Game Previews

BU to rematch with Boston College in Beanpot semifinal

Photo by Gracie Davenport.

Boston University was in free fall.

The Terriers entered last weekend as the winners of seven straight games and 12 of their last 13. They hadn’t lost a home game in regulation since Nov. 18, 2022. Then, they played Boston College.

The Eagles swept the home-and-home weekend series — arguably the most anticipated regular season game in years. Sure, losing two competitive games to the No. 2 team in the country is nothing to hang your head about. But failing your biggest test when the lights are the brightest is deflating.

Now, the No. 3 Terriers (17-7-1, 12-4-1 Hockey East) have a chance for vindication in the opening round of the 71st Beanpot Monday when they take on the No. 1 Eagles (19-4-1, 12-3-1 HEA) at 8 p.m.

“It was definitely disappointing,” graduate student defenseman Case McCarthy said at Beanpot Media Day on Monday. “Obviously, losing sucks. But, losing to those guys is no fun as well.”

BU had a chance to gather itself and bounce back on Tuesday evening against another key rival — Northeastern. However, hesitancy to shoot, lackluster power plays and absent physicality led to a divisional loss against an inferior opponent, despite the overtime controversy.

The three-game skid mimicked a similar drought the Terriers endured last season when their seven-game winning streak came crashing down with a fourth-place finish at the Beanpot and a sweep at the hands of Merrimack. Of course, that team went on to the Frozen Four.

“At some point, you have to go through it,” head coach Jay Pandolfo said after the loss to Northeastern. “We’re hitting it right now at a similar time as last year, maybe a little later than last year when the Beanpot started. We got to work our way out of it.”

The Terriers earned a much-needed win on Friday evening when the offense sparked a 6-3 victory over No. 18 University of New Hampshire. Senior forward Nick Zabaneh and junior forward Jack Hughes each collected a pair of goals in the win.

The Terriers have done some lineup shuffling as of late, moving Jack Harvey to the top line. The freshman forward produced a pair of assists in the win over UNH on Friday. Harvey’s linemates, Hughes and freshman forward Macklin Celebrini, have combined for eight goals in the last five games.

The key for BU going into its third game against BC in 11 days will be staying disciplined and avoiding unnecessary penalties. The Terriers were sent to the box four times in the first period against the Eagles in game two of the weekend series, and they were impeded by back-to-back hooking penalties against the Huskies.

Photo by Gracie Davenport.

“Discipline, and not just discipline in taking penalties, that’s certainly part of it. Discipline in how we play the game,” Pandolfo said. “At times, we’ve gotten away with it this year, but as the stakes get higher, the margins are slim.”

A win against UNH is simply a band-aid on a bullet hole. If BU wants to prove it belongs in conversations at the top of the nation and that they can bounce back from adversity, it needs a strong showing over its Green Line rival, marking a much larger motivator than just a trip to the Beanpot finals.

“There were great environments on Friday and Saturday night, and it’s going to be elevated even more playing at [TD Garden],” Pandolfo said. “Our guys will be ready. Both teams now have a better idea being on the ice against each other for two games.”

Five things to know about the Eagles:

  • Boston College’s offense scores early and often. The Eagles have scored first in 19 of their 24 games, going 16-3-0 when doing so. Inversely, BC is 2-2-1 when it doesn’t get on the scoreboard first.

  • The Eagles and Terriers have met 23 times in the semifinals of the Beanpot with BU holding a 17-6 advantage.

  • BC owns the second-most Beanpot titles with 20 championships, trailing only BU, which has 31. BC hasn’t won a title since 2016, and every Beanpot outside of last season has featured either the Terriers or Eagles in the championship.

  • Boston College freshman goaltender Jacob Fowler was huge in the series against BU with 26 and 32 saves, respectfully. NCAA’s seventh-best netminder has been dominant all year with a .925 save percentage.

  • Sophomore forward Cutter Gauthier leads the entire NCAA in goals per game, averaging 0.88. Gauthier has eight points in his last five games, including a pair of goals in the series against BU.

Puck drop is tentatively scheduled for 8 p.m. tomorrow at TD Garden, following the conclusion of the Northeastern-Harvard game. The Boston Hockey Blog will have full, on-the-ground coverage so be sure to follow along on Twitter (X) @BOShockeyblog and Instagram

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