2/1/2010 - Boston College 6, Harvard 0 - 14-8-2 (10-6-2 Hockey East)
Going into this year's Beanpot Tournament, the great Boston media spin machine tabbed this year as the year the race was wide open (the Boston media? Play favorites in college hockey? Never!). BU coach Jack Parker, speaking about how wide open the tournament field was this year, hoped this year's event didn't compare to watching a couple of bad golfers:
"I hope it's not like watching two golfers shoot 90," BU coach Jack Parker said.
I understand the analogy to a point. Three teams entered the Beanpot with .500 or worse records. The only team with a winning record - BC - had already dropped two games to their Comm. Ave rivals this year. But the analogy can only go so far with me, as it seemed to imply that Boston College shouldn't be considered the prohibitive favorite in this year's tournament.
The Eagles set out this afternoon to prove the media wrong. BC did just that, serving notice to Boston University that they are to be taken seriously in this year's tournament. BC scored early and often - 1 in the first, 2 in the second and 3 in the third - en route to a 6-0 beatdown of a heavily outmatched Harvard Crimson squad.
It was a game the Eagles should have won and a game BC needed to win to keep the momentum going.
Atkinson-Gibbons-Smith Line. The Cam Atkinson-Brian Gibbons- Ben Smith line continued their hot hand. Smith tallied the first Eagles goal (at 5:54, his 12th of the year) on the power play on a tremendous effort behind the net by Brian Gibbons. Both Smith and Atkinson were camped in front of goalie Kyle Richter and converted on an easy one-timer. The line would strike again at 15:04 of the third period on a 5-on-3 power play, when Atkinson found a wide-open Brian Gibbons who made the easy shot.
Power Play. Harvard committed an uncharacteristic 58 minutes of penalties in the contest. For much of the contest, Harvard committed far too many forced and unforced turnovers and grew frustrated with the Eagles. It goes without saying that you don't have to spot BC that many penalty minutes before they are going to come back and capitalize. The goal that broke the Crimson's back occurred only 18 seconds into the second period, while skating 4-on-4, Matt Price blasted a shot through a Barry Almeida screen to make it 2-0. The Eagles finished 3-of-11 on the power play.
Shutout by Committee. Muse faced very little pressure in the first period (7 shots), but stopped all 33 shots faced before giving way to Chris Venti. Venti saw 2:34 minutes of action in the third period and registered 0 saves in only his second collegiate game experience.
Youth Served. I thought this graphic was interesting. Of the four Beanpot teams, Boston College has the second highest number of freshmen on their active roster. BC's 10 freshmen was only bested by Northeastern's 11. Harvard has 8 freshmen while Boston University has 7. With players like Chris Kreider (1 goal in this game), Stephen Whitney (2 assists) and Parker Milner making an immediate impact on this team, the future is bright for the Eagles.
Louis Leblanc. If there was one bright spot for Harvard, it was the play of freshman Louis Leblanc. Remember this name as you'll likely see him playing at the next level. Leblanc was a first round draft pick of the Montreal Canadiens in last year's NHL Entry Draft (the player taken immediately before BC's Chris Kreider). Leblanc accounted for a majority of Harvard's scoring opportunities, using his speed to get 3 shots off on Muse.
BC's 6-0 victory was the Eagles' largest margin of victory in a Beanpot game since 2000, when BC blanked Northeastern 6-0. Next Monday will mark BC's fourth appearance in the Beanpot final in the last 5 years.
Finally, as a programming note, BC's next two games will be televised on NESN. Friday night the Eagles travel to Massachusetts in a critical Hockey East matchup between two teams currently tied for second place. Then next Monday, the Beanpot final will be televised starting at 8pm.