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Sunday, February 12, 2012
BU, BC fitting Beanpot finalists

By Brion O'Connor

BOSTON -- The rumblings can be heard from Causeway Street to Commonwealth Avenue: The Beanpot needs fresh blood, and that means a champion other than Boston University or Boston College. But one of those two local powerhouses will take home the crown again this year, as the Terriers and Eagles meet in the final for the 21st time on Monday at TD Garden.

There's little doubt that the two best teams in the famed parochial tourney are squaring off, as BU casually dispatched Harvard, 3-1, and BC throttled Northeastern, 7-1, in last week's semifinals.

"It was like boys against men," a somber Northeastern coach Jim Madigan said after last Monday's loss to a relentless BC squad. "It's hard to come back after a slow start, not so much because of this tournament, but against that team.

"They're a very good team," he said. "They put a lot of pressure on you. They're coming all the time, regardless of if you're on the power play, or you're a man down, five-on-five, the offensive zone, the defensive zone, the neutral zone. They're just coming. And they have a high skill level, and a lot of confidence in their players."

BU coach Jack Parker, while admitting that the opening semifinal between the Terriers and the Crimson was an inexplicable "sleepwalk," said he doesn't expect the same doldrums to effect his team on Monday night.

"I think it's tough playing in the afternoon game," said BU junior Wade Megan, who scored twice against Harvard. "Not a ton of fans, so you have to kind of make your own energy."

Although BU (17-9-1; 13-7-1 Hockey East) was ranked No. 1 in the country last Monday, the Terriers hit a bit of a hiccup Friday, coming out flat against a determined University of Massachusetts squad and losing, 3-2, on their home ice (virtually guaranteeing that they'll drop when the national polls are released on Monday). Parker will need Megan -- one of the few players he praised after Friday's loss -- and the rest of his Terriers to bring a more concerted effort on Monday.

"We weren't horrible [on Friday], but we weren't ready to play," Parker said. "We got beat by a team that desired the game and needed the game much more than we did. I don't think that'll be the case on Monday. We might be a little jittery, playing our archrival in the Beanpot final. Sometimes you don't play the best team game because you're tight, but there's no way either of these teams are going to look past each other."

CLICK HERE for more on Monday's Beanpot final.