The Tradition Continues
by Mike McMahon/Staff Writer
Boston University will play for a 28th Beanpot title next Monday. Are you surprised?
The Terriers are going to the final for the 13th consecutive year; they have been to 40 of the last 44 finals, and head coach Jack Parker has appeared in 30 of 34 finals in which he has coached.
The last time that the Terriers didn't appear in the finals — 1994.
"It's like flipping a coin," that's how BU head coach Jack Parker described his team's Beanpot success. "It's supposed to be 50/50, but sometimes it can come up tails 40 times in a row.
"What makes our success here so great is that we are playing great teams. Look at tonight, either team could have won this game tonight; we were evenly matched. Northeastern came into this one with a lot of momentum."
The Terriers balance was what ultimately propelled them past Northeastern, 4-0, in front what started as a silent crowd, but quickly turned into a loud one at the TD Banknorth Garden.
BU senior goaltender John Curry was the story in the first period. Northeastern surprisingly controlled the play right from the opening faceoff, playing physical with a BU team that didn't look like it wanted to battle.
Curry stopped all 11 shots he saw in the frame making his biggest saves as the period came to a close to kill off a Huskies power play.
"He got the shutout so he obviously played well," Parker said. "He's been getting better every year that he has been here. He was better last year than he was his sophomore year, and he has been better this year than he was last year. As a coach, that's a great thing to see."
Curry is 4-0 now in Beanpot games.
After a dormant first period, BU's offense was quick to strike in bunches come the second.
First, Chris Higgins connected with Pete MacArthur on a backdoor pass that MacArthur one-timed past Brad Thiessen.
Under a minute later, Sean Sullivan sent a pass that sprung Kenny Roche on a breakaway — after losing the puck forced him to pull a "spin-a-rama," he slipped the puck through Thiessen's five-hole.
The Terriers outshot the Huskies 14-9 in the frame.
"It's always good for the seniors to get to play for a Beanpot title in their last year and for the freshmen to play for their first," Parker said.
Northeastern head coach Greg Cronin tells a different story.
"I really felt that this game was men against boys," he said. "I thought we had a pretty good jump in the first 10 minutes, but when you play BU, it becomes a trench battle for the play along the wall. That usually dictates scoring chances and momentum."
Northeastern forward Mike Morris was supposed to be the driver for the Northeastern offense, but instead the BU defense held strong.
"Tonight we were outworked," Morris said. "We had a real tough time just getting our offense going.
"BU is a good team, they are always a good team and they have a lot of success in this tournament. It's just another game. They played well and we didn't."
So Curry and the offense already played their roles in the win ... now enter the penalty kill.
Northeastern was the recipient of a 1:42 five-on-three advantage after Luke Popko and Bryan Ewing both got the gate just 18 seconds apart.
The Terrier trio of John McCarthy, Kevin Schaeffer, and Sean Sullivan helped shutdown the Huskies best chance to climb back into the game; and of course they were aided by Curry between the pipes.
"That was a turning point in the game," Parker said. "Our penalty did a great job on that kill."
"It was huge to be up 2-0, but if they score there then it's a totally different game," he said. "If Northeastern was able to score there it would have been a huge momentum shift in their favor but our guys battled. Our penalty kill has been a savior for us all season."
Brad Thiessen then finished off his own team. The freshman held played the puck in the right faceoff circle, but when pressured by Terrier Dan McGoff, Thiessen attempted to play the puck back to a teammate – he instead threw the puck into his own unmanned gaping net.
However you can't blame Thiessen for the Huskies loss. He did stop 33 of 37 shots and don't forget, Thiessen would have had to shut out the Terriers just to manage a tie because after the first period, the Huskies offense was non-existent.
"We stuck to our game all night," Sullivan said. "They jumped on us early but once we settled down and got our legs, we took it to them."