Northeastern celebrates their 2OT goal to win the Beanpot. Photo courtesy of Josh Tessler.
It has been a great month for college hockey. The Northeastern University Huskies won the Beanpot in a thrilling matchup against the Boston University Terriers in double overtime on Monday night at TD Garden. The University of North Dakota Fighting Hawks might have slowed down slightly in January, but they have one of the best records in college hockey and are looking prime for a Frozen Four appearance. Cornell University Big Red continues to be one of the top clubs in the ECAC and is riding a three-game winning streak after beating Colgate University twice and Princeton University.
As mentioned above, Beanpot concluded on Monday night. Just like in their semi-final matchup, Boston University pushed the game to double overtime. In the second overtime session, there was a controversial penalty called against Patrick Harper (Nashville Predators’ prospect). In the video below, you will see Ryan Shea (Chicago Blackhawks’ prospect) fall to the ice with Harper skating along with him. When Shea fell to the ice, the referees assumed that there was contact between Harper and Shea, but when you look at the replay, you will see that it does not appear that Harper tripped Shea. Instead, it seems that Shea’s footing was slightly off when he was deploying his inside edge.
Shortly after the penalty was called, Northeastern found themselves in the Boston University zone on the power play. Defenseman Jordan Harris (Montreal Canadiens prospect) ripped a shot from the point and the puck ended up going past BU goaltender Sam Tucker (No NHL Rights). With Harris’ goal, Northeastern secured a Beanpot championship for the third time in the past three years.
Aside from the controversial call and the goal in the second overtime period, Aidan McDonough (Vancouver Canucks prospect), Zach Solow (No NHL Rights, Beanpot MVP), David Farrance (Nashville Predators prospect) and Trevor Zegras (Anaheim Ducks prospect) stole the show.
McDonough was highly efficient on the Huskies power play and managed the power play quite well. In the video below, you can see McDonough circling the zone and looking for the optimal teammates to pass the puck to. Finally, he finds Solow in the slow and Solow scores.
Look at how efficient Aidan McDonough is at running the Northeastern power play. Controls the cycle well. Constantly looking for open teammates. Finds Zach Solow in the slot and Solow put his name on the scoresheet.#Canuckspic.twitter.com/gYmdUXYaVG
Farrance was on fire for Boston University. His skating was a sight for sore eyes. Farrance does an excellent job of weaving around traffic, finding open lanes and identifying the ideal teammate to pass to in order to complete a zone entry. In addition, Farrance had a nifty shot from the point on the power play in the third period to help the Terriers cut down the Northeastern lead.
In regard to Zegras, the Anaheim Ducks prospect was quite efficient on the power play. He was running up and down the half-wall. Consistently delivered crisp passes across the ice as he looked to spark scoring chances with the Terriers up a man. Aside from his strong passing on the power play, Zegras had two goals. His first goal of the game was a snipe on the power play in the first period (the video below). In addition, he had some late-game heroics with 1.2 seconds left on the clock in the third period of play and managed to tie the game to force overtime.
As mentioned above, the University of North Dakota is crushing it. With a 21-3-3 record in one of the toughest conferences in college hockey, it would be difficult to find reasons why they would not have the top spot in the power rankings. Jordan Kawaguchi (No NHL Rights), Westin Michaud (No NHL Rights), Shane Pinto (Ottawa Senators prospect), Jacob Bernard-Docker (Ottawa Senators prospect) and Jonny Tychonick (Ottawa Senators prospect) have been leading the charge for the Fighting Hawks. This upcoming weekend, the Fighting Hawks will face a tough University of Denver squad and will attempt to add two more wins to their record.
While the Boston College Eagles failed to capture a Beanpot championship and won the consolation game to earn third place, there is a tremendous amount of talent on their roster. In fact, there were positive signs that came out from the consolation game at Beanpot. Matthew Boldy (Minnesota Wild prospect), who has had a rough freshman campaign, had a solid outing against Harvard University, in which he had one goal and two assists. If Boldy can keep it rolling, the Eagles are only going to be more of a challenge for their Hockey East rivals.
Clarkson University sits in third place on our power rankings. Haralds Egle (No NHL Rights), Devin Brosseau (No NHL Rights), Josh Dunne (No NHL Rights), Zachary Tsekos (No NHL Rights) and Connor McCarthy (No NHL Rights) have been running the show in Potsdam, New York. But, the Clarkson University Golden Knights are leading the ECAC at the moment, but Cornell University is not far behind.
In the last couple of weeks, two 2020 NHL Draft eligible prospects have committed to new universities for the 2020-2021 season.
Luke Reid (Chicago Steel defenseman) was penciled in to play at the University of North Dakota next season, but Reid changed his mind and decided to enroll at the The University of New Hampshire instead. Reid is not the flashiest defenseman, but he is exceptional in his own zone when controlling the gap. In addition, he is incredibly crafty in the defensive zone. He will pinch and deliver crisp passing across the offensive zone. Reid will join a strong defensive group at UNH which includes Max Gildon (Florida Panthers prospect) and Benton Maass (Washington Capitals prospect).
Devon Levi (Carleton Place Canadians goaltender), who suited up at the World Jr. A Challenge (Canada East) in Dawson Creek, British Columbia in December, decided to commit to Northeastern University. He was previously committed to The University of Vermont. Levi is quick in transition and has sharp reflexes. But, considering that taller goaltenders seem to be in more demand, Levi might be over- looked at the draft. However, I do believe that Levi will be a late-round selection and will get some decent playing time at Northeastern.
Since January 24th, Cole Caufield (Montreal Canadiens prospect) has tallied five goals and five assists including a hat trick against the University of Notre Dame on the 24th. While the University of Wisconsin Badgers have had a rough season, Caufield has been electric all season long. When Caufield has possession of the puck, he is capable of delivering crisp passing and quality shots from along the perimeter.
In the below clip from @StarsStripesHKY, you can check out Caufield’s assist against the University of Michigan. Caufield delivers a quality cross-ice pass to K’Andre Miller (New York Rangers) and Miller buries it.
#NTDP Alumni Update. K'Andre Miller tallies his 7th 🚨 of the season to bring the Badgers to within one late in the 3rd period.
One of the leaders on the Cornell University Big Red club has been Morgan Barron (New York Rangers prospect). To date, Barron has 11 goals, 14 assists and a 13.3 shooting percentage. If Cornell is going to leap above Clarkson University in the ECAC standings, Barron will need to bring the thunder.
In the below clip from @CornellVideo, you can check out one of Barron’s power-play goals, which he scored against Colgate University on February 8th. Beautiful slap shot goal by Barron. When Barron brings his stick back high, he has all the momentum in the world. Given the traffic in front of the Colgate net, it makes perfect sense for Barron to unleash his slap shot. With the Colgate netminder’s sight-lines blocked, a quick shot is just what it was going to take for Barron to add an insurance goal.
We are close to the end of the season, but conference championships and the Frozen Four are not far away. It will be interesting to see how everything unravels. Perhaps, Cornell can claim first place in the ECAC and push Clarkson to second place. There is always a possibility that teams like Boston University and the University of Michigan, who have had rough seasons, could become cinderella stories.
For more NCAA hockey updates, check out my Twitter handle, @JoshTessler_.