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BEANPOT DAY 1: Final Thoughts and Predictions

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Thoughts and stats as we get ready for puck drop at the 2015 Beanpot

The Heights

It's the first Monday Tuesday in February, so it's time to Beanpot Trot into TD Garden for Boston's annual winter carnival. The 'undercard' features two highly ranked teams, the Boston University Eichels and the Harvard Fightin' Donatos. But the focus for BC fans obviously is on 8 PM when BC takes to the ice against Northeastern.

BC Roster Notes

Danny Linell is likely still out with an upper body injury. Michael Sit is sidelined by a concussion. So expect Peter McMullen to make his second consecutive start. Maybe he can be an unlikely Beanpot hero?

It's worth noting that late in the last two games, Teddy Doherty took some shifts at forward as the bench shortened toward the end of the game. With all the TV timeouts at the Beanpot, don't be surprised to see a short bench early on.

Projected Lines

Ryan Fitzgerald - Destry Straight - Austin Cangelosi
Zach Sanford - Adam Gilmour - Alex Tuch
Cam Spiro - Matt Gaudreau - Peter McMullen
Quinn Smith - Michael Sit - Chris Calnan

Defensive Pairs

Teddy Doherty - Michael Matheson
Scott Savage - Ian McCoshen
Steve Santini - Noah Hanifin

Goaltender:

Thatcher Demko

GAME FACTS

Game Time: 8:00 PM (ish), depending on when the BU-Harvard game ends
TV: NESN
Radio: WEEI 850 AM, BCEagles.com

Record: Boston College 16-8-2 (9-5-2 HEA), Northeastern 10-11-4 (6-7-2 HEA)

Goal Differentials:
BC: 78 GF, 60 GA - +18 GD
NU: 62 GF, 71 GA - -9 GD

Team Rankings (Nationally):

Team Offense: BC #15 (3.00 G/GM)...NU #40 (2.48 G/GM)
Team Defense: BC #18 (2.31 GA/GM), NU #39 (2.84 GA/GM)
Shot Differential Per Game: BC #28 (+2.35 shots/gm), NU #38 (-2.38 shots/gm)
Power Play:BC #52 (14-for-110), NU #18 (23-for-113)
Penalty Kill: BC #11 (99-for-113), NU #56 (86-for-113)

Pairwise: BC #12...NU #26
KRACH: BC #11...NU #27

Last Time Out: BC is coming off a thrilling 3-2 win at Conte Forum on Friday night, while NU sat idle over the weekend. Two weekends ago, NU's last time out featured a weekend sweep over Notre Dame.

Common Foes: Again, we are at the point where this comparison isn't really useful, because BC and NU just recently played one another twice, with the Eagles going 1-0-1 in the two games.

Players to watch: Depending on who starts in net—probably Clay Witt, but possibly Derrick Roy—he'll be the key for NU. Roy and Witt have identical .910 save percentages. Not great, right? But since December, Roy has posted a .933 mark in 5 games played. Witt is still at .912 over 7 games played. It'll be an interesting call for coach Jim Madigan as to whether to ride the hot hand, or ride the guy who single-handedly lifted you into contention last year.

Blast from the Not-Too-Distant Past

It's the Beanpot, so the options here are basically limitless. I hate to do this to any Northeastern friends clicking on this article today (okay, not really) but I'm going to go with last year's "Tip of God" goal by Patrick Brown to deliver the lead to BC late in the Beanpot final.

The Pre-Game Watering Hole

I should probably be nice and note that the official Boston College Alumni Association and Pike's Peak Club meetups are at 5 PM at the North Star. However, for a TD Garden event there are really only two acceptable places to go before the game.

1) The Four's. The best sports bar in Boston. Order a Bobby Orr. Or any of the sandwiches, really. You can't go wrong.

2) Halftime Pizza. One of the best slices around. Plus giant beers for the price you'll pay for a small, watered down one inside.

Scoreboard Watching: Out-Of-Town Notes

Obviously, the only other game tonight is the 5 PM tilt between BU and Harvard. Of course, the women's Beanpot will be ongoing as well over at Harvard, streamable on ESPN 3. BC is in the early game at the women's edition so you could make a BC doubleheader out of it.

Predictions

Joe Gravellese:

Boston University 4, Harvard 2
Boston College 3, Northeastern 2

I'm picking two close games (which feels like it's not really the norm for the Beanpot opener). Two weeks ago I predicted Harvard to win their game against BU but the Eichels have been downright impressive since their narrow loss to BC at Agganis Arena a few weeks ago, including a ferocious 9-goal smackdown of UMass on Friday night (granted, it was UMass, but still). I am having a hard time picking against them. The obvious choice is for BU to be down by a goal (or more!) late and explode for a comeback third period victory.

In the Main Event—look, I like Northeastern this year. I liked them before the season and was shocked by how wrong I was when they went on to have a heinous start. But since Thanksgiving they've been the team I expected them to be all along, BC is the only team to have beaten the Huskies in January (!), with NU posting a 5-1-2 mark this month. So this is going to be a very difficult game to forecast. Based on the last three games, BC is really getting into a better rhythm in terms of cycling the puck and controlling possession. They out-possessed and outshot Merrimack, UConn and Providence fairly handily for most of those games. So I expect similar possession control today against a NU team that sometimes struggles to generate a lot of shots. It's going to come down to NU's goaltending and special teams. I think BC will do just enough to sneak by with a victory.

Brian Favat:

BU 3, Harvard 0
BC 5, Northeastern 4 (OT)

New Guy:

BU 5, Harvard 2
BC 3, Northeastern 1

Grant Salzano:

BU 6, Harvard 5 (OT)
BC 4, Northeastern 0

AJ Black:

BU 6 Harvard 2
BC 3 Northeastern 1

CoachJF:

BU 4, Harvard 2
BC 3, Northeastern 2

BCI Prediction Standings

Last week, Brian, New Guy and BCMike22 all shared the spoils with 5 points. Brian extends his lead slightly at the top of the table.

STANDINGS

Brian 3.66
AJ 3
Joe Grav 2.83
BCMike22 1.66
New Guy 1.66
Grant 1

BCJacket5 1
Airforce987 0.5
Enzo 0.33
Beerfart 0.33

Can BC take the first step toward defending its Beanpot title yet again? Or will Northeastern break through? Will Harvard have any fans at the game? Will Eichel Eichel Eichel Eichel Eichel? Leave your thoughts on tonight's Beanpot matchups below.