Pre-Game Notes: The Beanpot – Round One

Boston College. Boston University. Harvard University. Northeastern University. It’s that time of year again. The first two Mondays of February are revered in the historic city of Boston. Four colleges, only a few mere miles apart from each other, compete for bragging rights as the greatest collegiate hockey school in the city of Boston and the chance to raise the esteemed Beanpot trophy in front of their loyal fans in TD Garden. The champion’s name will hang in the rafters among the Bruins’ and Celtics’ championship banners for all of New England to see. With all four schools making national headlines in the collegiate hockey world, the 60th annual Beanpot has a lot more stake in it than a regular season game. It is a winner-take-all throw down.

If you can’t make it to the Garden on February 6th and February 13th, don’t fret. NESN will air the games so you can watch from home or at your favorite local bar in New England. The first game will air at 5pm and the second game will air at 8pm. So pull up a chair, put your hockey sweater on, and watch as four power houses in collegiate hockey battle on the ice.

5pm.  (1) Boston University vs. Harvard University

Last year, Boston University placed fourth  in the Beanpot Tournament for the fourth time in the sixty years the Beanpot has occurred. The Terriers will look for sweet redemption against Harvard in hopes of earning their 30th Beanpot title this Monday while Harvard will look to make it to the championship round for the first time since 2007-2008 and a chance to win their 11th Beanpot title.

After losing two of their top forwards, Boston University has continued to soar in Division I rankings and they currently sit as the number one seed in Hockey East. Boston University is ranked third in the country on short handed goals with eight and they lead the nation in PIM with 516.

Harvard sits in third place in the ECAC conference, only four points behind (11) Union. The Crimson have been generating some votes in Division I polls and they could be a contender in the NCAA tournament. Harvard has an impressive 30.8% on the power play. In fact, Harvard has the best power play in the nation.

The only time these two teams met in the regular season, Boston University won 4-3 in OT thanks to a couple of goals from their captain, Chris Connolly.

Players to Watch:

Alex Killorn (Harvard): Is one of the top leaders in points in the ECAC with 29. He is also one of the nation’s most potent goal scorers with 14 goals and 7 power play goals.

Danny Biega (Harvard): Is one of the top leaders in assists in the ECAC with 19.

Alex Chiasson (BU): +10 in +/- ratings for BU. He has 10 goals and 16 assists. He also has 4 power play goals.

Adam Clendening (BU): In 23 games, he has 22 points. That is a lot of points for a defensive player.

8pm.  (5) Boston College vs. Northeastern University

Last year, Boston College defeated Northeastern University in OT for the Beanpot title. Northeastern has not won a Beanpot championship since 1988. Northeastern will look to fight off the demons and advance to the final round in hopes of winning just their fifth Beanpot title. Boston College will try and defend their Beanpot title this year and win their 17th championship.

From November through December, Northeastern went 7-0-1, including wins against many nationally ranked colleges (Notre Dame, Michigan, and Minnesota) before they finally lost against Boston University in Matthews Arena on January 13, 2012.

Boston College has the best penalty kill in Hockey East at 86.7% and is ranked second in the country with eight short handed goals. They are ranked fifth in the country and second in Hockey East, only two points behind Boston University.

In the three times these teams have met during the regular season, Boston College has won all three match-ups and looks to continue the streak against Northeastern this Monday. Northeastern will enter Monday’s match-up on a three game winning streak.

Players to Watch:

Chris Kreider (BC): A skilled goal scorer for the Eagles. He is ranked 9th in the country for top goal scorers, with 17, and ranked 6th in the country with 3 short handed goals.

Barry Almeida (BC): Another effective goal scorer. Almeida is ranked 13th in the country for top goal scorers, with 16, and ranked 8th in the country with 8 power play goals.

Chris Rawlings (Northeastern): Has a .922 save percentage and a 2.51 GAA. He will be a big factor for the Huskies on Monday.

Ludwig Karlsson (Northeastern): For a freshman, he is making a big impact for the Huskies. He has 23 points in total, 9 goals and 14 assists.

Here are my predictions. Boston University will be victorious against Harvard. Boston University’s team offense is at a stellar 3.64 goals/game. Harvard may have an amazing power play percentage, but Boston University has a decent penalty kill and and eight short-handed goals. Boston College will win against Northeastern in the later game. With their top scorers and Hockey East leading penalty kill, the Eagles will soar over the Huskies to advance to the championship round.



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