Sports, Winter, Hockey, Men's Hockey

2024 Beanpot Preview: No. 1 BC and No. 3 BU Meet Again

In the realm of New England college hockey, it doesn’t get much better than Boston College and Boston University facing off in the Beanpot. Luckily for fans in the region and throughout the country, we are guaranteed to see the Eagles and Terriers play this year, as the two programs are going head to head in the first round of the 2024 Beanpot.

This matchup is must-see hockey in any year, but it is especially intriguing this year given how both teams’ seasons are progressing. No. 1 BC sits at 19–4–1, while No. 3 BU comes in with a record of 17–7–1. The high rankings and winning percentages of the two squads should draw even more eyes to one of college hockey’s premier matchups.

The Eagles come into this matchup playing arguably the best hockey they’ve played all year. They are led by their high-flying offense, lighting the lamp an average of 4.21 times per game, good for third in the NCAA. On offense, Cutter Gauthier, one of college hockey’s most dangerous shooters, leads the team in goals with 21

The team doesn’t sacrifice any offense when Gauthier’s line goes for a change, either. The “freshman line” of Ryan Leonard, Will Smith, and Gabe Perreault is one of the most exciting lines in the country. Perreault leads the line and the team in points with 39, but it’s tough to separate any of the individual players’ accomplishments from each other since their collective success as a line is so impressive. When you include their two years with the U.S. National Team Development Program, they have been playing together for three years, so watching them is akin to watching poetry in motion.

BC also boasts the nation’s stingiest penalty kill, allowing opposing power plays to score just 9.5 percent of the time.

Their penalty kill works hard to stop shots from getting to Jacob Fowler, who owns the nation’s eighth best goals against average of 2.21—the top mark of any freshman netminder. Between the pipes, Fowler uses his athleticism to make show-stopping saves with his pads, and he also uses his glove well to catch the puck and freeze play, making life easier for his defensemen.

Who is BC playing?


When is BC Playing?

Monday, Feb. 5 at 8 p.m.

Where is BC playing?

TD Garden, Boston, Mass.

How to Watch:

The game will air on NESN and WEEI 850 AM.

Last Weekend’s Series:

One quirk in this season’s Hockey East schedule is that BC and BU played a home-and-home series on Jan. 26 and Jan. 27, just 10 days before their Beanpot tilt. BC swept the series, winning 4–1 at Conte Forum and 4–3 at Agganis Arena. Despite the score of the first game, both were close, evenly matched contests. BC’s netminder Fowler showed out in the series and made 26 saves in the first game and 32 in the second. 

What to Expect from BU:

Much has been said about Macklin Celebrini, but the hype is warranted given how impressive he is on the ice. The freshman from Vancouver ranks second among all freshmen in points per game with 1.61, which is an even greater accomplishment when factoring in his June 2006 birthday, making him significantly younger than the vast majority of freshmen in the country. The 17-year-old will almost certainly hear his name called first in the 2024 NHL Entry Draft, and he is widely considered to be one of the most exciting prospects in hockey.

In addition to having possibly the most exciting freshman in the country, the Terriers also feature Lane Hutson, one of the most exciting defensemen in the NCAA. He leads the country in points per game for a defenseman with 1.39, and he is a spectacular skater. He uses his quick edges to make plays in all three zones that most players, much less most defensemen, could only dream of making.

BU’s back-end is more than just Hutson, though. Cade Webber, the 6-foot-7 defenseman, is a nightmare for opposing forwards, and brothers Case and Gavin McCarthy are also very talented defensemen who play hard in their own zone and contribute offensively. 


The Terriers will come out with a vengeance after dropping two consecutive games to their archrivals just over a week ago, so the first period will be very important for BC. BU shuffles its lines around a lot, but any combination of its players can score with ease, so it will be crucial for Fowler and the Eagles’ blueliners to play sharp defense throughout the game. It will be especially important for BC to avoid putting itself in a hole early. 

One Terrier who may be especially fierce is sophomore forward Devin Kaplan, who was visibly frustrated when the team was not able to tie the game up in the third period of the game at Conte Forum and did not play in the game at Agganis due to a lower body injury.

As for BC, the freshman line will be crucial to the Eagles’ success, as it has all year. It will be important for the line to avoid getting hemmed in their own zone if the Terriers come out firing. The freshmen will also be tasked with generating much of BC’s offense, as they have all year.

BC certainly has the advantage in net, with Fowler coming in with a .925 save percentage in comparison to Mathieu Caron’s .912 save percentage. If it comes down to it, Fowler is more likely to make the big saves than Caron, but the Eagles will hope it does not get to that point.

After BU, the Eagles will play Harvard or Northeastern. While both of these teams are significantly behind BC and BU in terms of winning percentage, anything can happen in the Beanpot, and the opportunity to knock off one of the best teams in the country will not pass by either of these squads easily, whether it be in the championship or in the third-place game.

BC knocked off Harvard by a score of 4–1 at the Crimson’s barn in late November, but the Eagles split a home-and-home series with Northeastern the following weekend in December. Whichever team BC faces in the second round, expect that game to be much closer than the teams’ records might indicate.

February 4, 2024