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Calling All Hands: It’s Beanpot Time

Men’s tournament kicks off tonight, women’s tomorrow

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  • The 66th men’s Beanpot Tournament begins tonight. With a win, the Terriers claim their 31st title
  • The 40th women’s Beanpot starts Tuesday, with BU playing Harvard
  • A women’s win will be their first title since competing as a club team in 1981 

It’s the first full week of February, and as any local hockey fan will tell you, that means the return of one of Boston’s most storied traditions: the annual men’s Beanpot Tournament, marking its 66th anniversary this year. Each year, BU, BC, Harvard, and Northeastern compete for bragging rights as the area’s best college hockey team. The winners of tonight’s first round go head-to-head at next Monday’s championship game, with both rounds at TD Garden.

The women’s Beanpot Tournament, now celebrating its 40th year, begins tomorrow at Conte Forum at Boston College, with the championship matchup scheduled for Tuesday, February 13.

Men’s ice hockey

BU faces Harvard tonight in the opening night second matchup, at 8 pm, at TD Garden. With a senior class that last won a Beanpot title as freshmen, the Terriers will be out to add to their record 30 Beanpot titles. But in a competiton that includes two teams in the top-20, they know they can’t take anything for granted.

“You want every player to experience winning it,” head coach David Quinn (CAS’89) says. “To me, it’s a feeling you can’t really describe. It just means so much to not only the players, but also to the University and the alumni, the people who work on campus. It’s just something that you never forget.”

After a promising early start that had them ranked number two in the country—the Terriers (14-11-2 overall, 10-7-2 Hockey East) carry arguably the biggest momentum heading into tonight. The team has amassed an impressive 6-1-1 record so far in 2018 and will be striving to stay on course.

What would a Beanpot win mean for the team? “We’d be able to prove to ourselves that we can hang with the competition, hang with the teams that are up in the playoff hunt,” says captain Brandon Hickey (CGS’16, Questrom’18). “It’d be a giant boost to our momentum for the rest of the year.”

In the recent past, winning the Beanpot has proven a prognosticator of a stellar year. The last two Beanpot-winning BU teams—2009 and 2015—ended their season as the national champion (2009) and the runner-up (2015).

This year, the Terriers have seen a balanced output from players, seven of whom have recorded at least 19 points so far. They will be relying on top scorers Bobo Carpenter (CGS’17, COM’19) and Jordan Greenway (CGS’17, CAS’19) to lead the offense. On the other end, Hickey and goaltender Jake Oettinger (CGS’18) will anchor the defense.

The Terriers have lost all but one game against Beantown rivals Northeastern and BC this season, the exception a 7-4 win against the Eagles on December 1. Tonight is their first matchup this season against Harvard.

Even for Beanpot veterans like Hickey, the tournament remains one of the highlights of the season. “Once you start playing the game, the electricity’s in the building, and it’s a special experience for sure,” he says. “I actually couldn’t be more excited.”

Women’s ice hockey

When the Terriers take to the ice tomorrow night against Harvard, their goal will be to make history: they last won the championship in 1981, when they were still a club team. But a championship will by no means come easily: this year’s roster, which includes third-ranked Boston College, is formidable.

“For whatever reason, that’s been our kryptonite, the thing that’s escaped us over 12-plus years as a varsity program,” head coach Brian Durocher  (SED’78) says. “Lord knows we’ve probably gone into that thing three, four, five times as potentially the favorites because we’ve had good teams.”

Rebecca Leslie

The women’s hockey Terriers will rely on captain Rebecca Leslie (Questrom’18) to lead them when they take on Harvard in round one of the 40th Women’s Beanpot Tournament Tuesday at 5 pm at Boston College’s Conte Forum. Photo by Rich Gagnon

Holding a current 10-14-6 (6-11-5 Hockey East) record, the Terriers know that a Beanpot victory would be a historic milestone for them. The team has come close several times, advancing to the championship game in 2007, 2008, and 2012, a game that ended in a gut-wrenching 4-3 overtime loss to Northestern. A championship title, Durocher says, “proves you’re ready to play in big game situations, and it’s bragging rights. Those things are important.”

BU will be depending on captain Rebecca Leslie (Questrom’18) and forward Victoria Bach (CGS’16, COM18) to lead the team. The offensive duo—both among the top-eight scorers in the country—have combined for 99 points this season. And with this talent, players say, they’re entering the tournament with confidence.

“We feel like we can beat any team,” says Nara Elia (CGS’19). “Although we haven’t exactly won against those teams, the feeling that we can actually do that is our mentality.”

When the Terriers take on Harvard tomorrow at Boston College, they will be hoping for a different outcome than that of last year’s tournament consolation game, when they tied the Crimson 6-6.

For the seniors, the stakes are especially high: their last chance at ending a 37-year drought. “It’s kind of like, who’s going to own the city for the year,” Leslie says. “I hope this will be the year.”

The 66th Annual Men’s Beanpot Tournament: BU plays Harvard in the second game of the semifinals tonight, Monday, February 5, at 8 pm, preceded by the semifinal between Boston College and Northeastern University at 5 pm. Purchase tickets on Ticketmaster or Stubhub. Beanpot second round: the consolation game is at 4:30 pm, Monday, February 12, the championship game at 7:30 pm. All Beanpot games are at TD Garden, 100 Legends Way, Boston, and will be televised live on NESN and broadcast live on WTBU Radio (640 AM and 89.3 FM) and the Terrier Sports Radio Network.

The 40th annual Women’s Beanpot Tournament: BU plays Harvard in the first game of the semifinals Tuesday, February 6, at 5 pm, and Northeastern takes on Boston College at 8 pm, both at BC’s Silvio O. Conte Forum, Chestnut Hill. The tournament second round is next Tuesday, February 13, with tonight’s two winners facing off at 7:30 pm and the two losing teams at 4:30 pm in the consolation game, both also at BC’s Conte Forum. Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for children 12 and under and groups of 10 or more. Purchase tickets at bceagles.com. 

Jonathan Chang can be reached at jchang19@bu.edu.

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