IT’S A THREE-PEAT!

By Christian Skroce

BOSTON — The heart-attack Huskies just couldn’t help themselves.

In a Beanpot final for the ages, one that lasted late into Monday night, it took two overtime periods to crown a 2020 champion, and the game of the decade did not disappoint.

Boston University — which qualified for the game after another double-overtime thriller against Boston College in the semifinal — grabbed the lead off a Jake Wise backhander just three minutes into the contest. After a Craig Pantano spill in front of the Northeastern net, Wise was perfectly positioned to finish off the first goal of the game.

BU followed up with a second goal just five minutes later, as Trevor Zegras put a simple wrister past Pantano on the power play.

And then Northeastern kicked it into high gear.

The first period intermission was kind to the Huskies, as they bounced back with a four-goal second period to seize control of the game. Tyler Madden and Aidan McDonough got the scoring going, tying it up after great individual efforts just six minutes into the period. The scoring continued for Northeastern as Zach Solow put the puck in the back of the net on a five-on-three.

After taking the 3–2 lead, Northeastern continued to pressure BU, with Grant Jozefek burying one from distance on the power play to cap the Husky blitz.

After foiling a Northeastern power play to begin the third period, the Terriers began their climb by converting on a power play of their own with a great mid-range shot from defenseman David Farrance.

The squads battled throughout the third, with Northeastern barely clinging to their 4–3 lead. With just seconds remaining in regulation, BU mustered all their might toward a final offensive onslaught, and with just 1.2 seconds remaining, freshman forward Trevor Zegras scored the biggest goal of his career — a backhander past Pantano to send the Beanpot final into overtime.

The teams played to an even first five minutes of overtime, with Northeastern escaping to the locker room after BU forced them onto their heels. Because a normal, non-Beanpot game would have ended after one overtime, Monday’s contest goes down in the books as a 4–4 tie. Officially, the game was decided. But for the players on the ice and the fans in the stands, there was still a score to settle.

Northeastern entered the second overtime with as much energy as they could muster. After trading blows, the Huskies finally gained a momentum advantage when a BU tripping penalty gave the Huskies a power play they couldn’t afford to waste.

With 5:30 left to go, Jordan Harris collected the puck near the blue line. With eyes on goal, Harris wound up and fired his shot toward the BU net. With Zach Solow planted in front of BU goaltender Sam Tucker, the puck sailed through the air and miraculously found the back of the net. In a split second, the crowd of 17,850 — the largest showing in the 68-year history of the Beanpot — erupted into a deafening roar. After going 30 years without a Beanpot trophy, the Huskies had their first-ever three-peat.

An ecstatic Jim Madigan praised his team after the game saying, “They pushed, we pushed, they pushed back. It was a great Beanpot game. Congratulations to our players on three in a row. These young men have separated themselves from every other team in the 90-year history of this program.”

Solow was crowned the tournament’s Most Valuable Player after scoring a goal apiece against Harvard and BU. Craig Pantano went home with the Eberly Award, given to the player with the highest save percentage across both games. Pantano saved 40 shots in the championship game.

This season has presented its fair share of challenges for the Huskies, and they haven’t always shone under the spotlight. But under the biggest college hockey spotlight in a sports-crazed city, as the cheers of the Doghouse rained down on the ice at TD Garden, there was no mistaking the sight — the Huskies were champions again.

The Northeastern women’s hockey team will face BU in their Beanpot final Tuesday night. Dale Desantis and Alex Bensley will be on the call; follows @wrbbsports on Twitter for updates on start time. WRBB will also upload a more in-depth story on the three-peat later in the week.

Women’s Hockey Tops No. 8 BU

By Catherine Morrison

BOSTON — Northeastern’s Tuesday game against rival Boston University was a nail-biter from start to finish. BU started out strong with a first-period goal from Deziray De Sousa.

Northeastern is rarely behind at all, much less in the opening frame, and leads the nation with 42 first-period goals this season. However, the Huskies seemed off their game in the first, perhaps due to Chloe Aurard — the conference’s second-leading scorer with 17 goals — hitting the goalpost and hurting her wrist. (Aurard continued to play.)

In the second period the Huskies returned to form. Four minutes in, Northeastern goalie Aerin Frankel was called for tripping after she stuck her stick out. Gill Foote served the penalty, and a power play began for BU. However, luck wasn’t on the Terriers’ side as Alina Mueller broke away after getting the puck from Mia Brown and tied the game with a shorthanded goal.

