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The first Beanpot tournament took place the weekend after Christmas in December 1952. At the time it was called the New England Invitational Tournament and included the same four Boston-based teams that participate today. The single-elimination men’s tournament is now split between the first two Mondays in February and is a spectacle of Boston college hockey. All four teams have had success within the tournament but one of them took a little bit longer than the others to capture its first Beanpot trophy.

Heading into the 1980 Beanpot, Northeastern had a record of just 3-11-0. However, the team had impressively beaten Maine 9-3 in the game leading up to the tournament. The previous Beanpot in 1979 saw the Huskies win the consolation game against Harvard 5-4. At the time, Northeastern had yet to capture the Beanpot trophy. The three other teams had their time in the spotlight. Harvard won the inaugural tournament in 1952. Boston College won the next Beanpot that took place in 1954. Boston University won its first Beanpot trophy in 1958. Northeastern had only participated in the championship game twice before 1980 and had finished last in the tournament 18 times. The team was due.

The schedule for the opening round included Northeastern versus Boston University and Harvard versus Boston College. The first game on Monday, February 4 went into overtime. Northeastern found the back of the net in the extra frame and defeated Boston University 6-5. The second game of the day saw Boston College defeat Harvard 4-3 setting up the Huskies and the Eagles in the championship game February 11 to see who the kings of college hockey in Boston would be.

The championship game took place after Harvard downed Boston University 7-4 in the consolation game. Boston College came into the Beanpot with a 17-4-1 record and was two seasons removed from a national runner-up finish. The title game was one for the ages as it went to overtime to determine the champion. It didn’t take long. At two minutes and 47 seconds into overtime, Wayne Turner scored for the Huskies to clinch Northeastern’s first Beanpot championship with a 5-4 victory. The program’s first Beanpot title in the 28th tournament caused some people to call it the most memorable moment in the history of Northeastern sports. The game was only one of seven losses throughout the season for Boston College.

Fast forward to 2022 and the script has been flipped. There was no Beanpot played in 2021 marking it as the first calendar year where the tournament didn’t take place since 1953. However, Northeastern is the reigning champions. In fact, the Huskies are the reigning three-peat champions having won in 2018, 2019, and 2020. Northeastern is still fourth in terms of the number of first place Beanpot finishes with seven. But the Huskies are narrowing the gap. The opening game of the 2022 tournament will see Boston University face Harvard February 7. The nightcap is a rematch of the 1980 Beanpot championship game when Boston College and Northeastern go toe to toe.

To read additional detail about Beanpot history, view our historical write up that covered U.S. college hockey in the 1950s.

In the featured photo, Wayne Turner celebrates his Beanpot-clinching goal in overtime of the 1980 Beanpot championship game. This historic goal for the program earned him the nickname Wayne “Beanpot” Turner.

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Jet Commercial Photographers, Northeastern University Photograph collection, at the Northeastern University Archives and Special Collections.

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The first game in program history for the Wisconsin Badgers occurred January 14, 1922, against the Milwaukee Athletic Club. The game took place outdoors where the Library Mall currently sits on the Madison campus. The team played eight games that season and went winless. In fact, Wisconsin’s first collegiate hockey win took place in that rink January 20, 1923, against Michigan. Three years later, the Badgers played fifteen games, winning eight and tying four, and still played home contests in the same rink.

Scheduling was unpredictable at the time because games were at the mercy of the local weather. In the 1925-26 season, Wisconsin was able to play three exhibition games with two taking place before the new year. Playing three games at Eveleth (2) and Virginia (1) across the western border proved to be valuable practice. The Badgers opened the regular season with two shutouts the following weekend at Marquette and scored 14 goals in two shutouts. The team didn’t lose a game until the back-half of a two-game series at Michigan on February 13, 1926. This set the stage for a big Michigan series at home at the beginning of March. Wisconsin entered the series with a 6-1-4 record.

On the opposite side of the puck, Michigan didn’t play the first game of the season until January 23. Wisconsin had already played five games and three exhibition contests by that date. The Wolverines hosted rivals Michigan State that day and defeated the Spartans 4-0. Michigan travelled to Michigan State on February 5 for the second game of the season and won again; this time 4-1. By the time the series at Wisconsin showed up on the schedule in the spring of 1926, the team was looking to right the ship after having just been swept by Minnesota. The Wolverines had played eight games at that point with a record of 3-3-2 going into the series.

