*Home ice (for jersey selection and right of last change) determined by coin flip
5:00 pm: Northeastern University at Boston University
Northeastern Huskies (7-13-3, 4-11-3 HEA)
Oh Northeastern. What a Northeastern season you've had. Since knocking off the #1 team in the nation -- Boston College -- in their second game of the season, the Huskies have come crashing back to earth. Since, the only wins to their credit have been against Alabama-Huntsville, UMass, Harvard, and then BU (wait, what?).
In truth, you could argue that Northeastern has been playing their best hockey of the season despite the 1-3-2 record in their last 6, because of who they've played and how they've played them. A tie against a suddenly skyrocketing Maine team, a win against the Terriers, a 9-3 loss to BC (okay yeah, that was pretty brutal), followed by a tie and a 1-goal loss to Lowell and a 3-1 loss to UNH. Pretty tough competition.
Boston University Terriers (13-10-1, 10-7-1 HEA)
I was going to start this off by asking what in the world has happened to the Terriers lately, but looking back at their season, they'be been eerily consistent. The Terriers don't have a single winning or losing streak of longer than two games over the entire season. That's... pretty remarkable, really.
Nonetheless, the results have been a bit worse of late than they had been earlier in the season. Not to mention, the competition is significantly weaker. 8-5-0 with more than half those games against BC, UNH, and North Dakota is quite a bit better than 2-4-1 against the likes of Harvard, Northeastern, and Providence.
If you thought BC getting swept my Maine was bad, BU's loss to Harvard makes that look like a conference title. But more on that later.
Your fearless leaders' predictions:
Joe Gravellese: Boston University
Brian Favat: Boston University
Conrad Kaczmarek: "Northeastern because lolzzzz"
Jeff Martyn: Boston University
AJ Black: Northeastern...why not right?
Take it to the bank: Grant Salzano: BU is having all kinds of problems, and Northeastern will make this a game, but this one goes down exactly how every Northeastern fan expects it to: BU 5, NU 4 (OT).
8:00 pm: Boston College at Havard University
Boston College Eagles (15-7-2, 12-6-1 HEA)
Is all well in the world of Boston College hockey? At least temporarily. Coach York's shuffle of the lines took about 8 minutes of game time against Vermont to hit their stride, but hit it they did. A solid 4-1 win over Vermont means that the Eagles are the only team coming into the Beanpot off a win. Granted, it was just Vermont, but I'm sure BU, for example, would like to be coming into this game with a win over "Just UMass" instead of having gotten absolutely pasted by them.
As bad as things seemed for BC fans after the sweep at the hands of Maine, there is quite a bit to be optimistic about. At the very least, BC gets far and away the easiest draw for the first round. Second, BC's new lines looked quite good against the Catamounts. Johnny Gaudreau was flitting around like a bottle rocket all game despite being snakebitten on not one, not two, but three clean breakaways. The second line of Sit-Arnold-Whitney produced, which was more or less the result of Steve Whitney continuing the kind of breakout season we've all seen coming. Even the fourth line of Smith-Brown-Silk molded into everything your want your fourth line to be and looked more than good in their roles.
Jerry is back behind the bench. Milner is Milner. The TD Garden is Our House. Despite the mid-season turn of events, there is a whole lot to feel cautiously optimistic about as a BC fan.
Harvard Crimson (5-14-1, 3-12-0 ECAC)
Yikes. There is just nothing good to say about Harvard hockey right now.
Earlier in the season, Harvard had four players leave the team amid the cheating scandal that prompted the university to suspend dozens of students. Their last game they lost 3-0 to RPI in which they managed just 11 shots -- eleven! -- including just two in the third period. The game before, they dressed just 11 forwards and 5 defensemen, one of which was a forward. They've had to bring up players from the club team just to have warm bodies filling their roster.
They did beat BU back in early January, which is simultaneously a head-scratcher and also HILARIOUS, so I guess there is one good thing you can say about Harvard hockey.
Your fearless leaders' predictions:
Joe Gravellese: Boston College
Brian Favat: Boston College
Conrad Kaczmarek: Boston College
Jeff Martyn: Boston College
AJ Black: Boston College
Take it to the bank: Grant Salzano: This game really shouldn't be close. I think we're looking at something similar to the Vermont game -- give us 5 minutes to find our legs and we'll see you next week: BC 5, HU 0.
I'll spare you the suspense and also let you know that Your Fearless Leaders all predict BC to take the Beanpot for a fourth consecutive year. Take it to the bank: BC 5, BU 2 (ENG).