61st Beanpot, Harvard vs. Boston College: Back-to-Back?

What would you say if I told you that Boston College hockey, the defending national champions and three-time defending Hockey East champions, had not won consecutive games since November?

No matter one’s reaction — probably profound despair on the part of Eagles fans — that statement is factually accurate.

The Eagles can break that spell and get back-to-back wins on Monday night at the TD Garden during a little tournament that Boston folk like to call the Beanpot. You may have heard of it. This time, their draw handed them a semifinal matchup with the Harvard Crimson. The two schools did not face each other in non-conference play this year away from this tournament.

Even though Boston College has not made the previous two months pretty in any way, shape, or form, their season has gone in a completely different direction from that of Harvard. For whatever faults they’ve had since blowing Jerry York’s 925th win in Providence, they’re still 15-7-2 and a serious threat to win the whole thing in April. The Crimson, on the other hand, have had a terrible season to date. Harvard is 5-14-1 and are presently on a seven-game losing streak. Their last victory was on January 9, ironically enough at Boston University, another Beanpot participant and hated Commonwealth Avenue rivals of BC. Now there’s a team with issues winning consecutive games.

In 20 games to this point, Harvard averages just over two goals per game and allows about three and a third. One standout statistic for the Crimson is their penalty kill, which stands at a poor 77.6% for the season. When they benefit from the man-advantage, they’ve scored just eight goals all season for a 10.1% conversion rate. Thing is, Harvard doesn’t take or go on an obscene number of penalties. Several days ago, BC played a Vermont team that rated last in Hockey East in the penalty kill and does go shorthanded often, and BC still did not net a power play goal. In games like this, if BC gets their chance, they’re going to have to take advantage of it, though it seems the Crimson give up plenty of even-strength goals as well.

The issue of Boston College’s consistency is still unresolved. It has not been uncommon in the last two months for BC to get a win and look good doing it, then fall to an inferior team and dredge up all the questions about what’s wrong with them. The scenario is then familiar, because Harvard is a far inferior team on paper, and BC did look good in wiping Vermont away on Friday. Winning this game is about more than the pride associated with advancing to the Beanpot finals with a chance to win their fourth title in a row: it’s about sustaining momentum. If Boston College can take care of business against Harvard and start becoming consistent, this could be the start of a very good month.

The puck will drop on NESN at approximately 8pm in the second of two semifinals. Jerry York will be inducted into the Beanpot Hall of Fame in between contests.

Tags: Beanpot Boston College Eagles Harvard Crimson Hockey

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