Both games in March 1926 between Michigan and host Wisconsin were close affairs. The Badgers eked out a 2-1 victory in game one on Thursday, March 4. Wisconsin shut out the Wolverines the next day 2-0. The losses ended Michigan’s season with a final record of 3-5-2. Wisconsin was able to play yet another series the following week at Minnesota. Wisconsin was swept yet the Badgers ended with an impressive 8-3-4 record.

This series in 1926 was the fifteenth and sixteenth games played between these two programs. This weekend will see games 160 and 161 take place in the all-time series. Both games will be played on campus in Madison. However, the setting will be a little different inside the Kohl Center.

In the featured photo, three Wisconsin players and a Michigan player chase the puck across the rink. Games regularly took place in the daytime at this point in hockey history. A string of lights can be seen in the photo that stretches across the width of the rink. These lights likely didn’t provide an appropriate amount of light in order to safely play a collegiate game. This photo was date stamped October 27, 1926. However, no Wisconsin game occurred on that date and there likely wasn’t outdoor ice at that time. Trees in the background also appear to have no leaves which would be very uncommon at that point in the fall. Details on the opponent aren’t included with the photo but the opposing player appears to be wearing a sweater that Michigan players wore at that time. The last time Michigan visited Wisconsin prior to October 27, 1926, was the March 1926 series. We at College Hockey History estimate that is when this photo was taken.

Photo Credit: University of Wisconsin-Madison Archives: Meuer Albums Vol 10. Photo by William Meuer.

Today’s hockey team at West Point is known as the Army Black Knights. That hasn’t always been the case. One hundred and four years ago, the hockey team at West Point was in its 15th season. It was known as the Cadets as the Black Knights nickname wasn’t formalized until 1999. And the team’s hockey season took place at the very beginning of a global pandemic in the midst of the Great War.

When Army first began its hockey program, the team played its home games at nearby Lusk Reservoir. A temporary outdoor rink was later built on the United States Military Academy campus behind the gymnasium. The team began playing games there in January 1915. It was stated at the time that the construction of the rink made games possible that otherwise may have been called off due to poor weather. The easy access to the rink on campus also increased attendance and interest. It was named Stuart Rink in honor of Colonel Stuart, the man who came up with the initial idea of creating a snowbank in the shape of a rink and then flooding it. By the time the 1917-18 season began, it had been rebuilt with wooden boards. This so-called temporary rink lasted until 1930.

Army 1917-18 team photo
1917-18 Army team photo

The 1917-18 hockey season was a challenging one for Army. Due to World War I, many hockey programs had been suspended at schools around the country. Army was able to field a team but it was difficult due to the number of men that were heading off to war. After finding enough cadets for the team, Henry Nichols was named captain. The team was able to put together a schedule of nine games. The level of competition varied from three games against high school teams to one against the Massachusetts Agricultural School (now known as UMass). It was also mentioned at the time that the quarantine had an adverse effect on the hockey season. This likely referenced a very-early quarantine for the Spanish Flu pandemic that was likely imposed by either the Military Academy or local government. A big development in the middle of the season was when the head coach, Captain Joseph Viner, was called into active duty. He ultimately ended up serving under Lieutenant Colonel George S. Patton on the front lines in Europe in command of the 1st Battalion, also named the 345th Tank Battalion. Throughout all of these challenges, the Army Cadets managed to put up a winning record of 6-3 by the end of the season.

In the featured photo, Army hosted Williams College at the rebuilt Stuart Rink on January 26, 1918. A row of Cadets and fans watched the game on snowbanks behind the gymnasium. Army is wearing the striped sweaters in the photo. As with Army, the Williams College Ephs have a storied hockey program that dates back to 1903. Located in Williamstown, Massachusetts, the Ephs currently compete in Division III hockey. Williams defeated Army that day to bring the Cadets record even at 3-3. However, it was the jump start the team needed as it won the final three games to close out the season with a winning record.

