Beanpot Notebook: Semifinals

Rest Factor

In Beanpots past the Harvard Crimson had a legitimate gripe to claim the role of underdog. Hockey East, the conference of the other three Beanpot schools — BC, BU and Northeastern — allowed those teams to play only one game the weekend before each Beanpot Monday. Harvard’s conference, the ECAC, wasn’t as generous.

This season, though, the ECAC showed a kinder heart to the Crimson, forcing Harvard to play just one game last weekend, a home contest against Brown. So entering Monday’s game, it was thought that Harvard might have some extra legs compared to years past.

The change didn’t pay off, as the Crimson lost, 2-1, with BU scoring the third period’s only goal — Freddy Meyer’s winner. Still, coach Mark Mazzoleni felt his team played on a level playing field.

“It’s a tremendous asset,” said Mazzoleni of the scheduling change. “Last year, we went to Cornell and Colgate on Friday and Saturday. You get back on Sunday morning at seven, you have a light skate and a meeting [that day] and you play on Monday.

“We thank our league for doing it. I’m glad they know the importance of this tournament to the ECAC so that we can have the best opportunity to play and win.”

Unscheduled Departure

The Crimson weren’t the only ones making an early departure for the Beanpot. Long before the verdict was decided in the first semifinal, assistant referee Kevin Shea suffered a cut wrist and was transported to Massachusetts General Hospital. Shea, an official in both Hockey East and the ECAC, was part of the ECAC officiating crew for game one.

Shea suffered a severed tendon in his right hand. He was stitched up but will need to undergo surgery, which will be performed by the Boston Red Sox’s team physician. (In addition to his work as a linesman, Shea is the Boston Red Sox Club spokesman.)

The Beanpot committee had an alternate referee standing by; Scott Whittemore took Shea’s place and completed the game.

Bad Time To End Streak

Thoughts on the Crimson bench had to be positive after Harvard took a 1-0 lead in the second period. Entering the game, Harvard had a 12-0-0 record when scoring the first goal of the game. However, that didn’t translate to the Beanpot as the Terriers shut the door for the remainder of the night.

Nothing Doing Against BC

BU coach Jack Parker. (photo: Nophadon Sounthala)

BU coach Jack Parker. (photo: Nophadon Sounthala)

Boston College now holds an impressive 9-0-2 record in games against the Beanpot schools this season, including a 3-0-0 mark against archrival and championship foe Boston University. If recent history favors the Eagles, however, then the Terriers have the edge.

Against its Commonwealth Avenue counterparts going back to 1978-79, BU is 7-1 in the Beanpot final. BC’s only win came the last time the teams met in the deciding game, two years ago.

Eagle J.D. Forrest was quick to assert that he expects Monday’s game to be “very different” from the three previous games between the teams this season.

“We’ve played three games with the Terriers, but they’ve all been good games,” BC coach Jerry York added. “We got a break, or we got a bounce, or maybe we got a save at the right time and won all three, but there’s no facet of my thinking that says, ‘Hey, we’re way better!’ The games could have gone the other way just as easily; they were classic BU-BC games.

“I expect that this won’t be the last time we play BU this season. We’ve got the Hockey East tournament, the Regionals, the Frozen Four. … We’re both capable of extending our seasons, and if we do, we’re probably going to play each other some more. Three now, four Monday.

“It could be five-six-seven.”

Amazingly enough, the two teams have never met in the consolation in the 51-year history of the event.

Last Chance For Ryan

Monday’s loss to BC marked the last chance for Husky senior Mike Ryan to hold the Beanpot aloft. Nonetheless, the Dallas Stars draft pick amassed some impressive numbers in Beanpot play, scoring four goals and adding four assists in seven games. All of the other Huskies in Monday’s lineup have combined for just three goals in 47 games total.

Yet, there was little consolation for Ryan in his individual achievements.

“Obviously, I don’t have another chance; it’s over,” Ryan said. “No more Beanpot finals for myself, but it’s been the single most exciting time of the year for the last four years, so I’m glad I’ve had the opportunity to play. But it’s over, and I’m looking ahead now.”

Silver Anniversary Of Snowstorm

This year’s game marked the 25th anniversary of the famed Blizzard of ’78. That year, some Boston Garden fans were not allowed to leave the building on semifinal night, and dozens basically lived in the Garden for several days.

By contrast, Monday’s weather in Boston was sunny and warmer than it has been in weeks –though [nl]Maine was expected to get up to two feet of snow.

Quotes Of Note

“That’ll be a nice quote when Northeastern wins this.” — BU coach Jack Parker to captain Freddy Meyer, after Meyer said he’d be “cheering like mad” during the nightcap for BC in hopes to set up and all-Commonwealth Ave. final.

“Nine straight, 19 out of 20, 36 out of 40,” Parker when asked what he tells his players to motivate them for the Beanpot. The numbers represent BU’s recent appearances in the championship game.

“Despite the fact that I think we’ve got only four seniors — three played tonight — we’re a mature team for a pretty young club; we’ve got poise and maturity, and that helps us.” — BC coach Jerry York, about his team’s ability to withstand Northeastern’s pressure in the first period.