Born in 1952, the Beanpot enraptures the city and all those towns with alumni in New England and beyond on the first two Mondays of February with a four-team tournament boasting some of the nation’s elite talent.
Standing in front of their stalls, Boston University, Boston College, Harvard, and Northeastern players don their respective sweaters, accepting the responsibility to protect their university in the Battle of Boston.
Men become immortals with heroic performances in a city richer in tradition than its chowder. While the Terriers and the Eagles, and occasionally the Crimson, have traded turns hoisting the tournament trophy, Northeastern has been left out of the symbolic “Boston Tea Party.”
The Huskies’ have won just four Beanpot titles, which is six less than Harvard. To put Northeastern’s bare pot into perspective, BC has won 17 titles and BU has an astounding 29 titles. Northeastern won its first in 1980 courtesy of an overtime winner by Wayne Turner. That marker has gone down as the most important goal in Huskies history and is widely renowned as the “Shot Heard Round the Beanpot.”
Following their first title the Huskies won three more titles in the 1980’s, with the last one coming in 1988.
Legends such as Joe Mullen, Mike Grier, Ted Donato, Cam Atkinson, Rick DiPietro, Jack O’Callahan, Tony Amonte, and yes, even current coaches Jerry York and Jack Parker have graced the both the Boston Garden and TD Garden with performances never to be forgotten; yet legendary tales are still being scripted in the 61st Beanpot tournament.
Enter Kevin Roy.
The phenomenal freshman has already cemented a place in the lore of Northeastern history with his inaugural Beanpot performance, posting a hat trick in a 3-2 upset over No. 13 Boston University on Monday.
Three hundred and nine miles away from the site of the Beanpot, on May 20, 1993 Kevin Roy was born in Montréal, Quebec. Turner’s historic goal had occurred 13 years previously and Roy was still crawling in diapers when “Beanpot” Turner was inducted into the Northeastern Hall of Fame in 1994.
When most young Canadians grow up they have dreams of playing major junior hockey in the Canadian Hockey League on their way to a career in the NHL. One Lac-Beauport, Quebec native thumbed his nose at the CHL and moved south of the border to attend the prestigious Deerfield Academy. Roy racked up 62 points in 52 career games from 2009-11 at Deerfield, which is a four-year college-preparatory institution in northwestern Massachusetts. Deerfield has seen two alumni succeed in the NHL: Craig Janney (former Bruin) and Marty Reasoner (current Islander).
Both former Big Green players were first round draft picks after having prolific collegiate careers at Boston College.
Roy has taken a different path then the aforementioned Deerfield alumni. The ice wizard caught the attention of the Lincoln Stars of the United States Hockey League. The Stars drafted Roy 8th overall in the 2011 USHL Entry Draft. In his rookie season Roy had a remarkable campaign leading the league in goals, assists, and plus/minus. His incredible point total of 104 setting a single-season points record in the USHL Tier 1 era. Roy was named the USHL Forward of the Year and the Player of the Year. One record-setting season was all Roy would need to attract the attention of major college programs. Originally committed to Brown before playing in the USHL, Roy changed his mind and changed his commitment to Northeastern. Derick Roy, Kevin’s older brother was also a Brown commit but followed family to Northeastern where he is a backup goalie this year.
Kevin Roy has made an immediate impact for the Huskies, as was spotlighted Monday night at TD Garden in front of 17,565 hockey-crazed Bostonians. His 30 points lead the club and are the most for any first-year player in the nation, and he also holds a 10-point gap over his nearest teammate. The fourth round (97th overall) pick in the 2012 NHL draft by the Anaheim Ducks has been the catalyst for a talented Northeastern team, giving the Huskies an infusion of silky hands and elite playmaking abilities slipping past opponents with his 5-foot-10, 170-pound. frame.
Roy’s hat trick sank the hopes of the BU seniors’ last chance at a Beanpot title. It is the first time since 1965, the year before Parker played in his first Beanpot, that a Terrier senior class will graduate without a Beanpot title. This also ends a streak that Northeastern is happy to snap. Before Roy’s heroics, the Huskies hadn’t beaten BU in a Beanpot in 15 games, stretching all the way back to February 8, 1988. Despite the prior struggles against the Terriers, Northeastern will play in its third title game in the last five years.
