Northeastern University hasn’t won a Beanpot since 1988. In a vacuum, this is hilarious. It’s always funny when a team you don’t like hasn’t won something in a long time. It gets even funnier when you think about two things: a) It’s a four-team tournament, for God’s sake, and b) Harvard has won it more recently than Northeastern has, in 1993. They’ve finished first in the tournament the least amount of times and in last the most. What a team. What a university. God bless.
There’s a lot of other funny things to consider about Northeastern. For example, current BC junior Johnny Gaudreau, arguably the best player in college hockey was at one point a Northeastern University commit. Let that sink in. Every time Northeastern fans watch “Johnny Hockey” strut his stuff against their team they get to think about the fact that he was this close to wearing black and red. Man, that’s good stuff.
Anyway, Northeastern is shaping up to be pretty good this year. NU sophomore Kevin Roy is an incredible hockey player. He’s NU’s Gaudreau, an indispensable puck-wizard, a phenom. He was averaging 2 points a game coming into this weekend, tied for first in the nation. To have any chance at taking two important Hockey East games from a high-powered Huskies offense, BC was going to have to shut Roy down.
Friday, 11/1: Eagles 4, Huskies 2
It was another good showing for Thatcher Demko. The first goal was stoppable, I think, but it was an excellent play made by NU’s Dalen Hedges to draw Scott Savage away from his man in front of the net, leaving Ryan Belonger wide open to put it away (not to say that it’s on Savage, Cam Spiro failed to pick up the open man). NU’s second goal came off of a deflection on the power play, there wasn’t much Demko could do about it. He made the saves that were asked of him, and had a solid outing. He came away with 20 saves on 22 shots, a sign that the BC defense did a good job of keeping the Northeastern offense in check.
Kevin Hayes made the NU defensemen look like children. Two of BC’s goals were all Hayes, one when he simply skated around a Huskies blue liner and put it past goaltender Clay Witt, and one when he was able to fight through the neutral zone and make Witt give up a bad rebound that Ryan Fitzgerald was able to knock out of the air and into the net.
NU’s Clay Witt was absolutely outstanding. The Eagles could have easily doubled their goal output on Friday night, but Witt bailed out his defensemen again and again. BC had quite a few quality chances that were turned away.
The BC defense played a very physical game, especially Mike Matheson. While it’s a welcome change from the teams of the past couple of years that had trouble with more physical opponents, they have to be careful. So far this season, penalties have been killing BC. The Eagles are a team that feeds off of momentum, so when they take a stupid penalty, it not only puts them on the kill for two minutes, but it takes the wind out of their sails.
Kevin Roy was more or less a non-factor. Roy is an extremely dynamic player, and the fact that the young Eagles defense was able to keep him contained is a good sign going forward. Players like Roy are few and far between, and BC is lucky to have one of those types of players on their roster in Gaudreau. If BC can stop Roy, they won’t have trouble against many players in the entire country, let alone Hockey East.
Saturday, 11/2: Eagles 4, Huskies 3 (OT win)
Brian Billett was strong in net, making 31 saves on 34 shots. The three he allowed were all fairly tough to stop, so really no blame can be placed on him. Looking past the goals, though, Billett made quite a few incredible saves, including a couple to stop a Huskies player on a breakaway. It was good to see him get his feet back under him after an admittedly poor showing at Minnesota, especially considering the fact that it seems like Jerry York wants to keep the goalie rotation going.
BC dug themselves into a hole on Saturday as NU was able to take a 3-1 lead in the 3rd period, but the Eagles battled back, closing the gap on a beautiful shorthanded goal by captain Patrick Brown, and tying it on a tricky little goal by Johnny Gaudreau. Freshman Adam Gilmour notched his first career goal by scoring the game winner in OT, putting away a rebounded Patrick Brown shot. A great character win by the team to grab their first road win.
NU goaltender Clay Witt was, again, incredible. He only made one glaring mistake, but it was a costly one for NU. Witt was ever so slightly out of position as Johnny Gaudreau went around the net for a wraparound attempt, and Gaudreau banked it in off of his skate from behind to tie the game, completing BC’s comeback.
Kevin Hayes managed to play even better than he did on Friday night. He recorded an assist on BC’s first goal of the night, and he was all over the ice, drawing a lot of attention from the Huskies, freeing up his teammates to make things happen.
I hate to say it, but the pairing of Isaac MacLeod and Danny Linell was abysmal. Linell was on the ice for all three Northeastern goals, with MacLeod joining him for two of them. It was a real head-scratcher, because the staff decided to bench freshman Scott Savage, who had been playing well, in order to let Teddy Doherty play. I was glad to see Doherty finally getting some ice time, but I remain puzzled as to why Savage was scratched instead of one of MacLeod or Linell.
Freshman Chris Calnan made an extremely dangerous hit, sending an NU player headfirst into the boards, and was given a game misconduct. Not the type of hit you want to see anybody making. I’m sure he got an earful from the coaching staff.
Don’t tell anybody, but I think the line of Pat Brown, Quinn Smith, and Adam Gilmour might secretly be the best on the team. They’re all guys who work incredibly hard, and it really showed this weekend. They were on the ice for the OT goal, Pat Brown scored shorthanded, and Quinn Smith showed extraordinary effort on a shorthanded attempt in Friday night’s game. When they’re on the ice, just watch them work, you’ll be impressed.
I want to take the opportunity here to talk about the “F*** Northeastern” chant that started up on Friday night. It also happened against Wisconsin. If you’re one of the people sitting up in the top section participating in that chant: cut that out. Seriously. It reflects badly on us as a fan base, it reflects badly on the team, and it reflects badly on the University. Are we really not clever enough to come up with something better than that?
If you see or hear someone trying to start a chant like that, just shoot him or her a look, that’s all it takes. Someone tried to do it in my section, and all it took to shut them up was for somebody to turn around and tell them “No.”The team has already filmed a sportsmanship video that will be shown at home games going forward, discouraging vulgar chants. Be creative with your chants. If you can’t come up with something good, there’s nothing wrong with cheering on the Eagles instead of disparaging the opposing team. It’s a good thing our next home game is against Army, because I don’t think anybody here is stupid enough to chant “F*** Army.” At least, I hope not.
Also of note is that Notre Dame lost to Vermont on Friday night. Welcome to Hockey East, losers.