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It is less than 24 hours before the puck will drop between the Boston College Eagles and the Northeastern Huskies to determine the 2014 Beanpot Champion. Both teams are feeling the energy already.

The Northeastern Men’s Hockey Team’s twitter account (@GoNUmhockey) has already promised a live blog beginning at noon, Monday.

And though she has her own important hockey match, Northeastern alumnus and Team USA Women’s Hockey Team member, Kendall Coyne has already sent her good luck wishes to the men’s team for the Beanpot.

And for those who are wondering how the Huskies find themselves again in the Beanpot finals for the third time in four years, Northeastern has released Part 1 of “Huskies Unleashed – The Road to the Men’s Beanpot” via YouTube.

However, just what are the Huskies’ chances? The team sports an impressive number of freshmen including three players from the 2013 Clark Cup-winning Dubuque Fighting Saints: Matt Benning, Michael Szmatula, and John Stevens. They understand what is needed to push to the finish, and in this case the finish would be the opportunity to hoist the Beanpot—something Northeastern hasn’t been able to do since 1988.

Mike Szmatula (Credit: Northeastern University)

Mike Szmatula (Credit: Northeastern University)

The 5’9” Szmatula, according to Harvard’s head coach Ted Donato is “dangerous.” Donato went on to say that Benning is “an excellent quarterback on the power play at the blue line.” Benning is also a Boston Bruins prospect, taken in the sixth round (175 overall) during the 2012 NHL Draft.

Szmatula,who is currently ranked second in the nation in freshman scoring (11-20-31), attributes his success to the team and to the coaching staff. He pointed out that the upperclassmen made it easy for he and his fellow freshmen to get right into the flow of how the team plays.

Backing up the Huskies in front of the net is Clay Witt, who has been impressive most of the year. As head coach Jim Madigan said after the semi-final blow out over Harvard last Monday, “Of course, Clay was tremendous in net. And when you have the confidence that we’re playing with, it’s because of our goaltending.”

If they play hard, and with the focus and force they have been bringing throughout much of the season, they stand a very good chance of succeeding in taking a win.

Of course, the opposition has just as much intensity, and has won the last four consecutive Beanpot finals and are hoping for a fifth. The Boston College Eagles, coached by the most winning NCAA hockey coach, Jerry York, have been giving many teams fits over the last few years, and not only during the first two Mondays in February. They have also taken a couple of national titles—three Frozen Four titles in the last five years, for instance.

Gaudreau, Arnold and Hayes

Gaudreau, Arnold and Hayes

The current roster boasts such talent as Johnny Gaudreau—known to many by his nickname, “Johnny Hockey,” whose line mates include Bill Arnold and Kevin Hayes. They have combined for the nation’s top line in points (55-89-144). And they go first, second and third for the Eagles in points on the current roster; a dangerous trio to be sure.

To keep up on what is happening as the clock draws closer to the fateful moment for the Championship game at TD Garden on Monday at 7:30pm, from the view of the Eagles, fans will want to follow the Eagles men’s hockey team twitter account (@BCHockeyNews).

This team is certainly motivated to get Coach York another win, and in the Battle of Comm Ave, against the Boston University Terriers, a fifth straight Beanpot win would certainly give them bragging rights, especially depending on what happens between the Terriers and the Harvard Crimson during the consolation game, which takes place at 4:30pm.

A family historian by profession, Rhonda R. McClure has loved hockey since she was a child in New Hampshire. Any opportunity to combine her love of writing, hockey and research is something she looks forward to with much enthusiasm. She's been accused of seeking out shinny games when there are no other hockey events taking place. She is a member of the Society for International Hockey Research. Follow her on Twitter at @HockeyMaven1917.



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