As seconds ticked away in the second overtime of Monday night’s Beanpot semifinal between Northeastern and Harvard, Huskies senior defenseman Tim Judy remembered the words of his head coach, Bruce Crowder:
“Just throw the puck to the net,” was the phrase repeating incessantly in Judy’s head.
On Monday night, that advice paid off.
With traffic developing in front of Harvard netminder Dov Grumet-Morris, Judy moved around a diving Crimson defender and floated a shot through traffic. Those with a view realized it was destined for the top corner, provided Grumet-Morris didn’t once again glove the puck away, as he had so successfully all night.
When the puck finally hit the twine, Judy couldn’t see a thing except a red light and then the onward rush of his teammates, burying him in the corner to the left of the net, as ecstasy flowed freely among the vocal supporters of the Huntington Hounds.
The goal ended what is believed to be the third-longest game in Beanpot history, and the annals indicate that Northeastern has participated in all three — though on the losing of the other two. The goal for Judy, a native of Bowie, Md., who admitted to never having heard of the Beanpot until his recruiting trip — which coincidentally allowed him to attend the 2001 tournament — further crescendos his Husky career.
“He hasn’t capped anything off yet, “said Crowder. “He’s got some more games to play and this isn’t the end of his career here with the goal.
“But pound for pound I don’t think anybody competes as hard in this league as Tim Judy does. He hasn’t changed that an ounce since he came here as a freshman playing alongside [former Husky and NHLer] Jim Fahey.”
Still, according to Crowder, that doesn’t mean that Judy hasn’t had to do a lot of maturing in his four years on Huntington Avenue.
“He’s a kid who whose greatest strength is sometimes his great weakness,” Crowder said. “He gets overzealous and just wants to compete so bad. That’s one of the things he’s kept under wraps this year. He’s played the system but at the same time has picked his spots extremely well on when to pinch along the boards, or when to try to score a big goal in overtime.”
The goal, the third of the season for Judy and only the 10th of his career, propelled Northeastern to the championship game for just the fourth time since winning its last Beanpot in 1988. The dramatic double-overtime finish also brought a level of joy to the Northeastern program that has been severely missing for some time.
“My joy is the kids’ joy,” said Crowder, who after the game stood up on the bench and pumped both arms into the air in salute to the Northeastern crowd. “These guys have been through a lot and they’ve persevered. There were a couple of tough years when we didn’t make the playoffs in Hockey East. We lost by a point one year and lost by a tiebreaker the next year.
“They have not quit and that’s just a sign. We’re getting great leadership from these guys. They’re all chipping in doing different things.”
When asked about his own postgame celebration and the level of excitement the seldom-emotional coach showed on the bench, Crowder summed it up simply.
“If you’re not going to get excited about a win like this, I guess you shouldn’t be in this business. This win was special.”
And all because a player took his coach’s words of wisdom — and simply threw the puck to the net.