Northeastern’s incredible run now includes a long-awaited Hockey East title

Colton Saucerman and Northeastern celebrate the team’s first Hockey East title since 1988 (photo: Melissa Wade).

BOSTON — There are no history majors in the Northeastern hockey program.

Other schools quickly point to past conference championships, Beanpot titles and NCAA tournament appearances, if not titles.

Hockey East playoffs

See the tournament bracket and get links to schedules and stories at Hockey East Playoff Central.

Not on Huntington Avenue.

Going into the Huskies’ Hockey East championship game against Massachusetts-Lowell, Northeastern had appeared in exactly one such title game. The Huskies won it that time, but that went all the way back to 1988, which not coincidentally was also their last Beanpot title.

Back in 1988, Ronald Reagan was president, Johnny Carson still ruled nighttime TV, and songs like “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” and “Kokomo” topped the Billboard charts.

When your only title came that long ago, giving you the longest drought in Hockey East, it isn’t bragging material.

It’s ancient history.

After Northeastern’s 3-2 win over Lowell, however, the Huskies are now kings of current events.

“We always seemed to come up a little short,” senior Kevin Roy said. “That’s the main reason I came back to play this year — to accomplish something.

“With a program that hasn’t won since 1988, it speaks a lot for the team. It’s pretty special.”

Making it even sweeter, if that’s even possible, is that Northeastern opened the season with a 1-11-2 record before completing the most perfect 180 degree U-turn to finish the season 20-1-2.

“When you’re 1-11-2 to start, you’re subjected to people’s thoughts and opinions,” Northeastern coach Jim Madigan said. “It’s like Idiot Radio and Tony from Southie is calling in. It stings when it’s some of your own people who don’t know if the puck is blown up or stuffed or what it’s made of but they feel like they want to comment.”

Madigan and his team put the blinders on and earplugs in and stuck with the process. Somehow, the team that could barely win a game in the first half became Hockey East champions.

“Coming into this year, we knew we could do it,” Roy said. “No matter what start we had, it didn’t matter to us. We just won one game [at a time]. It isn’t easy to make it to the Garden, but we did it as a group.”

The title’s impact goes beyond the team to the school as a whole.

“Northeastern has been on such an [upward] trajectory over the last 15 years,” Madigan said. “We’ve shown excellence in so many different areas of the institution. We’re a hot school.

“The one area we needed to get better was our higher [profile] athletic programs. We’ve had glimpses of it, but we needed to get to this point, win a Beanpot or a Hockey East championship.

“We’ve done that [now] so it opens up the excellence in another area of the university. It means a lot.”

And for all the alums who’ve been unhappy with the team’s close-but-no-cigar past finishes, Madigan has a special message.

“For all those alums who’ve been out there saying they weren’t going to give until we won a championship or Beanpot,” Madigan said, “I’m coming knocking on your door.”


  1. I’ve watched Northeastern’s turnaround with amazement. I think they will play North Dakota in Cincinnati, in one hell of a first-round game

  2. The Huskies had a similar scenario last year with a long winless streak followed by a 180 turn around and were the arguably the hottest team in the country by the end of the year only to lose in the first round of the Hockey East Playoffs. Kudos to Coach Madigan and his staff for engineering an even more impressive run in 2016. On to Cincinnati!


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