Northeastern University Huskies
2 seed vs. Cornell, Midwest Regional (Grand Rapids, MI)
4:00 EDT, Saturday, March 28, ESPNU
Coach: Greg Cronin (78-84-21)
Northeastern officially qualifies as this year's "Wow, where did they
come from?" team in the realm of college hockey. Having finished
sixth in Hockey East last season after a late-season swoon, Greg
Cronin's squad put the pieces together this year with a strong showing
early on, with just three losses before the end of 2008. As the
Hockey East schedule stiffened, the Huskies kept up their strong play,
paced every minute of every game by netminder Brad Thiessen.
Their NCAA tournament berth is Northeastern's first since 1994. A bid for their first ever Hockey East regular season championship fell flat on the last day, missing out by one point to #1 team in the nation Boston University, the same BU program which had derailed Northeastern's efforts to take home their first Beanpot championship since 1988 with a 5-2 victory back in February. Boston U has been a thorn in the side of the Huskies this season (admittedly, a common thread this year), as the Huskies have gone 0-2-2 against them during this campaign. The recurring theme of this week will be whether Northeastern has the mettle in the big games that it's going to need. The Beanpot final loss, and the upset by the RiverHawks of UMass-Lowell in the Hockey East semis have raised the spectre of concern. It'll be up to the Huskies to show up, because there's no other solace waiting for them should they fail.
Feels Like the First Time. In winning the Hockey East player of the year award this season, Huskies goalie Brad Thiessen became the first Northeastern player to snag the honor. Thiessen has played every minute in net for the Huskies this season. His coach, Greg Cronin, winner of just three games in 2005-06, his first season at Northeastern, was named Hockey East's Coach of the Year.
And we think of Yost as "old". Matthews Arena (formerly known as Boston Arena), the home of Northeastern hockey, was built in 1910 and is considered to be the oldest surviving indoor ice hockey rink in the world. The original home of the Boston Bruins, the Boston Celtics, and the WHA's New England Whalers, it is also the original home of SEVEN Boston-area college hockey programs, as well as the host of the 1960 Frozen Four and the original home of the Beanpot.