While the Beanpot Tournament is laced with history, its 65th championship game concerns a bird of a different feather: Two elite teams.
Just ask Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson, an assistant captain for the No. 3 Boston University men’s hockey team, about what it’ll be like to play against No. 4 Harvard University on Monday night at TD Garden.
“These are the kinds of games you come to BU to play,” the Swedish center said.
It’ll be head coach David Quinn’s Terriers (19-8-2, 11-4-2 Hockey East) taking on head coach Ted Donato’s Crimson (17-5-2), and they’re both likely to play for silverware come springtime.
In the here and now, though, is where the young guns from Commonwealth Avenue and the old guard from Cambridge are thriving.
For a full version of this story over on The Daily Free Press, click here.
A swarming first period, three timely goals and another strong showing from freshman goaltender Jake Oettinger wrote history on Monday night.
For the first time since 1994-95, the Boston University men’s hockey team has swept Boston College in the regular season. This time, though, it came in the 65th Beanpot Tournament’s semifinal round courtesy of a 3-1 win.
We’re keeping this post short and simple, all to let the highlights and tweets do the talking. A title bout against Harvard awaits, though, on Feb. 13. Playoff hockey is practically here, Terrier fans.
Tweets of the Game
BC chants "BU Football " BU responds with: "Undefeated" "BC basketball" "BC football" "BC hockey" ""BC chipotle"
Slated for an 8 p.m. showdown with No. 8 Boston College, the No. 3 Boston University men’s hockey will kick off the 65th Beanpot at TD Garden. That’s right, the same Eagle side that the Terriers already knocked off twice this year.
Don’t expect those tilts to factor in too much, though, at least according to head coach David Quinn. For more on that, check out Shelby’s preview over on The Daily Free Press.
There’ll also be plenty of history at play, as BU has won 30 Beanpot titles throughout the years. The last came in 2015, and Jonathan wrote about those memories over on The Daily Free Press.
Oh, one more thing. Check out this video The Dog Pound created. Gotta love it.
The 65th annual Beanpot Tournament is less than a week away. Tickets are selling, fans are rejoicing and the teams are preparing. The Boston Hockey Blog got thoughts from head coach David Quinn and senior players about the Feb. 6 faceoff between No. 3 Boston University and No. 6 Boston College.
Senior forward Nick Roberto said his biggest fear going into the tournament is beating BC a third time, as the Terriers already defeated them twice this season.
NR: “Beating them a third time is going to be extremely hard. Hopefully we’re focused for that game, and come out and work hard just like we did the first two games.”
“Oettinger for sure,” Roberto immediately answered when asked what he considered his teams secret weapon. “Ah no, secret weapon … I think our compete level is probably our secret weapon. When we out compete teams, we’re very good. When we play down to teams or let teams hang in with us it’s a close game.”
Senior Captain Doyle Somerby wants his team to have fun with it, but knows how difficult the game will be on Monday.
DS: “I don’t think you realize how special [the Beanpot] is until you actually take the ice for it. Local guys understand it because they grew up coming to it but when you’re not from around here it definitely takes the first 10 minutes or so of the game to grasp the full concept of it. It’s really unique and special because no one else has this.”
What do you tell your team to get them in the right mindset for such a big game?
DS: “Honestly, just have fun with it as much as you can. If you grip the stick too tight, you’re too nervous and thinking too much about it, it’s going to be a long night. Especially playing BC. We already have that rivalry. People comprehend that and understand how special that is to play against them. They just need to enjoy it as much as they can on Monday night.”
This could be one of the last big games of your college hockey career. What’s going through your head as your senior season winds down?
DS: “Just trying to enjoy it as much as I can. Being a local kid – I’m about 35 minutes away – so this is something I grew up coming too every single year since I was 4 or 5. With this one you just need to enjoy it. This might be the last time I ever play BC, so on top of the big games you got your last rivalry game. I’m just trying to have fun with it, hoping to come out on top and play for the championship the next Monday.”
How hard will it be to beat BC a third time this season?
DS: “It’s really hard. When you play a rival like that it doesn’t matter what the stat sheet says. It doesn’t matter what your record is. Especially in the Beanpot. It’s going to be a one-goal game no matter what. It’s going to be a lot of fun to play them but it’s also going to be pretty interesting. It’s going to be a tight game.”
Head coach David Quinn agrees it’s going to be a close game.
DQ: “Obviously anytime BU and BC get together, in any situation it’s an exciting game. It draws a little extra attention from both fan bases, and usually the college hockey world pays a little extra attention to it. But when you put that game in the Beanpot it’s even more special. Usually you get great competitive games. Someone has a goalie pulled at the end of the game. Both teams have talent. Both teams compete hard. Both teams are at the top of the league and in the national rankings. It’s going to make for an exciting Beanpot, as it usually does.”
How hard will it be to beat BC a third time this season?
DQ: “It’s always hard to beat BC. I don’t care whether you’ve beaten twice or not. I’ve got an awful lot of respect for them. It’s been such a great rivalry for so long. We still understand what’s ahead of us. We’re not thinking about the two games that happened three weeks ago. We’re going to focus on Monday night.”
Quinn, Somerby and Roberto all agree that although the Terriers are the youngest team in college hockey, they won’t appear to be on the ice.
