2005 Beanpot tournament preview

By DJ Powers





Beanpot Tournament Preview








The 53rd annual Beanpot
Tournament drops the puck beginning on Monday, February 7th and
concludes on Monday, February 14th at the FleetCenter
in Boston. The
tournament is one of the top regular season tournaments that features
four Boston-area teams: Boston College, Boston
University
, Harvard and
Northeastern vying for the coveted Beanpot Trophy.
The Boston College Eagles will be looking to successfully defend their Beanpot Championship and make it their 14th
title.

 

This year’s tournament features 32 NHL prospects
representing 16 NHL teams. The San Jose Sharks will have the most
representation with six players and is the only NHL team to feature at least
one prospect on all four team rosters. The New York Rangers is second with
three prospects. In addition to drafted players, the tournament features four
players appearing on the NHL Central Scouting’s
Mid-Term rankings for the 2005 NHL Draft. Among the schools, Boston University
has the most NHL prospects on their roster with 11, followed by Boston College
and Harvard with nine each and Northeastern with three.

 

Below is look at each team and how each stack up in the
opening match-ups. Unless otherwise noted, all statistics are current as of
February 5th.

 

 

Boston College

 

The defending Beanpot Champions
are currently the hottest team in the nation. The Eagles are coming off a 2-2
tie at Providence
on Friday night at Schneider Arena, extending their undefeated streak to 14
games. Senior defenseman Andrew Alberts (BOS) scored both Boston College
goals. Freshman sensation Cory Schneider
(VAN) went the distance, stopping 27 of 29 Friars shots to keep his undefeated
record intact at 8-0-4. Boston
College
will bring one of
the nation’s stingiest defenses into the tournament. The Eagles team
defense ranks second in the nation, surrendering an average of 1.64 goals per
game. The Eagles also possess the nation’s top penalty-killing unit (89.8
percent). The outstanding goaltending tandem of Schneider and senior Matti Kaltiainen
(BOS) both rank in the top five in the nation in goals against average.
Schneider has a 1.77 GAA, which ranks fifth, while Kaltiainen’s
1.43 GAA ranks second.

 

Boston
College will meet their Commonwealth Avenue
archrival Boston University in the second of the two
opening matches of the tournament. This will be the final time during the
regular season this year that the two teams will meet.
In the three previous meetings, the Eagles posted a 2-1 record against the
Terriers. In the most recent meetings, a home and home series back on January
14th and 15th, the Eagles swept the Terriers 6-3 and 2-0
respectively.

 

Junior Patrick Eaves
(OTT), an early candidate for the Hobey Baker award,
leads the Eagles in points (36), goals (14), assists (22), shots (124) and
plus/minus (+20). One of the Eagles most improved players this season is
towering sophomore Brian Boyle (LA).
Boyle ranks fourth on the team in points with 16, and is second in goals with
11. He also leads the Eagles in power play goals with eight. The Eagles feature
two freshmen that appear on the NHL Central Scouting’s
Mid-Term rankings in diminutive speedster Dan
Bertram
and outstanding two-way defenseman Mike Brennan. Bertram is ranked 32nd, while Brennan is
ranked 133rd among all North American skaters. Bertram leads all Boston College
rookies with 11 points (seven goals, five assists). Brennan, who is usually
partner with the senior Alberts, has played in all 25
game for Boston College this season, posting five points (one goal, four
assists) and leads all rookies in plus/minus (+11).

 

Boston University

 

The Terriers have won the Beanpot
Tournament more than any other team in its history. The last time Boston University
won this tournament was two years ago in 2003. They will look to reclaim it
this year and make it their 26th tournament championship. Boston University
comes into the tournament undefeated in their last three outings (2-0-1). The
Terriers are coming off a 4-4 tie versus UMass-Lowell
at Agganis Arena on Friday night behind junior David Van der Gulik’s (CGY) first career hat trick. They
currently sit fourth in the Hockey East standings.

 

One of the biggest reasons for the Terriers success this
season can be attributed to the outstanding goaltending of sophomore John Curry. He sports a 12-7-1 record
with a 1.98 goals against average and a .922 save
percentage. He had one of his best performances of the season back on October
31st when he stopped 31 of 32 shots to lead BU to a 2-1 victory over
Maine. His
performance also earned him Hockey East Defensive Player of the Week honors.

 

Another area where the Terriers have gotten excellent
production is from their freshmen. While Chris
Bourque
(WSH) was the biggest story coming into the season, it has been the
sensational play of Peter MacArthur that has been the equally big story at Boston University
this year. The dynamic MacArthur, who is an early
candidate for Hockey East Rookie of the Year, co-leads all Hockey East rookies
in scoring with 21 points (11 goals, 10 assists). Of his 11 goals, four have
come on the power play and two have come shorthanded. MacArthur
appears on the NHL Central Scouting’s Mid-Term
Rankings (ranked 120th among all North American skaters). Terriers freshmen have accounted for nearly 30 percent of
all the team’s points with MacArthur and
Bourque leading the way.

