The four time defending champion Boston College Eagles will kick off their Beanpot title defense tonight vs arch nemesis Boston University and first year head coach David Quinn. This will be the third meeting of the year between BC and BU, the Eagles took home the first two contests, a 5-1 victory in November @ the Jack Parker Rink, and a thrilling 6-4 win three weeks ago at Kelly Rink. Amazingly, since 1993 only BC and BU have taken home the Beanpot title, while Harvard and Northeastern have NEVER met in the finals of this soon to be 62 year old war. If BC were to win it's fifth straight Pot' it would match BU's record of five in a row from 1995-2000.
I say this everyday around this time of year and I'll say it again, the Beanpot is the single most important collegiate athletic tournament in the country. Besides a National Title, there is nothing more satisfactory than seeing the maroon and gold skate around the TD Garden with yet another Beanpot. This is the only day of the year when families, friends, and coworkers barely speak to each other solely because the other went to or supports the opposing school. While walking through the halls today every conversation I took place in or overheard was about the Beanpot and it's importance to the city of Boston. Whether you're a die hard or an average kid who couldn't even name the four schools involved, everyone cares about the Beanpot. It's the greatest sporting event in the world.
As for the game itself, let's go ahead and throw the records, rankings, and stats out the window. It's BC-BU in the Beanpot. It's always a close game and tonight will be no different. Sure, we were fortunate to get a couple of victories vs them earlier this season but BU dominated large portions of that second game and were inches away from getting the game tying goal in the final minute of play. The Terriers have been playing much better hockey as of late as they defeated a strong Vermont team last Friday and held a late lead in Amherst this weekend before faltering late and settling for a tie. There is one huge key for this game. BC is going to outshoot BU by a wide margin, I mean, the Terriers have the worst shot differential in the league by quiet a large margin. If BU goalie Matt O'Connor can stand on his head much like Sean Maguire did two weeks ago, I think BU has a shot but O'Connor has struggled vs BC over the course of his career as he currently has a 1-3 record vs the maroon and gold.
The biggest thing I want to see out of BC is their play below their own blue line. The Eagles did a good job of avoiding turnovers and odd man rushes vs Providence on Friday night but vs BU two weeks ago, the Terriers had an endless amount of odd man rushes, forced turnovers, and power plays. I would be shocked if BU was still in this game if BC stays as disciplined as they were on Friday and avoids turnovers like they have been doing ever since that second game vs the Terriers. BU is playing with house money so BC has got to expect them to bring their A+ game like they always do in this tournament. Any team, no matter how good or how bad they are, can win a hockey game when given a large amount of power plays. If BU gets their share of man advantages tonight, then they've got a shot.
I know you're all wondering about the lineup so here it is.
Keys for BC-
1. I honestly don't think BU can win this game if BC stays out of the box for the most part. Let them take the stupid penalties.
2. BU runs out of gas easily. They had a two goals led in Amherst in the third period on Friday night and blew it. They've done that a lot.
3. Attack, attack, attack. These defensemen are clueless in their own end. They will have no idea what to do if BC forchecks aggressively.
There is no need to scout BU. We know them. They know us.
1. 8 PM on NESN.
2. BC is 14-27 all time in the Beanpot vs BU but is 4-0 in the last four meetings.
Go Eagles !!