I’m back with Beanpot interview #2. Today I interview Kat Hasenauer who writes basically everywhere on the internet, including SB Nation Boston, Inside Lacrosse, College Baseball Daily, and her own site. You can also follow her on twitter at @sportsgirlkat
1. With BU and BC playing in the first round this year how does that affect the atmosphere in the building or just surrounding the game in general vs. when it is the championship game?
BU and BC playing in the first round hurts the luster of the Beanpot just a bit. For the casual hockey fan, all the attention gets shifted to the first round, and makes the final round less of a must-see. This year, this is even truer given that either wildly inconsistent Northeastern or deplorable Harvard will make the championship game. Could a Northeastern-BC final be a good game? Oh yes. But when you have Northeastern fans complaining about the price of Beanpot tickets,(as evidenced by some of the chatter I’ve seen on Twitter – the excellent @alexfaust has been trying to convince NU fans to go one by one, which is great), you can expect that the building will be a little less racous during that championship game.
2. BU Senior Joe Pereira had 13 career goals coming into this season, and he has 10 already this year. What has been the biggest change in his play that you have seen?
There are three things I have seen influence Pereira this year: responsibility, competition and his line. Pereira is very aware of the fact that he is the only senior on this squad (they have Kraus as their second/third goalie, but that’s a moot point) and has been charged with leading a team that was quite leaderless last year. In interviews, he often recalls the leadership of 2008-09, with Gilroy and McCarthy and a strong senior class, and I think he’s trying to bring the same level of leadership on his own. Connolly and Warsofsky help, of course, but I think Pereira views it as being the onus on him. The other thing to remember is that he didn’t get to play the NCAA Regionals or Frozen Four in 2009 because of his spleen injury. I think that’s a motivating factor too – he wants to get there on his own and have that experience.
Competition wise, Pereira’s little brother, Mike, is now in the league, playing for UMass Amherst. Mike has been touted higher than Natalie Portman in Black Swan – “he’s better, he’s quicker, he’s a playmaker, he’s got more skill” – and I think that’s got to get into Pereira just a bit. The elder isn’t a bad hockey player in any means, and now he is motivated to show that. Never underestimate family competition.
Lastly, you can’t count out the fact that he’s on better lines. I mean, I hate breaking out that reasoning for any player, because it seems to cheapen their accomplishments, but you can’t deny it here. He’s on better lines, and with that he’s getting much better opportunities than he ever has in his career.
3. Given that BU and BC are the last two national title winners, have the games between the two teams had an even higher level of intensity, or is the intensity as high as it gets already?
It is on the fringe of getting a little insane intensity wise. In their three matchups this season, it has seemed like rugby on ice. They are throwing themselves at each other like long-lost sorority sisters seeing each other at an airport. The past two seasons, BU sees the BC games as indicators to how their shaky seasons are going, and BC views them as a way to prove 2009 was a fluke.
As we have seen over the past six years, the two teams tend to meet beyond their three scheduled Hockey East contests and with each matchup, the stakes are higher. As intense as things are now, they pale a tad in comparison to the six game season in 2005-06. Those two were each other’s only competition. BU has to mature a bit to make the ice a bit more even with BC, which could happen for next year.
4. Jack Parker is in his 38th year at BU and Jerry York is in his 17th at BC. What does having two great coaches who have been there a long time do for the rivalry?
It creates a great basis for the rivalry. These great coaches have the cachet to recruit great student-athletes, which keeps both teams relevant. As an aside, can you imagine what would have happened if the Vinny Saponari swap had materialized? I think that situation reignited the rivalry between the two coaches even with how it turned out, but it also speaks to how both are perceived right now. York’s a coach that finds a way to win athletically, while Parker is a character guy. Parker may struggle a bit more with the generation gap because of that, while York has BC running like a factory.
5. Lastly, give us some predictions. Who wins the BU-BC game, the other semi, and finally who do you think wins the Beanpot?
Northeastern will defeat Harvard, though I feel for Crimson goaltender Kyle Ritcher. He’s a lot better than the teams that they’ve laid out in front of him. BC will defeat BU, though I think BU will hang in closer than the last three games. BU has pulled themselves back together, and BC has to be getting fatigued (look at their game against Maine a few weeks back – when they’re tired, they show it.) Nevertheless, BC will win their first round, and will win the championship on Valentine’s Day.