Last season: 24-8-2 (17–6–1, first in Hockey East)
Head coach: Jerry York (27th season)
Preseason poll projected finish: First
Departures: D Ben Finkelstein, D Connor Moore, F David Cotton, F Julius Mattila, F Aapeli Räsänen, F Graham McPhee, F Ron Greco, D Luke McInnis, D Jesper Mattila, F Zach Walker, F Mike Merrulla, G Ryan Edquist
Additions: D Stephen Davis, D Tim Lovell, D Eamon Powell, D Jack Agnew, F Nikita Nesterenko, F Gentry Shamburger, F Trevor Kuntar, F Danny Weight, F Harrison Roy, F Colby Ambrosio, G Henry Wilder
Jerry York’s Eagles really flipped things around after a string of disappointing seasons.
Last year, they were one of the top teams in the country. BC ended last year ranked fourth nationally, easily winning the Hockey East regular season title.
This year, they received eight of 11 first place votes in the Hockey East preseason poll. Spencer Knight is one of the best goaltenders in the country — the Panthers prospect was a Richter Award finalist and finished with a .931 save percentage as a freshman. And wasn’t even the Eagles’ only first-year star last year.
Alex Newhook led the team with 19 goals and 23 assists and was named NCAA Rookie of the Year. A first-round pick of the Avalanche, Newhook led all freshmen in goals and was third in the country in plus/minus (+28).
Matt Boldy finished the year strong, ending with nine goals and 17 assists. Nineteen of his 26 points came in 24 games of Hockey East play.
BC seemed poised to make a deep run in the Hockey East and NCAA Tournaments. After a run of underwhelming seasons, the loss of a realistic shot at a national title couldn’t have been easy to swallow. Luckily for the Eagles, a good chunk of that core returns this year, making them a clear top-five team in the country.
They lose a few excellent players — David Cotton and Julius Mattila are tough for any team to replace, and Ben Finkelstein was a solid defenseman throughout his time in Hockey East. Aapeli Räsänen chose to forego his senior season, opting to go pro in his home country of Finland, which hurts the forward group even more. But they do bring in three draftees from their freshman class. Trevor Kuntar went 89th to the Bruins, and Eamon Powell and Colby Ambrosio both went in the fourth round, at 116 and 118 respectively.
Kuntar, a six-foot left-shot forward, logged 28 goals and 23 points for Youngstown in the USHL last year. He changed his commitment from Harvard after their hockey season was cancelled due to COVID-19, giving the Eagles a huge boost to their recruiting class and to their top lines. Ambrosio is a bit small — 5’9”, 165 lbs — but he managed 26 goals and 24 assists for Tri-City in the USHL.
Powell has valuable Team USA U-18 experience, making him a huge get for the Eagles’ blue line. They’ll look to him to help fill the hole Finkelstein leaves on defense and to bolster the corps playing in front of Knight.
Bottom Line: The Eagles have one of the top goaltenders in the country, young prolific scorers who are still developing, and another solid recruiting class. Newhook is a legitimate star and gives the Eagles a great top-line scoring threat. They’re the clear preseason favorite to win Hockey East, and they look ready to make a fierce run at a national title.
CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. — It was one of the worst
performances in recent memory.
hard-fought Thursday game between the Northeastern Huskies and the Boston
College Eagles ended in a 3–2 BC victory, tonight’s matchup saw the Eagles
demolish the Huskies 10–1, the worst margin of loss for Northeastern since a
nine-goal loss to Maine . . . on December 5, 1992.
grabbed some early momentum, beginning the contest with two early power plays. But
despite some nice movement and a few chances, the momentum faded and the
Huskies had nothing to show for the man advantages.
McPhee got the scoring going for Boston College after finishing off a centering
feed from teammate Marc McLaughlin. When Husky goalie Craig Pantano lost his stick
behind the net, his defense momentarily fell asleep, leaving McPhee wide open
in front of the net.
a clear strategy to begin the game, as almost every offensive possession
started with a centering feed from behind the Northeastern net. Despite the
offensive onslaught, the Huskies found themselves down by only one heading into
the first break.
then BC decided to stop messing around.
defensive luck ran out quickly in the second frame, as BC doubled their lead
just one minute into the period off a breakaway goal by Alex Newhook. The NU
defense seemingly lost the freshman first-round pick, who found himself one-on-one
with Pantano off of a great pass from teammate David Cotton.
defensive lapses continued for Northeastern as Marc McLaughlin made the score 3–0
after a poor clearance by Pantano, who found himself on the bench after letting
in a fourth goal, this one from long range by Logan Hutsko.
freshman goaltender Connor Murphy fared no better than Pantano. The Eagles didn’t
let up in the second period, as their first-round forward Matt Boldy got on the
scoresheet with a power play goal that looked eerily similar to Hutsko’s.
