With the Beanpot just days away, it'd be easy for the players of the Beanpot schools to look past their opponents on the Friday night before the tournament. This year, though, it didn't seem to be much of a problem.
Boston University, Boston College and Northeastern all won their Beanpot tuneups, while Harvard fell just short in a tightly contested matchup with Princeton.
Boston University 6, UMass Amherst 2
Junior Nick Bonino notched three assists in the win at Agganis Arena, while Ross Gaudet scored a pair of goals.
The win is just the latest in what has been an impressive January turnaround for the defending national champions. After winning just four games from October to the end of the calendar year, BU finished January with a clean 5-2 record. Included in those five wins are two against the 14th-ranked Boston College Eagles and No. 15 UMass Minutemen.
BU still has a long way to go to gain ground, both in the Hockey East standings and the national polls, but the Beanpot could be when the Terriers really turn on the jets.
Boston College 5, Providence College 2
Cam Atkinson scored twice and added an assist in the decisive win in Rhode Island on Friday. Atkinson wasn't the lone offensive star though, as Joe Whitney registered a goal and two assists and Brian Gibbons notched two assists.
The game got off to a frenzied start, with BC scoring just 1:02 into the game and Providence evening things up just 37 seconds later. The two teams headed to the locker room after 20 minutes with the Eagles holding a 4-1 lead.
No. 14 BC sits in second place in Hockey East, three points behind the 13th-ranked UNH Wildcats.
BC has won the Beanpot just twice in the last eight seasons, but a win this year could re-establish the Eagles as a powerhouse in the conference.
Northeastern 2, UMass Lowell 1
Last year, the Huskies were one of the top teams in the nation heading into the Beanpot. This year, they're in a rather different position. Still, they managed to gut out a win at Matthews Arena on Friday night over the 16th-ranked River Hawks.
The win came thanks to goals off the sticks of twin brothers Drew and Justin Daniels. Freshman netminder Chris Rawlings also stopped 23 shots.
The Huskies sit just behind the Terriers in the Hockey East standings with a 7-10-1 conference record and an 11-11-1 record overall.
Head coach Greg Cronin said his team has been battling injuries, but if they put forth a similar effort on Monday as they did on Friday, they could still do some damage in the Beanpot.
Princeton 2, Harvard 1
The Crimson fired shot after shot on net, but Princeton's Zane Kalemba had the answer 34 times. The loss at home ended Harvard's five-game unbeaten streak in Ivy League play.
Harvard tied things up early in the second period when Connor Morrison scored on a power play. Marc Hagel scored what would be the game-winner before the period ended though.
The Crimson laid on the attack in the third, outshooting the Tigers 13-4, but they couldn't solve Kalemba. They'll obviously need a better outcome on Monday if they want to win their first Beanpot since 1993.
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