BOSTON — A few minutes after Boston University’s nail-biting 2-1 victory over Northeastern in Monday’s Beanpot semifinals, Terriers coach Jack Parker said all the things he was supposed to say.
Praise the other team? Check.
Proud of your own guys? Check.
Happy to be playing in the Beanpot final? Check.
But then, Parker went off script, and made some truly surprising comments.
“It’s not a good thing for the Beanpot if BU and BC win it all the time. The tournament loses some of its luster if it is always the same teams,” he said, acknowledging the cavalier attitude of those that refer to this tournament as the “BU Invitational.”
“You know who wants BU and BC every year? BU and BC! That’s it. People will get sick of it … no, people are sick of it.”
Parker’s comments mirrored those heard from college hockey fans across the country, who just don’t get the appeal of the Beanpot. The primary complaint is that two schools — Boston University and Boston College — rule the roost. And it is a deserved reputation, because you have to go back to 1993 before finding one of the other two teams winning the ‘Pot.
“I won three Beanpots as a player, and I always tell my players that I want them to feel what I felt,” Parker continued.
“But I want Harvard to know what it is like to win it. I want Northeastern to know what it is like. Maybe not on my watch — maybe not against us. But it will happen eventually, and it will be good for the health of the Beanpot when it does.
“And it won’t be long before it happens, with the way [Harvard coach] Teddy [Donato] and [Northeastern coach] Greg [Cronin] are coaching and recruiting.”
Hall of Fame
Three players were inducted into the Beanpot Hall of Fame this year: Northeastern goaltender Tim Marshall, BC forward Bob Sweeney and Harvard’s Fran Toland.
Marshall was the starting goalie for the Huskies when they won the ‘Pot in 1984, and was named tournament MVP. Sweeney, who enjoyed an 11-year NHL career, won the Beanpot and was named tournament MVP as a freshman in 1983.
Toland, who was selected as a “Special Category” inductee, never played a single game in the Beanpot. Toland served as associate athletic director at Harvard for more than four decades, and served as a member of the Beanpot Committee.
Deja Vu All Over Again
The first-round pairings, BC-Harvard in the early game, and BU-Northeastern in the nightcap, is exactly the same as the second round match-ups from last year. Even the outcomes were the same, as BC downed Harvard in last year’s consolation game, and BU defeated the Huskies in the title game.
Change Of Venue
With BU and BC scheduled to meet in the championship game at the Garden next Monday, it will be the fourth meeting of the two teams this season. More impressively, it will be in the fourth different location — the two teams played in BU’s Agganis Arena on Dec. 5, in Fenway Park on Jan. 8, and in Chestnut Hill at BC’s Conte Forum on Jan. 22.
“We had a great game at Fenway. It was like Walt Disney created a hockey game,” said Parker. “It was in front of the largest crowd we’ve ever played for — maybe the largest crown we’ll ever play for.
“And we played in front of 18,000 fans at Madison Square Garden against Cornell, and that was a great game.
“But nothing compares to a Beanpot final. The energy and excitement in this building will be incredible.”
Should the two teams make the NCAA tournament and play in one of the regionals or in the Frozen Four, that would be two teams playing at five different venues in one season.
The Eagles’ 6-0 thrashing of Harvard seemed pretty perfunctory, but BC coach Jerry York thought it wouldn’t have happened without the leadership coming from the upper class.
“I thought our senior class was outstanding,” he gushed. “Those four players really stood out.
“Ben Smith with the first goal; then Matty Price scored a huge goal for us [BC's second, 18 seconds into the second period]. And Carl Sneep scored the last goal. And Matt Lombardi is just a big physical presence for us out on the ice.”
All told, the BC senior class had six points in the game.