By: Chris Picher
Beanpot consolation games are regarded as an afterthought, until it’s not. This is the most important consolation game in recent memory because both teams are desperate for two points.
Boston College is amidst a second-half skid and a few more losses could see the Eagles miss the NCAA Tournament after being ranked in the top five of the USCHO rankings for seven straight weeks. Entering the second Monday in February, BC is 13th in Pairwise and Northeastern is their only remaining opponent not in the top-20 in the pairwise.
The Huskies are one of the nation’s best offensive teams in the country, and they sport the second best man-advantage in the nation. If Northeastern can get a big win over Boston College, the Huskies will keep their NCAA Tournament hopes alive. Northeastern has won five of their last seven games and following their date with BC on Monday play UConn and Maine to wrap up the regular season.
BC hasn’t lost in the consolation game since 1993, before Jerry York’s tenure. Since Northeastern beat BC in the 1993 consolation game, Northeastern is 7-7 in the third place game.
BC looks to complete the season sweep of the Huskies on Monday. BC skated to a close victory at Matthews Arena at the end of Novemeber, 2-1, and then a week later BC’s offense erupted in a 5-3 win over the Huskies at Conte Forum. Despite the two wins, BC had 15 penalties over the two games and they can’t afford to sustain undisciplined hockey on Monday against the second-best power play in the nation.
BC was 13-5-1 after the victory over Northeastern on December 6th. Since then, BC is just 5-6-1. Similarly for Northeastern, this season is marked by two different halves to the season. The Huskies were 5-7-2 before the losses to BC and following they are 7-5-1.
It is hard to put much stock into the two games back in the first half of the season, but this match-up has showcased several close games in recent years. Most notably last time these two teams played at the TD Garden in the Hockey East Semifinals where Northeastern upset BC, 5-4, in route to a trip to the NCAA Tournament.
The Eagles’ freshman net-minder Joe Woll has been tremendous all year, but was pulled on Friday night after allowing three goals on six shots over the first ten minutes against Merrimack. If Jerry York goes back with his number one goalie, the freshman needs to have a bounce-back game against the red-hot Huskies’ scoring attack, averaging 4.4 goals in their last seven games.
Northeastern needs a win to keep their Frozen Four aspirations alive and BC needs to snap a two-game losing streak and stop the bleeding to stay above the Pairwise line. Face-off is scheduled for 4:30 p.m.