Huskies could do nothing to stop the bleeding, as forwards Mike Hardman and
Marc McLaughlin scored a goal each to give the Eagles six goals in the period
and a 7–0 lead.
finally got something going at the end of the period, as forward Matt Thomson
finished off a fantastic breakaway effort to score his first career goal and
foil BC’s shutout bid. The goal was a small consolation prize in the end, though.
College poured more salt in the Huskies’ wounds in the third period, as Boldy,
defensemen Ben Finkelstein, and forward Aapeli Räsänen each added a goal in the
final frame to put BC into double digits. Northeastern could only watch with
dropped jaws as the final seconds ticked down and BC celebrated their best
performance of the season.
Huskies showed a total lack of composure, with nearly every player failing to
make a positive impact. While Northeastern’s defensive miscues did them no
favors, Boston College’s dominant performance began on their own defensive end,
as the Eagles barely allowed Northeastern forwards to get anywhere near goalie Spencer
Knight. The physical BC defensemen were in full force, and the Huskies had
minimal offensive zone presence.
don’t know what to say. They were the better team tonight,” Northeastern head
coach Jim Madigan said. “They sensed blood in the water and those kids on BC
are sharks. They just kept coming as soon as they saw us struggling. I could
talk a lot about a lot of things, but bottom line is they beat us up.”
asked about where Northeastern goes from here, Madigan took a more positive tone,
noting, “Well, we’re gonna reset. We’re gonna reset and get back to work
tomorrow in preparation for the rest of the way.”
absolute drubbing by Boston College gives the Eagles a weekend sweep and puts
Northeastern in a precarious position. With several Hockey East games still to
be played this weekend, the Huskies find themselves in seventh place after Providence’s
helpful loss to Merrimack.
will end their season with two crucial series against Vermont and Boston
University. While most of the Hockey East seeds remain up in the air, the weekend
performance certainly does not help the Huskies’ outlook. Northeastern probably
needs to win all four remaining games to have a chance at a home first-round playoff
series. Anything less than eight points during their final two weekends will
likely see Northeastern traveling for the first round, while completely missing
the tournament remains a possibility.
BOSTON — Coming off a hard-fought
weekend sweep of UMass Lowell, No. 10 Northeastern hoped to carry their
momentum against another top Hockey East team Thursday night at Matthews Arena.
This time it was the No. 5/6 Boston College Eagles, holders of the top spot in
Despite encouraging play in
the first and third periods, a rough second frame doomed the Huskies as they
dropped the game — and crucial points in the Hockey East playoff race — by a
thought Boston College was a better team than us tonight,” said Northeastern head
coach Jim Madigan after the game. “They’re a very well-balanced team with a
great goaltender . . . If we’re gonna get wins against very good teams like
them, we’re gonna need a much better effort for a full 60 minutes.
Disappointing to have that inconsistent effort.”
Unlike some of their recent
games, the Huskies (17–9–3, 10–8–1 HEA) got off to a great start. They
established the forecheck early, which led directly to their first goal. Julian
Kislin held up the puck as the Eagles (20–8–1, 13–6–0 HEA) tried to clear the
zone, shuffling the puck to Riley Hughes. The freshman threw the puck into
empty space in the Boston College zone, allowing Matt Filipe to run onto it.
Filipe, fresh back from an injury that held him out for four games, picked up
the puck and wrapped around the opposing net, playing a shot in front that
appeared to bounce off a skate and into the net.
Despite Northeastern being
arguably the better team for most of the frame, the Eagles struck back late in
the period when Julius Mattila fired home a shot after a slick drop pass from
David Cotton to open him up. The goal allowed Boston College to enter the break
none worse for wear after a lackluster first period.
It also served as a
springboard for the Eagles, who thoroughly dominated the Huskies for much of
the second frame. After peppering Northeastern netminder Craig Pantano with
countless shots, one finally leaked through at the 10:45 mark of the period.
After making the initial save on Alex Newhook’s redirect from the slot, Pantano
couldn’t scramble back into position to stop Marshall Warren’s follow-up.
Mattila added his second of
the night on a two-on-one breakaway six minutes later to make it 3–1.
