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Beanpot Bound: Men's Ice Hockey, No. 5 Boston College Clash in 61st Annual Beanpot Monday

Harvard will be looking for its 11th Beanpot title, beginning Monday against No. 5 Boston College (Gil Talbot).

Complete Game Notes (pdf)

Setting The Scene
Harvard takes on No. 5 Boston College Monday night at 8 p.m. in the 61st annual Beanpot. The Beanpot contest against Boston College represents Harvard's first neutral site game of the season. Last season, Harvard was 2-2 on neutral ice, including a Beanpot consolation win over Northeastern.   

Catch It From Home
The Beanpot contest between Harvard and B.C. will be televised locally on NESN.

Series History: Boston College

The first-round Beanpot matchup between the Crimson and Eagles will be the 119th all time. The series began in 1919 when Harvard claimed a 7-2 victory at the Boston Skating Club. Harvard trails in the all-time series 44-69-5 and the current seven-game B.C. winning streak is the longest by either team in the series history. This will be the 39th matchup between the two teams in the Beanpot with the Eagles holding a 25-13 lead in tournament games.  

Last Time Against The Eagles
It has been three years since the Crimson and Eagles have faced each other with the most recent meeting coming in the first round of the 2010 Beanpot. There was no stopping the Eagles in that contest as six different players scored in a 6-0 blanking of Harvard. B.C.'s Carl Sneep led all players with three points in the game, scoring the final goal for the Eagles and handing out a pair of assists.  

Scouting B.C.
Boston College started the season as the hottest team in the nation, holding onto the No. 1 spot for a number of weeks and putting together a 10-game winning streak after a season-opening slip-up against Northeastern. The top team in Hockey East, B.C. suffered a pair of defeats to Maine two weekends, knocking the Eagles down to No. 5 in the national polls. Boston College rebounded with a 4-1 victory over Vermont Friday night.

Sophomore forward Johnny Gaudreau leads the nation in scoring with a 1.57 points-per game average, and leads the Eagles with 33 points and 20 assists. Senior Steven Whitney holds the team lead in goals with 16 on the season while Michael Matheson is the top-scoring blueliner on the squad with 4-10-14 points. As a team, the Eagles boast the nation's fourth-best scoring offense, averaging 3.42 goals per contest.

Parker Milner has started all but one game in goal for B.C., playing 94.4% of the minutes this season. He currently holds a 2.54 goals-against average and .917 save percentage, to go along with a 15-6-2 record.     
 
Leading Up To The Beanpot
After a seven-game road swing, the Crimson returned home for its first ECAC home weekend of 2013 last weekend. Jimmy Vesey got things off on the right foot Friday against Clarkson, scoring a goal just 2:34 into the game and giving the Crimson a 1-0 lead at the first break. The lead held until late in the second when Clarkson netted a pair of scores just nine seconds apart to swing the lead to the Golden Knights after two periods. Clarkson's Joe Zarbo completed his hat trick in the third as the guests poured in three more in a 5-1 final.

A night later against St. Lawrence, the Saints took a 2-0 lead with a pair of markers before the halfway point of the opening stanza. Vesey was at it again, logging a power-play tally at 14:42 of the period to cut the Harvard deficit to one after the first frame. 11 seconds into the second period, Vesey struck again, tying the game at 2-2. A Saints power-play strike gave them the lead once again, but Alex Fallstrom's marker at 13:29 of the second leveled the score at 3-3 after two full periods. A scoreless third forced Harvard's fourth overtime game of the season and George Hughes fired true with 1:23 showing on the clock to give the Saints a 4-3 win.

Friday night saw the Crimson drop a 3-0 decision to Rensselaer at Houston Field House.    

It's All Too Vesey
For the third time this season, freshman Jimmy Vesey received ECAC Hockey Rookie of the Week honors. It is also the fourth such honor for a Harvard player this season.

Vesey has been Harvard's biggest offensive threat in the 2013 portion of the schedule, and his finishing touch was on display in three games last week. Vesey netted Harvard's only goal at No. 19 Union Jan. 22, slipping home a quick shot off a Colin Blackwell faceoff win. The rookie struck again in his next game, giving Harvard a 1-0 lead at home against Clarkson Friday. A night later, Vesey collected a pair of goals against St. Lawrence, including a power-play tally and a goal just 11 seconds into the second period.

The North Reading, Mass., native leads the team with 10 goals and 14 points. His 0.59 goals-per-game average is tops among freshmen nationally, and he also ranks 12th nationally in points per game among rookies with 0.82. He is the leading rookie scorer in ECAC contests with 11 points (8g, 3a) in league games.

I Wanna Block
The defensive unit for the Crimson has recorded 66 more blocks than its opponents through 20 games this season with a 366-300 edge in the category. Harvard has had more blocks than its opponent in 13 games this season including eight of its last 10 contests. The Crimson recorded a season-high 27 blocks against Boston University Jan. 9, and has posted two games with a block differential of +16 (23-7). Harvard has eclipsed the 20-block benchmark in nine games this season, including its last four contests.  

Senior captain Danny Biega holds the team lead in blocks with 51 on the season. Dan Ford is close behind with 42 and Brendan Rempel has picked up 39 on the season.

