailer-Vermeersch-Pimm
Reid-Daniels-Tuckerman
Manno-Stone-Morra
 
D:
Bitetto-Manson
Eibler-Cornell
Ellement-Daniels
 
 
Thoughts
What a game and what a win.  With Steve Quailer back in the lineup, the Huskies actually came to play.   Every line had some chances and the Huskies actually looked like a team that wanted to be there for the first time in a while.
 
Chris Rawlings finally played like a guy who plans on being a pro.  He was moving well and made some big saves.   But most importantly, he didn’t let in any soft goals.  The defense helped him out by limiting chances for the Black Bears.
 
It looked like another game that NU was going to blow after wasting multiple PP chances late in the game, but they pulled it out.
 
Manno may not be able to score, but he just keeps getting breakaways.  And Adam Reid always seems to be in the right place and the right time.  Just a great sequence of events to get the game winner.  Both of these freshman are going to play a huge role next season.  
 
I was ready to write this team off, but this was very encouraging.  In a must win game, they came to play.  And they came back from a deficit for once.  It was an impressive win and it gives the team and the fans some hope that playoffs may be in sight.  
 
 
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2012 Recruiting Class: Projecting Next Year’s Roster

February 23, 2012

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Incoming: 6

Jon Gillies, Goalie, Indiana Ice (USHL), 18 years old

Mike Gunn, Defenseman, Youngstown Phantoms (USHL), 20 years old

Colton Saucerman, Defenseman, Lincoln Stars (USHL), 20 years old

Cam Darcy, Forward, US National Team Development Program, 18 years old

Ryan Belonger, Forward, Youngstown Phantoms (USHL) , 20 years old

Michael McMurtry, Forward, Gloucester Rangers (CCHL), 20 years old

This class is not without its question marks.   Jon Gillies will be picked in the NHL Entry Draft this summer and Patrick Roy’s QMJHL team (Quebec Ramparts) owns Gillies rights.  The team that drafts him could try to push him down that road.  But really it all depends on Chris Rawlings.  If he leaves, Gillies will be here next year to take over.  If he stays, Gillies will probably go the MJ route and Northeastern will miss out on one of the best goaltenders in this group.  Colton Saucerman suffered a serious knee injury in December and he is out for the rest of the season.   I have no idea if he will be ready for the start of next season, but I would guess no.   Since he is already 20 years old, Saucerman will be here next season, but he may be redshirted.   Cam Darcy is also eligible for the NHL draft, but he is a local kid and since he will probably be a later rounder pick, there won’t be much pressure from an NHL team to go MJ.   Ryan Belonger will definitely be here along with Michael McMurtry, who was recently announced.  Belonger will be a lower line guy most likely, but he will be in the lineup.  McMurtry is by all indications a recruited walk-on.

Definitely Outgoing: 1

Mike McLaughlin, Graduation

The Captain is the lone senior on the team.   He will graduate in May and plans on attending Grad School.  McLaughlin has been named to the Hockey East All-Academic in all 3 of the previous seasons.

Possibly Outgoing:

Steve Quailer, Graduation

Alex Tuckerman, Graduation

Vinny Saponari, Jets

Anthony Bitetto, Predators

Ludwig Karlsson, Pros

Chris Rawlings, Pros

Luke Eibler, Pros

Braden Pimm, Pros

Joe Manno, Pros/MJ

All of these guys are not leaving, but its pretty likely that some of them will.  Thats just the way it goes in college hockey.  You could put almost the whole team on this list, but I would say these are the guys that are the most likely to either receive offers/consider offers.

Quailer and Tuckerman are an exception however.  Both have only used 3 years of eligibility due to missing a full season with an injury.  Both should be graduating this May, which leaves them with a decision.   They could stay and enroll in Grad School in order to play one more season or they could just get on with their careers.   Quailer is a Canadiens draft pick. And if the Canadiens do not sign him this summer, then they will lose his rights.   Quailer has been much better this season and the Canadiens are probably going to want him.  So while he is not officially gone, it seems like a near certainty.   Tuckerman, on the other hand, is not drafted by any NHL team.  If he leaves he will likely find himself playing in the ECHL, so there is a chance he stays and enrolls in Grad School.

Bitetto would be a Junior next year, but he could probably play in the AHL next year if he wants to. The soon to be 22 year old has had an up and down, but the Predators like him and he did attend their Rookie Development camp this past summer.  If he does go, lets hope he takes his buddy from Comm Ave, Garrett Noonan (also a Predators draft pick), with him.    Saponari is the other guy on the list that has already been drafted.   The Georgia native was drafted by his hometown Trashers, but they now moved to Winnipeg.  This is his first year at Northeastern after playing two at BU, but he is already 22, so it wouldn’t be surprising if he were to begin his pro career after this season.  That said, he may have unfinished business in the NCAA and he worked hard to return to Hockey East after getting kicked out of BU, so he may stay and finish his degree/eligibility.