Five minutes later, Veronika Pettey was called for hooking, giving BU a chance to pull ahead. Northeastern’s penalty kill was ready, and quickly took control of the puck. Mueller looked like she was going to score her second goal of the night, but was blocked by goaltender Corinne Schroeder. Matti Hartman took the rebound and looked like she might get the puck in, but it was blocked yet again. In an astounding move, defenseman Skylar Fontaine got the rebound and fired it in to give Northeastern the lead.

During the third period the Huskies were aggressive, blocking shots and checking players. Multiple BU players fell to the ice as the two teams battled for the puck, with each team getting just nine shots. With a few minutes remaining, Northeastern’s Katy Knoll earned a five-minute major penalty and, upon review, a ten-minute game misconduct after her body check from behind sent a BU player into the wall. Both players, albeit for different reasons, left the rink. Northeastern spent the rest of the game on the penalty kill and responded beautifully, ending the game at 2–1.

Northeastern’s penalty kill unit is one of the strongest in the nation. Their aggressive strategy of pursuing and controlling the puck quickly has earned them more shorthanded goals (six) than power-play goals (five) this season.

“It’s nice we can destroy their power play,” Mueller said.

Fontaine added, “Once we got that first one, with the PK, we got the momentum going and kept going and we ended up getting a second.”

Northeastern will look to extend their seven-game winning on Friday at home against the University of Connecticut.

Women’s Hockey Shuts out Boston College for Second Straight Game

By Matt Neiser

BOSTON — Boston College and Northeastern. Cross-town rivals. The top two teams in Women’s Hockey East. Any time these two squads face off, it’s must-watch action.

That said, there’s been a sizeable gap between the teams this season. Entering Sunday afternoon’s duel at Matthews Arena, the No. 3 Huskies had outscored the Eagles a combined 9–0 over two shutout wins on Boston College’s home turf. Northeastern already carried a five-point lead in the standings over BC — with two games in hand at that.

The Huskies’ dominance of the rivalry series continued into round three. The Eagles had no answer for the home team, falling 3–0 to Northeastern as the Huskies capped off a statement regular season sweep of Boston College.

“The goals didn’t come as easily as Friday,” head coach Dave Flint said. “It was a tough game. I like how we ground it out and battled for three periods.”

It took less than two minutes for Northeastern (17–3–1, 14–2–0 WHEA) to jump out in front. Matti Hartman took the puck into the slot on a counterattack and fired a wrister over the shoulder of Boston College (11–9–2, 10–7–1 WHEA) goaltender Kelly Pickreign for her fifth goal and 10th point of the season.

The Eagles had plenty of chances to respond in the first. The Huskies were called for three penalties, but stifled Boston College’s ensuing power plays. Shifting bodies in shooting lanes and constantly clearing pucks, they held the Eagles to three shots on net on those opportunities.

Northeastern killed off a fourth consecutive penalty halfway through the second frame before the whistles started blowing the other way. Boston College was called for four penalties over the final 11 minutes of the period, but Northeastern failed to convert. A defensive lapse even allowed the Eagles a clean shorthanded breakaway, but goaltender Aerin Frankel stonewalled Delaney Belinskas on the shot to bail out the Huskies.

The final penalty of the second period bled 17 seconds over to the third. Northeastern needed just 10 of those seconds to double their lead. Alina Mueller skated to the left side of the zone after winning the faceoff at center ice and received a pass from Skylar Fontaine. The Swiss sensation then did what she does best, threading the needle through three Boston College defensemen to find an open Katy Knoll on the weak side. The freshman tucked home her sixth goal of the season, extending the Huskies’ lead to 2–0.

After Boston College was called for yet another penalty three minutes later, Northeastern went on the power play again. Just like the one before it, this one ended with a puck in the back of the Eagles’ net. This time the culprit was Fontaine, who slotted home her ninth tally of the season off a feed from Chloe Aurard to put the game out of reach at 3–0. The Huskies held course the rest of the way, killing off one last penalty for good measure as time ran out.

The story of the game was the Northeastern penalty kill, which was a perfect five-for-five. The Huskies have allowed just five goals all season on the penalty kill in 64 opponent opportunities (7.8 percent).

Fontaine, a key part of the four-on-five, lit up when asked about the PK unit’s performance: “It makes us really proud. We put a lot of work in in practice for PKs, so it’s great to see it turn out on the ice.”

