Tuesday, February 2, 2010

I'm Going to Witchita...

This morning in the Globe, perpetual optimist Dan Shaughnessy bemoans the lack of local players in the Beanpot -- the Boston-only college hockey tournament on the first and second Mondays in February. The absence of a local connection, he says, made the building "flatter than Howie Long’s head."

In fact, the Gahh-den was flat during the opening game: a 6-0 shellacking of Harvard by Boston College. It was a game marked by chippy play (especially as the score got out of hand in the late stages), and the absence of legitimate scoring chances for the Crimson.

But even as the BC and Harvard students were preparing to depart for, um, time in their respective libraries (and Shaughnessy likely writing his column), the Northeastern fans showed up amped up. With the Huskies not having won a Beanpot since 1988 -- seven years before the final game in the old Garden -- the Northeastern fans came early and stayed late, trying to will their team on with both traditional hockey jeers ("Hey Goalie -- you [stink]") and more modern updates (chanting in unison the bass line to the Stripes' "Seven Nation Army.")

While the BU crowd also stood for almost all of the game, there was a sense of ennui. After all, when you have played in the Beanpot final in all but 2 of the last 27 years, how excited can you be for a opening-round game? And as BU never trailed, even a 2-man advantage for NU half-way through the third period didn't raise the Terriers' collective blood-pressure.

But there's an alternative explanation for why the Beanpot started flat: not one of the teams has had a great start to the 2009-10 season. In fact, of the four teams, only one has a winning record (BC is now 13-8-2. BU is now 10-11-3; Northeastern is 11-12-1 after last night; Harvard is 5-12-3, although they had been 3-1-1 in their previous five games.)

While Northeastern fans went home disappointed, BU-BC next week will bring the excitement.

With or without the White Stripes.

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