Northeastern wins first Beanpot title in 30 years

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Northeastern wins first Beanpot title in 30 years

BOSTON — Adam Gaudette had a hat trick and Cayden Primeau stopped 38 shots on Monday night to lead Northeastern to a 5-2 victory over Boston University in the 66th Beanpot championship game and give the Huskies the city’s college hockey bragging rights for the first time in 30 years.

Nolan Stevens and Trevor Owens also scored for Northeastern, which had lost nine times in the tournament finals since last claiming the trophy in 1988. BU had won 16 times since then — and 30 times in all — beating the Huskies in the final six straight times before this year.

Held annually on the first two Mondays of February, the tournament pits the area’s four college hockey powers against each other. Harvard, the defending champion, beat Boston College 5-4 in overtime in the consolation game.

It was Northeastern’s fifth Beanpot title — by far the fewest of the four schools.

No. 12 Northeastern entered the game as the highest-ranked school of the four, and had beaten BU twice in the regular season, 4-1 and 6-1. The Huskies fans seemed to sense that their slump was nearing an end.

Outshouting and outsinging their red-clad BU counterparts, the Northeastern cheering section taunted the Terriers fans with call-and-response chants like “Real Dog, Fake Dog!” and the devastatingly biting “Experiential Learning!” (Northeastern takes pride in its co-op program that places students in the workplace.)

But the real celebration came after the buzzer, when the Huskies’ players poured over the boards and threw their equipment into the air. In the stands, the band played the school’s fight song and, for some reason, “Stacy’s Mom,” while fans danced and sang along.

Gaudette, who is the leading scorer in the nation, was named the tournament’s most outstanding player. Primeau, a freshman, was given the Eberly Award as the event’s top goaltender.

Jake Oettinger made 22 saves for the Terriers, and Logan Cockerill was credited with BU’s only goal, which was actually tipped into the Northeastern net by Primeau 12:35 into the first period.

Then the Huskies took over.

Stevens tied it on a power play when he stickhandled around one defender and back into the middle before beating Oettinger. Gaudette made it 2-1 with 2:28 left in the first, and Owens made it 3-1 on a wrist shot from the left circle with 5:28 left in second.

Gaudette made it 4-1 on another power play, converting a cross-ice pass from Dylan Sikura with 3.5 seconds left in the second. BU pulled the goalie with more than four minutes left and managed to cut the deficit to 4-2 with 2:40 left.

But Gaudette added an empty-netter with 31 seconds left, racing down the ice, swiping the puck from BU defenseman Chad Krys and knocking it in from a tight angle to clinch it.

It’s the first time in Beanpot history that all four schools have won the title in a four-year span. It’s also the first time since BU claimed its first Beanpot title in 1958 that the Terriers have the longest championship drought.

© 2018 by The Associated Press.

Bruins' Bjork out for season after undergoing shoulder surgery

File photo

Bruins' Bjork out for season after undergoing shoulder surgery

TORONTO -- Anders Bjork's up-and-down rookie season has come to an end, as the Bruins' left wing underwent left shoulder surgery this week that’s expected to keep him sidelined for the next six months. 

Bjork was knocked out of a Jan. 30 loss to the Anaheim Ducks when Francois Beauchemin caught him with a cross-check to the left arm, but it’s unclear whether he was already playing through some level of shoulder injury prior to that collision. According to the B’s release, the 21-year-old winger “underwent successful left shoulder arthroscopy and labral repair on Tuesday” at Mass General Hospital. Bjork had been spotted around the Garden in recent weeks wearing his left arm in a sling, but it was difficult to guess the severity of the injury based on what looked like a fairly run-of-the-mill hit from Beauchemin. 

The injury and season-ending surgery ends a bit of a lost year for Bjork, who cracked the Opening Night roster and finished with 4r goals and 12 points in 30 games.

He showed the speed and skill required to be a top-6 forward at the NHL level, but also appeared to need more development time when it comes to battle level and adjusting to the physicality level in the pro game. The former Notre Dame star never seemed to fully bounce back from getting steamrolled in the neutral zone by Matt Martin in the middle of November, and ended up spending time in Providence as well prior to his season-ending injury. 

Bjork’s injury certainly doesn’t rule him out completely as a trade asset ahead of Monday afternoon’s trade deadline, but it probably makes him less attractive to NHL teams looking for young, NHL-ready talent that can step into their lineups right now. With Bjork headed for the long-term injured list and Frank Vatrano traded to the Florida Panthers for a third-round pick, that certainly opens the door for both a) a deal to bring on a veteran rental winger ahead of the trade deadline and B) a spot to be opened up in the Bruins organization for Ryan Donato when the Harvard University star, currently at the Olympics, is ready to sign.

Those are both very good things despite the downer news about Bjork, who watched fellow rookies Jake DeBrusk and Danton Heinen live up to the expectations many had for him.



Bruins trade Vatrano to Florida for third-round pick

Bruins trade Vatrano to Florida for third-round pick

TORONTO – The Bruins are making more moves well ahead of the Monday trade deadline as they shipped injured winger Frank Vatrano to the Florida Panthers in exchange for a 2018 third-round pick. 

The trade somewhat eases a crowded roster, essentially gives the B’s a replacement for the third-rounder they sent to the New York Rangers for Nick Holden earlier this week and gives them a solid return on an undrafted college hockey free agent that had fallen a bit this season on the B’s organizational depth chart.

Vatrano had two goals and a minus-3 rating in 25 games with the Bruins this season, but had typically been either a healthy scratch or strictly a bottom-six winger when he had been in the lineup this season. Vatrano, the East Longmeadow, Mass., native who turns 24 next month, had fallen behind Anders Bjork, Jake DeBrusk and Danton Heinen on the depth chart as two of the aforementioned three had locked down top-nine roles.

In that respect, it wasn’t much of a surprise to hear Vatrano getting moved as he’d hit a wall in his development with the Bruins after scoring 20 goals in his first 108 career NHL games and lighting up the AHL as a goal-per-game player. Now, Vatrano will get a chance to rekindle that goal-scoring ability with the Panthers and prove that he’s more than the one-dimensional player he appeared to be in three seasons with the B’s.

There was some thinking Vatrano might have served as a trade asset to be utilized in one of the potential deals that the Bruins have cooking for a rental wingers Patrick Maroon, Michael Grabner, Rick Nash or Thomas Vanek. Instead, general manager Don Sweeney scoops up a solid draft pick asset for a player that was sitting on the bench for the Black and Gold. That's a solid piece of asset management in a trade deadline period that so far is going very well for the GM.