Rockin' Rookies
The Harvard class of 2016 is leading the way for first year players in ECAC Hockey. Jimmy Vesey is the top-scoring freshman in league games with 8-3-11 points and classmate Brian Hart is in third with 2-7-9 points in league contests. Kyle Criscuolo, who played in his first game since Dec. 10 against Rensselaer because of an injury, is tied for 20th among league rookies with 3-1-4 league points.      

60th Beanpot Revisited
Notes from Harvard's appearance in last season's Beanpot tournament, Feb. 6 and 13, 2012

• Entering the game as the No. 1 in the nation, Boston University rode a pair of goals from Wade Megan to a 3-1 victory in the opening round contest against the Crimson. BU's Matt Nieto started the scoring in the game with a goal at 8:14 of the first period and Megan made it 2-0 with a power-play marker at 7:30 of the second. A second strike from Megan 6:32 later pushed the score to 3-0, before Alex Killorn '12 netted Harvard's lone goal of the game with 4:33 to play in the second. Both teams finished with a power-play goal and Harvard held a 30-25 shots advantage for the contest.   

• The Crimson didn't wait to score in the consolation game against Northeastern as Alex Killorn put the Crimson up 1-0 after one period. Robbie Vrolyk leveled the score four minutes into the second period but Alex Fallstrom swung the lead back in Harvard's favor with a marker at 18:13. Luke Greiner sealed the victory for Harvard with a short-handed strike 13:44 into the final frame, scoring the insurance goal before Northeastern's Luke Eibler cut the lead to one with the final score of the game.

• Boston College, which defeated Northeastern, 7-1, in the semis, pulled out a 3-2, overtime win in the final.

Beanplotting
Harvard has won 10 Beanpot titles, most recently in 1993. Other Crimson Beanpot notes:

• Head coach Ted Donato enters this season's tournament with a 4-12 Beanpot record as Harvard head coach, and his teams have a 6-9‑1 record against Boston teams in non-Beanpot action. The Crimson fell to Northeastern, 5-1, Dec. 29 before rallying to beat BU, 6-5 in overtime, Jan. 9 on NBC Sports Network at Agganis Arena.

• Danny Biega and Alex Fallstrom share the lead in Beanpot points among active players. Both players have a goal and two assists with Fallstrom playing in six Beanpot games and Biega playing in five.

• The Crimson had lost to the eventual national champion in three straight Beanpots before two years ago, falling to BC in 2008 and 2010 and BU in 2009.

• Since the first Beanpot in 1952, Boston schools have won 10 national championships. Each time, the title-winning team won the Beanpot earlier in the season.

• Harvard made its first appearance since 1998 in the Beanpot championship game in 2008, losing a thriller to BC, 6-5, in overtime. The Crimson trailed, 5-3, until Jon Pelle '08 and Mike Taylor '08 scored in the final nine minutes of the third period to send the game to an extra session. Taylor had two goals and an assist in the game. Doug Rogers '10 recorded a goal and two assists. Alex Biega '10 had two assists. Kyle Richter '10-11 made 27 saves. Nick Petrecki scored the winning goal for the Eagles at 7:07 of overtime. Petrecki had two goals, as did Brian Gibbons.

• The Crimson narrowly missed trips to the Beanpot championship game in each of Ted Donato's first three years behind the bench. Harvard suffered a 2-1, double-overtime loss to Northeastern in the 2005 semifinal. BU held off a late Crimson charge (Harvard scored twice and held a 25-6 advantage in shots in the final period.) and added an empty-net goal for a 5-3 win in the 2006 semifinals. BC scored twice to rally and added an empty-netter in a 3-1 win against the Crimson in the 2007 first round.

• The rivalries with BU, BC and Northeastern are Harvard's most-contested among non-conference opponents. Many of those games took place when all the schools were part of the 17-team ECAC. Harvard has met Boston University 146 times, Boston College 118 and Northeastern 98.

• The Crimson and Huskies have met in 12 of the last 13 tournaments.

• The Crimson's nine-year championship appearance drought that ended in 2008 was the longest in school history. The current 19-year title drought is Harvard's longest.

• Ted Donato made his Beanpot debut behind the Harvard bench in 2005, giving that tournament three teams with prominent alumni of their programs at the helm. Donato was 3-5 in Beanpot games as an undergrad, helping the team to a Beanpot title in 1989. With Jim Madigan taking over head coaching duties at Northeastern, every Beanpot school has a former player as head coach for the 2012-13 tournament.

• There are six Massachusetts natives, including two freshmen, three sophomores and a junior, and eight total New England natives on the Crimson roster.

• 1955 Beanpot MVP Bill Cleary '56 was inducted into the Beanpot Hall of Fame in 1995. He holds Beanpot records for goals in a period (four), game (five[tie]) and tournament (seven); and points in a period (five), game (seven) and tournament (11). He went on to coach Harvard to four Beanpot titles.

• Joe Cavanagh '71 holds the record for career points in the Beanpot with 19 (7-12-19) and was a member of the inaugural induction class to the Beanpot Hall of Fame, alongside Bill Cleary, in 1995.