Kevin Roy brings Beanpot hope to Northeasternby Bob Snow
BOSTON -- It's been a long drought since the Northeastern University Huskies won the Beanpot Tournament, played annually the first two Mondays in February in Boston since 1952.
Twenty-six years to be exact.
If a 5-foot-10, 170-pound kid from Lac-Beauport, Quebec -- and his NU teammates -- can replicate last season's Beanpot effort in the first round, the second Monday this February could be a historic date in the school's long and storied hockey history.
Last February Kevin Roy, then a freshman, pumped home three goals in the first-round game against Boston University, punching Northeastern's ticket to a Boston bragging-rights shot against Boston College in the championship game.
Beanpot tournament facts and highlights
* The NCAA's biggest in-season tournament is played among Boston College, Boston University, Harvard University and Northeastern University.
* BU leads in number of Beanpot championships with 29; BC follows with 18; Harvard with 10; Northeastern with 4.
* The 2014 Beanpot Tournament starts Feb. 3, with Harvard against Northeastern at 5 p.m. ET, and BC vs. BU at 8 p.m. ET. The winners meet Feb. 10 for the championship.
* Boston College has four consecutive Beanpot championships. The last team to win four or more consecutive Beanpots was BU, with six from 1995-2000.
* Harvard won the first Beanpot, beating Boston University 7-4 in the championship game. The Crimson last won it all in 1993 with a 4-2 win against BU.
* Northeastern's last Beanpot championship was in 1988 when they beat BU 6-3 in the championship game.
* Harvard and Northeastern never have met in the championship game.
* The 1978 Beanpot may be the most memorable, taking a mythic place in Boston sports lore when several hundred fans were stuck in Boston Garden for days after a blizzard dumped more than two feet of snow during the night of the first-round games.
BC had had the Beanpot trophy under lock and key the previous three seasons.
Two more Roy goals that second Monday, however, were not enough as the Huskies lost 6-3 to the Eagles.
Those five goals did earn Roy the rare MVP honor for a player on the losing team and signaled the beginning of his ascent as one of the most electrifying forwards in the NCAA.
Since Roy learned of the Beanpot during his prep-school days at nearby Deerfield (Mass.) Academy, the sophomore sensation and Anaheim Ducks 2012 fourth-round draft pick (No. 97) continues to score better than a point per game with 14 goals and 31 points in 26 games.
"Kevin knows how to score and he wants to score," Northeastern coach Jim Madigan told NHL.com at the Beanpot luncheon last week. "When the game is on the line he demands the puck. A lot of guys don't want that situation. For us he's our catalyst offensively. When you recruit a goal scorer you look at their history at every level."
Nine other Huskies have fed off Roy's energy and have hit double digits in points.
Want a few other eye-popping numbers from Roy's scoring history? How about 31 goals and 62 points in 52 games at Deerfield?
Or the 2011-12 season when Roy, as a member of the Lincoln Stars, led the United States Hockey League with 54 goals and 104 points in 59 games. His point total was the most in the USHL Tier 1 era and the most by a USHL player in more than two decades.
Last season he had 17 goals and 17 assists in 29 games at Northeastern.
"He's such a skilled guy," Northeastern senior captain Braden Pimm said. "When he wants to turn it up you see what happens. He can put the team on his back when he wants to. That's a trait all good players have. The bigger the game the bigger they play."
How does the 20-year-old squeeze so much up-tempo play and offensive productivity out of his 170-pound frame?
"I try to approach every game as an important one," Roy told NHL.com. "Make plays game in and game out and stuff happens. I think seeing the ice well is a big part of my game; reading the play and where to be at a certain time. I'm not the biggest guy but I play against bigger defensemen and try to outsmart them. Having a nose for the net is an important thing, and playing with good players makes my game easier."
Another factor contributing to Roy's college experience is sibling "revelry."
"It's awesome with Derick here," Roy said of landing in Boston with his older brother, a redshirt freshman and Northeastern goalie. "Not a lot of people can experience being in college with your brother and as roommates. We felt we wanted a balance between good academics and good hockey. Northeastern had that along with the city of Boston and events like the Beanpot."
For the next several months Kevin Roy's playing focus is clear.
"Getting bigger and stronger is important," Roy said, "but getting in position and learning little things like defending better creates even more opportunities offensively. Little tricks and little pointers about defense is a focus."
Breaking into the top-10 poll nationally and holding tight at No. 2 in Hockey East behind Boston College, Northeastern is poised for a deep run through the NCAA Tournament.
"The Beanpot was an awesome experience last year," Roy said. "It's been a while since Northeastern has won it. We'd like it to be a special year for the school, make some history this season."
After this season?
"We all know the NHL will present an opportunity for him," Madigan said. "But he knows when it's time to go it's got to be the right time physically and emotionally."
"You need different types and sizes of players to make a team," Roy said about his present and the future. "I think I'm fast and can find the right place at the right moment."
Roy is in the right place at Northeastern University. The next two Mondays present more opportunities for some right moments for Roy and his Northeastern teammates.