BU, BC in Beanpot title game
BOSTON >> Boston College and Boston University had tougher times than usual in reaching the Beanpot championship game.
It didn't matter, though. BU or BC have owned the Beanpot tournament in recent history. For the 22nd time in the event's 64-year history the schools meet in the title game, facing off Monday night at TD Garden.
Since Harvard last won the title in 1993, either BC or BU has hoisted the silver trophy and skated around the Garden ice with a championship. BU has won 13 times, and BC nine.
Last week, the fourth-ranked Eagles (19-4-4) beat No. 7 Harvard (13-6-3) to return to the championship, a year after their school-record, five-year title run was snapped.
"It means a lot," BC defenseman Ian McCoshen said. "Last year was kind of a trying year for BC. We like to be in that title game. It's a really good feeling going back to that championship."
BC has relied on the stellar goaltending of Thatcher Demko, who enters Monday night with a 1.71 goals against and eight shutouts.
"He's the glue behind our success this year," said Eagles coach Jerry York, who became the NCAA's first Division I coach to reach 1,000 victories last month.
"I expect a lot of shutouts from him," York joked last week.
BC hasn't lost in 2016, going 6-0-3 in its last nine games. The Eagles last loss was a 2-1 setback against Providence on December 29.
Defending champion BU (16-7-4) comes in riding a five-game winning streak. The ninth-ranked Terriers beat one of the hottest teams in the nation last Monday, defeating Northeastern (9-13-5) to halt its six-game winning streak.
Now, they get another shot against their rival about 2 miles up Commonwealth Avenue. BC is 1-0-1 against BU this season, pulling out a victory with two late third-period goals at home last month before earning a tie the next night at BU.
BU owns a 12-9 edge in Beanpot championships against BC.
"It's always been a dream of mine to play them in the finals," BU senior forward Danny O'Regan said. "It's kind of how you draw it up. We definitely owe them after a few weeks ago."
The Terriers are headed to their 51st Beanpot championship and have won 30 times. Boston College is looking for its 20th title.
BU captured the Beanpot behind the strong play of Hobey Baker winner Jack Eichel last year. Eichel helped the Terriers to the NCAA title game, a loss against Providence at TD Garden, before he turned pro after one year at the school.
"It means so much to each school," BU coach David Quinn said. "We've had an awful lot of success over the years."
Both teams are hoping a Beanpot title can springboard them to bigger things this spring.
Since the tourney began in 1952, the winner has gone on to win the NCAA title 10 times, and none of the four programs have won an NCAA title in that time without first winning the Beanpot.
Harvard faces Northeastern in consolation game before BC and BU faceoff.
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