Bruins

Northeastern wins first Beanpot title in 30 years

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AP Photos

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.

Countdown to Bruins training camp: Chris Wagner

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USA TODAY Sports Photo

Countdown to Bruins training camp: Chris Wagner

From now until the beginning of training camp, Bruins Insider Joe Haggerty is profiling players who will be on, or have a chance to be on, the 2018-19 Bruins. Today: Chris Wagner.

One of the offseason aims for the Boston Bruins was bringing a little more experience and a little more physical thump to their fourth line, and the Bruins did that by signing Chris Wagner to a two-year contract on the opening day of free agency. The addition of Wagner adds a hard-hitting, versatile element to the bottom-six up front for the Bruins, and also gives the Bruins yet another local success story as a Walpole, Mass., native coming home to play for his hometown team. The fact that Wagner plays with the blue collar, physical style favored by Bruins fans will make it all the better for him in his home state.   

What Happened Last Year: The 27-year-old Wagner had a strong season with the Anaheim Ducks/New York Islanders going into free agency with seven goals and 16 points in 79 games while finishing among the NHL’s top-5 in registered hits. It was the most games that Wagner has ever played in the NHL and the most production he’s ever posted as well. Based on his track record and how hard he plays the game, it shouldn’t be all that difficult for Wagner to at least play at least season’s level for the next few seasons while under contract with Boston. 

Questions To Be Answered This Season: The big question for the rugged, high-energy Wagner is where the ceiling will be for him over the next few seasons after cementing himself as an NHL player last season. Is he going to be good for something in the neighborhood of five goals/15 points as a third/fourth line forward, or can Wagner hit double-digit goals once he settles into with a role and linemates for the Black and Gold. The other part of that question is whether Wagner can continue with the desperation and maximum energy output that he played with for Anaheim/New York last season. Will the security of a multi-year deal in Boston allow Wagner to relax a little bit and potentially not play with the kind of fire required to hit, play physical and get in the other team’s face? Only time will tell on this one, but it’s tough to get against a player like Wagner that’s had to scrap for everything he’s got.  

In Their Words: “I just wanted to find the best situation, obviously. It seemed that they had success recently and definitely had a chance to make a run for the Stanley Cup. That was huge for me. I’ve heard a lot of great things about the character of the guys in the room with the Bruins. I’ve always wanted to play here and be close to home and be close to my family. My parent, my grandparents, and my brother and all that so it’s just a win-win and a dream come true.” –Chris Wagner, on the process behind signing with his hometown Bruins on the July 1 open of free agency. 

Overall Outlook: The Bruins let Tim Schaller walk away in free agency, so they had to go after another physical, energy player for their fourth line. They found that in Wagner for a similar level of pay at $1.25 million per season, and are once again betting on the player to come into his own during his time with the Black and Gold. It’s a bonus that he’s a local kid just like Schaller, and the hope is that he’ll have the same level of success on and off the ice that Schaller did before parlaying it into a contract with the Vancouver Canucks. If Wagner plays the same way he did last season with Anaheim and New York, both the player and the team should be happy with the level of performance over the next couple of seasons. Bruins fans love players that are willing to take the body and work hard, and that is Chris Wagner several times over.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

Morning Skate: Who ya got in draft of hockey movie characters?

Morning Skate: Who ya got in draft of hockey movie characters?

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading as training camp skates a little closer and summer winds down.

*Fun little exercise from Barstool Sports where the NHL has an expansion draft to pick up hockey movie characters. I was, however, a little disappointed to see that the Bruins got somebody from Mystery, Alaska (not one of my fav hockey movies) instead of Ross “The Boss” Rhea, who has Black and Gold written all over him.

*A Q&A with Dallas Stars captain Jamie Benn where he talks about anything and everything ahead of an important season for the Stars organization.

*Tim Benz doesn’t want to see anybody else ever wear No. 71 or No. 68 for the Pittsburgh Penguins. I think it’s a safe bet we won’t see that.  

*Pro Hockey Talk says to expect a huge year from Canadiens forward Max Pacioretty no matter where he plays. Count me as a little skeptical on that one.

*So how good is Colton Parayko? Varying NHL talent evaluators offer variations on a “Ummm, pretty good” theme.

*For something completely different: RIP to the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, who I will forever remember for crushing her scene in the Blues Brothers. She was the real deal.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE