The 2023 Beanpot lived up to all expectations and then some. The annual college hockey tournament that begins on the first Monday in February is usually a predictable event. Two of the biggest names in college hockey, Boston College and Boston University, make up half of the event. The other two schools, Northeastern and Harvard, aren’t considered shoe-ins.
In years past, it was a safe bet that one of the “B” schools made the final. BC or BU. Both, considered the class of the sport, have always held at least one position in the final for the last 70 years.
Things have been trending differently during the last few years.
Northeastern’s recent dominance
Northeastern, a long snakebit from winning a Beanpot title (winning their first in 1980, winning their last title in 1988), exercised some demons in 2018 when they won their first Beanpot in 30 years. Since then, they have racked up an impressive collection of titles from 2018-2020. Northeastern had a wagon of a team in 2021 when the Beanpot was canceled due to COVID, possibly losing out on a bid to win again.
When the next one was played in 2022, they were going for four in a row, but they dropped a heartbreaking 1-0 loss to BU. After a long stretch being the doormat of the tournament, the Huskies have emerged as a constant contender.
Harvard continues its rise as a constant threat
Harvard long-fared as badly as Northeastern. After winning four titles in the tournament’s first ten years, they also fell flat. Also enduring a long streak of 24 years without a title, Harvard ended their drought in 2017, a year before Northeastern ended its 30-year winless streak. Harvard has amassed 11 Beanpot titles, however. Northeastern has only 7.
The Crimson has been a more consistent force in the Hockey East regular season than the Huskies. Former NHL player Ted Donato has led Harvard since 2004, building a solid contender and making a school known more for its brain-power than brawn, a relevant squad.
The 2023 Beanpot final will feature a first in its 70-year history. This will be the first time Northeastern and Harvard square off in the final. For the last 70 years, either BC or BU has played in the final. Simply amazing.
Monday night at 7:30, we will all witness history. Thankfully both the Terriers and the Eagles will be playing the early consolation game against each other.
That will be another historical event as well.
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