Column: Beanpot failures will make eventual win worth the wait

Column: Beanpot failures will make eventual win worth the wait

There are two certainties in the second month of the year: chocolate sales rise and Northeastern’s ice hockey team has quality ice time at the TD Banknorth Garden the second Monday of the month at 5 p.m.

For the first 29 minutes of Monday night’s Beanpot match-up against Boston University, it didn’t look like “same old, same old,” for Northeastern.

There were so many positives about the Huskies’ play, it looked like this might finally be the year – dethrone BU, then pluck the Eagles in the second round on the way to winning the ‘Pot.

NU looked so good. Our boys were skating hard and hitting even harder. Morris was commanding the center of the ice, freshman goalie Brad Thiessen had 11 saves in the opening frame, while the rest of the Huskies were riding the momentum of a 5-2-2 stretch since Jan. 3 that brought their record to a respectable 10-13-4.

“They came out flying,” Sean Sullivan of Boston University told The Globe.

And then it happened.

BU’s Chris Higgins connected with Pete MacArthur, who registered BU’s first goal with a glove side shot by Thiessen. Less than a minute later, Kenny Roche scored on a breakaway after a long pass from Sean Sullivan.

Typical Terrier magic. Roche and Sullivan, who have known each other since kindergarten, played together at St. Sebastian’s High School and are now captains, gave themselves another scrapbook memory.

It leaves a bitter taste.

What’s even more bitter, and stings a lot more than the final score – BU, 4-0 – is just how dominant the Commonwealth squad is during the first two weeks of the shortest month of the year.

The Terriers have won 10 of the last 12 Beanpots, and 27 of 55 all-time. They have played in the final round 45 of 55 times, and have a 79-30 record in overall Beanpot play.

And this win makes it 13 straight final-round appearances for the Terriers.

Those first 29 minutes when everything was going well for the Huskies quickly vanished. Northeastern got weaker as the game wore on, with shot totals falling from 11 in the first period to nine in the second and seven in the third. At the same time, the Terriers were getting stronger and improving their shot total each period, tallying eight in the first, 14 in the second and 15 in the third.

And when the Huskies had BU on the ropes with a 5-on-3 advantage that lasted nearly two minutes late in the second and into the third, BU still came out on top, successfully killing the Husky power play.

Husky fans, all together now, repeat after me – wait ’til next year.

Maybe it just isn’t meant to be this season. Could it be that we need one more year of suffering? Another fall full of expectations? Maybe it’s because we haven’t played Harvard enough.

Maybe it’s more than that – what if the Huskies are destined for things greater than the Beanpot in 2007? Hockey East champions?

The best part of being a Husky hockey fan is that there is no game better than tomorrow’s. While we may not win today, or the game after that, there’s always hope on the horizon. It really felt like this was it: 2007 was the year Northeastern would bring it all home. And it didn’t happen.

But you know what? That’s fine. We’re used to losing; it’s winning that would really put our emotions in a spin cycle.

And it will happen soon enough. Huntington Avenue is so long overdue for a Beanpot championship that it’s bound to happen. It just has to.

One of these days we’re going to win this darn thing. It will start with a thrashing of BC (we need to save BU for the later round – it will just feel better) followed by a convincing stomping of the Terriers. It’s not this year, but next year is looking good.

So my advice is this: keep rooting. Don’t give up. Keep filling Matthews Arena and make every crowd the best yet to sit in the rafters of the world’s oldest indoor arena.

Because one of these days we’re going to win. And you won’t want to miss it.

– Matt Foster can be reached for comment at [email protected]

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