NR: “Maybe for the first five minutes the crowd will get into it, the atmosphere will be good. We’ve played in some hostile environments out in Denver, Michigan and at BC, so [the freshman] will be all set. And a lot of them played in the World Juniors as well. Especially USA-Canada. That was a loud game for them.”
DS: “I think Christmas break definitely helped [the freshman], playing in the World Juniors. Playing in Canada against Canada is a pretty chaotic place to play. They definitely learned a lot from there. We learned a couple lessons last week. Definitely I’ll just tell them to enjoy as much as they can because you don’t get this experience too often.”
DQ: “We’ve been fortunate this year, whether it be at Denver or Michigan or up in Vermont or up in Maine, we’ve played in some very very big atmospheres. The guys who played at the World Juniors certainly played for 20,000 people up in Canada so we can draw from experiences. I don’t think nerves will be an issue for us.”
BC (20-4-4, 11-1-4 Hockey East) has now won the Beanpot five times in the last six years.
“Certainly an exciting game for everybody in the stands, and the last two periods it was a competitive hockey game,” said BU head coach David Quinn. “That’s what people expect when they see BU and BC play, and up-and-down action, both teams had great chances in the second and the third, they certainly had a majority of the chances in the first and we felt very fortunate to get out 0-0 after one.”
It was scoreless for almost 62 minutes, but that’s not to say there isn’t a lot to talk about. We’ll break this one down in this Beanpot championship Pluses and Minuses.
Senior netminder Sean Maguire was on his game throughout the title game and really the entire Beanpot Tournament. BC had a good deal of chances throughout the first three periods of the game, but Maguire stood on his head just about every time.
One of the few times Maguire didn’t see the puck, though, things went wrong for BU (16-8-4, 9-4-3 Hockey East). After both teams tried to get their legs back at the beginning of overtime, the Eagles got the first real opportunity about two minutes in and made it count.
As Tuch skated into the high slot area, BU’s defense tried to contain him before he could shoot, but the bodies standing in front of Maguire caused an unintentional screen, setting up an unpleasant result.
“I think if I saw all of it I would’ve stopped it,” Maguire said after the game. “But he [Tuch] made a great shot, and the shot crossed body post in. That’s a pro-level shot.”
Slog of a start
Against a rival like BC, and in a game of importance such as this one, it’s generally pertinent to get things started in the first period on the right foot. The Terriers, however, did not have one of their better opening periods on Monday night.
One thing that stands out right away on the shot chart is the fact that BC not only attempted 32 shots in the opening stanza, but a majority of them came in the slot and home plate area. Life was not easy for Maguire, to say the least.
BU was mostly kept to the outside of the faceoff circles and did not really kick things into gear until the second period.
Sloppy play, Greenway to the box
For anyone who’s watched a BU-BC, you know it can get chippy and downright nasty during and after the play. This one was no different, especially on the BU end of things.
Freshman forward Jordan Greenway seemed to be in the middle of it all on Monday, drawing the ire from a lot of the BC contingent in the arena.
Greenway was involved in a play in the third period in which BC goalie Thatcher Demko was knocked down for a few minutes, and he also drew three penalties during one scrum in the second period, including a 10-minute misconduct. BU killed off all of the penalty time, but was without Greenway’s presence until early in the third period.
“Well certainly missed him, but I thought we continued to play a pretty good second period,” Quinn said. “…But any time you’re missing a guy who’s 6 foot 5, 230 pounds against that team with the big, strong D corps that they have for an extended period of time, it’s not going to help you, that’s for sure, but I don’t think that had anything to do with the outcome of the game.”
BU’s offense could not muster a goal in what turned to be Demko’s ninth shutout of the season (a new single-season BC record), but the real issue tonight was the lighting at TD Garden.
With 8:53 to play in the first period, the main lights above the ice slowly dimmed and then turned out. The teams skated around the ice to stay loose, but were eventually sent back to their respective dressing rooms. The situation was finally resolved after nearly 30 minutes, but it took longer than a normal intermission to get the lights up and running.
BC head coach Jerry York said after the game said both teams were offered the chance to play a 29-minute second period instead of finishing the first, but York said he and Quinn declined the opportunity.
Maguire nearly perfect
We’ve mentioned it in this article a few times already, but Maguire was good in this one — really good.
He kept BU in the game with 23-first period saves and finished with 41 stops on 42 chances. Maguire, for the tournament, saved 65 shots on 67 opportunities for a .970 save percentage. He wouldn’t carry the Beanpot trophy, but he did earn Beanpot MVP and the Eberly Award for the highest save percentage in the tournament.
The only two goaltenders to have a higher single-tournament save percentage than Maguire were former BU netminders John Curry (.985) and Rick DiPietro (.981).
Sarah will have more on Maguire’s stellar performance in her sidebar.
The first period was not one BU will be writing home about anytime soon. The rest of the game, especially from a defensive standpoint, the Terriers did a much better job in their own end.
BU pushed the Eagles to the perimeter and limited the number of “Grade-A” opportunities they could get on net. By game’s end, the total shot attempts were closer than the first period may have indicated, with BC holding a slight 68-62 edge.
“…I thought in the second and third period we did a much better job of being decisive and just making a decision and doing it with conviction,” Quinn said, “and that made everybody else’s job easier and that’s why you saw the dramatic drop in shots and scoring chances and made it a hockey game.”