The Glass Slipper Shatters

In many respects, referring to this year’s Northeastern Huskies as a Beanpot Cinderella misrepresents their considerable strengths and insults true underdogs everywhere.

After all, Northeastern came into the championship game leading Hockey East with a 14-4-1 league mark and ranked third in the country.

That hardly sounds like a poor misbegotten girl of the cinders. It better conjures images of a surgically enhanced bombshell in a black leather miniskirt and heels.

A third-in-the-country Cinderella?

Yet in many respects, the glass slipper fit the Huskies’ feet perfectly. Especially when accounting for their title game opponent.

Northeastern’s impressive number three ranking still trailed Boston University’s number one. More importantly, this was the second Monday of February. Terrier Time.

Number of Beanpot championships: Boston University 28, Northeastern 4.

Overall Beanpot record: Boston University (81-31), Northeastern (31-81).

Head-to-head Beanpot record: BU 29, NU 7.

Last Northeastern Beanpot win over BU: 1988.

Forget the saucy bombshell’s strut. Meek Cinderella’s glass slipper fit.

And my, how Cinderella could dance. She glided about the floor, gown flowing and hair perfect, countering BU’s first-period goal with one of her own. After surrendering a shorthanded goal in the second period, she came back to tie the game. Though the Terriers led 3-2 after two periods, she went on a five-on-three power play early in the third.

Prince Charming had arrived and he sure looked smitten. He bowed and held out his hand, but Cinderella declined the dance. The score remained 3-2.

Undeterred, the Prince again approached in the form of a power play at 12:54. Asked once more for the dance, Cinderella did the unthinkable. She slapped the Prince and 30 seconds later hit him over the head with the glass slipper, surrendering a second and third shorthanded goal.

Prince Charming turned his back on Cinderella and returned to his coterie, interested no more.

Not the way the tale was supposed to end.

“It takes the absolute wind out of you,” NU captain Joe Vitale said of the shorthanded goals. “It’s like you go from a complete high — we had momentum, we had a power play, it was a 3-2 game — and it just sucked the wind right out of us when they scored those goals.

“We knew coming into this game that BU is an excellent transition team, an excellent five-on-five transition team. Maybe we took a little bit for granted as far as their [four-on-five] goes.

“But a couple blocked shots… and those forwards and defensemen jump up so quick. Shorthanded goals will kill you.”

The sad thing was that Cinderella had her chance. She looked so fine and danced with the lightest of steps. Her teeth glistened and her eyes sparkled.

But she all but spat on Prince Charming. Her downfall was self-inflicted.

“Northeastern played us as well as any team we played all year,” BU coach Jack Parker said. “They did a great job below the dots in their zone and in our zone. They possessed the puck better than most teams do against our defense and they negated our forwards better than I’ve seen any team do. They applied pressure all night long.

“The game was won on three shorthanded goals. Who would have thought that? I’ve never seen that in my life in the Beanpot.”

There’ll be next year’s dance and the year after that. But this will be the one remembered for the time when Cinderella shattered the glass slipper herself. Over Prince Charming’s head.

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