Photo Credit: (Featured Image) National Archives Catalog. (Team Photo) U.S. Military Academy Howitzer, 1919 Yearbook of the United States Corps of Cadets.

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The first hockey game between the University of Denver and Colorado College was played January 6, 1950. It was just the fifth game in program history for Denver. The twelve-year head start in hockey for Colorado College was evident in a 16-0 shellacking that the Tigers provided to the new kids on the block. The next night was a closer contest when the Tigers only won by ten goals in another shutout. It didn’t get any easier for the Pioneers that season – or the next – as Denver went winless against Colorado College in the first two seasons of the program. Denver finally struck gold in the tenth game between these intrastate rivals and won 4-3 in Colorado Springs.

By the time the 1953-54 season arrived, Denver was ready to build upon a 17-6-1 season. Colorado College had dipped to a 9-11-0 record the year before. The two teams played four times during the season with three of the four games taking place in 1954. Colorado College hosted the first meeting December 19, 1953. The visitors won the game 7-5. It was the first conference game of the season for both teams with each program having played school alumni and the Edmonton Oil Kings to open the season. A home-and-home series was on tap the following month. On January 15, 1954, Denver welcomed the Tigers to the University of Denver Arena and won 5-4. The next night the teams traveled to Colorado Springs and the Tigers earned a split in the series with a 6-5 victory. The final game of the season between these two teams took place February 27. Denver’s archives state that the game was played at home while Colorado College’s archives state that the game was played at that school’s home rink. We here at College Hockey History are led to believe that it was played in Denver in order to complete the even schedule of two home games per team. The Pioneers won the final game against their rival 6-2 and won the season series 3-1. Denver ended the season with a 16-9-0 record. Colorado College bounced back with a winning season at 14-9-1.

Did Denver’s early losses to Colorado College in the opening stages of the program jump-start this rivalry for Denver? Did it provide an extra kick to this program and ultimately fuel a dynasty that emerged the following decade? This could very well be the case. Either way, the rivalry took off and Denver quickly fielded a competitive team.

The Pioneers would have won the Gold Pan trophy in 1954 if it had been around at the time. However, it was first introduced in 1993 to be awarded every season to the team that wins the most head-to-head regular season games between these two teams. Denver won the Gold Pan last season with a 3-1 season record over Colorado College. The two teams have yet to play this season. That changes this weekend as the teams play a home-and-home series starting in Denver at Magness Arena on Friday. The Saturday game will be the first game between these two teams at the new Ed Robson Arena for Colorado College. This also marks the first time the two teams will play against one another on the Colorado College campus. Fans attending the games this weekend or watching at home will see games 329 and 330 in the all-time series.

In the featured photo, two players wearing number 9 for Denver and Colorado College vie for the puck in the corner. Colorado College is in white while Denver is wearing Crimson sweaters. The referee looks on as well as a ring of fans in the standing-room section at ice level. The University of Denver Arena was almost-assuredly a full house for the rivalry. The photo was taken either January 15 or February 27, 1954. The Denver player is Barrie Middleton.

Photo Credit: Digital Collections at DU

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The first season of hockey in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference began in the fall of 1998. The MAAC fielded eight teams in that inaugural year. The conference hosted a single-elimination postseason tournament with the semifinals and championship game taking place in Worcester, Massachusetts.

When the first MAAC regular season ended, Quinnipiac was at the front of the pack and earned the top seed in the postseason tournament. Two other teams that were also in the upper half of the seeding were Holy Cross at two and Canisius at four. As with other MAAC hockey programs, this was the first year in Division I for both Holy Cross and Canisius. The Holy Cross Crusaders entered the postseason with a 19-9-4 overall record and a five-game unbeaten streak. The Canisius Golden Griffins entered with a 14-14-5 overall record and had just completed a sweep at Fairfield the weekend before the tournament.

In the opening round of the tournament, Canisius hosted American International and defeated the Yellow Jackets 7-4. Holy Cross hosted Sacred Heart and defeated the Pioneers 3-1. This win guaranteed home-ice advantage for the Crusaders throughout the remainder of the playoffs due to Holy Cross hosting the final three games of the tournament at the Hart Center. Canisius drew the top-seed Quinnipiac Braves. (The school would change the nickname to the Bobcats in 2001). The Golden Griffins put up five goals on Quinnipiac – with one being a short-handed goal – and came away with the 5-2 upset. In the other semifinal, the Crusaders took down three seed UConn 4-3 in overtime.

