Beanpot Final Preview: It Could Be Another Game of Goalie

The 64th installment of the Beanpot concludes Monday night, and the vaunted silver chalice is guaranteed to be relegated to Commonwealth Avenue for a 23rd consecutive year. The only decision left to be settled is which end of Comm. Ave will it rest for the next 52 weeks.

Boston College and Boston University, who combine for 84 top-two finishes in the four-team tournament (Harvard and Northeastern – the other two participants – combine for just 42), take the Garden ice on Monday night. BU will look to win its 31st Beanpot and repeat for the first time since winning three straight from 2005-07. BC will look to take the title for the sixth time in seven years.

Both teams enter the game having played good hockey of late, with the Eagles 6-0-3 since dropping their first two games coming out of the holiday break. The Terriers are 8-1-1 in their last 10. The only games BU failed to win came against BC, a 5-3 loss followed by a 1-1 tie in a January 15-16 home-and-home.

Monday marks the 22nd time the two teams face each other with the Beanpot on the line, with BU holding a slight 12-9 edge.

Three Storylines

A Game of Goalie: Legendary BU coach Jack Parker once quipped that hockey should be called ‘goalie’, because of the profound impact the goaltender position has on the outcome of a hockey game. One of the constants of both BC and BU programs is they build their teams from the net-out, the strength of the team coming between the pipes.

This year is no different. BC netminder Thatcher Demko is the consensus best goalie in college hockey. Both his 1.71 GAA and .937 save percentage rank fourth in the country, and leads the nation with eight shutouts. Meanwhile, BU’s Sean Maguire is finding his groove after missing the entire 2014-15 season with a concussion, allowing just eight goals in his last six games, sporting a .956 save percentage over that stretch.

Freshman Show: While there’s no potential top-five picks in the NHL Draft, like when Jack Eichel (BU) and Noah Hanifin (BC) starred in 2014-15, both teams sport deep, talented freshman classes. Colin White, who was taken 21st overall by Ottawa is June’s draft, leads the Eagles in scoring with 16 goals and 35 points. Miles Wood, who was drafted in the fourth round by New Jersey, is fourth on the team with 26. However, both players are game-time decisions with wrist and lower-body injuries, respectively, though both are expected to play according to a report from the blog BC Interruption.

BU’s freshman class is led by defenseman Charlie McAvoy, who was given an A-rating from the NHL Central Scouting Agency (an A-rating means a potential first round pick). He has 14 points in 25 games as a freshman, and has improved as the season has gone on, helped especially by the return of ace blueliner Matt Grzelcyk, who battled injuries for much of the season’s first half. Forward and Bruins prospect Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson is a 200-foot specimen, whom Grzelcyk deemed ‘Patrice Bergeron 2.0’ on NESN’s Bruins broadcast on Saturday night. Jordan Greenway, a second round pick in 2015 and a big, strong power forward, has seven points in his last five games. He scored two goals in BU’s 6-3 win over UMass on Friday night. Bobo Carpenter has five goals in his last 11 games.

Like Father, Like Son: There’s an old saying about an apple and a tree. It might apply to BU senior Danny O’Regan, the Terriers’ leading scorer with 32 points, whose father, Tom, starred at the school from 1979-83. The two became the first father-son duo to score 50 goals with the same school when Danny netted his 50th career tally in a 5-2 loss at UConn on October 27.

If O’Regan won the Beanpot MVP award, it will mark another shared father-son acolade, as Tom O’Regan won it in 1982.

Other Tidbits

*Each of the last six BC-BU Beanpot finals have been one-goal decisions. Three have been decided in overtime, including the most recent installment, a 3-2 BC win in 2012. The last multi-goal defeat came in 2001, 5-3 BC victory.

*A goaltender hasn’t been named the Beanpot MVP since 2010, when John Muse won it for BC.

*Sean Maguire, who entered the final round of the Beanpot leading the stakes for the Eberly Award (for the goaltender with the highest save percentage), would become the first BU goalie to win the award since 2012, when Kieran Millan did so, and just the third Terrier since Sean Fields went back-to-back in 2003-04.

*Prediction: BC, 2-1.