It’s a natural instinct for a college hockey player to attempt not to get too amped up for any one game, especially when there’s still more than a month to go in the regular season.
Easier said than done, especially when that “one game” is a big part of the reason why said player returned for a fifth season.
“I’ve been in a few of these,” said Boston University super-senior Logan Cockerill on Monday night, after he scored the first goal for his team in a 4-3 win over Harvard in the first round of the 2022 Beanpot at TD Garden. “I did not want to get too caught up in it being my last one or (how) I’d feel if we lost. Just trying to treat it like another game, but this was one of the main reasons I came back to BU. I wanted to win a Beanpot, and I’m happy I get a chance to compete for it. ”
For the third time in four years, Northeastern will be the Terriers’ opponent in the final Feb. 14 (the only year in that stretch the two clubs did not meet in the final was in 2019, when they met in the semifinals, the matchups of which are predetermined on a rotating basis). Northeastern, looking for its fourth straight tournament title, defeated Boston College 3-1 in the later semifinal Monday.
The championship game will feature a battle of backup goalies, as the aces of each staff are representing their home countries in the Beijing Olympics – Northeastern’s Devon Levi is representing Canada while BU’s Drew Commesso is on the roster for the United States. TJ Semptimphelter and Vinny Duplessis got the nods for the Huskies and the Terriers, respectively. Semptimphelter, a freshman, made 41 saves against BC while Duplessis had 22 stops as BU held off a late Harvard rally.
“It’s really exciting playing in front of that crowd,” said Semptimphelter, who noted that he had scant experience playing in televised games before Monday. “I have not been able to play in front of fans for the past two years, (so) it was awesome coming here and seeing all the Northeastern people show up and show their support. It was unbelievable to play in front of that. ”
Northeastern (18-8-1, 9-6-1) is ranked No. 15 in the latest DCU / USCHO.com poll, while BU (15-10-3, 10-6-3) is ranked 20th. This will be the third meeting of the season between the two clubs. A tight home-and-home series Nov. 19-20 saw Northeastern win 1-0 the first night at Matthews Arena and win an eight-round shootout at the Terriers’ home rink the next night.
“They’re a really good team,” Northeastern coach Jerry Keefe said about BU. “They’re fast, they’re skilled, they’re big, they’re strong. In my opinion, they’re one of the top teams in the country when they’re healthy. So we’ll have our work cut out for us, but we’re excited about the challenge. ”
The quirky nature of the tournament’s format, with the first and second rounds on consecutive Mondays, means the teams will have to wait a week until they can dream about hoisting the trophy on the Garden ice. In the meantime, it’s back to regular-season action with BU at No. 17 Providence Thursday and Northeastern at No. 13 UMass-Lowell on Friday.
“It means a lot,” Cockerill said about the chance to win his school’s first Beanpot title since 2015. “At the end of the day, we’ve got another game (Thursday) that we have to focus on, then we have a chance to compete for (the Beanpot title) again. ”