Sunday, February 12, 2012

The Championship Game Preview

Who will raise the 2012 Beanpot banner to the rafters of the Boston Garden? Well we've already taken Harvard and Northeastern out of the equation. That leaves Boston University and Boston College to face off in the 60th annual Beanpot Championship game, taking place tomorrow night at 7:30.
Alex Chiasson skates the puck up ice vs BC earlier this year.
(Photo by Matt Dresens)
BU beat Harvard 3-1 in what seemed to be a rather sloppy game. BU jumped out to a three nothing lead on a pair of Wade Megan goals and another tally from Matt Nieto. Harvard cut the lead to 3-1 on a power play goal by Alex Killorn midway through the third. BU did not make any real effort to put the game away and sat on the two goal lead for the remainder of the game. The Terriers were lucky to escape with a 3-1 win.

Boston College roasted Northeastern 7-1 in the late game last Monday. BC jumped out to a 2-0 lead and never looked back. NU made it a one goal game heading into the second period on a 5 on 3 strike from Anthony Bitetto. After the second period the score read 5-1. BC potted two shorthanded goals, both scored by Steven Whitney. His second of the two shorties was the most impressive, as he attempted to make a pass on a 2 on 1 rush. The pass was blocked by a sliding NU defender. Whitney regained possession, paused, then ripped a snap shot short side high on NU goalie Chris Rawlings.

Head To Head
This year, BU took the season series two games to one. The Terriers shutout BC in mid November 5-0 at Conte Forum, home of the Eagles. In early December, the two teams split a weekend home and home series. BU won the first night 5-3 (again at Conte) despite being out shot 45-15. Saturday night was a completely different story. BU won the shot battle, but BC won the game 6-1 at Agganis.

A lot has changed since the arch rivals last met. BU lost both Corey Trivino and Charlie Coyle, who were both critical part of those two wins over BC. Trivino posted three goals in those three games (one was an empty netter). Coyle add two assists and a goal in the first two meetings. He was held scoreless in the final game. It will be hard to make up that kind of production, but BU has done a pretty damn good job of replacing those two against every other team they played since their departures, so that situation is kind of a push.

The kicker is that BC will now have Patrick Wey back in the lineup for Monday's game. Wey is arguably BC's best defenseman and he was sidelined with a torn ligament in his right foot for a good chunk of the first half. He missed all three match-ups with BU. It will be interesting to see how the new BU offense responds to the new BC defense.

Between the Pipes
Kieran Millan makes a kick save
during a BC power play, part of
BU's 5-3 win on December 2nd
(Photo by Matt Dresens)
Advantage BU. Big time. I know Parker Milner has played well as of late, but his play against BU (lifetime) is just plain awful. In three games played he is 0-3 with a 4.97 goals against average (15 goals allowed) and a .773 save percentage.

I dont know Kieran Millan's all time stats vs BC, but I would imagine they're a little better. Millan also has proven over his time at BU that he is very cool under pressure and plays well in big games. Millan is also a four year starter.

Miller has been stuck on the bench for two years behind John Muse. This year Milner has been very inconsistent and has struggled to keep his starting job. In fact, BC has started three goalies over the course of the year, and not one has truly proven to be BC's number one starter. Milner will likely start tomorrow night, but Chris Venti and Brian Billett will be ready at a moments notice (like they have all year) if Milner has an off night.

Northeastern beats Harvard 5-3 in the consolation game.

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