The 65th Beanpot might be one of the most stacked in recent memory.
Boston College, Boston University and Harvard all are ranked in the top 10, and the unranked team heading into the annual college hockey tournament, Northeastern, won the Hockey East championship last season.
The puck drops Monday at TD Garden at 5 p.m. ET for the first semifinal between Harvard and Northeastern, and BC and BU will follow in semifinal No. 2 at 8 p.m.
Here’s a look at each school heading into the Beanpot.
NCAA rank: 8th (via USCHO poll)
Last Beanpot title: 2016
Players to watch: F Matthew Gaudreau (six goals, 20 assists), F Christopher Brown (seven goals, 15 assists), F Colin White (13 goals, 10 assists), F Ryan Fitzgerald (seven goals, 14 assists), D Casey Fitzgerald (five goals, 14 assists), G Joseph Woll (2.47 GAA, .921 save percentage)
Outlook: The Eagles have won four straight games since losing back-to-back games to the Terriers earlier in January and currently are three points ahead of their rival for first place in Hockey East. BC’s offense has been on fire recently with six goals in three of the team’s last four games, and its 3.41 goals per game are third-best in the conference.
NCAA Rank: 3rd
Last Beanpot title: 2015
Players to watch: F Patrick Harper (eight goals, 17 assists), F Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson (10 goals, 14 assists), F Clayton Keller (13 goals, 16 assists), F Jordan Greenway (seven goals, 17 assists), D Charlie McAvoy (three goals, 12 assists), G Jake Oettinger (1.79 GAA, .936 save percentage)
Outlook: The Terriers surprisingly dropped back-to-back games to Merrimack earlier in January, but those were the only two games they’ve lost since Dec. 9. BU’s scoring defense is the best in the conference at 2.04 goals allowed per game, which means it is offense vs. defense in the BU vs. BC game.
NCAA rank: Unranked
Last Beanpot title: 1988
Player to Watch: F Dylan Sikura (17 goals, 29 assists), F Zach Aston-Reese (22 goals, 22 assists) F Adam Gaudette (17 goals, 24 assists), D Garret Cockerill (six goals, 19 assists), G Ryan Ruck (3.15 GAA, .890 save percentage)
Outlook: The Huskies have been very strong out of conference with a 6-2-2 record, but they’re way back in 10th in Hockey East play with 13 points. Northeastern has been hot recently, though, with four consecutive wins before losing to UMass Lowell on Friday. The Huskies have no problem scoring with 3.63 goals per game, but their scoring defense is a much different story.
NCAA rank: 5th
Last Beanpot title: 1993
Player to Watch: F Alexander Kerfoot (nine goals, 18 assists), F Sean Malone (13 goals, 13 assists), F Tyler Moy (11 goals, 13 assists), F Ryan Donato (11 goals, 10 assists), D Adam Fox (two goals, 23 assists), G Merrick Madsen (2.20 GAA, .918 save percentage)
Outlook: No Jimmy Vesey, no problem. The Crimson are in the midst of another strong campaign, as they currently sit at No. 5 in the national rankings. And much like their fellow Beanpot contestants, the Crimson enter Monday hot with no losses in their last five games.
Thumbnail photo via Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports Images