The first MAAC championship hockey game was held March 20, 1999. Coming into the game, Holy Cross held the season series lead at 3-0-1. It was an even title game through two periods with the score tied 3-3. Mike Maguire scored at the beginning of the third period in what ultimately ended up being the game-winning goal for the Crusaders. When it was all said and done, Holy Cross defeated Canisius 4-3 to capture the MAAC title. It was the first time in school history the hockey program had won a conference title. Junior Chris Fattey led the team with 46 points throughout the season. This would be the last game of the season for both teams. The MAAC was a new conference and had yet to earn an automatic berth to the NCAA Division I national tournament.

Canisius players on the ice during and after the loss against Holy Cross in the MAAC championship game on March 20, 1999.

Flash forward to the beginning of the 2002-03 season. The MAAC fielded 11 teams at that point. However, two teams (Iona and Fairfield) ceased hockey operations following the season. The nine remaining teams decided to break away from the MAAC to create a new conference: Atlantic Hockey Association.

The old division foes will face off again at the Hart Center this weekend when Canisius visits Worcester. Coming into this season, Holy Cross has won the Atlantic Hockey tournament twice (2004, 2006) and Canisius once (2013). The teams have yet to meet this season.

Photo Credit: (Featured Image) Holy Cross Crusader Nation Magazine, Winter 2009. (Second Image) The Griffin, March 26, 1999.

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The Great Lakes Invitational tournament began in 1965 with Michigan Tech as the host team. The Huskies were the only Michigan-based team that participated that year. At least three of the four teams that have participated each year since the 1979 tournament have been Michigan-based Division I men’s teams. The champion is awarded the MacInnes Cup.

The 2013 edition of the tournament was unique in that it took place outdoors at Comerica Park in Detroit. It was held the final weekend in December and included four Michigan teams: Michigan Tech, Western Michigan, Michigan and Michigan State. This was the third time this grouping of teams had faced off against one another in the tournament. However, it was the first time this tournament was played outdoors.

This 49th edition of the tournament was included as part of the festivities around the 2014 NHL Winter Classic that took place on New Year’s Day. In that game, the visiting Toronto Maple Leafs defeated the Detroit Red Wings 3-2 in a shootout at Michigan Stadium. The NHL game at Michigan Stadium was originally scheduled to occur the previous year – along with an outdoor Great Lakes Invitational tournament – but everything was pushed back due to the 2012 NHL lockout that season.

The first game of the 2013 Great Lakes Invitational was between Michigan State and Michigan Tech. The announced crowd was more than 25,000 on December 27. The Spartans came into the game with a 5-9-1 record in the first year of Big Ten Hockey. Michigan Tech had already swept the Spartans in Houghton, Michigan, the previous month. The Huskies also had a losing record of 6-9-5 in the new-look WCHA. Michigan State scored two early goals in the third period to go up 2-1. But Alex Petan of Michigan Tech scored the equalizer 8:13 into the period and that’s how it remained until the end of regulation. A shootout was needed to determine which team would advance to the tournament championship the following day. Michigan Tech’s Ryan Furne scored the shootout winner in the fifth round to send the team to the championship.

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The second game of the Day 1 was between Michigan and Western Michigan. Sitting at a 10-2-2 record, the Wolverines were the favorite to win the tournament. Western Michigan sported a 7-8-3 record and represented the brand-new NCHC conference. The Broncos were the runner-up in the previous year’s Great Lakes Invitational. The two teams had yet to face one another that season prior to the tournament. The Wolverines got on the board first with a shorthanded goal by JT Compher in the second period. But the Broncos bounced back and scored two of their own before the second frame was over. The Wolverines tied the score in the third and that’s how it remained at the end of regulation. With just nineteen seconds left in overtime, Josh Pitt scored the game winner for Western Michigan to send the Broncos to the title game.

