Monday Night Roy: Beanpot Preview
Northeastern fans often joke that they would take a 2-32 season, as long as those 2 wins came in the Beanpot. We may just find out if that is true this year. Northeastern’s season up until this point has been awful. The memory of a 2-0 start with wins over nationally ranked Merrimack and defending National Champion Boston College, has been washed away with countless home losses and blown third period leads. Northeastern’s playoff chances are dwindling and they look likely to miss the playoffs for the second year in a row and the third time in four years. The season has been a disaster that only a Beanpot could save.
Northeastern’s chances aren’t great. Besides their dismal Beanpot history, the Huskies play this season hasn’t really given much cause for optimism. This team has been unable to get good scoring and good defense/goaltending in the same game. But the Huskies will face a struggling Boston University team that they just beat a few weeks ago. The Terriers have just 1 win in their last 5 games and they gave up an average of 3 goals a game in those 5. So really neither team will go into this matchup feeling confident in their defense or goaltending situations.
Northeastern will still be facing an uphill battle though. They too have just 1 win in their last 5, but the Huskies have given up 26 goals over that stretch. The Huskies scoring comes and goes, they can’t hold a lead and goaltender Chris Rawlings is a mixed bag. If the Huskies put it all together, they can beat this BU team, just like they did in the last matchup. But putting it together has been a problem all year.
If Ludwig Karlsson is out, as he is expected to be, the Huskies will count on the usual suspects for their scoring: Kevin Roy and Cody Ferriero. That’s all well and good, but the secondary scorers could go a long way in deciding this one. Vinny Saponari and Garrett Vermeersch will be playing in their 4th and final Beanpot this year and both have been heating up recently. Look for the them to step up and make the difference if the Huskies come out on top. Vermeersch and classmate Robbie Vrolyk are the only Huskies that have registered a point in the Beanpot.
The defense will have their hands full. Josh Manson won’t leave the ice much. After that, ice time will go to whoever steps up. Colton Saucerman will likely be right behind Manson in minutes. Dan Cornell has a game of Beanpot experience, which puts him in elite company among Northeastern defensemen. Ben Oskroba, Cornell and Manson are the only Husky defensemen to have played in a Beanpot, though Oskroba is unlikely to dress. Newcomers Dax Lauwers, Mike Gunn, and Jarrett Fennell will likely get their first Beanpot action.
In net, it’ll be Chris Rawlings. His Beanpot history is checkered. His overall Beanpot stats are 2-3-0, 3.17 GAA, .916 save percentage. He has had 2 great games against Harvard (both wins), 2 horrible games against BC (both loses) and an incredible performance in a losing effort against BU in the semifinal matchup during his freshman year. A repeat of that could be enough to earn the Huskies a win, but it would require bailing out the defense and shutting down a BU team that has scored at a high rate all season.
The early game sucks for anyone coming from outside the city, but it may actually benefit the Huskies. The first period will be played in front of a mostly empty Garden, which should make it a bit easier for the young Huskies to get the nerves out of the way. Surviving the first couple of shifts is obviously crucial for a Huskies team that has been very slow starters recently.
The best part of this game for the Huskies is that they won’t be the only ones under pressure to end a Beanpot drought. BU’s seniors have yet to win the Beanpot, which is practically unheard of on Comm Ave. That streak dates back to 1965 and it will mean that the Terriers should come out flying.
The last time these two team met in a Beanpot semifinal, it was a defensive game that featured some excellent goaltending. A repeat of that would be shocking. The teams combined for 11 goals in their last meeting and tonight will likely be another high scoring affair.
Puck drops at 5 PM and the game will be televised on NESN.