Jim Pierce/Northeastern Athletics

Adam Gaudette hat trick lifts Northeastern to first Beanpot title in 30 years

Scott McLaughlin
February 12, 2018 - 10:32 pm

For 29 years, the script for Northeastern at the Beanpot featured disappointment and heartbreak. There were years they stunk and got run out of the building. There were years they were good, but not as good as Boston University or Boston College. And there were years they played in thrilling championship games, only to lose in overtime.

But this year the script was different. The Huskies were the favorite. It was their year. It had to be. Everything was lined up perfectly. 

Their top line is the best in the country, capable of completely taking over games. They finally have a very good goalie. BU, BC and Harvard have all been inconsistent at best this season and are all outside the NCAA tournament field as of today. And on top of all that, one of BU’s best players (Jordan Greenway) left for the Olympics last week and wasn’t available for Monday night’s final.

That script sounds good on paper, but the task of actually going out and winning this damn tournament still remained. If there were any questions about whether these Huskies could handle that task, and the weight of a 29-year drought that comes along with it, they answered them emphatically.

In fact, there wasn’t even drama. The Huskies cruised past BC, 3-0, in the opening round last week, then rode three power-play goals to a comfortable 5-2 win over BU in Monday night’s championship game to capture their first Beanpot title since 1988. Northeastern fans didn’t have to bite their nails or pull at their hair. They just had to party and cheer and sing “Stacy’s Mom” as loud as they could as their team dominated the tournament that had provided them with nothing but misery and mockery for three decades.

Unsurprisingly, it was that aforementioned top line that carried Northeastern. The trio of Blues prospect Nolan Stevens, Canucks prospect Adam Gaudette and Blackhawks prospect Dylan Sikura combined for seven goals and seven assists in the tournament, highlighted by a Gaudette hat trick in Monday’s title game. That kind of dominance is nothing new for them. Gaudette leads the country in goals and points, Sikura is second in points, and Stevens is tied for third in goals.

They scored all three of Northeastern’s power-play goals Monday night. After BU opened the scoring midway through the first period, Stevens answered with a nifty forehand-backhand-forehand deke through the slot before tucking the puck past BU goalie Jake Oettinger.

A few minutes later, the Huskies went back to the power play and struck again when Gaudette slammed home a rebound off Sikura’s shot. Trevor Owens made it 3-1, then the power play (which now ranks fourth nationally at 26.7 percent) all but sealed the win with 3.5 seconds left in the second on a tic-tac-toe passing play from Jeremy Davies to Sikura to Gaudette to up the lead to three.

Oh, and that goaltending? Cayden Primeau continued his strong freshman season by stopping 75 of the 77 shots he faced in the tournament, including 38 of 40 Monday night. He now ranks sixth in the country with a .926 save percentage.

The Terriers cut the lead to 4-2 with 2:40 left in the game, but that was as close as they’d get. Gaudette capped off his hat trick, and the win, with a tremendous hustle play on an empty-netter.

For 29 years, Northeastern had to find a way to overcome late-season Beanpot disappointment if it was going to do anything in the postseason. Now the Huskies get to see if they can use Beanpot jubilation to propel them to more trophies.

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