Freshman Hunter McDonald Takes a Painful Path to Beanpot Final

Sometimes he feels them the next day.

“On the legs, the arms,” says Northeastern defenseman Hunter McDonald, who instantly dismisses his bruises as the cost of winning. A small price to pay.

The freshman led the way by blocking six shots in Northeastern’s 3-1 upset of No. 3 Boston University in a Beanpot semifinal on Monday. His physical play helped set the tone for the Huskies’ throttling defensive approach that limited BU for much of the game.

“It’s positioning and then it’s staying committed to it,” Northeastern coach Jerry Keefe says of McDonald’s approach to blocking shots. “When you’re seeing a puck coming at you at 90 miles an hour, it comes down to will. And he’s more than willing.”

No. 16 Northeastern (14-10-3) will be appearing in its fifth straight Beanpot final and seeking its fourth title in that span against No. 10 Harvard (16-6-1) at 7:30 p.m. Monday at TD Garden. It will be the first meeting of the two schools in 70 Beanpot finals.

At 6 feet, 4 inches, and 215 pounds, McDonald has quickly established himself defensively while helping to define the Huskies’ whatever-it-takes approach. He leads Northeastern with 70 blocks (more than double any of his teammates) and is No. 1 in Hockey East with 45 blocks in conference play. 

Last year, senior captain Jordan Harris—now an NHL defenseman with the Montreal Canadiens—led Northeastern with 69 blocks in 38 games.

McDonald culminated his Beanpot debut by slamming home the empty-net clincher with 30.2 seconds remaining in the semifinal. “I didn’t see it as an opportunity to score at first,” he says of the BU bobble that he turned into his first collegiate goal—and on the biggest of all stages.

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