“Our PK forecheck is really good; they execute it to a tee every time,” said Flint. “We apply pressure when we need to apply pressure, and it’s tough for teams to get anything going against us. We’ve got kids out there willing to block shots, and your best penalty killer needs to be your goalie — and [Frankel’s] a pretty good penalty killer.”

Frankel added, “I can confidently say the entire year our penalty kill has been really strong, so that’s really nice to see and it’s helpful to our game.”

Frankel’s play against the Eagles this season has been historically dominant. No team has ever shut out BC three times in one season, and Frankel has blanked the Eagles more times this season than every other NCAA goalie in the last five years combined. She followed up her 26-save performance on Friday with 25 saves on Sunday, and recorded her sixth shutout of the season.

“I think it’s really big for the program in general,” Frankel said of the team’s dominance over BC. “Over the past decade it’s always been a really intense rivalry, but I think over the past couple years we’ve had the upper hand on them . . . I think it says a lot about how far this program’s come and I’m really proud of this team.”

Northeastern resumes play on Friday when Hockey East foe UConn visits Matthews Arena for a 6 PM matchup.

Men’s Hockey Succumbs to BU after Frantic Second Period

By Matt Neiser

Photo by Sarah Olender

BOSTON — Fresh off a victory in the Belfast-based Friendship Four and riding a five-game winning streak, the No. 8/12 Northeastern men’s ice hockey team headed across town to rival Boston University for the teams’ first meeting this season.

Despite entering Saturday’s game with a losing record, the Terriers are chock full of talent. They showed that in this game, scoring four goals in the second period and six overall as they took down the Huskies, 6–3.

Northeastern (10–5–2, 6–4–1 HEA) got off to an encouraging start, generating 17 first-period shots on net to BU’s seven. But the Terriers (6–6–5, 4–3–4 HEA) emerged with the advantage after senior Patrick Harper capitalized on a defensive lapse by the Huskies to score the lone goal of the first 20 minutes.

Photo by Sarah Olender

After a relatively tame opening frame, all hell broke loose in the second. Goals from junior Zach Solow and senior John Picking — 12 seconds apart and both within the first minute of play — put the Huskies on top, but BU sophomore Jack DeBoer fired right back 40 seconds later, evening the game at two goals apiece.

Northeastern retook the lead on an Aidan McDonough goal 90 seconds after that, but the Terriers rattled off three unanswered goals from Harper, Robert Mastrosimone, and Domenick Fensore to take control heading into the final frame.

Photo by Sarah Olender

Despite holding possession for much of the third period and benefitting from four power plays, the Huskies couldn’t match the ridiculous production of the previous period. The Terriers held them scoreless and tacked on a shorthanded empty-net insurance goal to extend their lead to 6–3, securing victory over their Hockey East rivals.

Solow added an assist to his goal and finished as Northeastern’s only multi-point scorer. Jayden Struble, T.J. Walsh, Ryan Shea, and Matt Filipe all added assists. Goaltender Craig Pantano made 21 saves but allowed five goals.

Terrier goaltender Sam Tucker was fantastic in net, totaling 37 saves, including many tough stops, in the victory.

Photo by Sarah Olender

Northeastern head coach Jim Madigan didn’t mince words after the game, stating, “I don’t know how much there is to say. We played shitty hockey, and really bad defensively, and they took advantage of opportunities.” He repeated that choice two-word phrase multiple times throughout the post-game press conference.

“We were just turning pucks over. We knew what we needed to do, it wasn’t like they were hemming us in their own zone, we were just really sloppy with the puck,” Madigan added. The Husky head coach was spot-on with his analysis, as always. This was not a good game for the Northeastern skaters, whose sloppy play led to many of the Terriers’ opportunities and goals.

Photo by Sarah Olender

The loss halts the Huskies’ win streak at five, their longest of the season. They are tied with Massachusetts and UMass Lowell for second place in Hockey East; BU sits in fifth place, though they are just one point behind the Huskies.

The Huskies have a week to recoup, with their final matchup of 2019 coming on Saturday against Dartmouth College. Milton Posner and Alex Bensley will be on the call, with coverage starting at 3:45 PM EST.

Women’s Hockey Sweeps BU

Image Credit: nuhuskies.com

By Catherine Morrison

Coming off a 2–1 victory the night before, Northeastern’s women’s hockey looked to complete the sweep against rivals Boston University on Sunday afternoon. 

BU controlled the puck in the first period, with nine shots on goal to Northeastern’s four. But goalie Aerin Frankel saved all nine, including a particularly impressive block on a wrister from BU’s Courtney Correia. After Frankel’s save, freshman forward Katy Knoll, lying face-down on the ice, cleared the puck away from the goal.

