Northeastern junior Adam Gaudette had been strongly considered for the US Olympic team, which would have meant playing in PyeongChang this week. But Gaudette was good with remaining at Northeastern University, lifting the Beanpot trophy instead of having a chance for Olympic hardware.
“Rather win a Beanpot, to be honest,” Gaudette said after his hat trick helped NU take a 5-2 win over BU in the final Monday night. “Beanpot’s way more special to me than being with the Olympic team. My family and friends were here, it’s something I’ll remember forever.
“I got to do it with a group of guys I call my family, you know. It’s all the more special like that. Not making the Olympic team drove me a little more. I don’t know, it’s just something I dreamed of since I was a little kid. It was a picture perfect night, dream come true – it’s something you literally dream of. I couldn’t ask for anything more.”
Gaudette’s first three shots on goal were saved by Jake Oettinger, and he nearly whiffed on an open-net look at the back post late in the first period. His next three attempts on goal were nearly unstoppable, all three from in and around the lower left circle.
The final Gaudette goal, into an open net at 19:29 of the final period, upped his total to an NCAA-leading 24 (10 on power plays) this season. And, though unlikely, Gaudette could yet travel to South Korea, should a US player be injured.
But after a 30-year drought, Gaudette and the Huskies were content with celebrating close to home.
“Don’t come down Huntington Avenue from MFA,” NU coach Jim Madigan said. “It’ll be blocked off tonight.”
The Huskies produced three power play goals, Dylan Sikura pulling the strings and Gaudette and Nolan Stevens finishing.
Though the NU power play seemed streamlined and synchronized, Madigan noted the Huskies had been 1 for 15 on power plays going into the game.
“We’ve had that power since I’ve been here, for three years now, and it’s just clicked,” Gaudette said. “We’re so confident out there, so comfortable. We just know where each other’s going to be. We’re in the right spots and we’re rewarded for that. It’s all five guys working as a unit out there.”
Northeastern last reached the Beanpot final in 2015, sustaining a 4-3 overtime loss to BU following a controversial penalty call.
Gaudette joined Sikura and Stevens the next year, the Huskies winning the Hockey East tournament.
But NU was knocked out in the first round of the Beanpot in 2016 and ’17.
“It means so much I can’t even put it into words, you know,” Gaudette said. “I’ve been coming to these games ever since I was younger. And when I realized I had an opportunity to play college hockey I wanted to play at a Beanpot school and I wasn’t going to take no for an answer.
“And then I finally fell into the hands of Northeastern and we just clicked right away and made it all the more special. It was so long since they won one, and the culture around the school and everyone chomping at the bit to win the Beanpot just made it that much more special.”