Every year New England hockey fans mark their calendars for the first and second Monday in February when Boston College, Boston University, Harvard, and Northeastern take the ice with bragging rights and a Beanpot on the line. The Beanpot tradition continues tonight for the 57th time at the TD Banknorth Garden. With 3 teams ranked in the top 15 in the nation, this year's tournament is shaping up to be one of the most competitive Beanpots in recent history. BU and Harvard will get things started at 5:00, followed by BC and Northeastern at 8:00.
Boston College (11-8-4)
The #11 ranked Boston College Eagles will try to maintain their bragging rights and keep possesion of the Beanpot for another year. BC is led offensively by Bruins draft pick Brock Bradford (17-12-29). Coach Jerry York has relied heavily on sophomore goaltender John Muse (2.72 GAA .906 Sv%), who has started every game this season for the Eagles.
Boston University (19-5-1)
BU has won 28 Beanpot titles and the #2 ranked Terriers will be looking for #29. Coach Jack Parker became the third coach in NCAA history to win 800 games when BU beat Merrimack 3-1 on Friday night joining fellow Beanpot coach Jerry York in the 800 win club. The Terriers have gotten production from up and down their lineup this season and have three players tied for the team lead in goals with 11 tallies (Chris Higgins, Brandon Yip, & Jason Lawrence). Sophomore Colin Wilson (9-23-32) is second in the nation in points per game (1.39). Freshman goaltender Kieran Millan ranks in the top 5 in the nation in several goaltending categories: 9.12 winning percentage (best in nation), 1.47 GAA (#3), .937 save percentage (#5).
The Crimson have only won 5 games this season and have struggled to find the back of the net (2.20 goals per game). Harvard has been outscored 68-44 this season and do not have a single player on their roster with more than 5 goals. The chances of the Beanpot heading across the border to Cambridge are pretty slim, but you can never count anyone out of the Beanpot. Winning a game in the Beanpot would be the ultimate moral victory for the Harvard Crimson.
The Huskies enter the Beanpot ranked #3 in the nation. Expectations are high on Huntington Ave. and many have picked Northeastern to win their first Beanpot since 1988. Senior Ryan Ginand leads the Huskies with 17 goals (17-8-25). Northeastern will look to junior goaltender Brad Thiesen (2.06 GAA, .934 Sv %) to hold the fort for the Huskies.
MVP: Colin Wilson, BU
James Murphy from NESN.com, NHL.com, & Inside Hockey
MVP: Matt Gilroy, BU
SBN's college hockey guru Chris from Western College Hockey Blog
MVP: Brad Thiessen, Northeastern
BU Alum Chemmy from Pension Plan Puppets
Northeastern 3 OT
MVP: Kieran Millan, BU
I'm going to have an open thread for the games, so stop by starting at 5:00.