Known for more than a quarter of a century as the doormat of Boston hockey, Northeastern University is well on its way to the top.
Everyone now knows that the Husky men were flabbergasting in their Beanpot upset of favored Boston College and Boston University squads. But long before that 28th Beanpot--in fact almost before the Zamboni hit the ice after the 27th--Northeastern had begun its short climb to stardom. The women's hockey team was paving the way.
Northeastern romped to the championship of the First Annual Women's Beanpot last year, and the Huskies rate as favorites at the second tournament, which they'll kick off with Boston College this Saturday at 11 a.m. at Bright Arena. Harvard will meet Boston University at 2:30 p.m., and the consolation and championship games will take place Sunday at the same times.
The Huskies--one of the East Coast's premier teams--are eager for a repeat performance, particularly since the victorious Northeastern men's team is smugly putting the pressure on them.
No Questions Asked
"They don't ask, 'Are you gonna win it,' they say, 'Win it,'" N.U. coach Paula Dumart said yesterday at a pre-Beanpot press luncheon.
In all likelihood, the Northeastern women--now 11-4--won't disappoint the men. Although this is only the second year the school has featured a women's ice hockey squad, almost all of the team's players have been on skates for more than half of their lives.
None of the other Beanpot competitors boasts that kind of experienced player, but B.C. is hoping to tame the Huskies when it meets Northeastern in Beanpot round one.
"We haven't skated in a week and a half, since the school's been on vacation," B.C. coach Dave Clark noted, adding, "Our first line has scored seven goals in the last two games, and they'd especially like to beat Northeastern cause N.U. beat our men."
Harvard would "especially like" to beat B.U.--since it has fallen to all of the other Beanpot competitors and since it ended up in the spot once reserved for Northeastern's men (the basement) in last year's tourney.
"I think the B.U.-Harvard game will be determined by who out-hustles who," Crimson coach Rita Harder said yesterday, adding that she believes B.U. forward Nancy Kilik will be a formidable obstacle to a Harvard win.
"Harvard has improved and will give us a good show," Kilik admitted. But she added, "Our individuals have gotten better and we'll come to play."
The 8-7 Terriers will probably do just that, and their only problem may be that Northeastern has similar plans.