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The MacInnes Cup would be awarded to either Michigan Tech or Western Michigan on December 28. But first the consolation game would be played between Michigan and Michigan State. The two rivals had yet to play that season. The Spartans surprised the college hockey world by shutting out Michigan 3-0. With many people picking Michigan to win the tournament, the team ended up in 4th place out of four teams.

More than 26,000 fans were in attendance to see which team would be the first to hoist the MacInnes Cup outdoors. It was a rematch of the previous year’s Great Lakes Invitational championship game that saw the Huskies blank the Broncos 4-0. In this rematch, the teams were evenly matched and both had great scoring chances. At one point in the second period Daniel Holmberg of Michigan Tech hit the cross bar for no goal. By the end of the game, shots were 33-31 in favor of Michigan Tech yet no goals had been scored. The game would be decided in overtime. It only took two minutes and one second for Justin Kovacs to score the game-winning goal. It was the second time the Broncos won the Great Lakes Invitational and first time since 1986.

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The same four teams will participate in this year’s Great Lakes Invitational. It will be the fifth time this grouping of teams will participate in the tournament (with the fourth being in 2016.) However, it will be a showcase tournament with games being held at Munn Ice Arena in East Lansing and Yost Ice Arena in Ann Arbor. The first two games will be held December 29 when Michigan State will host Western Michigan and Michigan will host Michigan Tech. The two visiting teams are scheduled to swap ice arenas the following night with Michigan State hosting Michigan Tech on Saturday and Michigan hosting Western Michigan. Unfortunately, Michigan announced December 27 that the team is cancelling the game on Saturday against Western Michigan. The official release stated health and welfare protocols but it sounds like it is not due to COVID but instead to prevent wear and tear on a roster that is missing five players to the IIHF World Junior Championship in Canada. This tournament will look different than previous iterations and no champion will be crowned for the second year in a row since last year’s tournament was canceled due to COVID. But the bright spot is that college hockey will be showcased again this holiday season in the state of Michigan.

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Let’s flash back to the late 1970s. Ohio State and Bowling Green are not only in-state hockey rivals, but also in-conference rivals within the previous incarnation of the CCHA. The two teams played four times in the 1976-77 regular season with all games taking place in the second half of the season in 1977. The teams split the first series at Ohio State after the Buckeyes won 5-4 in overtime in the second game of the weekend. The final regular season series of the year for both teams saw the Buckeyes travel to Bowling Green in what resulted in another split. The Falcons put 10 goals on the board in the Friday night game on February 25, 1977. The Buckeyes rebounded to win 4-2 the following evening. The Falcons finished second within the CCHA with a 10-6-0 conference record and the Buckeyes finished third at 8-7-1. With four teams advancing to the CCHA playoffs, this set the stage for a rematch the following weekend at Bowling Green.

In 1977, the CCHA playoffs included four teams and consisted of two semifinal series and a championship series. All three series included two games apiece with the aggregate goals rule in effect. This meant that the team that scored the most total goals within the two games was declared the winner. The first semifinal game between OSU and Bowling Green took place on Friday, March 4. With the season series tied 2-2, something had to give. The first night saw the Falcons defeat the Buckeyes 5-2. If Ohio State wanted to keep its season alive, the team had to win the second game by a minimum of four goals. Unfortunately for the Buckeyes, that didn’t happen. In the second game that took place March 6, 1977, Bowling Green finished off Ohio State by a score of 4-1. This effectively ended Ohio State’s season while the Falcons moved on to the CCHA championship series against top-ranked St. Louis.

The following weekend saw the Falcons defeat the Billikens 4-0 in game one. St. Louis responded in game two by winning 4-1. However, the total goals scored differential favored the Falcons by one goal. The 1977 CCHA tournament title earned Bowling Green an invite to the 1977 national tournament. It was the first appearance in the Division I men’s national tournament for Bowling Green. It also happened to be the first time the national tournament field had expanded past four with the Falcons securing the fifth spot. The Falcons ended up losing the first round game 7-5 to eventual national runner-up Michigan.

