Return to glory?

There are times when the world just seems to jam on the brakes, sit back, and revel in the hysteria that ensues.

Adam Vinatieri’s game-winning field goal splitting the uprights in the waning seconds of the New England Patriots’ improbable victory in Super Bowl XXXVI victory. First baseman Doug Mientkiewicz cradling the most precious baseball in the universe after registering the putout that clinched the 2004 World Series championship and put a cap on 86 years of Red Sox futility.

Or that bone-chilling evening in February 1980 when Wayne Turner’s wrist shot in the slot beat Boston College goalie Bob O’Connor and earned Northeastern a 5-4 overtime victory over the Eagles, ending 27 years of Beanpot futility for the Huskies. The Shot Heard ‘Round The Beanpot unleashed the most deafening roar I had ever heard and, as a sophomore in high school attending the game with my dad, was the convincing factor in my decision to attend Northeastern.

That improbable victory in 1980 kicked off a decade of Husky dominance in which Northeastern won four titles — including three wins in four years against Boston University — and was, simply put, the bully on the block. The Huskies had a rock in net in Bruce Racine and gritty scorers like Jay Heinbuck, Dave O’Brien, and Rod Isbister. Their coach, Ferny Flaman, would go on to post a school-record 255 wins over 19 seasons

But seemingly as quickly as the glory days of Husky hockey had engulfed the campus along Huntington Avenue, the Huskies slipped back into their funk as the 1990s rolled around. Northeastern has reached the championship game five times since its last title in 1988, most recently in 2009. But each time the Huskies have watched their opponent carry the Beanpot trophy around the Garden ice, basking in the glory of college hockey’s most historic regular-season tournament.

Only five members of the current Husky squad were even born the last time Northeastern won a Beanpot championship, in 1988. But there’s something about this year’s team that makes me wonder if this is the year that the Huskies’ 23-year Beanpot odyssey comes to an end. They’re playing their best hockey of the season at the absolute most opportune time. They also know that a win on Monday night against what is sure to be a heavily favored Boston College team could well be the most memorable victory of their hockey careers.

Puck drops at 8:05 p.m. Might it be time for another time-stands-still moment?


One thought on “Return to glory?

  1. The Beanpot HAS to be considered one of the great unappreciated gems of college sports, and maybe even sports in general.

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