For the second consecutive year, Northeastern University has won the Beanpot Tournament.
For the first time since 1985, Northeastern University has repeated as Beanpot Tournament champions.
On Monday night, the Huskies vanquished the Boston College Eagles to defend their championship at TD Garden, emerging victorious by a 4-2 margin. The Huskies scored the first three goals of the game, one in each period, before the Eagles mounted a comeback that would fall narrowly short. The Huskies would add an empty net goal with five seconds remaining to seal the win and send the Red and Black into pandemonium.
It was a goaltending duel from the onset, as Cayden Primeau and Joseph Woll traded big save after big save. In the first period, Boston College had the first excellent chances, all turned aside by Primeau, and then appeared to have cracked the goaltender code when a loose puck in the crease got passed Primeau, but it was waved off immediately. After a lengthy seven minute review, the referees kept the original call. For what it’s worth, I thought the goal should have counted. Link below for you to make up your own mind.
After that shift in momentum, the Huskies poured on the offensive chances. Biagio Lerario almost stuffed a puck through Woll’s pad, Austin Goldstein looked to put back a long rebound, and Grant Jozefek tried to one-time a cross-crease pass. Even Mr. Bright Lights himself, Tyler Madden, was stifled by Woll on a cross-ice one timer. Ultimately with under a minute to go, it was fourth-line forward and UMass grad transfer Austin Plevy who broke the stalemate, knocking in the puck as it sat uncovered under a prone Woll, who was spread wide to stop a Lincoln Griffin wraparound score. The senior came up huge in his first and only Beanpot final, and gave the Huskies a 1-0 lead at the first intermission.
The second period featured heavy pressure from Boston College, as they kept Northeastern pinned in their own zone for large stretches of the frame. Northeastern struggled to break the puck out, and rarely until the last five minutes got more than a couple of passes completed in the Eagles’ zone. Cayden Primeau was more than up to the task, turning away all eight shots he faced, including a breakaway from Marc McLaughlin. The Huskies doubled their lead with just over two minutes remaining in the period. Madden made an outstanding move to get the puck down low and under control in the Eagles’ zone, Matt Thomson scooped up the puck and brought it around the net before finding Patrick Schule in the slot. Schule waited for Woll to go down before picking the corner in a way that would have made Kevin Roy and Adam Gaudette proud. The Huskies went into period two leading 2-0, and leading shots 26-20 despite the heavy BC pressure.
The third period started off all Huskies, as Brandon Hawkins opened the period by hitting a post, and then Griffin potted the third goal of the night for the Huntington Hounds when he deposited a backhanded high into the empty net, as Woll had come out to make a play on Liam Pecararo‘s shot. The Huskies were cruising, Stacy’s Mom was being sung in the balcony, everything was looking smooth sailing for the crown to be defended.
But the Eagles would fight back. Oliver Wahlstrom won a board battle behind the net, and fed David Cotton on the goal line. Cotton flipped the puck over Primeau’s pad before the goalie could set himself, and suddenly the Eagles had life. The Huskies held them off until eight minutes remained on the clock, when they would strike again. This time it was Cotton winning a board battle, feeding JD Dudek in front of the net, and he scorched a one-timer past Primeau. Suddenly, the repeat was in question, all the momentum on the Eagles’ side.
But destiny would not be denied. The Huskies fended off the best that Boston College could throw at them, led by their star goaltender. Primeau made the save of the Beanpot, maybe the save of the season to date, when he stopped Aapeli Rasanen’s sharp-angle putback attempt, closing the wide-open gap to prevent a sure-fire tap in goal that would have tied the game.
The Eagles would pull Woll with 90 seconds remaining, and kept the puck in the Huskies’ zone for the greater part of that 90 seconds. Finally, Matt Filipe made an incredible defensively play with around 30 seconds remaining to deflect a pass intended for the point man, chip it out of the zone and down towards the other end of the ice, skate down to beat the Eagles to the puck, and pin the puck along the boards to kill more clock. It was a heady, incredibly mature decision by the junior forward, who could have attempted to score an empty net goal. Any missed shot would have given the Eagles one last rush, however, and Filipe did enough to pin the puck, taking on multiple Eagles to maintain control, before the puck found its way to Solow, who backhanded it into the empty cage. A fourth Huskies goal, and a second consecutive Beanpot trophy assured.
As the players awaited the trophy to be presented and the banner to be raised, Cayden Primeau was announced as the Eberly Award winner, given to the goaltender who plays both rounds and has the best save percentage. Primeau was also named the Beanpot Tournament MVP, the first goalie to win both awards since BU’s Sean Maguire in 2016. Finally, Head Coach Jim Madigan and captain Eric Williams were brought up to claim the Beanpot for Northeastern, bringing it back home to Matthews Arena and Huntington Avenue.
Big-time players always have a knack for showing up at the biggest moments, when they are needed most. Cayden Primeau embodied that this week, just as Tyler Madden did last week against BU. However, what has stuck with me with this win were the emergences of the unsung heroes rising to the occasion, performing when called upon by circumstance and team need. The first three goals for Northeastern were scored by seniors, all playing in their final Beanpot game. Seniors who are undrafted, who chose Northeastern University for the long haul, all four years of growth, development, failures at times but unprecedented success for a Northeastern hockey player. Harkening back to a similar player scoring the Beanpot-winning goal last season (Trevor Owens), these players chose Northeastern long ago because that’s where they wanted to grow and develop as players and as people. With these goals, this performance, and this win, this is another love story written by them for their University. They put the work in, they made the sacrifices, and they are rewarded by going out on top of the Beanpot tournament.
Similar to these three seniors and their goaltender, other Huskies played arguably their best games since the new year. Jeremy Davies looked like a commanding force out there with the puck on his stick. Filipe has developed into one of the Huskies’ most valuable assets on defense and the penalty kill. Julian Kislin continues to play poised and mature beyond his years. Games like these are becoming more and more common from Huskies players, and as Coach Madigan alluded to in the postgame press conference, this is exactly the type of game that can be used to springboard to more success down the road this season.
The road to Beanpot victory is never an easy one, as Northeastern has known for far too long. But for the second straight season, the Huskies have navigated it and come out on top. The TD Garden rafters will bear the Split N for another year.
The Huskies resume conference play on Friday for a two-game home stand against Vermont.
As always, go Huskies!