BOSTON – Boston College trumped Northeastern tonight 7-1 in the first round of the 60th Beanpot Tournament. Two shorthanded goals by junior Steve Whitney helped lead the Eagles to the victory. For Northeastern, it was another disappointing loss for a team that hasn’t seen a Beanpot championship in 23 years.
What I saw
BC looked ever the confident, calm, cool and collected team that they are when they took the ice in the first and quickly propped themselves up 2-0. On the other hand, Northeastern looked shaky from the start. Maybe it was the nerves of playing for something their predecessors haven’t been able to win for 23 years, maybe it was the lack of top scorers Steve Quailer and Cody Ferriero, whatever the reason the Huskies didn’t play their best tonight.
But a few of BC’s veteran players did, and that’s what not only gave them a win, but also gave them a blowout. Senior Barry Almeida scored a power play goal and one assist and junior Steven Whitney going for two shorthanded goals. Even young players had on nights; with freshman Johnny Gaudreau scoring two goals and tallying one assist in his first Beanpot.
What I thought
This was a sheer outmatching of talent. Especially without top scorers Quailer and Ferriero, Northeastern was simply outplayed by the incredibly skilled Eagles. The Huskies managed Friday night against a basically evenly skilled UMass team, but it was clear they struggled tonight without two of their first line skaters.
Northeastern needs to shoot the puck. Shots on goal were 46-23 in BC’s favor, and the fact that BC took twice the shots they did says it all. It’s been a problem for this team all season, especially when it comes to success and the power play. They’re going to have to change that up if they want to stay in playoff position or see any success in the postseason.
Despite the massive win, BC is going to have to work a little harder to beat the number one team in the country next week. They played incredibly well tonight, but BU will be the real test.
What they said
“We, as a team, haven’t been playing as well as we are capable of. We were just looking forward to getting that win, we were on track we swept UNH last weekend and we just wanted to keep things rolling. Coming out here and beating Northeastern seven to one, I think that as a team we’re playing really well and it should carry over into next weekend.”
— Johnny Gaudreau
“They outplayed us, they outcoached us, they wanted it more than us. They were much more hungry, they were strong on the pucks, right from the get go they took it to us.
“We get schooled today, bad…It was like boys against men tonight.”
— Jim Madigan
What they didn’t say
Jim Madigan is always positive in regards to the “rock” of his team, goaltender Chris Rawlings. He explained his decision to start Clay Witt in the third by saying that the team wasn’t playing well in front of Rawlings, and at 5-1 there was no need to keep him in when he’s needed in a conference game Friday. Regardless of how his team was playing in front of him, Rawlings let in goals tonight that he shouldn’t have, and that had nothing to do with anyone but himself.
When asked if playing BU in the final Beanpot game was a more exciting experience than playing Northeastern or Harvard, Steven Whitney began his answer with a long pause and one word, “um”. He went on to say it was “a little bit” more exciting, but the long pause said it all. The two teams have played in 21 Beanpot championships, and it’s clear that the real Beanpot rivalry is between these two.
What else you should know
BC and BU will face off next Monday in the Beanpot final. It will be the twenty-second time the two teams have met in the championship in the history of the tournament.
BC’s seven goals are good for the most scored in the first round since 1997, and they matched their seven goals from last year’s 7-6 overtime win against the Huskies.
The BC senior class is now 6-1 in Beanpot appearances, trying for their third championship in a row.
This is Northeastern’s fifth straight loss to Eagles. They haven’t seen in a win against BC in almost a year, the last time being Feb. 19, 2011. In addition, Jim Madigan becomes the eighth first year coach to lose in his first Beanpot appearance.
While the Beanpot loss has to sting, Northeastern must regroup quickly with a road game at UNH looming at the end of the week. At eighth place, the Huskies need two points to keep themselves in playoff position and fend off ninth place UMass, a team that’s just a win behind them. A win Friday would bump Northeastern up above, UNH, currently tied for sixth and one point ahead.