For all of the well-deserved attention on the matchups between the Boston College and Boston University men’s hockey teams this season, the rivalry between BU and Northeastern, particularly in recent years, is not to be overlooked.
After both prevailed last week with opening-round victories, the schools will meet in the championship game of the 71st Beanpot Monday night at 7:30 at TD Garden.
It will be the sixth consecutive tournament that the teams have met, with Northeastern winning four of the previous five meetings, as well as four of the last five titles, including last year’s shootout victory over Harvard after beating the Terriers in the opening round.
“They’re a very good team,” said BU coach Jay Pandolfo. “They’ve had a lot success lately, too. And it just seems like for whatever reason, it’s tough battles every time we play them.”
The teams split the season series in a pair of tightly contested games, with each school winning at home in overtime. Northeastern’s 4-3 win on Jan. 30 extended BU’s losing streak to three games, but the Terriers have won all three games since to improve to 19-7-1 and advanced to the title game with a 4-3 win over No. 1 BC. They enter the contest third in the PairWise rankings, the system used by the NCAA to determine the tournament field.
Northeastern (12-12-2) brings a five-game winning streak into the matchup and has not played since the 3-2 overtime win over Harvard one week ago. The Huskies are in the championship game for the sixth straight tournament. They are the only team to defeat BC, BU, and No. 6 Maine.
“We know how good the teams are,” said Northeastern captain Justin Hryckowian. “I mean, we’re Northeastern. We’re not underdogs, ever. We never see ourselves as that. We expect to go into every game to win.”
Freshman Macklin Celebrini, who scored a pair of goals in the win over BC, leads BU with 22 goals and 41 points, while classmate Jack Harvey scored his first two college goals in Friday’s 7-1 win over Merrimack and has been skating on the first line with Celebrini. Sophomore Lane Hutson is the nation’s leading scorer among defensemen with 35 points (10 goals, 25 assists).
Alex Campbell, a senior transfer from Clarkson, tops Northeastern with 15 goals, and sophomore Jack Williams is the leader in points with 30 (14 goals, 16 assists).
Both teams lean on one netminder. Junior Mathieu Caron has started all 27 games for BU, posting a .913 save percentage and 2.46 goals against average. Freshman Cameron Whitehead is 12-10-2 for Northeastern with a .913 save percentage and 2.68 goals-against average.
BC (20-5-1) and Harvard (4-14-4) will square off in the consolation game at 4:30 p.m. The Eagles bounced back from the loss to BU with a 6-1 win over UNH Friday night. After having his 14-game point streak snapped last Monday, Cutter Gauthier responded with two goals to give him 23 on the year, tops in the nation.
“It’s obviously tough when you lose big games like that, but we said at the start of the season our goal as a team collectively wasn’t to win a Beanpot, it was to win a national championship,” said Gauthier. “So that game’s done, and we can’t do anything about it. We have to focus on what we can control now and move forward.”
The Eagles emphasized getting off to a good start, and scored three goals in the first five minutes Friday, including a pair on the power play. The win kept BC 1 point behind BU in the Hockey East standings, but with a game in hand.
“There’s still a lot of season left, a lot of big games left hopefully,” said coach Greg Brown. “We were disappointed. We feel the sting of losing that one and then you’re on to the next. We’re not going to win the Beanpot Trophy, but the next trophy in line is trying to win the regular season title.”
Harvard played Dartmouth to a 5-5 tie Friday, earning the extra point in the ECAC standings on Alex Gaffney’s goal in the seventh round of the shootout. Sophomore Joe Miller added a pair of assists and leads the Crimson with 10 goals and 21 points.
It’s the second meeting between the teams this season. BC freshman Ryan Leonard scored a pair of goals as the Eagles prevailed, 4-1, Nov. 26 at Harvard. It marks the sixth straight tournament the teams will face each other. The Crimson defeated BC in the first round last year on Marek Hejduk’s goal with 1.5 seconds remaining in overtime.
71st men’s Beanpot
Consolation game: Boston College vs. Harvard (4:30 p.m., ESPN+)
Championship game: Boston University vs. Northeastern (7:30 p.m., NESN)
Follow Andrew Mahoney @GlobeMahoney.