The next group is a little different.  None of them were drafted but all could sign with any NHL team as a free agent if they want.  Rawlings, 23, seems most likely to leave.   There was been speculation after each of his first two season that he would leave and sign a pro deal, but each time he has returned.  The rumor mill suggests that he stayed this year since his girlfriend was still in school.  She is graduating this year and it seems like this is the year Rawlings finally makes the jump after attending multiple NHL summer training camps the past couple of season.  Next is Karlsson, who just turned 21.  The Swede has had a tremendous freshman season that will have likely earned some offers.  The situation will remind fans of Brodie Reid and Jake Newton, who both left after good freshman campaigns.   Karlsson has been much better than Reid was, and Reid’s stats were boosted by his great play on the PP unit.  Karlsson will get these offers, and since he is unlikely to stay 4 years and graduate at 25, he will be seriously considering those offers.  Eibler would be a 22 year old Junior next season.  The Capitals were interested in him last summer, but he decided to stay.   He has been a solid presence for Northeastern and I wouldn’t be shocked if he decides to leave.   I wouldn’t consider it very likely though.   Pimm would also be a Junior next season, and he is already 22.  He has been great so far this season and I am sure a few teams will be interested.  Pimm is a bit of a wild card on and off the ice, so there is no use in speculating what he may do.  But he will be given the chance to leave, if he is interested.

The last guy on the list is Joseph Manno.   Manno is draft eligible this summer.  He has had a quiet season, but he projects to be a late round pick this summer.  Depending on who drafts him and how he has enjoyed his first year of college, Manno could choose to return home to his native Canada to play Major Juniors.   After decommitting from UMass last summer, he went that route and he has many friends that play there.   NU fans will be hoping he stays though, as he has shown some potential this season and could be in line for Top 6 time next season.

2012 Projections

Theses are purely speculative.  Everything I know and have heard is written above.  These are just my guesses/gut feelings.

Goalies: Gillies, Witt, Mountain

Defenseman: Eibler-Manson, Ellement-Daniels, Gunn-Cornell  (Oskroba, Hoeffler)

Forwards: Saponari-Daniels-Manno, Vermeersch-Pimm-Ferriero (when healthy), Vrolyk-Darcy-Reid, Dongara-Stone-Belonger (Morra, McMurtry)

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Final: Huskies 2, Providence 2

February 19, 2012

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Yet again, Northeastern skated to a tie last night against Providence.  This one finished 2-2.

Photo Courtesy of Dave Luca

The Basics

  • Alex Tuckerman and Adam Reid had goals for Northeastern.
  • Mike McLaughlin, Drew Daniels, Garrett Vermeersch, and Drew Ellement all had assists.
  • Chris Rawlings made 47 saves, a career high.  But the two goals he let in will be what this game is remembered for.
  • The Huskies were outshoot 49 to 35.
  • NU 1-6 on the PP.  PC was 1-7, both teams had 5 minute majors.
  • Robbie Vrolyk was injured late in the first and did not return.
What You Need to Know
  • Northeastern took an early lead, but couldn’t hold on for long.
  • With the game tied at 1, Ben Oskroba was sent off for a 5 minute major.   NU did a great job killing the penalty, but they allowed a goal when Kevin Hart shot a puck in from the neutral zone and Rawlings deflected it top shelf.   I know I have said this a few times this season, but this was without a doubt the softest goal Rawlings has given up.  Especially when you consider it was probably going wide of the net before he touched it.
  • Adam Reid tied it up on a great move when Vermeersch sprung him on a partial breakaway.
  • Speaking of breakaways, Joe Manno had 3.  The first two he shot way over the net and the third Beaudry was not fooled on.   Manno was really flying last night, but his missed chances proved costly
  • More missed chances: NU had a PP late in the third and early in OT.  They managed just 1 shot between the 2.
  • 1 Shoe OT is still undefeated.
Lines:
Karlsson-Daniels-Saponari
Reid-Vermeersch-Pimm
Manno-McLaughlin-Tuckerman
Stone-Morra
D:
Bitetto-Manson
Eibler-Oskroba
Ellement-Daniels
Cornell
Thoughts
Robbie Vrolyk did not return to the lineup on Saturday after leaving Friday, but even that couldn’t get former fan favorite Rob Dongara back in the lineup.   Madigan went with 11 forwards and 7 D and it actually paid off.  Dan Cornell left the game in the first to get stitches, then Ben Oskroba was tossed for contact to the head.   Cornell eventually returned and the Huskies finished with 6 defenseman.
Once again, offense was an issue for the Huskies.   Since Ferriero and Qualier got hurt, the Huskies have scored just 11 goals in 6 games. Pathetic.  If Robbie Vrolyk is out for an extended period of time, the Huskies may not score another goal all season.   Pimm has been working hard since losing his linemates, but it just hasn’t been working for him.  Karlsson has been skating well, but just can’t find the net.   And where is the Vinny Saponari that scored goals for BU as a freshman?  Its not like he isn’t playing with quality guys.   Manno and Reid looked good though.  Unfortunately Manno couldn’t finish the way Reid did or else it might have been a different result.
Going into this weekend, everyone knew they needed 4.   They got 2 and UMass matched them.  So they have made it very difficult on themselves.   They do have 3 out of their last 4 games at home, but picking up points against Maine and BU is going to a very big ask.
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Beanpot Preview: Huskies vs Boston College

February 6, 2012

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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.

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