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Beanpot notebook

He’s turning it on

McLaughlin has been spark

Chris Rawlings strikes a pose after stopping all 41 Harvard shots in the Huskies’ Beanpot-opening shutout win. Chris Rawlings strikes a pose after stopping all 41 Harvard shots in the Huskies’ Beanpot-opening shutout win. (Jim Davis/Globe Staff)
By Michael Vega
Globe Staff / February 8, 2011

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Greg Cronin didn’t intend to give Mike McLaughlin a sobering dose of reality, like an ice cold bucket of water over the head. But that’s precisely what the Northeastern coach seemed to do when he was asked about his expectations for the 5-foot-9-inch junior center from Seaforth, Ontario, who last season scored just one goal (1-4—5 points) in 33 games.

“Candidly, he’s been a disappointment,’’ Cronin said. “He’s a guy who we thought would be a double-digit scorer throughout his career.’’

Cronin, realizing the harshness of the statement, quickly backtracked on his remarks.

“Let me rephrase that,’’ said the Huskies coach. “He’s been a disappointment offensively.’’

McLaughlin, however, did not disappoint when he scored NU’s first two goals in last night’s 4-0 victory over Harvard in the Beanpot opener at TD Garden. McLaughlin (9-3—12 points) tallied his eighth and ninth goals of the season, the latter courtesy of a crazy bounce off Crimson goaltender Ryan Carroll at 1:47 of the second that ignited a three-goal flurry.

It was McLaughlin’s second two-goal game this season and third of his career after potting a pair, including his first career shorthanded goal, in a 2-2 tie vs. New Hampshire Oct. 22. It was his fifth career multiple-point game.

“As a hockey player, playing every spot, blocking shots, killing penalties, winning faceoffs, and showing a high-level of intelligence on the ice, he’s been outstanding,’’ Cronin said. “Great kid in the classroom and he’s responsible socially. He’s great.

“He’s had a kind of fits-and-stops type of career in scoring. But I think this year he’s breaking through.’’

Rebound scoring Cronin said when he brought the Huskies to TD Garden for last night’s game, he was most concerned about how they would rebound from a 4-3 overtime loss to Merrimack last Friday at Matthews Arena.

“It was a huge game for us,’’ Cronin said. “In the locker room, they looked like they had been to a funeral; they were real down. We lost in overtime with 28 seconds to go. It was a really energetic, passionate game, like an old Bruins-Flyers game where guys were getting penalties left and right and — if they had been able to drop the gloves and punch — there would’ve been about five fights.

“I was just really worried about them getting back up, even though it was the Beanpot,’’ he said. “It was only 72 hours and I had no thoughts about [a 3-0 loss to] Harvard three years ago, nor did I care. I didn’t even know we had the better record, I didn’t know that. I was just more [upset] that we had lost the game.

“We got our rear-ends kicked the first five minutes when they scored the first two goals. I remember that.’’

BC’s lofty goal Boston College goaltender John Muse had 34 saves last night against Boston University. Muse, who always plays with poise, said although the Eagles’ goal is to repeat as NCAA champions, they weren’t celebrating all that much after beating their archrival. As of today, the focus is on playing Friday at Providence.

“Our ultimate goal is to win the national championship,’’ said Muse, now 17-4-0. “No matter what happens from here until then, we’re going to work every single week, every single day, and get better every practice to achieve our goal.’’

At a loss for words BC coach Jerry York, who didn’t speak at the press conference after the overtime win over BU because of a nasty case of laryngitis, improved to 21-12 in the Beanpot and 11-6 in the first round. He’s 2-4 against BU in the opening round, and 5-10 overall against the Terriers . . . BC will be in the title game for the 31st time and has won it 15 times . . . Harvard suffered its fourth shutout loss of the season and second vs. Northeastern, and dropped to 2-11 in its 13 Beanpot games under seventh-year coach Ted Donato. “I felt we were playing some pretty good hockey coming in, even though we weren’t scoring enough goals to produce victories,’’ said Donato, whose team (4-18-0) entered the Beanpot on the heels of a 1-0 loss at No. 3 Yale Friday night. “But tonight was frustrating.’’ After watching Carroll give up four goals, Donato switched goalies in the third period, going with senior Kyle Richter, who turned away all seven shots he faced . . . The last time NU won the Beanpot was in 1988. And while Cronin noted how students had drifted away from attending men’s hockey games this season, the coach predicted, “They would have to get both the NUPD and Boston police on our campus if we won.’’

Nancy Marrapese-Burrell of the Globe staff contributed. Michael Vega can be reached at vega@globe.com.