Only 14 days to go before the puck drops for the 68th Beanpot Tournament at TD Garden, in Boston, and all the civilized world waits to see if once-bedraggled Northeastern can pull off the first Beanpot threepeat in its long hockey history. And itís not too soon to start the cross-town sniping, snarkiness, and lobbing of gratuitous insults between and among the four fanbases. Since Iím above all that, Iíll just offer to start this yearís thread with some humble thumbnails of the contenders, in alphabetical order:
Boston College: Notwithstanding the fact that regular season standings tend to be irrelevant in Beanpot play, it certainly looks like the 2020 Beanpot is BCís to lose. The Eagles sit one point behind UMass in the Hockey East standings (with two games-in-hand) and have the best overall record plus best goal differential (a whopping +36) of the Beanpot teams. And if thatís not enough, toss in this yearís wunderkind freshman goaltender. But strange things happen in Beanpot play so nobody should be surprised if something strange keeps the pot away from upper Commonwealth Ave.
Boston University: On top of this probably not being the best year to draw BC in the first round, BU finds itself in the midst of a mediocre season, at least by BU standards. The Terriers have struggled to get to .500 and have the narrowest goal differential (+6). So, this isnít your fatherís (or even big brotherís) BU. But although strange things have happened in Beanpot play, even stranger things have happened in the long, storied rivalry involving three miles of Commonwealth Ave. Exhibit A: Saturdayís nailbiter at Chestnut Hill. So, expect the unexpected.
Harvard: As usual, Harvard comes in as something of an enigma, with one-sided wins over Yale (7-0) and QPac (7-2) offset by an embarrassing loss to the same QPac (6-1) and a tie at bottom-feeder Princeton. Notably, the Johns have also lost to both BC and BU. But Harvard does know how to score (+20 goal differential) and has played the fewest games, so maybe theyíre still finding their groove. So, which is the real Harvard: The one thatís 3-5-2 in their last 10 or the one that can put the puck in the net? Hopefully, both of their fans show up to find out.
Northeastern: Although NU already has the Friendship Four (Belfast) championship under its belt, its play has been wildly inconsistent, with the Huskies dominating offensively for stretches but also getting pinned in its own end for other stretches. Result: Nice wins vs Providence, UNH, and UMass offset by puzzling losses to the same UNH and Ö..UConn? Ummm, BU too. Maybe that comes with having 11 freshmen on the roster. All of that being said, if the NU that shows up at the Garden is the same one that played so well in Belfast, a threepeat might well be in the cards.
BTW, NU and BC have yet to meet each other this season so, providing neither looks past its first-round opponent, an NU-BC final could prove enticing.