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Beanpot preview: NU looks to repeat as champion

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Beanpot preview: NU looks to repeat as champion

Junior defenseman Jeremy Davies moves up the ice in a game against UMass Lowell.

Junior defenseman Jeremy Davies moves up the ice in a game against UMass Lowell.

Muhammad Elarbi

Junior defenseman Jeremy Davies moves up the ice in a game against UMass Lowell.

Muhammad Elarbi

Muhammad Elarbi

Junior defenseman Jeremy Davies moves up the ice in a game against UMass Lowell.

Mike Puzzanghera, sports editor

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As local rivals prepare to fight it out for the Beanpot trophy at TD Garden, fans must get ready as well. They must know how good the teams they face are, and more importantly, they need to know rival players’ names so they can jeer at them from the upper levels of the arena.

Luckily for those fans, all they need to know about Boston’s fierce tournament is right here. Will Northeastern claim its second straight Beanpot trophy? Or will one of the other teams knock them down as they hunt for the title of Boston’s best?

Northeastern

Record: 15-8-1 (9-6-1 Hockey East)

Last five games: 1-4

The Huskies enter the tournament in the midst of a rough patch. After losing 6-1 at No. 1 UMass, they pulled off a miraculous victory over that same UMass team at Matthews Arena, winning in overtime off a goal from freshman forward Tyler Madden. The Huskies could not keep that momentum going, however, as they were swept in two games by No. 14 Providence, losing 4-1 on the road before getting shut out 3-0 at home. Most recently, they were knocked down by No. 17 UMass Lowell at home, 3-1.

Northeastern has quite a few standout players. Sophomore goalkeeper Cayden Primeau is one of the best in the country, boasting a .921 save percentage and allowing only 2.42 goals per game. A star on defense is junior Jeremy Davies. Davies has amassed 20 points on the season including 15 assists, good for first on the team. Both Primeau and Davies are finalists for the Hobey Baker Award, an award Northeastern fans should be familiar with, as last year’s winner was NU’s Beanpot hero Adam Gaudette.

Leading the attack for the Huskies is senior forward Brandon Hawkins. Hawkins has 22 points on the season, with eight goals and 14 assists. Madden comes in a close second with 20 points (tied with Davies), scoring eight goals and assisting 12 others. The Huskies attack has produced 73 goals this year for an average of 3.04 per game.

NU has allowed the second fewest goals out of all Hockey East teams this year at 55, but recently that number has been rising. In their last five, they have conceded 17 goals, which is almost a third of their season total.

They will look to steady the ship and get their season back on track when they take on Boston University in the first round Monday in the late game. Despite losing to them earlier in the year, the Beanpot provides a chance for the Huskies to dump out their fiercest rivals for the second year running.

Boston University

Record: 10-11-3 (8-6-2 Hockey East)

Last five games: 2-3

The Terriers started the season off roughly, losing four of their first five. But they have rebounded well, and have a decent record in conference play. They pulled off a strong 4-2 win over a good Arizona State team at home thanks to two goals from forward Joel Farabee, but couldn’t finish off the weekend sweep the next night, getting shut out 3-0. In their last game, they fell in a thriller, 7-5 to No. 2 UMass.

Leading the Terriers in points this season has been Farabee, who has tallied 23 points on nine goals and 14 assists in his freshman year. Defenseman Dante Fabbro has also been a strong asset in his junior year, with 17 assists for 22 points.

Their opponents must stay focused while on the power play, as BU leads the conference in shorthanded goals with seven. In conference games, they lead Hockey East in shots on goal. But the Terriers have not been strong in the back. Their 3.0 goals allowed per game is eighth in the conference, and they have a minus-three goal differential on the season.

BU faces Northeastern in the first round, and they will be looking for revenge after losing to NU in the final last year. With the Huskies limping into the tournament, they could prove vulnerable to the strong Terrier attack.

Boston College

Record: 9-12-3 (9-4-3 Hockey East)

Last five games: 2-2-1

The Eagles did not start the season strongly in non-conference play. In fact, they’ve lost all eight non-Hockey East games this season. But their turnaround in-conference has been impressive, and they boast strong recent wins over No. 11 Providence and, most recently, beat UConn on the road 5-3. They played No. 17 UMass Lowell to a stalemate on the road 4-4, but lost to that same team at home the prior night.

In Hockey East, BC has been a force. Their 37 goals allowed is tied for third in Hockey East, and their .851 penalty kill percentage is also third. Offensively, they’ve hit hard with 49 goals in 16 games (third in Hockey East), and they continue to be strong on the power play, with a success rate of 23 percent (also third).

Junior forward David Cotton is leading the Eagles in points and goals with 24 and 15. His strong play this season earned him Hockey East Player of the Month honors for November, as he provided 11 points and 7 goals during the month. Fellow junior forward Julius Mattila has scored 16 points across 19 games, and sophomore forward Logan Hutsko leads BC in assists with 12.

The Eagles have played well since conference play started, but face a non-Hockey East contender in Harvard in the first round. They have not won a non-conference game since Nov. 2016, going 0-21-4 across that span.

Harvard

Record: 11-6-3 (8-5-2 ECAC)

Last five games: 4-1

Harvard comes in as undoubtedly the hottest team in the tournament. They’ve won four straight heading into the Beanpot, including an overtime win against No. 9 Clarkson 4-3. Their other wins in that streak include a 2-1 road win at Colgate, a 7-3 drubbing of St. Lawrence, and a 4-1 victory over Dartmouth their last time out.

The Crimson have put in 66 goals across 20 games for an average of 3.3 each time out. They are first in their conference with a 34.3 percent power-play success rate. But they have not been effective at killing off opponents’ power play opportunities, conceding 17 goals out of 68 times shorthanded for a 75 percent kill rate.

Leading the way for the Crimson is junior defenseman Adam Fox, who has amassed 27 points off of seven goals and 20 assists. Freshman forward Casey Dornbach is second on the team in both points and assists, with 22 and 18. Their top scorer is senior forward Lewis Zerter-Gossage, who has found the net 12 times this year. Senior goalkeeper Michael Lackey has been strong in net for Harvard, as he is allowing only 2.13 goals per game with a .927 save percentage.

The Crimson are certainly on a solid run of form, but they face a tough BC team in the first round that is they are coming off of a big win over UConn.

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