Northeastern turned the
intensity back up in the third period, competing at a much higher level. Just
under seven minutes in, their hard work paid off when Biagio Lerario got the tip
of his stick on a Jordan Harris shot from the slot. The tip did just enough to
throw off Eagles goaltender Spencer Knight, who slowed the puck down under his
pad but couldn’t fully stop it.
praised his team’s third-period turnaround, saying, “I thought our compete
level was better; I thought we had a good first period as well. We had our
backs against the wall and we had to respond, but we just didn’t respond
The Huskies continued their
push for an equalizer and generated some quality opportunities, but the final
product just wasn’t there as they failed to net a third tally and succumbed to
the Eagles. Madigan emphasized that despite midseason trophies like the Belpot and
Beanpot, the team has much bigger goals this year.
hoping it’s a wakeup call for our guys. We need to play better or else we won’t
get the result we need tomorrow night,” Madigan said. “We’re in a playoff hunt,
you know? We haven’t won anything yet. Our goals are measured by what we do at
the end of the season. I think they need to understand in our locker room that
we haven’t won anything yet. Some of these guys might have won something in the
past couple years, but this team hasn’t won anything yet.”
These two teams will face
off again on Friday night, this time in Chestnut Hill. Christian Skroce and
Matt Neiser will be on the call, with pregame coverage starting at 6:45 PM EST.
30 years, to three in a row, Northeastern is a Beanpot dynasty.”
That was our final call on air Monday night as the Northeastern Huskies raised the Beanpot trophy for the third time in as many years. It was a moment that Husky players, coaches, fans, and yes, even radio guys, will never forget, and it just might be the greatest moment in Northeastern hockey history.
is not the first team to win three Beanpots in a row; that honor goes to the
1963–65 Boston College squads. Nor is the Huskies’ streak the longest; for that
we look to Boston University’s six consecutive titles from 1995 to 2000. Northeastern’s
three-peat is the ninth in Beanpot history and the first by a team not named BC
or BU. But make no mistake, this hat trick is as historic as they come, and its
countless moments remind us why we love sports and why we love calling games
for this team.
broke its 30-year Beanpot drought in 2018, pulling out victories against
perennial powerhouses BC and BU. The Huskies were led by the best top line in
the country, and possibly team history — Nolan Stevens, Dylan Sikura, and
eventual Hobey Baker winner Adam Gaudette. The trio showed up in the biggest
game of their lives, and a hat trick from Gaudette propelled the Huskies to a 5–2
win over their cross-town rivals and sent TD Garden into a frenzy.
whole night was unforgettable, but perhaps the most popular image was of a fan
in the crowd holding a sign — it turned out to be an XXXXL t-shirt — that simply
read, “I can graduate in peace.” Flashes of Gaudette parading the Beanpot
trophy around TD Garden danced through the minds of Husky fans for weeks to
come after that first Beanpot win. None of them could fathom the run that was
year later, Northeastern flexed its muscles and asserted itself as one of the
premier programs in college hockey. It began in the semifinal against BU, when,
less than a minute into overtime, Tyler Madden arrived in dramatic fashion.
In the post-game press conference, I grabbed a mic and sheepishly asked the freshman forward, “How were you able to stay so calm with everything on the line?” At the podium, Madden simply nodded, leaned forward, and announced, “Well, there were bright lights out there tonight, and I shine in those.” Thus was born the legend of Mr. Bright Lights.
week later, Northeastern retained their trophy with a win over BC. Despite leaping
out to a 3–0 lead, Northeastern, ever content to give its fans a show, let
Boston College storm back in the third period to make the score 3–2 late in
regulation. But the Huskies had been here before. Struggling to maintain their
narrow lead, the Huskies found another gear, and with a late push and an even
later goal, hung on to become back-to-back Beanpot champions.
goalie and future NHL player Cayden Primeau shone during the 2019 tournament, allowing
just three goals in two games between the pipes and winning the Eberly Award
and Tournament MVP. The team went on to secure the Hockey East title and break
the Northeastern single-season win record.
the Huskies weren’t done, as just a year later, they found themselves in the
Beanpot Championship again after a 3–1 semifinal victory over Harvard. The
final promised to be a heated affair, as Northeastern faced a BU team fresh off
a thrilling 5–4 overtime upset victory over BC in the semifinal.
It was a nightmare start for the Huskies, as BU forwards Jake Wise and Trevor Zegras each scored in the first eight minutes to stun the Huskies right out of the gate. The score held for the next 12 minutes, and the Huskies headed to the locker room searching for answers.
came out buzzing in the second period, as sophomore forward Tyler Madden
brought NU within one with a perfectly placed wrister from the slot. Talented freshman
Aidan McDonough evened the game just three minutes later, but the Huskies
weren’t done there.
eight minutes gone, consecutive BU penalties gave Northeastern a five-on-three.
