Beanpot disappoints

Beanpot disappoints

By Matt Nielsen

The men’s hockey team entered the Beanpot Tournament’s opening round on a hot streak and with high expectations. But the Huskies were taught a familiar lesson Monday at TD Banknorth Garden, losing, 4-0, to 27-time Beanpot champion Boston University behind an inspired performance from Terrier goalie John Curry.

Northeastern came out strong in the first, out-hustling BU for the first 10 minutes of the contest, but were unable to score. Despite being outshot 11-8 in the first period, the Terriers kept their composure and began to dominate.

“Once we settled down, we started taking it to them,” said BU senior captain Sean Sullivan.

Nine minutes into the second period, 2006 Beanpot MVP Pete MacArthur broke through to put BU up 1-0. With NU sophomore forward Dennis McCauley in the penalty box for hooking, sophomore forward Chris Higgins’ shot was deflected by junior forward MacArthur and behind freshman goaltender Brad Thiessen. The Huskies appeared to lose focus after the first goal, allowing a two-on-none breakaway less than a minute later.

As the Huskies attempted to settle themselves after MacArthur’s 12th goal of the season, two Terrier forwards slipped past sophomore defenseman Andrew Linard and toward Thiessen. Senior forward Kenny Roche took possession of a long pass from Sullivan, and beat Thiessen for the second BU goal in less than a minute.

BU’s senior goaltender Curry and the Terrier defense beat back a strong Husky attack late in the second period, stopping a breakaway shot from freshman forward Kyle Kraemer and killing a minute and a half of a 5-on-3 power play before the period ended. The Huskies continued to challenge Curry in the third, as Kraemer again found himself alone in front of the goal. Curry stopped his shot point-blank, and NU never got another quality scoring chance.

“It’s a game of emotions,” said head coach Greg Cronin. “After the first 10 minutes of the game, the tide turned. That 5-on-3 was our chance to get back into the game. We needed a big goal or a big hit, but we didn’t get anything.”

In the 16th minute of the third period, the puck drifted back into NU ice. Thiessen went out to play the puck, but was pressed and accidentally pushed the puck back onto his own net, giving the Terriers a 3-0 lead. Junior defenseman Dan McGoff received credit for the goal.

BU iced the game at 19:36 in the third when McGoff scored his second goal of the game and fourth of the season, with assists from sophomore defenseman Matt Gilroy and junior forward Brian McGuirk.

“It was men against boys,” Cronin said. “Bottom line is they out-skated us, out-hit us and out-possessed us with the puck-game over.”

Senior captain Mike Morris echoed Cronin’s thoughts.

“We came into this Beanpot thinking we were going to win,” Morris said. “We were playing good hockey and we had a lot of confidence. They outplayed us. They played well, we didn’t.”

With the win, BU advanced to the final round of the Beanpot tournament for the 13th consecutive season, and the 40th time in the last 44 years. They improved to 28-7 against the Huskies in Beanpot play, including 16-2 in opening rounds.

“It was one of the most thorough games we’ve played this year,” said BU head coach Jack Parker. “It was a terrific effort as a team. It’s nice to get these guys to another Beanpot title game.”

Curry stopped 27 shots for his sixth shutout of the season and the 12th of his collegiate career.

“It was huge,” Curry said. “We needed a confidence boost. We played really solid defensively – the guys did a good job getting their bodies in the shooting lanes.”

NU faces Harvard University Monday at 5 p.m. in the Beanpot consolation game, a rematch of last year’s battle for third place. The Crimson dominated the Huskies in last season’s match-up, beating them 5-0 behind John Pelle’s two goals and a shutout from Justin Tobe.

Harvard was defeated, 3-1, by Boston College in Monday’s second game at the Garden, placing them in the consolation game for the ninth straight year. BC and BU will play for the ‘Pot for the second straight season and the 18th time in the 56-year history of the tournament. BU defeated the Eagles, 3-2, in the final last year.

The Huskies avoided the so-called “trap game” Friday night at Matthews Arena, when sophomore forward Joe Vitale scored at 4:10 in overtime to beat Merrimack College 1-0.

It was Vitale’s sixth goal of the season, and it gave NU a season sweep over the Warriors after tying them in all three contests last season. Thiessen, the Hockey East Co-Rookie of the Month of January, stopped all 23 shots faced for his third shutout of the season. His first came at Merrimack in a 2-0 win Dec. 2.

The Huskies will take a break from the Beanpot when they visit UMass-Lowell Thursday night at 7 p.m.

Leave a Reply