Ohio State and Bowling Green will begin a home-and-home series this week on Thursday night. It’s the first time the teams will face one another since October 27, 2018, when the Falcons and Buckeyes tied 2-2 at Bowling Green. The first game is Thursday in Columbus and the teams will travel north to Bowling Green for a Friday night matchup. The two teams are no longer both within the same conference. Bowling Green is once again affiliated with the new-look CCHA while Ohio State is in the Big Ten hockey conference. This is the ninth season since the two programs parted ways for different conferences yet this week’s matchup will be the sixth season the in-state rivals will face off against one another in that time period. So despite changes in conference alignment, the Battle for Ohio continues on. With all of the conference shifting in the past decade within Division I men’s hockey, a focus on keeping in-state rivalries in tact is very beneficial for the sport.

In the above photo, Jack Laine and Paul Titanic of Bowling Green look down at an OSU player who has the puck beneath him. The photo was taken during the CCHA semifinal series at Bowling Green in March 1977.

Photo Credit: Bowling Green State University, “The Key 1977” (1977). BGSU Key Yearbooks.

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On November 25, 2017, Boston University and Cornell met at Madison Square Garden for the sixth edition of Red Hot Hockey. The Red Hot Hockey event was introduced in 2007 when two long-time rivals squared off in New York City’s famous arena. The inaugural game drew 18,200 fans and was considered a success. Members of the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team were on hand to watch Boston University defeat Cornell. The two programs decided to make a series out of it. After this first game, the Terriers and Big Red have met every odd numbered year the weekend after Thanksgiving in Madison Square Garden in a series known as Red Hot Hockey.

After the first five editions of Red Hot Hockey, Boston University was undefeated with a record of 3-0-2. This changed in 2017. The Big Red jumped out to a 1-0 lead on a goal from Beau Starrett with less than five minutes remaining in the first period. Cornell extended the lead on a goal from Trevor Yates less than seven minutes into the second frame. Then just a little more than two minutes later, Alec McCrea scored a power-play goal to put the Big Red up 3-0. Boston University scored in the third period before Cornell could really pull away. It was a power-play goal from Dante Fabbro less than five minutes into the period. Cornell answered back when freshman Tristan Mullin scored his first collegiate goal. The Terriers would score two more goals by Chad Krys and Patrick Harper but it wasn’t enough. The Big Red held on to the 4-3 win and captured the program’s first Red Hot Hockey win and, with it, the Kelley-Harkness Cup.

In the above photo, Boston University’s Jordan Greenway skates around Cornell’s Brendan Smith during the first period of the 2017 Red Hot Hockey game at Madison Square Garden.

The two red-clad teams will meet for the eighth installment of Red Hot Hockey this weekend on November 27. Cornell is on a two-game Red Hot Hockey winning streak after registering the series’ first shut out in 2019. The game will once again take place at Madison Square Garden in New York City. For two programs that have a storied history of playing against one another since 1925, the Red Hot Hockey series adds an extra kick to this rivalry every two years.

On November 13, 1921, the Intercollegiate Athletic Association passed a rule that hockey teams were to reduce the number of players on the ice per team from seven to six. The rule took effect in the upcoming 1921-22 season. Several teams had already shifted to six-man hockey yet others had remained with seven. This rule change set to ensure that all teams were on the same page in order to avoid confusion about which set of rules would be used for each game. The National Hockey League had previously adopted this rule change in 1911 when it was known as the National Hockey Association. It was a success with players and fans. More than one hundred years later, hockey at all levels is still a six-man game (counting five players and goalie for each team on the ice).

An article in the December 1, 1921, edition of the Daily Princetonian stated that the Intercollegiate Athletic Association had passed the rule. This was the original name of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) when it formed in 1906. However, the association had changed its name in 1910 to the current version we all know at this time. Making things even murkier, an article in the November 15, 1921, edition of the Daily Princetonian stated that it was the new Intercollegiate Ice Hockey Association of America that passed this rule. This was likely a misprint because the same paragraph later stated that the association was a league that included soccer and basketball and was created to pass rules and decide upon officials. The Princeton hockey team had previously played within the Intercollegiate Hockey Association of America but that league disbanded in 1913 and the team was a part of the Triangular Hockey League with Harvard and Yale in 1921. Clear as mud, right?

Our view here at College Hockey History is that Princeton and other teams brought their hockey, basketball and soccer programs under the umbrella of the NCAA on November 13, 1921, and it was at that time that official rules for hockey games were solidified.