With 4:36 left in the first, Husky forward Tessa Ward notched a deflection goal assisted by Megan Carter and Skylar Fontaine. The goal was Ward’s first of the season; the assist was Carter’s first collegiate point.

With just under four minutes left in the first period, Northeastern’s Brooke Hobson was whistled for interference when she knocked a BU player down. The Huskies handled the power play without a problem, and Frankel ended a shutout first period with the puck in her hand.

Northeastern came in hot in the second period. Five-and-a-half minutes in, after BU left her unattended in the slot, junior forward Veronika Pettey fielded a pass from Matti Hartman and punched home a one-timer for her third goal of the season.

Despite two second-period BU penalties (Emma Wuthrich’s roughing and Natasza Tarnowski’s high sticking), Northeastern couldn’t capitalize. The second period ended with a 9–6 Northeastern shot advantage and a 2–0 Northeastern lead.

The third period started with a power play in effect, but again, Northeastern couldn’t make anything happen against the shorthanded Terriers. With about eight minutes remaining, Knoll missed a shot, hit the ground, looked wobbly when she got up, and left her stick on the ice when she was subbed out.

A BU interference penalty handed the Huskies another power play, and again they couldn’t capitalize, taking just one shot. A Knoll attempt just after the end of the power play was redirected into the wall behind the net by BU goalie Corinne Schroeder. BU pulled Schroeder with two minutes to go but couldn’t sneak one by Frankel, who finished with twenty saves. 

Despite Northeastern shutting out BU, the game was a tight race for control of the puck. Northeastern had only 22 shots on goal, well below their average of 38. Mueller, recently named Hockey East Player of the Month, didn’t do much, registering only three shots.

The weekend sweep moved Northeastern to 7–1–0 (4–1–0 HEAW) and dropped BU to 5–2–1 (2–2–1 HEAW). The Huskies’ next game is against the winless Holy Cross crusaders on Friday at 1 PM at Matthews Arena.

Hockey East Preview: Boston University Terriers

Last Season: 16–18–4 (12–9–3 HE, fifth place); lost in HE semifinals

Head Coach: Albie O’Connell (second season)

Coaches’ Poll Projected Finish: Fifth

Losses

  • G Jake Oettinger
  • G Max Prawdzik
  • D Dante Fabro
  • D Shane Switzer
  • D Chad Krys
  • F Joel Farabee
  • F Ryan Cloonan
  • F Mark Cheremeta
  • F Bobo Carpenter
  • F Shane Bowers
  • F Max Willman

Additions

  • G Sam Tucker
  • D Case McCarthy
  • D Alex Vlasic
  • D Domenick Fensore
  • D Sean Driscoll
  • F/D John Copeland
  • F Jamie Armstrong
  • F Trevor Zegras
  • F Markus Boguslavsky
  • F Robert Mastrosimone
  • F Sam Stevens
  • F Ethan Phillips
  • F Alex Brink

By Adam Doucette

The Boston University Terriers’ 2018–19 season was the first with coach Albie O’Connell at the helm. Other than the coaching change, it was not the most memorable season for the Terriers. They didn’t notch a Beanpot win, they didn’t make it to the Hockey East finals, and they didn’t make the NCAA tournament. Their overall record was below .500 for the first time since 2013–14.

While a team cannot be expected to be elite right away under a new coach, BU has gotten used to contending. However, the team with the most Beanpot titles under its belt won’t have an easy time climbing back to the top of college hockey.

The Terriers are losing four of their five top point scorers from a year ago, including goal leader Joel Farabee (17) and assist leader Dante Fabbro (26). They are also losing the services of Jake Oettinger, their star goaltender who made 47 saves in last year’s Beanpot final against Northeastern.

The Terriers picked up two graduate transfers for this season. One is Alex Brink, a 6’0” forward from Brown University; the other is Sam Tucker, a 6’3” goaltender from Yale University. The team will also hold onto Patrick Curry, the lone remaining top-five point scorer from last year. The senior forward will serve as team captain for the 2019–20 campaign while senior Patrick Harper and juniors Logan Cockerill and Cam Crotty have been named assistant captains.

Bottom Line: It won’t be easy for the Terriers to build on last season after losing so many top players. Second-year coach Albie O’Connell will have to learn on the fly and figure out how to best use the new players. Expectations may not be as high as they were in past years, but the program is confident that O’Connell can lead them back to the top.