After a remarkable passing display, junior forward Zach Solow scored to give
Northeastern a 3–2 lead, all on the first power play, meaning NU would kept a
man advantage after the goal.
they took full advantage. One minute after Solow’s goal, senior forward Grant
Jozefek notched Northeastern’s fourth straight goal after an incredible
individual effort. 4–2 Northeastern.
taking full control of the game, Northeastern didn’t let up in the second
period and brought a whole new meaning to “close but no cigar.” One of the
craziest plays of the game came just minutes after the Huskies’ fourth goal, as
Zach Solow found himself with the puck and an open net just in front of him.
While facing away from the net, Solow attempted a backhanded shot that
ricocheted off the near post, somehow crossed the goal-line to hit the second
post, and ricocheted out of the crease. Husky fans’ mouths dropped as the TD
Garden replay showed the puck soaring perfectly over the goal-line while
remaining nanometers away from counting as a goal.
second near-miss came a few minutes later, as Northeastern again found
themselves on a breakaway. A close-range shot from Madden was popped into the
air, deflected twice, and seemed destined to float over BU goalie Sam Tucker
for Northeastern’s fifth score of the period. But freshman forward Robert
Mastrosimone came to the Terriers’ rescue and batted the midair puck out of the
the hectic second period ended, and both teams headed to their locker rooms to
prepare for a third period that no one could have anticipated.
two minutes into the third, BU began its comeback with David Farrance’s
brilliantly placed shot from the left dot. With the lead shrunk to one, both teams
desperately tried to grab the palpable momentum that pervaded the game, and in
one of the most insane regulation finishes in Beanpot history, the hockey gods
had one more trick up their sleeves.
just a minute remaining in the third period, BU pulled its goalie to give them
a man advantage. The Terriers used it well, peppering Northeastern netminder Craig
Pantano with shot after shot. Despite the rapid opportunities, the NU defense
remained strong, turning away chance after chance. That is, until Trevor Zegras
just 1.2 seconds remaining, Zegras found the puck just to the right of Pantano
and threw everything he had into a backhanded shot that wound up in the back of
the net. With bated breath, Husky fans quickly turned their gaze from BU
celebrating to the clock overhead that showed a few tenths left, and although many
didn’t want to admit it, everyone in the stadium knew that the Beanpot final
would be headed to overtime.
the game, Northeastern players were asked about their thoughts when BU tied the
game. Head coach Jim Madigan interjected, “Well, the coaches were saying WTF .
teams returned to the ice for an initial five-minute overtime period. The
Terriers kept the momentum from Zegras’ goal, earning chance after chance, but
Northeastern’s defense stayed strong enough to keep the game even and give both
teams a much-needed break before the 20-minute second overtime.
looked around the locker room and saw no panicked faces,” senior defenseman and
team captain Ryan Shea said. “Everyone was just focused on their game and was
ready to go.”
overtime was a defensive struggle, with both teams trading chances. That is,
until Shea pulled off a remarkable hustle play to draw a holding penalty with
just about six minutes remaining in the overtime frame to give the Huskies a two-minute
power play. And that was all they needed.
With 5:27 to go and under 30 seconds remaining on the power play, sophomore defenseman Jordan Harris collected the puck near the blue line in the offensive zone. With his eyes fixed on the goal and the trophy, Harris coolly skated into the slot and let a shot fly. With Zach Solow planted in front of BU goalie Sam Tucker, the puck soared through the air, through the crowd, and into the back of the net.
Harris and his teammates flung their gloves and sticks into the air and sprinted down to the other end to mob Pantano. TD Garden erupted, and I mean erupted. Twelve full sections of Northeastern students and countless more in the arena screamed and cheered as the improbability of the Huskies’ accomplishment sank in.
said that if we get the puck near the blue line to push it to the middle and
get a shot on net,” Harris said. “Hopefully a lane opens up, which it did, and
I took my opportunity, and luckily it paid off.”
The Eberly Award for best goaltender of the tournament went to Pantano, who recorded 40 saves in the championship game. Pantano grew up watching the Beanpot as a local Massachusetts kid, and continued to watch during his time just north of us at Merrimack College. This was his only opportunity to make his own mark on this historic tournament, and when it mattered most, he didn’t blink.