Article from the November 15, 1921, issue of the Daily Princetonian
Article from the November 15, 1921, issue of the Daily Princetonian

The aforementioned rule change was the most significant rule passed that day for college hockey but it wasn’t the only rule decided that day for the sport. For instance, it was decided that player substitutions should only be made when the puck was dead. This rule didn’t last long because it was Harvard that created the first line change during game play in 1923 that was quickly adopted by other teams after witnessing its success. An important rule solidified the duration of games. It would now be standard that games would consist of three periods that each lasted fifteen minutes. If the game ended in a tie, the teams would have two overtime periods of five minutes to determine a winner. Lastly, it was agreed upon that all members of the team would wear numbered sweaters in the same fashion as the players in football.

This was a monumental moment in college hockey. Long gone were the days of determining the rules on the rink before a game started. Now there was a governing body that would do that for them. And with the onset of these new rules, the game at that time made a huge leap towards the game of hockey as we know it today.

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The 1991 Division I men’s title game required three overtimes to determine a champion. When it was all said and done, fifteen goals were scored in the final game of the 1990-91 season. Two teams that were powerhouses throughout the season met in this final game: Northern Michigan and Boston University. The Northern Michigan Wildcats came into the game with a record of 37-5-4. As the WCHA regular season and tournament champion, the team was riding a staggering 25-game unbeaten streak. The Boston University Terriers were boasting a 28-10-2 record as the Hockey East tournament champions. The team only had one loss in the last twelve games.

In 1991, the national tournament teams were divided between East and West regions. Four east teams would face four west teams in the first round. Northern Michigan and Boston University were 2 seeds in the respective regions. This meant both programs received a bye in the first round. The Quarterfinal Round was a best-of-three series. In the quarterfinals, Northern Michigan swept Alaska Anchorage while Boston University swept Michigan sending both teams to St. Paul for the semifinals. (The Frozen Four title wasn’t officially coined until 1998.) The Wildcats defeated Maine 5-3 while the Terriers ran through Clarkson 7-3. This set the stage for one of the most thrilling title games in college hockey history.

Boston University got on the board quick – exactly one minute into the game – when Ed Ronan scored his fifteenth goal of the season. Before the period was halfway over, the Terriers would tally two more; one being Ronan’s sixteenth of the season. The score remained 3-0 at the first intermission.

Members of the crowd were likely wondering if this was the beginning of a blowout when it reality it was the polar opposite. Head coach Rick Comley lit a fire under the Wildcats as Dean Antos put them on the board 1:33 into the middle frame on a power-play goal. Mark Beaufait would score less than three minutes later for the Wildcats. They wouldn’t stop there. In fact, Northern Michigan scored three more unanswered goals during the period to make it 5-3 Wildcats at the second intermission. Two of the goals would be numbers 46 and 47 on the season for Scott Beattie.

It was a back-and-forth start to the third period. The Wildcats extended the lead to 6-3 on Scott Beattie’s hat trick goal just over three minutes into the final period. Dave Tomlinson stopped the bleeding and put the Terriers back on the board several minutes later. After another Wildcat goal, the score was 7-4 with less than eight minutes left in regulation. That’s when Boston University would kick it into another gear. Tony Amonte and Shawn McEachern both scored within three minutes of each other. Then with only 39 seconds left in the game, David Sacco scored the late-tying goal to make it 7-7. It was Sacco’s second goal of the night and would send the game to overtime.

Two overtime periods would end up scoreless. Then only 1:57 into the third overtime, Darryl Plandowski netted the championship-winning goal in the third overtime. It also give him a hat trick for the game. It was Northern Michigan’s first Division I men’s hockey championship. Boston University would need to wait four more years to win the program’s fourth championship trophy.

Both of these teams will meet this weekend for a two-game series in Marquette, Michigan. This will be Boston University’s first visit to Marquette since 1988 and first time playing at the Barry Events Center. Northern Michigan will celebrate the 30th anniversary of the championship this weekend. The historic 1991 team will be honored during the first intermission of the Saturday night game.

Photo Credit: Sports Illustrated (April 8, 1991)