John Muse looks to backstop the Eagles to back-to-back Beanpot Championships tonight against Northeastern. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
The Boston College Eagles and the Northeastern Huskies take the ice tonight at 8 PM in the 59th annual Beanpot Tournament Championship Game. Boston College will be looking for its 16th Tournament title, while Northeastern is in search of just its 5th title and first since 1988.
Let us recap five storylines for tonight's BC-Northeastern Championship game.
The Northeastern Beanpot Title Drought. Chances are you'll hear the announcers go on about this ad nauseum during tonight's broadcast. The Huskies haven't won a Beanpot Championship since 1988. That is quite a few years ago (I was six). Northeastern has played in just five Championship Games over that span, and is probably glad they aren't facing the Terriers tonight. Since 1988, the Huskies are 0-5 in Championship Games, all against BU, getting outscored 28-13 in those games. Amazingly, in a tournament that has been run the last 59 years, BC and Northeastern have met in the Championship just two times previously. Northeastern won 5-4 in overtime back in 1980, and BC returned the favor in 1983, winning 8-2.
Eagles-Huskies Again ... and Again ... and Again. The Hockey East schedule makers must not have been anticipating an Eagles-Huskies Beanpot final this year, since they scheduled the final regular season home-and-home between the Eagles and Huskies this weekend (February 18-19). That means BC and Northeastern will play three times, in three separate venues, in less than a week. While BC won the first match between the two schools way back in the season opener, Northeastern has been playing much better hockey of late, having gone 7-2-2 since the New Year. The Huskies haven't exactly played a Murderer's Row of opponents in 2011, but have recovered from starting the season 3-9-4. BC will need the points to keep pace with New Hampshire in the Hockey East standings, but it's difficult to win three straight over the same opponent in less than a week.
Can BC make it 3 of 4? The Eagles haven't won three Beanpot titles in four years since Jerry York laced them up for the Eagles in the 1960s. Boston College won the Beanpot in 1961, and then three straight from 1963-1965. Since then, the school hasn't even won back-to-back Beanpot titles, a feat both Northeastern and Boston University have accomplished in that same time span. John Muse, Brian Gibbons and Joe Whitney can make it back-to-back Beanpot titles and three of four for the first time since the 1960s with a W tonight.
Beanpot Title as a National Championship Bellwether. File another statistics in the "almost too amazing to be true" category. None of the four Boston schools have won the NCAA National Championship without having captured city-wide college hockey bragging rights a few months earlier. Harvard's lone National Championship in 1989 was preceded by a Beanpot title over BU. BU has pulled off the dual Beanpot-National Championship feat five separate times, in 1971-72, 1978, 1995 and most recently in 2009. BC, meanwhile, has pulled this off three times in the last decade (2001, 2008 and 2010). That's not to say these schools haven't been without their close calls, namely BC, who despite failing to capture the Beanpot, finished as the National runner-up in 1998, 2000, 2006 and 2007. But do you really want to tempt the college hockey gods?
Ex-BC Commit Cody Ferriero Skates For Northeastern. Cody Ferriero, the once Boston College commit who left the program to play for Northeastern, is no stranger to BC hockey. His older brother, Benn Ferriero, scored 64 goals and 75 assists in his four year career at the Heights, helping BC win the 2008 National Championship. While Ferriero has been fairly quiet this year, he is contributing on the Huskies third line at just 19 years old. Ferriero the younger did get a couple shots on goal in Northeastern's 4-0 win over Harvard in the Beanpot Semifinal. A San Jose Sharks prospect, Ferriero has a goal and an assist in 23 games.