Monday, February 04, 2008

One Man's Opinion: It's the last one that counts

When this season began, there was an oddity in the schedule. The Terriers were going to play the Eagles once each month in November, December, January and February. Given recent history, extending that streak into March was a strong possibility. If things went well for both teams, they could even do it again in April.

Before the first match-up, while discussing this peculiarity, I told a fellow fan, “I don’t care so much how we do in the other games, as long as we win the last one – whenever that is.” Well, here we are…maybe.

Despite the disappointing results to-date this season, there is still precedent for successfully meeting my goal.

In 1985-86, the Terriers lost their first two regular season games to BC and tied the third – just like this season – yet beat BC both in the Beanpot and later, in the Providence Civic Center, for their first Hockey East championship. The following year, when league opponents faced each other four times during the season, BC swept BU on two separate weekends, only to fall in the first round of the Beanpot at the hands of the Terriers. In 1990-91, BU was 0-3 in Hockey East play against BC, but, again, beat them in the Beanpot.

Perhaps the ultimate was the 2003-04 season. Not only did BC sweep BU in Hockey East play, but even a 50-save performance from Sean Fields couldn’t hold up in the Beanpot final. BC matched BU’s goal 3:30 into the game by tying it up with 3:30 left in regulation then potted the winner in OT. However, thanks to David Van der Gulik’s OT game winner at UNH in the regular season finale, BU squeaked into the final playoff spot to face the top- seeded Eagles. At Conte, BU shocked BC by winning the first and third games to take the series.

Of course, the reverse has also happened. In 2005-06, after losing the first game, BU beat BC four straight, including the Beanpot final and the Hockey East final. Unfortunately for the Terriers, they matched up again in the NCAA Regional final, with the Eagles prevailing.

Which brings us to this Beanpot Monday and their first-round meeting. Truth be told, I hope this isn’t the last time BU plays BC this season, but that’s based on where that meeting would likely take place, either the Garden or the NCAAs, and I’d like to see BU make it that far, regardless of the opponent.

However, just in case, it couldn’t hurt to win what might be the last game between the two for the season.

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