BOSTON — While Northeastern hockey fans have suffered through a stretch of long, fruitless Februaries, Huskies goaltender Cayden Primeau knows nothing but success — and winning — when it comes to the Beanpot.
And that is why, when Primeau was at the wrong end of a net-front collision with 14:59 left in the third period, there was no way he was coming out of the game.
The sophomore took a barreling hit from a Boston College attacker on a rush to the net that sent the goalie sprawling. Primeau was hunched over, clearly nursing some pain from the collision.
“It was a play they tried to go to back door, the guy was crashing the net, and hit me in the groin area. It was a little bit of a stinger,” Primeau said.
But Primeau led the Huskies to a Beanpot title last year, and he was going to do it again.
“I wasn’t ready to come out at any point,” he added.
It was 3-0 at that point, and things would get a whole lot more complicated in the remaining minutes, with BC narrowing the gap to 3-2. But that’s when Primeau showed an extra gear.
The sophomore turned away 33 shots, topping his impressive performance in last week’s semifinal. Primeau stopped 59 of 62 shots that came his way in the tournament, earning the Eberly Award as the top goaltender in the tournament. He also was named Tournament MVP.
It solidifies his legacy in Boston’s most hallowed college hockey tournament. Last year, he made 75 saves, including a shutout in the semifinals to help the Huskies break their 30-year Beanpot title drought.
“He was unbelievable tonight and last week. We don’t win this tournament without him,” Northeastern senior captain Eric Williams said. “He gives our team so much confidence. He gives our defense more confidence, taking more risks, staying up to make more plays. … There were times we were on our heels in this game, and he bailed us out several times tonight.”
Primeau, who also starred for Team USA in the IIFC World Junior Championships earlier this year, is a 2017 seventh-round selection of the Montreal Canadiens. With a career 2.10 GAA and .927 save percentage, his pro prospects are skyrocketing.
“He is a seasoned goaltender back there,” Northeastern coach Jim Madigan said. “He loves the big stage … and he has been on big stages.
“The only concern I have is he is having so much success that the Red, White and Blue in Montreal might be coming after him. … That’s a good thing, though. We’ll deal with that in time.”
So while Primeau sent the Northeastern student section into several frenzies Monday night at TD Garden, it might not be long before Boston fans are lamenting him on the very ice he built his legacy.
Thumbnail photo via Jim Pierce/Northeastern Athletics