BOSTON (AP) — When Eric Williams and the rest of Northeastern’s senior class first arrived on campus, winning the Beanpot once — just once — was a goal they struggled to cling to.
The Huskies had not claimed Boston’s college hockey bragging rights since 1988, a slump that ended last year.
“Everyone in that locker room was so eager to be the first team to break that streak. We got that feeling and we wanted to experience it again this year,” Williams said, “and every year after.”
Lincoln Griffin had a goal and two assists, tournament Most Valuable Player Cayden Primeau stopped 33 shots and Northeastern beat Boston College 4-2 on Monday night to win consecutive Beanpot titles for the first time in 34 years.
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Patrick Schule and Austin Plevy also scored for the Huskies (17-9-1), who opened a 3-0 lead before the Eagles made it a one-goal game in the third period. Zach Solow added an empty-netter with six seconds left to give Northeastern its sixth title in the 67-year history of the tournament.
Harvard beat Boston University in the consolation game earlier at the TD Garden.
“This is an opportunity for differentiation,” Huskies coach Jim Madigan said. “This team becomes the benchmark and the team that others at Northeastern will chase.”
First played in 1952, the tournament pits the area’s four college hockey powers against each other on the first two Mondays in February.
Northeastern has long seemed like an unwanted guest.
The five Beanpot titles the Huskies previously brought home to Huntington Avenue were less than half of the next-worst haul, Harvard’s 11. Boston University won 29 of the first 57, an occurrence so common that the event was jokingly called the BU Invitational.
BU and BC also have filled their trophy cases with NCAA championships, with the Eagles claiming four under coach Jerry York since 2001. BU has two since 1991, while reaching the title game four more times.
“We’re in a town with three other 800-pound gorillas. They’ve had a lot of success in this tournament,” Madigan said.
“For us to continue to grow our program, we needed to win back-to-back,” he said. “Next year, we’ve got to win three. We’ve never won three.”
David Cotton and J.D. Dudek scored for BC, and Joseph Woll made 31 saves for the Eagles (10-14-3).
Northeastern had not skated around the ice with the Beanpot in consecutive years since 1984-85, when the tournament was still at the old Boston Garden and Madigan was a Huskies forward. Northeastern won again in 1988, then watched that building close and three decades pass before ending its drought last year.
BU now has the longest Beanpot slump, last winning in 2015.
“All of us are selfish. We want to win it,” York said. “We all understand that there are four pretty darn good programs now in Boston.”
The game was scoreless until the last minute of the first period, when Plevy poked in the rebound of Griffin’s wraparound. Schule made it 2-0 late in the second, and then Griffin flipped a backhand into the net 85 seconds into the third.
That seemed to spark the Eagles, who cut the deficit to two on Cotton’s goal three minutes later and then made it a 3-2 game with 7:46 to play. BC outshot Northeastern 15-9 in the third, but Primeau turned away the rest of them to protect the lead until Solow clinched the victory.