‘Pot Preview : 60th Beanpot Tournament

As I sit here on this very fortunate Super Bowl Sunday I continue to remind myself to take it all in and not take this decade plus of Boston sports success for granted. I mean, how lucky can we get with the defending Cup Champion Bruins taking the national stage against the Caps on NBC followed up by the Patriots quest for their 4th Lombardi Trophy in the last eleven years. I must say the best part of the Bruins gaining national television exposure today is the reprieve it provides from the overdone, 2 week long minutia that we have been forced to listen to as the pundits prognosticate every angle of the Superbowl. Yeah, we get it, the Giants will put pressure on Brady and the Patriots secondary will be susceptible to the arm of Eli and his uber-talented band of receivers…ENOUGH already.

                To make this weekend even more of an incredulous Boston sport fan dream, the 60th annual Beanpot kicks off tomorrow night. A surging BU team takes on the Harvard Crimson at 5PM followed by a BC/Northeastern tilt that acts as the nightcap, 8PM (both on NESN).  The age old question seems to be, will either Northeastern or Harvard step up and challenge perennial favorites BU and BC? This year is certainly no different as both BU and BC enter the 60th Beanpot ranked #3 and #5 in both the USCHO and USA Today polls respectively. All four schools took care of business and will enter this year’s tournament having won their last game.

                In looking at the first game between BU (15-8-1) and Harvard (7-6-9), it will no doubt come down to specials teams. Harvard owns the top power play in the nation as it currently converts on a 30.77% clip. The Crimson are very top heavy and will rely on their top line and power play unit if they have any hopes of taking down the Terriers. The Crimson will also have to play a disciplined game as BU’s PP unit is no slouch either, ranked 5th in the nation.  Harvard is a senior laden team but the one resounding exception is the precocious freshman defenseman, Patrick McNally who has 4-13-17 numbers in his rookie season. BU will have to stop senior Alex Killorn who is clearly the class of the Crimson as he has tallied 14 goals and 12 assists on the year. BU is of course led by their top line of Alex Chiasson, Chris Connolly and Matt Nieto and will rely heavily on defenseman Adam Clendening who has been superb as of late for the Terriers.

                The nightcap had all the makings of a fantastic first round matchup until Northeastern (11-11-3) incurred two devastating losses due to injury. The injuries to Cody Ferriero and Steve Qualier are indeed game changers and NU will have to rely on the prowess of goaltender Chris Rawlings and freshman sensation Ludwig Karlsson if they have any hope of upsetting BC. BC coach Jerry York compared his team’s recent success to that of the NY Giants as the Eagles (12-7-1) look to gain some momentum heading into the NCAA tournament and the Frozen Four. This is typically the time of year York’s teams hit their annual stride and I look for the Eagles to do the same this year. BC will look for stud junior forward Chris Kreider (16-14-30) to continue to step up his game along with senior Barry Almeida who has 6 goals in his last four games including a hat trick in Orono a few weeks ago.

‘Pot Picks for the first round of the Beanpot:

BC 4 NU2 – Liked NU a few weeks ago but the injuries changed my sentiment

Harvard 4 BU 3 – Harvard in the upset

Monday, Feb. 6, 2012
Semifinal #1
Boston U. vs. Harvard, 5 p.m.
Semifinal #2
Boston College vs. Northeastern, 8 p.m    

What the Blogger’s think:

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