2022 Beanpot: What To Watch For In BU-Harvard Men’s Semifinal Game

These two teams have the longest Beanpot drought


February 7, 2022

The 69th Beanpot tournament gets underway Monday when Boston University and Harvard face each other for a spot in the championship game. Puck drop marks the official return of the tournament after the 2021 edition was canceled due to COVID-19, so it certainly will be a special moment at TD Garden when things get going.

And beyond that fanfare, we should be in for a pretty exciting hockey game. BU entered Monday having spent the previous week ranked No. 19 in the country, while Harvard nearly cracked the Top 20 by receiving votes.

The two sides last met Dec. 3, 2019, when the host Terriers defeated Harvard 5-2. Their last Beanpot meeting was the 2019 consolation game, when Harvard won 5-2.

Here are four things to watch for when the puck drops Monday at 5 p.m. ET.

It’s been a while for both teams
Boston University has the longest Beanpot drought.

OK, maybe that’s not saying much, considering all four Beanpot schools won a championship between 2015 and 2018. But it still has been quite some time since BU hoisted the Beanpot, with its last title coming in 2015.

Harvard won in 2017.

Both sides are affected by the Olympics
It’s got to be a great honor to have your players selected for their national team. But maybe not so much in an Olympic year, when they’ll miss multiple weeks that are crucial not just for final conference pushes, but in Boston, for the Beanpot.

Harvard is without top scorers Nick Abruzzese (five goals, 16 assists) and Sean Farrell (eight goals, 11 assists), both of whom are competing for Team USA over in Beijing. They’ll be teammates with a player who was set to be their Beanpot enemy, BU goaltender Drew Commesso (2.48 goals against average, .915 save percentage).

The Crimson still will have their top goalscorer, Alex Laferriere, who enters Beanpot play with 11 goals and nine assists. It’ll be up to Henry Thrun, the team’s assists leader (17), and Casey Dornbach (13 assists) to make up for the loss of the key playmakers. And for the Terriers, it will be up to Vinny Duplessis (1.80 goals against average, .920 save percentage) to stop them.

Harvard is using personal history to its advantage
Laferriere recently was paired with some new linemates in left-winger Alex Gaffney and center John Farinacci. Since joining forces on Jan. 21, they have scored nine goals in seven games. With statistics like that, one would think the trio has been skating together a lot longer than seven games.

Well, that’s because they have. Gaffney, Farinacci and Laferriere skated on the same line when they played hockey growing up in New Jersey, playing for the New Jersey Colonials in the 13U age bracket.

Wilmer Skoog – and BU – are heating up
Boston University is on fire coming into Monday, with a four-game winning streak on the line. The Terriers also have won eight of their last nine games.

Much of that recent success is due to a resurgence by forward Wilmer Skoog, who is on a roll entering the Beanpot. The junior has logged three goals in two games, and he has strong history that suggests he can come through in the Beanpot, as well.

In the last Beanpot, the then-freshman logged a double-overtime winner to send BU past Boston College and to the championship, where the Terriers fell to Northeastern in double-overtime.

For what it’s worth, Harvard also brings a streak into the Beanpot with a 3-0-1 unbeaten record in their last four games.

Thumbnail photo via Harvard Athletics
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