Beanpot Monday: Championship Edition

For the 67th time, one of Boston’s most coveted traditions returns to the TD Garden tonight. New England gets to feasts its eyes upon the four division one college hockey teams in Boston in the annual Beanpot Tournament. And even though this tournament may have lost some of it’s luster, true hockey fans can admire it’s competition.

The Teams

If you haven’t heard by now, Boston College, Boston University, Harvard University, and Northeastern University clash annually on the first two Monday’s in February at the Garden for city bragging rights. Though; from 1994 until 2016, either BC or BU claimed the Beanpot every single year. So for some time, it was the BC/BU invitational. But for the first time in Beanpot history, all four schools have won the tournament in the past four years.

Last year, we saw Northeastern raise it’s first since 1988! And now, they’re going for the their first back to back titles since 1984-85. And they have the team to do it with one of the nation’s top goaltenders.

Harvard vs Boston College

The surprising result in last Monday’s semi-finals was Boston College’s 2-1 victory over Harvard. The Crimson were riding a four game winning streak coming into Monday’s semi-final and BC hadn’t won a non conference game since Barack Obama was in office.

Patrick Giles picked a convenient time to score his first career collegiate goal in the first period.

That lead would hold until 15:27 of the second period when Harvard’s Henry Bowlby shot one past Joseph Woll on a defensive breakdown by BC to tie the game at one. But Jack McBain would net the eventual game winning goal for BC in the third. Both of BC’s scorers; were freshmen. Now, Harvard had a golden opportunity in the last two minutes thanks to a Julius Matila tripping call at 18:03. With the Crimson pulling the goalie creating a six on four chance for Harvard, but BC held on to advance to the Beanpot title for the 36th time in school history. BC will be looking for it’s 21st overall title and its eighth of the last 12 years dating back to 2008 where they had a stretch of five straight Beanpot titles. Another thing that will help the Eagles is the contract extension of long time, and winningest hockey coach of all time, Jerry York.

Northeastern vs. Boston University

This result may have surprised some, but not those who watch college hockey. Northeastern, who is the highest ranked team in this years Beanpot, defeated Boston University 2-1 in OT.

Patrick Schule opened the scoring three minutes after a costly Terriers turnover behind their own zone put the Huskies up 1-0. This score would stay until Flyers first round pick Joel Farabee scored with 21 seconds left in the first period to tie it at one. No goals in the second. No goals in the third. This game would go to a good ole fashioned sudden death victory. And just 51 seconds in, Tyler Madden sent the Huskies to their second consecutive Beanpot final. Even though the Huskies won, BU goalie Jake Oettinger was the star. He made 47 saves on 49 Northeastern shots and stood on his head for the entire game while his defense in front of him struggled.

Boston College vs. Northeastern

BC leads the all time series 166-52-16 and is 34-12 vs. Northeastern in the Beanpot. But with the trophy on the line? Boston College is a cool 4-1. The Eagles also ended a two year winless streak in the Beanpot with it’s 2-1 win over Harvard. Even more impressive in the Eagles win over the Crimson was the fact that BC shut down the nation’s most dangerous power play that included a six on four in the last two minutes.

Boston College is about to enter the gauntlet of their schedule with 11 of 14 remaining games coming against top 16 teams in the pairwise ranking, including two games against second ranked UMass. And with the Eagles struggling mightily this year, this game may not end up well for them against Northeastern. Especially when two of your top five scores may not suit up. Logan Hutsko and Jack McBain exited BC’s 3-0 loss to UMass Lowell on Friday night with injuries. With both of them probably not playing, BC will have to look elsewhere for it’s scoring against one of the nation’s top goalies.

The Huskies captured it’s first Beanpot in 30 years last year and have improved since. And if Northeastern were to win tonight, that would give them four straight Beanpot wins over BC. This would extend its highest streak in school history over BC. It’ll help having Cayden Primeau who hasn’t let up a goal to BC in his Beanpot career, albeit, one game. Primeau is also striving to become just the fifth goalie in Beanpot history to win the Eberly award in consecutive Beanpots (highest save %).

However; Northeastern hasn’t exactly lit it up coming into the Beanpot. Winners of just one game in their last four, the Huskies aren’t exactly piping hot at the moment.

My Prediction

Northeastern 2-1. With a struggling, young BC team against an experienced Northeastern squad and a top goalie, I just don’t see BC pulling this one out. But who knows, I wasn’t expecting them to beat Harvard either.

– Brian Berard (@RockyBerard)

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