Primeau 2018: Freshman Goaltender Shuts Out BC in 3-0 Beanpot Win

Michael Tureski/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

It was a good weekend to be Cayden Primeau.

On Friday night he allowed just one goal, on a first period power play, in a good performance against UNH but couldn’t pick up the win as the Huskies only scored once themselves in a 1-1 draw.

On Sunday, the son of former Philadelphia Flyers captain Keith saw his hometown Eagles capture their first Super Bowl in team history.

And on Monday, on the biggest stage he’s seen in his short Northestaern career, Primeau had a Beanpot performance that will go down in Northeastern and Beanpot history alongside the likes of 2013 MVP Kevin “Monday Night” Roy and… depending on what happens next week… maybe even Wayne Turner. Primeau faced 37 shots from the Eagles, with 29 coming in the last two periods. Primeau saved all 37 of them to lead the Huskies to a 3-0 victory and a date with the Terriers next Monday Night.

The last time Northeastern had a Beanpot shutout against Boston College was 1988, when a goaltender by the name of Bruce Racine (you might have heard of him) shut out the Eagles 4-0 in the semifinal on the way to a victory over BU in the finals, winning the Eberly Award and giving Northeastern a Beanpot title that stands to this day as their last.

The last time a Northeastern goaltender won the Eberly, presented to the goaltender with the best save percentage in the tournament, was Chris Rawlings in 2011. The last Husky freshman to win the Eberly and the Beanpot itself? That’s Racine again, this time in 1985. Primeau is in the driver’s seat now, as every other goalie allowed at least two goals yesterday, although BU’s Jake Oettinger saved 47 of 49 shots and could wind up in contention depending on how next Monday goes. But if the incredible happens, it would be nearly impossible to imagine the title going to anybody but Primeau should the Huskies pull it off.

The first line came to play too. BC got the upper hand on the Huskies coming out of the gate, keeping NU pinned in for much of the start of the first. But the game changed off a tripping call to J.D. Dudek and a power play goal from the stick of Dylan Sikura, who took the shot from near the half wall before the puck deflected off the stick of Casey Fitzgerald and into the net to give the Huskies a 1-0 lead. The Huskies stabilized from the advantage, going into the first intermission with a 10-8 lead in shots.

In the second, Northeastern and Primeau killed two BC power plays before coming through again with under 5 minute to play, as Sikura circled the zone with the puck and fired a blind shot on net. Nolan Stevens was the hero for the first line this time, as he tipped the shot on Woll, found the rebound himself, and put it home to give his Huskies a two goal lead heading into the break. Boston College led shots 14-10 in the period, but Primeau was there on all of them.

The Eagles pressed again in the third, helped in part by NU penalties against both Gaudette and Sikura in the period. Primeau saved six more shots on the two advantages, and benefited from a shot off the goalpost midway through the frame. But the kills were successful and the trio of Husky first liners finished their night when Stevens and Jeremy Davies made nice plays to keep the puck in the zone, leading to a Stevens shot from the high slot and a rebound to the stick of Adam Gaudette, who scored to complete a three point night for himself and goal for each member of the first line. Primeau ended the period with 15 more saves to get him to the 37 mark. The ending got chippy, as Ron Greco and Aapeli Rasanen got penalties in the last five seconds for butt-ending and high-sticking the Huskies in frustration.

In truth, BC played well. Really well. Primeau made a number of huge saves that even today I can only watch the replays of and wonder how they were possible. He was feeling it. On the other hand, NU got a trio of dirty goals, off an opposing stick from a pretty bad angle, and on two rebounds. Most years, this game would go the other way. Most years, NU is the team on the short end of an evenly matched game. But most years, NU isn’t the best team in the tournament. They are this year, and as always seems to happen in this tournament, the best players in the tournament found a way to make a difference, from the net to the slot.

Some other Huskies deserve to be mentioned too. Matt Filipe had a few more good chances and continues to be the most snakebitten hockey player since Tyler Seguin in a fateful 2013 Bruins playoff run. He gets a breakaway seemingly every game and has only scored on one. Zach Solow is shooting a similarly low percentage but without the breakaways. He’s nifty with the puck and will get there at some point. Davies scored a pair of assists and continues to be the team’s best defenseman, especially in the offensive zone. Garrett Cecere and Ryan Shea continue to be reliable on the back end.

Now, with all-cylinders firing, the Huskies look ahead. Not to the Terriers, but to the Huskies of UConn on Friday. Connecticut has already beaten Northeastern this season and comes in on a five-game winning streak, including victories over Providence and Boston College. As the Huskies still trail by a point in the Hockey East standings and suddenly find that there are four more teams either within 4 points of NU or that could be with games in hand, this game holds just as much importance as the one on Monday. Not to mention the ever-present Pairwise implications of course, as NU sits in 13th place after the results on Monday.