 

With the departure of top scorers such as Ryan Whitney and
Ken Magowan, junior John Laliberte (VAN) has picked up some
of the offensive slack and has become one of the most improved players for Boston University
this season. He leads the team in scoring with 23 points (8 goals, 15 assists).

 

Harvard University

 

The Crimson are the lone non-Hockey
East team in the tournament. They will be seeking their first Beanpot Championship since 1993. Harvard will meet
Northeastern in the first of the two opening matches of the tournament. This
will be the first and only regular season meeting this year between the two
teams. The Crimson will be looking to avenge last year’s consolation game
loss. They lost to the Huskies 3-1. Harvard is currently riding a five game
winning streak and brings one of the best team defenses in the nation into the
tournament. Harvard has the third best team defense in the nation, allowing an
average of 1.95 goals per game. Another area that the Crimson have been quite effective this season is on the power play.
They bring the fifth best power play unit into the tournament that has an
efficiency rating of 23.7 percent.

 

Harvard is coming off a heart-stopping 2-1 win over Ivy
League rival Dartmouth at the Bright Center
on Friday night. Sophomore defenseman Dylan
Reese
(NYR) notched the game-winning goal with less than a minute left in
regulation. Senior Dov Grumet-Morris
(PHI) went the distance, stopping 31 of 32 shots for the win. Harvard currently
sits tied with Colgate in second place in the standings in the very hotly
contested ECACHL race. Grumet-Morris has been a big
part of the Crimson’s success this season. He sports a 12-4-2 record that
includes two shutouts. Grumet-Morris currently ranks
second in the nation in save percentage (.943), fourth in goals against average
(1.71) and 12th in winning percentage (.772).

 

While Harvard is not a consistently high scoring team, they
are getting production from just about everyone on their roster. Two players
whose play has stood out this season are senior Andrew Lederman and freshman Jon Pelle. Lederman is enjoying perhaps the best season of his
collegiate career. He ranks second on the team in scoring with 17 points (six
goals, 11 assists). Pelle leads all Crimson rookies
with 15 points (six goals, nine assists). Another area where the Crimson has
gotten some outstanding production, both on and off the scoresheet,
is from the blueline. Harvard is the only team in the
tournament whose entire regular defensive corps are
all NHL prospects. Sophomore Dylan Reese
(NYR), who is usually paired with senior Ryan
Lannon
(PIT), leads all Crimson defensemen in
scoring with 13 points (six goals, seven assists). Senior Noah Welch (PIT) and junior Peter
Hafner
(FLA) make up the Crimson’s
outstanding top blueline tandem, while a pair of San
Jose Sharks prospects in junior Tom
Walsh
and freshman David McDonald
round out the Crimson’s defensive pairings. With the exception of
McDonald, all of the defensemen have posted a goal this season.

 

Northeastern
University

 

The Huskies have made some great improvements in their
overall play this season and as a result they will make this year’s Beanpot Tournament a real dog fight. They have had some
success against ranked opponents already this season. Their season opening
upset of the Michigan Wolverines in the Lefty McFadden Tournament took the
college hockey world by surprise. In addition to Michigan,
Northeastern has also posted wins over Colgate and Maine. The Huskies have also posted ties
against UMass-Lowell and North Dakota. Northeastern will be looking
to win their first Beanpot championship since 1988.

 

The Huskies are coming off a 2-1 win over UMass on Thursday night at Matthews Arena behind two-point
efforts by the top line tandem of senior Jason
Guerriero
and junior Mike Morris (SJ). Guerriero currently
leads Northeastern in scoring with 34 points (12 goals, 22 assists). Morris
leads the Huskies in goals with 13 and is second on the team in points with 26.
He also leads the team in power play goals with six. Freshman Josh Robertson (WSH) leads all
Northeastern rookies in scoring with eight points (four goals, four assists).
The Northeastern player to watch in this tournament is sophomore defenseman Steve Birnstill.
Birnstill, who appears on the NHL Central Scouting’s Mid-Term Rankings (ranked 115th
among North American skaters), is an excellent skating, offensive-minded
defenseman. He leads all Huskies defensemen in scoring with 11 points (two
goals, nine assists).

 

The Huskies currently sport a 10-13-4 record and sit in sixth
place in the Hockey East standings. One of the reasons behind Northeastern’s success this season has been the
superb goaltending of senior Keni Gibson. He
sports a 10-12-4 record that includes one shutout. He has also posted a 2.46 goals against average and .918 save percentage.
Gibson, who has become the workhorse of the Huskies playing in 26 of 27 games,
ranks fifth in the nation in minutes played with 1564:04. He has already been
named Hockey East Defensive Player of the Week three times, including last
weekend for his excellent performance versus Maine.

 

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2005 Hockey’s Future.  Do not
duplicate without permission of the editorial staff.