Solow was crowned MVP for his two-goal performance. Though his stats speak for
themselves, it’s Solow’s on-ice tenacity and off-ice leadership that have
impressed Husky fans and coaches.
perhaps his greatest trait is this: he doesn’t know what it means to lose a
Beanpot game. None of Northeastern’s juniors do either. After three decades of
heartbreaking losses, gutsy performances to no avail, and seeing another team lift
that pot of beans, Northeastern has achieved all-time greatness in Boston’s
most personal and meaningful sports tournament.
heart-attack Huskies had the added benefit of pulling out their improbable win
in front of 17,850 fans, the largest crowd in Beanpot history. BU fans made
their mark, but it was the Northeastern faithful who truly took over TD Garden
(as they have for years) and made it Northeastern’s home away from home. In the
past three seasons, Northeastern is 8–1 there. The bright lights were out on
Monday night, and the Huskies shine in those.
was a great Beanpot game; I’ve seen a lot of them over the years,” Madigan
said. “Congratulations to our players . . . they’ve set the bar incredibly high
for this program and they’ve represented the school well.”
“The winning culture that we’ve built — along with the guys before us — has been everything,” Shea noted. “I came to Northeastern to win a Beanpot, and now we’ve got three of them.”
was a distinct theme throughout the postgame press conference: “Never forgot their
roots.” Northeastern has 14 Massachusetts natives on its roster, all of whom
grew up watching the Beanpot and dreamt of winning it someday. Milton,
Massachusetts resident Jim Madigan praised two Huskies who also grew up there —
Ryan Shea and Aidan McDonough, who had an impressive four-point performance in
the Championship game.
“I had [McDonough] at my house during the Stanley Cup when he was nine,” said Madigan. “I’ve known him a long time and he’s grown into a great young man, and an even better hockey player . . . we’re a Mass team now.
young men have separated themselves from every other team in the 90-year
history of this program,” Madigan said. When asked about a potential four-peat,
Madigan smiled, shook his head, and said, “I think we’re just going to enjoy
a personal note, thank you to everyone involved with Northeastern hockey. This
has been a truly incredible ride that thousands of people — alumni old and new,
current freshmen, family — have loved being a part of.
And to my WRBB Sports family, thank you for everything. There are so many people who deserve to be a part of this run, and I like to believe that everyone at WRBB, past and present, was a crucial part of this broadcast. Like Jim Madigan said, I think I’m just going to enjoy this for a little while.
4 Northeastern faced its biggest opponent yet Tuesday night when they visited
No. 6 Boston College. Northeastern was coming off of a win against New
Hampshire, BC off a win over Boston University. The two rivals battled, but
Northeastern came on top 3-0.
The first period started slow, but with
13:12 left in the first period, NU’s Matti Hartman gained control of the puck
and dished to Chloe Aurard, who sent it to Alina Mueller. Mueller raced down
the ice and shot into the left side of the goal to put the Huskies on the board.
A few minutes later, another Mueller
attempt missed wide. BC’s Erin Connolly charged after Mueller, lost her balance,
and slid ribs-first into the goalpost; she was fine after a few moments on the
Northeastern goalie Aerin Frankel held strong
the whole game, saving 31 shots. With 4:30 remaining in the first, the lost her
glove and stick and still held the Eagles at bay. Shortly after, she stretched
out onto the ice to deflect a shot from BC’s Kelly Browne.
The second period was a puck-control
battle devoid of power plays. BC edged Northeastern with a 14–10 shots-on-goal
margin, but they couldn’t beat Frankel. When Lindsay Agnew sent an airborne
shot toward the goal, Frankel caught it. Hadley Hartmetz and Savannah Norcross
tried to fire one by her; Frankel stopped them both with glove saves. The only
time BC came close to scoring was a Hannah Bilka shot off the pipe.
After ten minutes of back and forth in
the third, Northeastern regained their momentum. Aurard slid the puck across
the goal to Skylar Fontaine, who cleaned it up.
After Fontaine just missed a second goal
a minute later, BC’s Cayla Barnes and NU’s Jess Schryver collided near the wall.
Barnes remained on the ice and ended up exiting the game.
With five minutes left, Aurard joined the
scoring when Mueller passed to her on the power play.
After the game, Northeastern coach Dave Flint remarked that BC was Northeastern’s biggest test so far this season. Chloe Aurard agreed, saying it felt good to beat one of their biggest rivals.
The win moved the Huskies to 11–1 (8–1 HEAW) and dropped the Eagles to 10–2–1 (9–2–1 HEAW). Northeastern looks to keep their six-game winning streak going on Saturday against the Maine Black Bears.