Aside from a chilly Friday night at Fenway Park, Boston hasn't exactly been The Hub of College Hockey this year. Of the four Beanpot schools, only Boston College has a winning record this year. The Eagles are ranked 14th in the national with a record of 13-8-2. If there is one thing we have learned over the years of watching the Beanpot, it is that you can throw the records out the window. While on paper BC appears to be the odds-on favorite, most Boston area hockey fans know that you can never rule out the Boston University Terriers (9-11-3) to hoist the Beanpot on the second Monday in February. Harvard (5-11-3) and Northeastern (11-11-1) are long longshots, but a Beanpot upset could salvage an otherwise disappointing season.
Game 1: Boston College vs. Harvard 5:00 PM Monday
Game 2: Boston University vs. Northeastern 8:00 Monday
Boston College Eagles (13-8-2), Ranked 14th in the nation, currently 2nd in Hockey East
Head Coach: Jerry York
Beanpot Titles: 14
Last Title: 2008
The Eagles currently have 10 NHL draft picks on their roster, including defenseman Tommy Cross, who was selected by the Bruins in the 2nd round of the 2007 NHL Entry Draft. Sophomore Cam Atkinson (16-10-26) and junior Brian Gibbons (9-19-28) have led the way offensively for the Eagles. Junior John Muse (16 games, 8-6-2, 2.61 GAA, .901 Sv%) and Parker Milner (7 games, 5-2-0, 2.72 GAA, .884 Sv%) have been tasked with keeping the puck out of the BC goal.
Player to Watch:
The 6'3", 210 lb sophomore defenseman from Simsbury, CT could be patrolling the same blue line in a few years in a black & gold jersey.
Harvard Crimson (5-11-3), currently 8th in ECAC
Head Coach: Ted Donato
Beanpot Titles: 10
Last Title: 1993
Harvard has struggled this year and will be looking for their first non-conference win of the season. Of course, in the ECAC everybody makes their post-season tournament, so the regular season doesn't really matter. Montreal Canadiens draft pick Louis Leblanc has had an impressive freshman season for the Crimson by racking up 17 points in 17 games (9-8-17). Junior goalie Kyle Richter is back after sitting out last season due to academic issues. Richter (12 games, 2-8-2, 3.50 GAA, .905 Sv%) has split time with classmate Ryan Carroll (9 games, 3-3-1, 2.55 GAA, .924 Sv%).
Player to Watch:
The 6'2", 200 lb freshman forward from Sweden was selected in the 4th round of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft by the Minnesota Wild before his rights were traded to the Bruins as part of the deal that sent Chuck Kobasew to Minnesota. Fallstrom has recorded 9 points (2-7-9) in 19 games this season for the Crimson.
Boston University (9-11-3), currently 6th in Hockey East
Head Coach: Jack Parker
Beanpot Titles: 29
Last Title: 2009
The Terriers will try to keep possession of the Beanpot for another year as they shoot for their 30th Beanpot title. BU is having a bit of a re-building year after winning the NCAA National Championship last year. The Terriers have 17 freshmen and sophomores on their roster. While the Terriers are young, they have plenty of talent. Jack Parker's team has more draft picks than Peter Chiarelli. The Terriers have 14 players on their roster who have been drafted by an NHL team. BU's production has been distributed throughout their lineup with no player reaching double-digits in goals yet this season. Sophomore Kieran Millan (17 games, 7-10-0, 3.31 GAA, .881 Sv%) has handled the bulk of the work for the Terriers between the pipes this year.
Player to Watch:
The 5'9" 170 lb sophomore defenseman from Marshfield, MA is having quite a year. He won an NCAA National Championship as a freshman, was a member of Team USA's World Junior team that took home gold, and scored a goal in front of a sell-out crowd at Fenway Park.
Northeastern Huskies (11-11-1), currently tied for 7th in Hockey East
Head Coach: Greg Cronin
Beanpot Titles: 4
Last Title: 1988
After going 25-12-4 last season, the Huskies are off to a disappointing start. If the Huskies can get past BU, they will be over .500 for the first time since October 16th after starting the year 2-1-0. Kyle Kraemer (9-8-17) and Wade McLeod (8-9-17) lead the Huskies with 17 points apiece. Due to the departure of goaltender Brad Thiessen, who left after last season to play for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins of the AHL, NU has been forced to play two freshman goalies. Chris Rawlings (15 games, 6-8-1, 3.17 GAA, .894 Sv%) has taken the bulk of the work, while Bryan Mountain (1-2-0, 3.06 GAA, .866 Sv%) has appeared in 6 games.
Players to Watch:
Justin Daniels and Drew Daniels
Twin brothers Justin and Drew Daniels are both freshman forwards for Northeastern. The 6'2" 175 lb brothers from Suffern, NY have both appeared in 21 games for the Huskies. Justin has recorded 9 points (5-4-9), while Drew has 3 points (2-1-3). Both were drafted by the San Jose Sharks in 2008 NHL Entry Draft.
I have to be honest, I have not watched a lot of college hockey this year. So instead of just giving some half-assed prediction, I enlisted the help of some people that actually might know what they are talking about. I polled a few New England area hockey writers, sports media personalities, and bloggers to give their predictions for this year's Beanpot:
Dan Roche, sports anchor and reporter for WBZ 4: "BC 6 Harvard 3...BU 4 NU 2....Title Game: BU 4 BC 2...Kieran Millan MVP"
James Murphy, Bruins beat writer for NESN.com, NHL.com contributor, & host of Inside Hockey Radio Show: "BC, BU. BU wins it all. Saponari MVP"
Ryan was nice enough to give me his picks despite the fact that he hates The Beanpot.
Rachel Lenzi, University of Maine Hockey beat writer for The Portland Press Herald: "BU beats NU, BC beats Harvard; BC wins Beanpot and Barry Almeida is MVP"
Brian from BC Interruption (SB Nation's BC Blog): "Game 1 winner – BC Game, 2 winner – BU, Championship – BC (probably in OT), MVP – Cam Atkinson"
BC Interruption will be covering the BC games and will probably have an open thread going for all you SuperFans out there.
Terrier Blogger from The Terrier Hockey Fan Blog: "My picks are BC, BU, BU with Colby Cohen as MVP"
The Terrier Hockey Hockey Fan Blog is solid source of BU Hockey info for all you Parker Puckheads.