Feb. 9, 2009

Courtesy of Boston University

BOSTON - The top-ranked Boston University men's ice hockey team (21-5-1), currently on a nation-best seven-game win streak and 14-1-1 in their last 16 games, will take on No. 3 Northeastern (19-6-2) in the championship game of the 57th Beanpot on Monday (Feb. 9) at TD Banknorth Garden. The game, which starts at 8 p.m., will be broadcast live by NESN and simulcast in Canada on Rogers Sportsnet. This will be the 200th meeting between the cross-town rivals.

BU has amassed 28 Beanpot titles, while Northeastern hasn't claimed the trophy since 1988, when it posted a 6-3 victory over Terriers for its fourth 'Pot championship. BU has won all 13 Beanpot match-ups with the Huskies since, including a 5-4 triumph in last season's consolation game. That streak is longest between two opponents in the tournament's history.

The Terriers are in the Beanpot title game for the 24th time in the last 26 years and have an all-time Beanpot record of 82-31 (.726), which includes a 29-7 (.806) vs. Northeastern.

With the two squads atop the national rankings, this is arguably the most anticipated match-up in the rivals' history. The teams have met in the Beanpot title 10 previous times (BU leads, 7-3), but have never met for a league title. In fact, they have faced off in only one league semifinal (Hockey East, 1994) since meeting in three NEIHL semifinals in four years between 1948-51.

The two teams will face off three times in the next 13 days, as they wrap up their Hockey East series with a home-and-home set (Feb. 20-21) that should go a long ways in determining who claims the league's regular-season crown. Northeastern currently holds the top spot in the standings by just two points over the Terriers.

BU reached the title game by virtue of its 4-3 come-from-behind victory over Harvard in the first round on Feb. 2. Senior Jason Lawrence scored the game-winning goal at 18:14 of the third period, as the Terriers responded to an early 2-0 deficit with three unanswered tallies - including two from Nick Bonino. Northeastern posted a convincing 6-1 victory over BC in the other semifinal.
BU holds a 143-50-6 (.734) advantage in its all-time series and is 9-1-2 in the last 11 meetings. The inner-city rivals last met on Nov. 16, 2008, at Agganis Arena with BU earning a 3-0 victory behind freshman Kieran Millan's first collegiate shutout.

Northeastern is one of only two teams (Cornell) that has not lost consecutive games this season and is coming off a 4-3 home victory over Merrimack, as senior Joe Vitale scored the game-winner with 2:44 left in regulation.

Sophomore Wade MacLeod has a team-high 27 points on 11 goals and 16 assists, while senior Ryan Ginand has 26 points on the strength of 18 goals, which ranks tied for first among Hockey East players. Vitale has tallied 20 points (5g, 15), while freshmen Steve Quailer (7g, 12a) and Alex Tuckerman (5g, 12a) have recorded 19 and 17 points, respectively.

Junior goaltender Brad Thiessen was named Hockey East Co-Goaltender of the Month with Millan in January and has a 2.06 goals against average to go along with a .935 save percentage, which ranks sixth in the country. Only Jeff Lerg (Michigan State, 824) has made more saves than Thiessen (806) this season.

Greg Cronin is in his fourth year at the helm of the Huskies and has a 51-66-17 mark at the school despite a having a 3-24-7 record in his first season.

BU is the only team in the country to have a perfect non-conference record (8-0-0). Last year, the Terriers went 2-6-1 in non-conference play. BU went undefeated in its 10 non-conference games (9-0-1) during the 1995-96 season, but had not won its first eight non-league contests since the 1991-92 campaign, when it was a perfect 12-0-0.

The Terriers stretched their win streak to seven games on Friday evening, using a pair of power-play tallies to break a third-period tie and go on to post a 5-3 victory over UMass Lowell at Agganis Arena. BU is now 21-2-1 in its last 24 games that have occurred between the Beanpot.

BU has 11 players with 15 points or more this season. No other team in the country can lay claim to that accomplishment, but Denver is right behind with 10.