Northeastern got the jump on opponents in ending its 30-year Beanpot drought Monday night. But when it came to celebrating, the Huskies ended up being late to their own party.
While alumni, fans, and students gathered at Punter’s Pub on Huntington Avenue — the line extended outside the door to Chicken Lou’s, more than a block away — the Northeastern players were stranded in the O’Neill Tunnel, engine problems causing the team bus to stall.
“That was probably the craziest thing that happened,” said Northeastern senior defenseman Trevor Owens, who scored his second goal of the season in a 5-2 win over BU in the final. “Everyone’s phone was blowing up — ‘Where are you guys?’ We’re trying to rush to get to celebrate with people. You just want to get home and start celebrating, that’s it.”
The university sent along several vans to deliver the team to campus, where the celebratory atmosphere matched that of 1980, when NU won the Beanpot for the first time, according to Paul Filipe.
“I went by [Monday] night, but I didn’t stay as long as I did in 1980,” said Filipe, whose son, Matt, is a Husky sophomore forward. “Everyone was pulling for Northeastern [Monday] night and in 1980, everyone was pulling for Northeastern — we had never won it before.
“It got the monkey off Northeastern’s back, so you don’t have to answer that any more. It brought a lot of positive attention to Northeastern. There were a lot of kids in the stands that ended up coming to Northeastern. So, I think that started the whole turnaround, between that and George Matthews re-doing the rink. There was a lot of momentum after that.”
The Huskies also won the 1984, ’85, and ’88 championships, but it took three decades before the Filipes became the first NU father-son combination to win the Beanpot.
“When you snap a 30-year drought, people are just relieved,” said Owens, among four NU seniors who reached the 2015 Beanpot final, a controversial 4-3 overtime loss to BU. “Because once you go into a drought like that, you’re kind of like, they’re obviously not going to win it this year because they haven’t won it in previous years.
“I think it just brought a lot of joy to people that care about this program and to a lot of the alumni. There’s guys I played with that didn’t experience what it’s like to win a Beanpot. It’s like you repay those guys.”
The Huskies extended the party to a half-hour commemoration at Matthews Arena Tuesday night, university president Joseph E. Aoun, outgoing athletic director Peter Roby, and coach Jim Madigan speaking to a crowd of about 200 students and supporters.
Afterward, Madigan posed with the Beanpot trophy for photos in the arena lobby, then sent the trophy to his office.
“I’m not sure what we did with it in 1988,” Madigan said. “I think we put it in the [trophy case] at Cabot Gym.”
Madigan took another step toward escaping the shadow of Fernie Flaman, the Northeastern coach from 1970-89. Madigan became the first Husky to have played for and coached a Beanpot titlist (he was also an assistant for the ’88 champions). He also played in a Frozen Four and guided a team to the Hockey East crown.
“When you’re around long enough, you win and then you lose,” Madigan said. “For me, this was about our kids, our players, this was about our team. Coaching is great, it’s excellent to be around these young men and they keep you young. I’ve seen how hard they work and I know they deserve this win.
“For me this was about our young men, our institution, for finally moving the ball forward. I’m looking at this like 1980, it took us 28 years for this university to win the first, and then we had success following it.
“Hey, the curse is broken. We’ve won now. It took us 30 years to win and, hopefully, this is momentum and the impetus for us to win future championships in this tournament.”