2015 Beanpot Primer: Schedule, Player To Watch For Each Boston School

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The 2015 Beanpot gets underway Tuesday night at TD Garden with Boston College aiming for a sixth straight tournament crown. Defending that title won’t be easy for the Eagles, because this season’s foursome is improved from 2014.

Boston University is enjoying a bounce-back season led by top American NHL draft prospect Jack Eichel and is the No. 3 ranked team in the nation.

Northeastern had a rough start to the season, but the Huskies have shown great improvement with just two losses in their last 14 games — 9-2-3 overall in that span. Harvard is the underdog of the group again, but the Crimson rank first in the ECAC in goals scored per game and have an 8-2-1 record in road and neutral site games combined.

This tournament has the potential to be one of the most competitive and exciting ones in years given the talent on each squad. Here’s a quick primer for the 2015 Beanpot.

Schedule

Semifinals (Tuesday, Feb. 3): Boston University vs. Harvard at 5 p.m., Boston College vs. Northeastern at 8 p.m.
Final (Monday, Feb. 9): Matchup TBD, 7:30 p.m.
Consolation Game (Monday, Feb. 9): Matchup TBD, 4:30 p.m.

TV: NESN

Defending Champion: Boston College

Team Overviews

Boston College
Record: 16-8-2 (9-5-2 in Hockey East)
Bruins Prospect: Ryan Fitzgerald (Center)
Player to Watch: Noah Hanifin is the top defenseman prospect for the 2015 NHL draft. He moves the puck well, is able create offense at even strength and the power play, and uses his high hockey IQ and physicality to excel in the defensive zone. The freshman blueliner has tallied seven points (two goals, five assists) in his last six games. He also plays in all situations.

Expect to see Hanifin on the ice whenever opposing teams’ top forwards hop over the boards.

Boston University
Record: 16-4-4 (11-2-2 in Hockey East)
Bruins Prospect: Matt Grzelcyk (Defenseman)
Player to Watch: Jack Eichel likely will be the No. 2 pick in the 2015 draft and leads all Hockey East players with 40 points (15 goals, 25 assists) in 23 games. His 1.74 points per game average also is the highest among conference players. The freshman forward plays with power, skill and speed, which makes him among the most exciting college hockey players of the last 15 years.

This tournament is a great opportunity for Eichel to showcase his skills in front of NHL scouts.

Northeastern
Record: 10-11-4 (6-7-2 in Hockey East)
Bruins Prospect: Matt Benning (Defenseman)
Player to Watch: Kevin Roy is among the top forwards in Hockey East and leads Northeastern in both goals scored (11) and points (26). The Anaheim Ducks prospect has tallied 15 points (eight goals, seven assists) in his last nine games.

Roy also is dangerous on the power play, where he’s posted 13 points. His ability to generate scoring chances on the man advantage is one of the reasons why the Huskies rank second in Hockey East with a 20.4 percent success rate on the power play.

Harvard
Record: 12-5-2 (8-4-2 in ECAC)
Bruins Prospect: Wiley Sherman (Defenseman)
Player to Watch: Jimmy Vesey leads Harvard in scoring with 33 points and tops all ECAC players with 25 points in conference play. Vesey has tallied at least one point in nine of his last 13 games. He’s a skilled power forward with good offensive skill who makes the players around him better.

Harvard will be a tougher opponent for Boston University than many people expect and Vesey is one player capable of giving the Crimson a chance to pull off an upset.

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