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Concert of American Music by the BU Chamber Chorus, Saturday, February 8, 8 p.m., Tsai Performance Center
Week of 7 February 2003· Vol. VI, No. 20

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Terriers, with something to prove, set sights on BC in Beanpot championship game

By Brian Fitzgerald

In the summer, the rivalry of all Boston sports rivalries is undoubtedly the Red Sox–Yankees. In the winter, however, the Green Line college hockey feud takes center ice. There is certainly no love lost between BU and BC in a hockey matchup, a battle between the Hatfields and the McCoys of Hockey East.

BU goaltender Sean Fields (CAS’04) makes a crucial save with the toe of his right skate, foiling a dangerous open-net shot from Harvard’s Noah Welch in the third period of the Beanpot opener. BU won, 2-1. Photo by Phoebe Sexton (UNI’06)


BU goaltender Sean Fields (CAS’04) makes a crucial save with the toe of his right skate, foiling a dangerous open-net shot from Harvard’s Noah Welch in the third period of the Beanpot opener. BU won, 2-1. Photo by Phoebe Sexton (UNI’06)


On Monday, February 10, at 8 p.m. at the FleetCenter, BU will have a chance to exact revenge on a team that it has lost to three times this year, and at the same time to reinforce its boast that the Beanpot tournament is indeed the “BU Invitational.” By beating Harvard, 2-1, in the opening round on February 3, the Terriers are in the position of being able to extend their Beanpot dominance to a staggering eight titles in the past nine years. Another victory also means that they will have won 11 of the last 14, and 25 of all 51 tournaments. And by plucking the Eagles, BU can also move up in the national rankings.

Forget the Hockey East standings for the moment. (And BU, mired in fourth place, would love to.) The Beanpot championship game doesn’t count in the teams’ conference records. But the national pollsters will take notice if BU upsets Boston College. The Terriers, ranked 12th both by USA Today/ American Hockey magazine and US College Hockey Online, might be able to gain some ground on number 5 BC. A victory won’t vault them past the Eagles in any pollsters’ eyes -- BU, with a 9-8-0 conference record, compared to BC’s 12-4-1, still has a long way to go. Nevertheless, it’s a step in the right direction if BU wants to repeat history by finishing strong heading into the conference tournament and possibly the NCAA tournament.

Last season a nine-game winning streak included Beanpot victories over BC and Northeastern. The red-hot Terriers, who didn’t lose at all in the month of February, were stopped only by a hotter Maine team in the Hockey East tournament championship, 9-6, and by the same Black Bears in the NCAA tournament, 4-3. “The Beanpot was a big part of that streak,” said BU Coach Jack Parker. “It really got us going, and hopefully we can get on another little streak.”

To its advantage, BU does hold more than a small edge over BC in Beanpots past. The Terriers have won 13 of their last 14 tournament games against the Eagles, including last’s year’s trophy-winner. They have emerged victorious in 15 of the last 17, and 21 of the last 24, for an unlikely dominance that perplexes even Parker. “It’s weird,” he said. “When you flip a coin, you expect it to land on both heads and tails equally.”

Nonetheless, the Terriers still wear the underdog label in the title game. They definitely have something to prove, and the proof will be a victory over their Chestnut Hill nemesis. In fact, during the Northeastern-BC matchup in the opening round of the Beanpot, some BU players found themselves in the uncomfortable position of actually hoping for a BC victory.

“We’re going to be standing up in the stands cheering and rooting loud for the Eagles,” said captain Freddy Meyer (MET’03), who scored the winning goal against Harvard, before attending Monday night’s second game. “We’d definitely love to catch them in the final, redeem some ground from early this season. We lost three to them early on, and hopefully we’ll play them in the final and get some respect back up on Commonwealth Avenue.”

“That’ll be a nice quote, Freddy, when Northeastern wins,” commented a tongue-in-cheek Parker.

But BC was not to be denied, winning 5-2. Was Parker hoping for a BU-BC showdown?

“I have never rooted for BC,” he insisted, before quickly amending his statement. “Well, I rooted for them when Artie Graham played football for BC,” referring to the Patriots’ 1963 first-round draft pick, a fellow Somerville, Mass., native. “We’ll play whoever shows up.”

BU vs. BC: is there a bigger feud in New England college hockey? How about BU-Maine? To be sure, when the hated Black Bears won the national championship in 1999, it was a bitter pill to swallow for Terrier fans. But the Eagles won it all in 2001, and that foul-tasting tablet was the size of a hockey puck.

Then there were BC’s three victories over BU this year, by a combined score of 9-5, a trio of disappointments that saw the Terriers unable to score more than two goals a game. “We played well,” said Parker. “We just couldn’t put the puck in the net.”

BU managed just two goals against Harvard in the Beanpot’s first round, but it was enough. “We played great team defense, and we got great goaltending,” said Parker. But he knows the offense will have to turn it up a notch in the title game. The fans certainly will in the cheering department. Their dueling taunts and chants will begin on the B Line train before the game and reach a crescendo in the FleetCenter, pausing only during the national anthem.

The good old BU-BC rivalry. If anything clashes more than red socks and pinstripes, it’s scarlet and maroon.


7 February 2003
Boston University
Office of University Relations