College Hockey Roundup: BC wins 4th straight Beanpot; Quinnipiac #1 for the first time ever; Hockey City Classic preview

Image courtesy of www.concordmonitor.com

Image courtesy of www.concordmonitor.com

The Boston College class of 2013 etched themselves into the record books Monday night at TD Garden as the first Eagle team to sweep the Beanpot, winning their fourth straight title by defeating Northeastern, 6-3.

Prior to Monday, no Boston College senior class could claim a perfect 8-0 Beanpot record — not even the Brian Gionta-led class that went to four straight Frozen Fours from 1998 to 2001. However, their arch rivals the Boston University Terriers have. From 1995 to 2000, three straight senior classes had a perfect Beanpot record. During that stretch BU won six straight titles and backed up the Beanpot’s unofficial name as the “BU Invitational.” The Terriers also went 4-for-4 from 1970 to 1973.

But on the second Monday of February, 2013, it was finally BC’s time to shine. Five different players scored for the defending national champs, including two goals and assist from sophomore sensation and Calgary Flames prospect Johnny Gaudreau. Seniors Pat Mullane, Boston native Bill Arnold (108th overall CGY ’10), Steven Whitney and junior Patrick Brown contributed goals.

Northeastern freshman Kevin Roy (97th overall ANA ’12)  continued his stellar play by scoring goals four and five of his young Beanpot career. Roy became the fifth player from a losing team to earn tournament MVP honors and the first since Sean Fields from BU back in 2004. The Huskies have not won a Beanpot since 1988, the second-longest dry spell in the tournament’s 61-year history, behind its own 28-year drought between the tournament’s inception in 1952 and its first title in 1980. Three national titles in five years and four straight Beanpot titles later, I think it’s safe to say that the Boys of Chestnut Hill are the kings of college hockey.

Earlier in the day, Luke Greiner’s hat trick propelled Harvard to a 7-4 victory over No. 13 Boston University in the consolation game of the Beanpot tournament. The Terriers sank to fourth place for the second time in three years, while the Crimson put together another solid showing despite coming up empty again in their quest for their first Beanpot since 1993.

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For the first time in program history, the Quinnipiac Bobcats are the No. 1 team in country  The Bobcats are currently 21-3-4 overall and are 14-0-2 in ECAC play. With wins against Cornell and Colgate this past weekend the Bobcats extended their NCAA unbeaten streak to 21 games.

Quinnipiac has posted a record of 18-0-3 during the streak and have not lost a game since November 6, 2012 against American International. Quinnipiac received 41 of the 50 first-place votes and 983 total points in the USCHO.com Top-20 poll, which consists of 28 Division I head coaches as well as 22 media members. The Bobcats also received 28 of the 34 first place votes in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine poll. They are still the top team in the PairWise Rankings, which is a system that mimics the NCAA selection committee’s criteria for the seeding of the NCAA Tournament. They have held the top spot since January 19. The Bobcats also clinched a bye in the first round ECAC hockey tournament.

Quinnipiac hosts St. Lawrence on Friday February 15 and Clarkson on Saturday February 16. This is great news for college hockey. For me personally, I like to see a team that gets no attention nationally on top. They’re not the flashiest team in the country but they get the job done. I still would like to see how they match up against the previous number one team in the country Minnesota and a team like Boston College. Overall, it’s a great story and I hope they ride this into league playoffs and potentially the NCAA tournament.

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Image courtesy of www.ticketmaster.com

Image courtesy of www.ticketmaster.com

Since 2001 there have been a total of 20 outdoor college hockey games played with the most recent last weekend in Omaha as Nebraska-Omaha squared off against North Dakota at TD Ameritrade Field. Fenway Park in Boston has seen it’s fair share of games, as well as the Big House in Ann Arbor, and even the hallowed grounds Lambeau Field has seen hockey action. Up next is Chicago’s famous Soldier Field. The OfficeMax Hockey City Classic will be played this Sunday, February 17.

The classic features two games with Notre Dame facing Miami of Ohio in a CCHA conference game and Minnesota versus border rival Wisconsin will square off after.  Miami is ranked third in the nation with a 18-7-5 record overall and opens the weekend first place in the CCHA.

Notre Dame is ranked 12th in the country and has record of 18-11-1 on the year and is in third place in the CCHA.  Notre Dame is just three points behind the Red Hawks in the battle for the top spot in the league. For Notre Dame, this is the first-ever outdoor game for the program since the varsity program began 45 years ago. The Irish will be sporting special vintage jerseys from an era when Notre Dame played all its games outdoors when the team was a club team from 1963 to 1968. Before getting Division I status for the 1968-69 season, the Notre Dame club program played all its games outdoors at South Bend’s Howard Park Rink.

The Badgers are ranked 18th in the nation with a 12-9-7 record overall and are currently in a three way tie for fourth place in the WCHA with Denver and Minnesota State. This will mark the third time in eight seasons that Wisconsin will play an outdoor game.  The Badgers defeated Ohio State, 4-2, in the Frozen Tundra Hockey Classic at Lambeau Field in 2006 and beat Michigan, 3-2, at the Culver’s Camp Randall Hockey Classic in 2010.

The Gophers enter the weekend sitting at number two in country, after previously being at number one last week. Minnesota is coming off of weekend series split against then number eight St. Cloud State. Minnesota currently has a record of 19-5-4 overall and is tied for third place in the WCHA with Nebraska-Omaha. The Gophers remain five points behind St. Cloud State for tops in the league. This will be the first outdoor game in the modern era for Minnesota and like Notre Dame; Minnesota will be sporting commemorative jerseys for the game. To me it’s a sacrilege that Minnesota has not hosted an outdoor event yet. Make that happen soon.