Sunday, February 3, 2013

Beanpot preview

It is highly unlikely that we will post a UMass recap because we are quite content pretending that Friday's game never happened and moving on from there. The focus now is the Beanpot Tournament also known as the BU invitational. The Terriers have won 29 of the 60 Beanpot tournaments ever held. This is the greatest regular season tournament in college hockey and probably all of sports. The Beanpot is well known throughout the college hockey world and the only fans they don't enjoy are it are just bitter that their team isn't involved in it. All hockey fans in New England know what falls on the first two Mondays in February every year.This year is different than any other year in that no one team is the clear favorite. BC has the best record but their defense is in shambles and beating UVM at home doesn't mean all their problems are solved. Northeastern is just doing their thing which means playing as inconsistent as anyone in the conference. Harvard has been killed by the cheating scandal that rocked their athletic department last spring. The thing about the Beanpot is that any one of these 4 could easily win it despite Harvard and Northeastern's droughts. Northeastern has not won a Beanpot since 1988 and Harvard has not won since 1994. 

This year, the Terriers(13-10-1) face Northeastern(7-13-3) in the semifinal this year. Northeastern currently sits in last place in Hockey East but beat BU 6-5 a few weeks ago at Northeastern. They always bring their best against BU and especially in the Beanpot. The last time the two teams played in the Beanpot was 2010 when BU won 2-1 to advance to the final.  Former Terrier Alex Chiasson had the game winner in that one. The seniors on both sides would have played in that game as Wade Megan, Ryan Santana, and Sean Escobedo played for the Terriers along with current Northeastern captain Vinny Saponari(BU Terrier at the time). NU goalie Chris Rawlings started that game for Northeastern and only gave up 2 goals to BU in the losing effort.  This is game 2 of the 4 the two will play this season and easily be the most hostile. The two schools easily have the largest amount of students at the tournament each year. Harvard might have 5 students in attendance and BC's will wait until next week to show up or will arrive halfway through the game. 

I do not expect Friday's losses for both teams to have much of an effect on the game. Northeastern lost to UNH Friday but the Beanpot is always a different animal. I expect both teams to come out hard and play a full 60+ minutes.  There would be no surprise here if this was a one goal game and it could very well go to overtime as well.  

As a BU fan, there are some reasons to doubt the team's chances this year with their play of late but anyone who thinks they don't still have a solid chance is crazy and/or a little slow. Yes the defense has struggled but, I have no doubt this team will bring the A game tomorrow night and again next week. They need to stay aggressive tomorrow which is the best way to keep the pressure off the defense and the goaltending. The forwards from BU can take over this game as NU has no healthy upperclassmen on defense and Chris Rawlings is inconsistent as ever in net. Goalie Matt O'Connor has been solid in big games this far this year and I would expect more of the same tomorrow for the freshman. No doubt BU will have the best fans and the best team at the 2013 Beanpot. 

  -There will be a new look to the lines tomorrow with Matt Nieto and Wade Megan switching spots as first and second line LW.  

Nieto- Hohmann- Gill
Megan-  O'Regan- Rodrigues
Lane- Rosen- Kurker
Moran-Santana- Ruikka

Escobedo- Privitera
Noonan- Grzelcyk
Oksanen- MacGregor


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