BOSTON (AP) — Nearly 50 years ago, Boston College coach Jerry York, a sophomore playing in his first Beanpot, scored an overtime goal during the Eagles’ run to a school-record third straight tournament title.
York, the winningest coach in NCAA hockey history, now looks to guide the Eagles to their fourth consecutive Beanpot crown starting with a first-round game against Harvard on Monday.
Defending NCAA champion Boston College (15-7-2) faces the Crimson (5-14-1) in the second game. Boston University plays Northeastern to open the 61st annual Beanpot that matches the area’s four Division I hockey programs annually on the first two Mondays in February.
Another tourney title would give BC’s senior class a perfect 8-0 mark in Beanpot play.
‘‘It would be very special,’’ BC captain Pat Mullane said. ‘‘It’s extremely hard to win even two, but to go out with four would be special and would say a lot about our class and the classes that have come before us.’’
The Eagles have reached lofty standards in the NCAA hockey world, winning three of the last five NCAA championships to go along with their three consecutive Beanpot titles.
Boston University (13-10-1) owns the most Beanpot crowns, winning 29 overall, 28 of those in the past 47 years. For years the annual joke was calling the tournament the ‘‘BU Invitational.’’ Now, even the Terriers hear about BC’s recent dominance around campus, located about a mile down Commonwealth Avenue from the Eagles’ home.
‘‘You definitely hear that. BC’s probably our biggest rival,’’ BU defenseman Sean Escobedo said. ‘‘Whether it’s fellow students or sometimes professors giving you a little encouragement and saying, ‘Hey, you've got to bear down against those guys this year.’ It’s a friendly reminder that we've got to do our job.’’
BC has collected 17 Beanpot titles and Harvard 10, but its last came in 1993. Northeastern (7-13-3) owns the fewest, capturing just four, and hasn’t skated with the trophy since 1988.
Winning the Beanpot can certainly erase the thought of some tough losses.
‘‘That’s the beauty of having it at being a two-game series,’’ Harvard coach Ted Donato said. ‘‘I think our guys are looking at it as an opportunity. Playing a great Boston College team is not only a great opportunity for us, but a great challenge for us.’’
But first they must stop the Eagles’ run.
‘‘It would put us in a class of BC athletics that no one has ever touched,’’ goalie Parker Milner said. ‘‘It would be incredible for us to do something like that.’’
And if they win the Beanpot, they hope it’s the start of another run to an NCAA title this spring.
‘‘We kind of stress that this is trophy season. Coming back from Christmas break there was an opportunity to win five or six trophies,’’ Mullane said. ‘‘I think we kind of take it one tournament at a time with the ultimate goal to win a national championship.’’