Believe it. This is the year. The Northeastern Huskies are Beanpot champions.
The men’s hockey team defeated the Boston University Terriers, 5-2, on Monday night, snapping the team’s 30-year tournament drought and sending the Northeastern faithful at TD Garden and those watching all over the world into a frenzy. The fans roared as the final seconds ticked away, and when the buzzer sounded the Huskies hurled their sticks, gloves, and helmets into the air and poured onto the ice to celebrate the victory.
Northeastern will host a Beanpot victory celebration event at Matthews Arena at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday. The first 1,000 people in attendance will receive a free T-shirt.
Northeastern’s power play came up huge, tallying three of the Huskies’ five goals, and goalie Cayden Primeau turned away 38 of 40 shots to turn in an outstanding performance. Adam Gaudette delivered a hat trick, and Nolan Stevens and Trevor Owens added a goal apiece for Northeastern.
“Wow,” Jim Madigan, the Fernie Flaman Endowed Men’s Hockey Coach, exclaimed in a postgame press conference. “Just ecstatic, elated, thrilled for so many different parts of Northeastern University.” Madigan praised his players, “who just worked their tails off and were so focused on this tournament this year and bringing the Beanpot back to Huntington Avenue.”
Gaudette won the Most Valuable Player award, and Primeau earned the Eberly Award, presented to the goalie with the best save percentage of the tournament. He saved 74 of 76 shots he faced during the tournament.
Things didn’t get off to a smooth start for Northeastern. After an early BU goal was disallowed due to goalie interference, the Terriers tallied the game’s first goal midway through the first period to take a 1-0 lead. But Northeastern seized control from there, particularly taking advantage of its power-play opportunities.
The Huskies scored twice in the first, and then netted two more in the second period. They played a sharp, smart third period to maintain their commanding lead. BU netted a goal with an extra skater late in the period, but Gaudette buried an empty net goal with 30 seconds left to tally the hat trick and bring home the Beanpot championship.
The Braintree, Massachusetts-native grew up coming to the Beanpot tournament as a kid and said after the game he knew he wanted to play his college hockey for a Beanpot school. He said it made the victory that much more special knowing he and his teammates ended the 30-year drought.
“It’s just something I’ve dreamed of ever since I was a little kid,” he said. “Picture perfect night. Dream come true.”
Generations of Northeastern fans share that same sentiment.