By: Marisa Ingemi
The Boston University Terriers enter Beanpot season in a position to advance in the Hockey east standings. BU has had a strong second half, with just a blip against Boston College, sandwiched between wins over Harvard and UMass and then a sweep in a home-and-home against Maine. Ahti Oksanen has played tremendous since it being thought he may miss the rest of the season, and new comer Oskar Andren impressed in this past weekend’s series against the Black Bears. Sean Maguire has taken over as the team’s starting goaltender and he has played well. Matt Grzelcyk has five goals in his last seven games since he came back from injury. BU will matchup against a hot Northeastern team, but it’s not like the Terriers have been falling, as some recent Huskies opponents have been. The biggest weakness of the Terriers right now is their penalty kill, which surrendered three goals to Maine this weekend. If the Terriers continue to see success from a strong group of top-six forwards (a mix of three freshmen and three seniors), this is a team that could win both of its games.
The lone non-Hockey East club of the tournament, Harvard, may also be the best team. The Crimson swept Colgate and Cornell last week and this week will host Princeton in what should be a warm up for their Beanpot contest against the Boston College Eagles next week. Currently ranked seventh in the country, Harvard is the second highest ranked team here other than Boston College. That makes this a matchup of two strong teams that might be skating in Tampa Bay come frozen four time.
If this was a month ago, this preview would look a lot different. Northeastern has taken off as one of the hottest teams in the country. The Huskies have won six in a row and haven’t lost in eight straight contests. Anaheim Ducks draft pick Kevin Roy is healthy after missing time, and since his return last weekend already has two points. Adam Gaudette has also exploded with points in his last seven games. Northeastern was swept by the Terriers in their last series, which took place in early November. However, these are both two different teams facing each other. In their last 11 contests, Northeastern is 8-2-1 after starting the season 1-10-2. Ryan Ruck emerging as a viable goaltender has been in the middle of the Huskies turnaround after they struggled to stop opponents from scoring in the first half of the season.
The Eagles are one of the favorites to win Hockey East. They’ve played well of late, taking down both Providence and Boston University. Jerry York has his 1,000th career win after defeating UMass last Friday, but then the Eagles skated to a 3-3 tie against UConn the next night. That’s two weekends in a row where BC won and tied, gaining three points and a Hockey East victory. Colin White, who played for the Americans in the World Junior Championships last month, is leading the team with 14 goals as a freshman.