The Huskies hope the third time will be the charm. Or perhaps Roy is the charm Northeastern has been searching for.
Northeastern (8-13-3) will meet No. 5 Boston College (16-7-2) in the championship game after the Eagles handled Harvard 4-1. Quinn Smith posted his first two-goal game of the season, while Michael Matheson and Steven Whitney also tallied for the Eagles, who will go for a school-record fourth consecutive Beanpot crown at 7:30 PM next Monday. The consolation game between BU and the Crimson will take place at 4:30 PM.
Speaking of BC, York was inducted into the Beanpot Hall of Fame on Monday between games of the first round of the 61st installment of the tournament. York won the 13th Beanpot title as a player in 1965. That was the only time York would go to the title game as a player, but as a coach on the Heights, he has helped lead the Eagles to six titles from 2001 to 2012, which lands York second all-time among BC coaches. York may have to bank on sophomore sensation Johnny Gaudreau (CGY 104th overall ’11) to repeat his MVP performance from last year’s Beanpot title game as well as senior netminder Parker Milner to shut down Roy and the Huskies.
A rivalry came to an end this weekend and I’m not talking about WCHA rivals, No. 1 Minnesota and No. 7 North Dakota; they played earlier this season. Penn State played host to former ACHA foe Ohio University in a two-game exhibition set on Friday night at the Giant Center in Hershey, Pa. and Saturday night at Greenburg Ice Pavilion back on PSU’s campus.
On Friday night, Penn State gave up the first goal after a sluggish start, which has been a recurring issue this season. The Nittany Lions rebounded and flexed their muscles scoring six unanswered goals to rout the Bobcats. In the series finale, Penn State continued to struggle despite facing a club hockey opponent. The Nittany Lions didn’t seem focused for a full 60 minutes, especially in the opening minutes of the periods. In each period Ohio scored a goal less than two minutes into the frame. Despite the early struggles, the Nits gutted out a comeback in the third period to sweep Ohio, winning the second game by a 5-3 count. Neither of the victories counts towards the season totals because they were exhibitions. This upcoming weekend Penn State (10-13-0) plays its final two home games against an NCAA opponent this year when they host fellow independent, Alabama-Huntsville (3-17-1).
One of the Midwestern teams which is flying under the radar this season happens to be No. 14 Nebraska-Omaha. Quietly, the Mavericks have solidified themselves as a premier program in the last year of the traditional powerhouse WCHA.
After winning Friday night 4-3 against Michigan Tech at home, the Mavericks fell short of the sweep, falling to Tech 2-1 in overtime. UNO stands at 12-6-2 in conference play, which is good enough for second place, just three points behind first place St. Cloud State. The Mavericks’ 16-10-2 overall record is good enough to place them amongst the nation’s elite teams, even with the loss of promising freshman goalie Anthony Stolarz (PHI 45th overall ’12) mid-season to the London Knights of the OHL.
The Philadelphia Flyers draft selection had a 2.56 goals-against average and .898 save percentage in eight games played for the Mavericks before leaving school for Canadian juniors. So far, in six games with the Ontario Hockey League’s top team, Stolarz has a 1.84 GAA and .937 SV%. Senior John Faulkner has played heavy minutes this season ranking inside the top-25 among the nations goalies.
In addition to the defense, UNO’s offense has exploded this season as they rank first in the WCHA in total goals scored. Junior forward Ryan Walters leads the nation with 40 points in 28 games. His 26 assists rank tied for second in the nation. Joined by his teammates Josh Archibald (PIT 174th overall ’11) and Matt White, the trio of Mavericks all rank in the top eight in the country in scoring. Walters is tied for third with 16, Archibald is tied for sixth with 15, and White is tied for eighth with 14. These three offensive wheelhouses will need to continue burying the puck if UNO is going to make a deep run this year.