Huskies fall to Boston University in bid for fourth consecutive Beanpot win


Kayla Shiao

Northeastern University and Boston University face off in the Beanpot finals.

Annah Chaya and Alex Sumas

Northeastern University men’s ice hockey team lost 1-0 to Boston University in the Beanpot finals Monday night at TD Garden. 

As the Huskies entered the Garden Monday, the possibility of a four-peat loomed. Watching the Huskies play, however, this was not apparent. The group lacked the sense of internal drive expected of a team heading into the finals of one of the most important college hockey tournaments in the Northeast. 

As the first period began, BU played intensely, bringing aggression onto the ice. NU freshman goalie TJ Semptimphelter quickly became a target of physical hostility, making it clear his performance in last week’s semifinal game had not gone unnoticed. In his Beanpot debut last week, Semptimphelter had made 40 out of 41 saves. 

BU’s offense began the game focused on getting the puck past Semptimphelter. They controlled the zone with confidence and immediately worked on getting shots off. Their strategic entrance contrasted greatly next to NU’s sloppy mistakes as the Huskies frequently whiffed the puck and let it haphazardly ricochet off their skates.

While BU generally held the upper hand during the first period, NU was able to move the puck into their zone. This was due, in large part, to senior left defense and captain Jordan Harris who made calculated plays, utilizing the boards to get the puck to his teammates and up the ice. Once in BU’s zone, however, NU failed to get shots on the goal facing the same struggles they had in the semifinals. While opportunities presented themselves, the fairly young NU offense was ineffective in capitalizing on rebounds and plays. 

The game had an underwhelming start with the period coming to a close with 11 shots on goal for BU and only four for NU. 

The second period began with the same energy the first period ended with: a lackluster showing from both teams. 

With BU only making seven shots on goal and NU making five, it consisted mainly of skating between zones. 

The fire that existed in the first minutes of the game for both teams was long gone by now. With neither team having scored, they sunk into complacency. BU’s offense, no longer showcasing their skills, struggled to create and carry through with plays. The same could be said for NU’s sophomore left wing Gunnarwolfe Fontaine. Repeatedly throughout the rest of the game Fontaine would show signs of promise only to mishandle the puck and lose control of it before he could generate a play. Strong signs did come from NU’s defense as they worked to block any potential BU goals before they reached Semptimphelter. 

TJ Semptimphelter
TJ Semptimphelter blocks the puck from entering the goal. (Kayla Shiao)

The third period started with both teams still at zero  and it was not until there were six minutes left in the period that the teams started to act like the end of the game was approaching. The first two-thirds of the period were largely uneventful, and the crowd began to show their boredom, celebrating even the most minor of saves as if they were showstopping.

With three minutes left in the game NU turned over possession and the Terriers’ junior right wing Jamie Armstrong had a breakaway leaving everyone but Harris in his wake. In a rare moment of flawed judgment, Harris, rather than angling Armstrong away from the goal, got down on his stomach and slid backwards to block his path. 

Unable to control his speed, Harris could not move quick enough and Armstrong got a pass off to sophomore left wing Dylan Peterson who scored with 2:46 left in the game. While Semptimphelter had bailed his teammates out throughout the tournament, he was unable to stop Peterson’s swift approach. The last minutes of the game were filled with chaotic attempts from the Huskies to score as the reality of losing their winning streak finally set in.

“The better team tonight won,” Keefe said in a press conference after the game. “We didn’t deserve to win that game. Not sure why we didn’t play well, but we didn’t. When you don’t play well in big games [you] usually don’t win them.”

Semptimphelter won the Eberly Award, which is given annually to the goalie with the best save percentage who participated in two Beanpot games. Semptimphelter saved 69 out of 71 goals, 97.2%, throughout the tournament. His save percentage marks the fourth highest since the Eberly award was founded in 1974 and NU’s fourth Eberly award in a row. 

Before the teams took the ice, Director of Athletics and Recreation at Northeastern Jim Madigan was inducted into the Beanpot Hall of Fame. Madigan, who was previously a player, assistant and head coach for the Huskies, has won the tournament six times over his career. 

He is the fourth person in Beanpot history to win the tournament while holding each of these positions. Most recently he led NU to three consecutive Beanpot wins in 2018, 2019 and 2020.

“[I’m] extremely honored and humbled with the recognition into the Beanpot Hall of Fame,” Madigan said. 

The Huskies will face Boston College 7 p.m. Feb. 18 in Matthews Arena. BU will then play at BC Feb. 25 at 7 p.m.