Since 1973, the same man has watched over the Boston University bench. But aside from the presence of Jack Parker, virtually everything else surrounding the Terrier program has changed, from the arena, the assistant coaches, and, of course, the players.
Yet one thing never changes: BU's domination of the Beanpot. Seventeen championships. Eleven straight appearances in the title game. Eight crowns in the last 10 years. While the Terriers' success can defy rational explanation, Len Zaichkowsky, BU's sports psychologist, points to the team's tradition -- established by former stars such as Tony Amonte, Shawn McEachern, and Chris Drury -- as being annual motivation for each successive club.
"They don't want to let their brethren down," said Zaichkowsky. "This is an incredible streak that's gone on for so long and it's very special. It's another motivator that throws it into higher gear. It plays a huge part, this belief that they don't want to let the Terriers of previous years down."
Zaichkowsky, who is in his 20th year working with Parker's teams, met with players individually over the weekend and will also hold brief meetings with the Terriers today before the game.
"You want to be optimally aroused, intense but not uptight," Zaichkowsky said. "Usually uptightness and nervousness lead to muscle tensions. Your legs tense and fatigue more rapidly and your hands are not soft. What you have to self-regulate is arousal and being pumped up and intense but cool in thinking. Your muscles need to be relaxed to carry the puck and receive passes."
For BU, the concern is that the expectations of continuing a tradition could weigh upon the Terriers tonight against Northeastern. However, that same streak of success could enter the minds of the underdog Huskies early in the game.
"It puts a different kind of pressure on the opposition, almost like the belief in the curse with the Red Sox, like they're destined to win," Zaichkowsky said. "What's happening here is the seed of uncertainty being planted in an opponent's locker room."
It's a sentiment that Northeastern coach Bruce Crowder doesn't think will happen to his team.
"The kids are going to leave it all on the ice," he said. "That's not going to be an issue."
A super sub
On Northeastern's game-tying goal against Harvard last week, the player who might have deflected the puck past Crimson goalie Dov Grumet-Morris was not even supposed to be on the ice. On the previous shift, top-line winger Jared Mudryk hit the ice well before linemates Mike Morris and Jason Guerriero. By the end of that shift, Mudryk was tired and Crowder sent out fourth-line right wing Joe Santilli to take an offensive-zone faceoff with Morris and Guerriero, who beat Harvard center Tom Cavanagh on the draw. Morris gained control and fired a shot that seemed to deflect off Santilli to even the score at one apiece. Morris, however, was credited with the goal, his 14th of the season . . . Crowder compared Guerriero's ability to make opponents look silly with several upperclassmen in Hockey East, likening his skills to those of Boston College's Ryan Shannon (10-20--30), New Hampshire's Sean Collins (14-25--39), and Maine's Michel Leveille (7-5--12). But in that same group, Crowder also included BU freshman Chris Bourque (6-10--16), who did not play in the Huskies' 3-1 loss to the Terriers Jan. 7 because of an injured right knee. "There's a handful of guys in the league like that," said Crowder, "and not much more than a handful."