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Adam Hermann | NCAA.com | February 6, 2018

Can Northeastern win its first Beanpot since 1988?

  The Huskies' last Beanpot title came in 1988. Can they snap the losing streak this year?

If you like storylines, star power, and a little drama, this year’s Beanpot will not disappoint.

The tournament historically features four of the more storied and entertaining hockey programs in the country, and this season all four rank in the top half of the USCHO’s PairWise rankings.

A quick rundown of their PW rankings, as of Feb. 2:

 

  1. Northeastern, 15th
  2. Boston, 20th 
  3. Boston College, 23rd
  4. Harvard, T-24th

 

A spread of just nine spots in the PW rankings between first and fourth means we should be in for an excellent tournament.

Now, let’s look at each team a bit closer:

Northeastern

All-time Beanpot tournament titles: 4
Record vs. Beanpot teams this season: 3-1-0

  The Huskies are rolling on both ends of the ice and could snag an NCAA tournament berth.

Northeastern hasn’t won a Beanpot in 30 years. Its last title came in 1988, with a 21-win team that finished first in Hockey East and reached the first round of the NCAA tournament.

The drought has a good chance of ending this season, thanks to the combination of Adam Gaudette and Dylan Sikura, two of the best scorers in the country. 

Gaudette is tied for the most points in the nation with 39, including 19 goals, eight of which have come on the power play. He also has six multi-goal games this season. Sikura, meanwhile, is tied for 7th in the country with 36 points, including 13 goals and eight power play markers of his own. Together, they are the most prolific duo in the country, and the Huskies are reaping the benefits this year, playing top-15 hockey and angling for Jim Madigan’s second NCAA tournament appearance with the program.

On top of NU’s stellar offense, freshman goaltender Cayden Primeau (yes, Keith’s son) has been a revelation between the pipes this year, ranking 8th in the country with a stellar 2.01 GAA and 12th in the country with a sturdy .921 SV%. He only has two shutouts this year, but also has nine games allowing just one goal.

The Huskies are tough to top for any team this year, Beanpot or otherwise, and all the signs point to a celebration for NU.

Boston College

All-time Beanpot tournament titles: 20
Record vs. Beanpot teams this season: 2-2-1

  BC has toed the line between good and dangerous all year. The Eagles are fun.

If there’s one thing Boston College has figured out this season, it’s depth. The Eagles have 13 players with double-digit points, and another in Ron Greco who could reach that watermark by the end of the Beanpot. 

However, BC’s lack of a singularly great scorer has left them in the bottom half of the country in goals scored per game, averaging just 2.78 while allowing 2.81 goals per game as a team. 

They’re 13-5 in conference action with a +15 goal differential in those 18 Hockey East games, and 6-2 in one-goal games in conference play. This means two things: 1. The Eagles are, statistically speaking, a high-variance team often no more than one bad period away from a loss, and 2. Very, very good at winning close games.

Both things mean that watching BC is a lot of fun, because they get into a lot of pressure situations, and emerge victorious plenty. They have two wins against Beanpot teams this year, and they’ll challenge the Huskies for the title, but they could also finish last in the tournament. That’s just BC’s season.

Boston University

All-time Beanpot tournament titles: 30
Record vs. Beanpot teams this season: 1-3-0

  The Terriers will try to steal another Beanpot title to add to their lead.

Yes, Boston University only has one Frozen Four appearance since 2009, but this is still BU we’re talking about. Show some respect. 

The Terriers have equipped themselves with a very good half-dozen players at or above the 20-point mark, and Chad Krys is just one goal or assist away from making it a lucky seven. Bobo Carpenter drives the offense, rifling in 16 goals in 26 games with a very solid 19.5 percent SH%, while freshman Shane Bowers (13 goals, +14) has been pleasantly effective in his first year. 

It’s been an uneven season for head coach David Quinn’s squad on the whole, but they’ve found a rhythm lately, winning six of their last seven and tying Providence in the eighth. 

As far as their season vs. Beanpot teams is concerned, BU split an early December series with Boston College, but was thrashed by Northeastern in their early November matchups. The Terriers won’t be pushovers, but it’d probably take some momentum-riding and a few outsized performances for the Terriers to bring home this year’s Beanpot.

Harvard

All-time Beanpot tournament titles: 11
Record vs. Beanpot teams this season: 0-0-1

  Can Lewis Zerter-Gossage lead Harvard to an unexpected Beanpot victory?

Last season, Harvard won its first Beanpot title since 1993. So far this year, it does not appear the Crimson are in for a repeat performance.

As of Jan. 28, Ryan Donato (who is going to the Olympics for Team USA, quite an accomplishment in its own right) led the country with 21 goals, and had 30 points in total. It’s been an excellent season for the Scituate, Mass. native. 

Behind him, however, only one Harvard player (Lewis Zerter-Gossage) has 20 points. Donato is far and away the Crimson’s primary source of offense, and it’s evident in the shot totals: Donato has 124 after the team’s series vs. Providence, while no other player has more than 65. Opening ceremonies for the Olympics are Feb. 9, and the second matchup of the Beanpot isn't until Feb. 12, so Donato presumably won't be part of the tournament's second weekend. That sort of hamstrings the Crimson's ceiling.

Yet Harvard’s only matchup with Beanpot teams this season was a 4-4 tie with a good Boston College team, and certainly this tournament is nothing if not unpredictable, so don’t count the Crimson out of it just yet.