Calling Wayne Turner!

Wayne Turner holding the coveted Pot in 1980. Is there any wonder that NU hockey fans refer to the man from Kitimat, British Columbia as "Beanpot?"

Wayne Turner holding the coveted Pot in 1980. Is there any wonder that NU hockey fans refer to the man from Kitimat, British Columbia as “Beanpot?”

Where have you gone, Wayne Turner? Husky Nation turns its lonely eyes to you.

In Boston, it’s starting to feel like 1978 with all this snow on the ground and predictions of more.

On Causeway Street, though, I hope we time-travel back to 1980. We need this generation’s Wayne Turner to come through with the game-winning goal and to bring the Beanpot back to Northeastern.

After that, we need 2016-2018 to reprise 1981-1983. In those three years, BU, BC, and Harvard all won a Beanpot championship. We need this February festival to be a true, four-team event in which every squad has a strong chance to emerge the winner. The years from 1980 to 1983 were the only four-season span in which every team took the title once. I think that such balance is coming back. Let’s hope that it does.

It’s hard to believe that the Huntington Hounds haven’t been Beanpot champions since 1988. They have come up empty in their last 26 tries.

When Turner scored that magical overtime goal to beat BC 5-4 back in 1980, it gave Northeastern its first Beanpot crown ever. That took 29 years to accomplish. We had waited too long back then, and we’ve waited too long now.

It’s just as bad over at Harvard, if not worse. The Crimson have not been Beanpot champs since 1993. Moreover, Harvard has made it to the final round just once since the year 2000.

On Monday night, Northeastern will be making its seventh appearance of the current millennium in the Beanpot title game. This is the fifth time in the last seven years NU has gotten that far. By contrast, before NU won the 1980 championship on its 29th try, it had made it to the final round exactly twice.

There has never been a championship final game pitting the Huskies against Harvard. We almost got to see one this season. Boston University spoiled that possibility when they beat the Crimson 4-3 in double overtime in round one. Harvard’s Steve Michalek’s incredible 63-save goaltending show went for naught.

Northeastern got a goal from defenseman Dustin Darou and beat Boston College 3-2 in the second game of this year’s first round. It came with less than two minutes to play and just before midnight. Maybe Darou is the Huskies’ Malcolm Butler. Dustin had scored only one other goal in his college career up until that point.

That set up this year’s final, with the 11-11-4 Huskies taking on the 17-4-4 Terriers. NU’s win over BC was not a giant upset. The Eagles were favored, but only slightly. Northeastern’s record is deceiving. They started off 0-8-1, so since mid-November their record is 11-3-3. And it’s been against some pretty tough foes.

It’s unfortunate that the postponement for snow, followed by those horrendous snarls on the roadways and on public transit systems, kept the first-night crowd at the Garden well under capacity. The whole evening was college athletics at its best.

Every year we say that the teams are evenly matched and that any one of them could win. But it was true this year. Both Harvard and Boston College played terrific games, even in defeat. The Garden fans, all of them knowing that their respective teams had a real chance to win, were loud and spirited.

Even the national anthem singers, Taylor Carol of Harvard and Grace Greene of Boston College, delivered boffo performances. Grace’s sons Matt and Justin played hockey for BC a few years ago. Her “Land of the Free” flew higher than the Garden rafters, much to the delight of the cheering fans.

If you were there, I’m sure you agree that it was a wonderful night of sport. If you weren’t, you missed something special.

Next year the first-round pairings are the same as this year’s second night: BC-Harvard in the opener and BU-Northeastern in the nightcap. So maybe in 2016 we’ll see that long-awaited championship matchup between the Huskies and the Crimson.

Harvard needs a Beanpot win. They’re vastly improved, and they’ll have most of their stars back again next year. So there’s reason to be optimistic.

But Northeastern has been knocking on the Beanpot door incessantly. They’ve won it only four times. They’re way overdue. It’s time for them to win again.

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