Video courtesy of Biz Jacobs
BOSTON – Historically, Northeastern and Harvard usually face off in the Beanpot Consolation to play in front of about 50 of their closest friends (ok that’s a bit of an exaggeration) before the main event featuring Boston College and Boston University. But while both teams aren’t a part of the main event again this evening on the first Beanpot Monday, they both had a chance of advancing to the Beanpot Final in their first round matchup.
This time, Northeastern took advantage of the opportunity.
When these two teams met three years ago in the first round, the Huskies were considered the sleeper to take the Beanpot in a very even field. This year, with BC separating themselves from the rest of the pack, the Huskies are once again considered a darkhorse as they came into the game having gone 5-3-2 in their last 10 contests prior to Monday’s semifinal.
But while a couple of players in particular–sophomore goalie Chris Rawlings and junior forward Mike McLaughlin–might not have knew about the prestigious college hockey tournament before they got to campus, they got accustomed to the tradition during the first two Monday’s in February.
And by now, well, they know all about the tradition.
“I didn’t know about the Beanpot before I came here…I know when I came on my visit here, Northeastern lost to Harvard and it kind of stuck my mind,” said McLaughlin. “[Tyler] McNeely and all the seniors stressed that point beforehand but I don’t think it matters who you play. You just want to play your game and move on to the second day.”
“Growing up in Vancouver, you don’t really get to hear a lot about the Beanpot,” added Rawlings. “But once you get to campus you hear all about it on campus and you know its one of the biggest tournaments in college hockey [especially in Boston].”
This year, Northeastern carried over the momentum and are now on their way to their second Beanpot final in three years with its 4-0 victory over Harvard.
Beforehand, the senior class who was part of that loss in 2008 brifely addressed the team about that February night. But more importantly, that senior class addressed the rest of the team of being part of the prestigious college hockey tournament.
Coming off a disappointing 5-4 overtime loss against Merrimack Friday night, head coach Greg Cronin was concerned about how the team would fare against Harvard.
And about that Harvard game in 2008? Well that didn’t even cross the coach’s mind.
“I was more concerned about how we would’ve responded after a tough loss Friday night against Merrimack,” he said. “It was kind of like a funeral in the locker room; they were really down after we lost in overtime with 28 seconds to go.”
But thanks in part to the two-goal effort from McLaughlin (at 10:48 of the first period and 1:47 of the second) and a 41-save shutout from Rawlings, the Huskies were able to bounce back nicely. Steve Silva and Brodie Reid both added second period tallies at 10:53 and 16:19, respectively to secure the Husky victory.
“It’s nice to come in just to contribute,” McLaughlin said.
The Huskies now move on to the finals against the winner of the BC-BU contest currently taking place.
While Cronin might have exaggerated the potential magnitude of what a Beanpot Championship would mean on the Northeastern campus in his postgame comments—they haven’t won the coveted trophy since 1988—he knows what it would mean for the community.
“If we win next week we’ll need both the NU [Northeastern] Police and Boston Police to contain the Northeastern campus,” Cronin said with a laugh.