The Huskies will start out this year’s Beanpot against last year’s champion, BU.
Northeastern lost the two previous games against BU earlier in the year, a wild game at Agganis and the homecoming game at Historic Matthews Arena. They come into the Beanpot with a 5-1-1 record in January, kicked off with a win over Harvard. Their only non-win results came against BC. The Terrier’s are Hockey East’s best possession team with a 55.4 close CF%. Like last year’s team, they are incredible in the third period. BU has scored just one fewer goal in the third period than in the first and in second combined. Northeastern fans are all too aware of how well they finish out games.
But, the Huskies are looking pretty good themselves. As you may have heard, Northeastern is on the longest unbeaten streak in the country. The team hasn’t lost in almost two months. They’ve been great offensively, and while BU’s Sean Maguire has been better in net recently, he hasn’t had a great season. The Huskies have also won four of their last five first round games. It hasn’t really been this round of the tournament that’s been an issue.
Northeastern will also be featuring Kevin Roy, who tends to be pretty good in Beanpots. Three years ago he won MVP as a freshman. Through his first three years, he’s already Northeastern’s leader in career Beanpot points. If Roy scores one more point, he’ll enter the top 25 Beanpot scorers of all time. Hopefully he’ll have himself another big tournament.
Edit: as pointed out by Mike Downie, that’s actually not true. My bad.
Look, BU is a good team that’s playing well recently. But, so is Northeastern. I ain’t scared. See you Monday.
11/6/15: Northeastern 4, BU 5
11/7/15: Northeastern 1, BU 4
I’m going to start off this post by throwing in the disclaimer that I didn’t watch the Friday game and had been enjoying homecoming quite a bit before the game Saturday. My observation and analysis of the weekend may be a little tainted. In a lot of ways this weekend was a perfect reflection of homecoming. A wild and action packed Friday night out was followed up by a sluggish, painful headache of a day back on campus Saturday.
From all accounts the Huskies kept up with a very talented BU team on Friday night. They were able to come back from two different BU leads, taking a lead themselves in the second period before giving up two unanswered goals in the third. Northeastern once again showed its ability to score goals quickly, putting up two in a 0.5 second span (or something around there). They also showed their tendency to give up goals just as quickly soon after. Saturday they just looked bad. They weren’t able to generate any offense at all until BU was up by two and score effects started to have an impact. That first period was one of the worst I’ve seen Northeastern play. Penalties once again hurt the Huskies’ ability to get anything going offensively, a recurring theme for recent Northeastern teams.
If there’s a positive to pull from this weekend, it’s that freshman goalie Ryan Ruck looked solid Saturday night. He didn’t receive much help from the defense in front of him this weekend, leading to the high goal totals on his record, but he did at least look good to me. Hopefully he can actually be a viable option for this team going forward.
I’m not going to take too much from what I saw on Saturday. Record aside, this team is still in the top half of Hockey East talent wise. BU had been playing well coming into the game and adding Grzelcyk certainly had a massive positive impact on the team. I still think Northeastern will be fine. Whatever.
Here’s the bad part about the Homecoming matchup this weekend for the Huskies: BU is pretty good at hockey. While the Terriers are reigning national runners-up, they haven’t gotten off to the most impressive of starts, dropping games to Union, UConn, and Merrimack (and US Under-18 Team). They’re only ranked 28th in the hilariously early PairWise Rankings (Princeton’s a 1 seed!). Don’t believe for a second this is a .500 true talent level team. The losses come against tough opponents in Union and Merrimack (really), and a Tuesday game at UConn where the normal rules of the universe don’t exist. The Terriers will also be getting Bruins prospect, captain, and noted good player Matt Grzelcyk back on the blue line.
Northeastern has been playing poorly, as indicated by their 1-5-1 record. They seem to be running into an issue where they can’t put the puck in their opponents’ net and can’t stop their opponents from putting it in their own.
It was on homecoming weekend last year that the Huskies snapped their ten game winless streak. Plus, much like BU and as I’ve beaten into the ground so far, the performances we’ve seen from Northeastern aren’t really indicative of the true level of talent. The Huskies are still dominating everyone in possession statistics. Their shooting percentage (5%) and and save percentage (.862) simply have to regress closer to league average, right? I believe there’s a good chance this is where the season turns around for Northeastern. The team could finally put things together on a bigger stage against a tough opponent. I’ll set the line at Northeastern -1,000 on Friday, Northeastern -2,000 on Saturday. Let’s do it.
2/23/15: Northeastern 3, BU 4 (OT)
2/27/15: Northeastern 6, BU 5
2/28/15: Northeastern 1, BU 6
Well this was not a good week for our guys. It started out Monday with another crushing Beanpot loss, and ended last night getting run off the ice on Senior Night.
Northeastern played a great game in the Beanpot final. Ending aside, they played well. After a bad second period where they fell behind by two, the Huskies came back to tie the game against what may be the best third period team in the country. Although the outcome was awful and terrible and horrible and everything bad, Northeastern did play well.
The Huskies also had an incredible half of a game against BU on Friday night. Northeastern outshot BU 20-7 in the first period, and continued that trend for the first half of the second. Northeastern was up 6-2 on BU and completely dominating the game. The Huskies then almost blew the game, giving up three unanswered goals to the Terriers. The team carried that on to Senior Night on Saturday, getting the doors completely blown off. They spent the whole game chasing BU around in their own end and absolutely couldn’t get anything going.
I don’t mean to sound like a broken record here, but the penalties are killing this team. They’d done a good job cutting back somewhat, but they were a big part of each of these games. It was a penalty at the start of overtime in the Beanpot final that lost that game. BU powerplay goals almost cost Northeastern the game on Friday, after being up by four goals. Although they were outplayed in almost every aspect of Saturday’s game, the Huskies did take eight penalties. They weren’t going to win that game anyway, but the point still stands. Northeastern can’t take these stupid penalties, especially given how bad their penalty kill is. It was a huge problem during the early season winless streak, and I’d hate to see it become a huge problem again with the Hockey East playoffs starting.
Here we are again. For the third straight year, Northeastern is in the Beanpot championship game. This time around it’s BU lining up on the other side.
I’ll say it. BU is really, really good. They’re the third ranked team in the country. The Terriers are in first in Hockey East and are up four points on second place BC with a game in hand. Their first round game against Harvard, although going to double overtime, was one of the most dominant performances I’ve seen in a while.
We all know about Eichel. He’s amazing. Everybody and their mother is talking about how great the BU offense is, and they’re right. BU is scoring an average of 3.69 goals per game. They’re powerplay is converting 26.3% of their chances. They’ve scored an incredible 49 goals in the third period. We all know about their offense.
What has gone under the radar is how good the defense is on this BU team. It has been a huge part in the quick turnaround. BU has the third best defense in Hockey East with four of their regular defensemen being freshman. Goalie Matt O’Connor is ranked second in goals against average and save percentage, behind only Mike Santaguida in both categories. Although it doesn’t get the same amount of love as BU’s offense, the defense has been excellent.
The keys to this game for Northeastern are the same ones we’ve seen before. They can’t give up penalties. BU is the best powerplay team in Hockey East and Northeastern is next to last on the penalty kill. Witt (presumably) will have to be excellent again in net because BU will put up a ton of shots. With the inevitable third period surge the Terriers will have, at no point can you feel comfortable with a lead. This is certainly an uphill battle for Northeastern, but it’s just one game. Northeastern has already beaten one third ranked opponent; who’s to say it can’t happen again?