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BC and BU set for Fenway faceoff

Thursday, 08.20.2009 / 5:31 PM / On Campus

By Bob Snow - NHL.com Correspondent

BOSTON -- Two records are sure to be set at Fenway Park on Jan. 8, 2010 -- the number of Boston College and Boston University T-shirts sold in January, and the all-time attendance for men's and women's college hockey games in New England.

One week after the 2010 Bridgestone/NHL Winter Classic between the Boston Bruins and Philadelphia Flyers takes place at Fenway on New Year's Day, BC and BU will meet for the 248th time in a setting unlike any of the first 247.

The Eagles and Terriers will meet at 7:30 p.m. in the second half of a Fenway doubleheader, following a women's game between the University of New Hampshire and Northeastern at 4:30 p.m. that will mark the first women's outdoor game in the modern era.

"We've been talking about this game over a number of years," said BU coach Jack Parker. "This will be the biggest crowd, bar none, in BC and BU history."

"We are very excited to bring college hockey to Fenway Park in this once-in-a-lifetime event," said Hockey East commissioner Joe Bertagna. "It's great for the growth of the sport, as we have seen what the Winter Classic has done for the NHL and its fans."

Entering the 2009-10 season, BU leads the all-time series 123-106-17. The teams own the last two NCAA titles -- BC captured its third championship by beating Notre Dame in 2008, and BU rallied from a 3-1 deficit in the final minute of regulation before beating Miami of Ohio 4-3 in overtime for its third championship this past spring.

The biggest game in the rivalry was the 1978 national title game, won 5-3 by BU. The two have met 19 times in the championship game of the Beanpot Tournament, an annual city battle for Boston bragging rights.

"This will be something like the '78 title game and others against BC," said Parker. "The draw of all of this is BU-BC. It's been an unbelievable rivalry for so long. This is another huge page in it."

Parker and BC bench boss Jerry York go all the way back to high school in their rivalry. Both also are passionate Red Sox fans.

"Growing up here (at Fenway)," York said, "I always thought I'd make it as a shortstop (but) then the pitchers got better. I never quite envisioned BU and BC playing here at Fenway Park. It's a terrific opportunity for our players and fans. We're old-time rivals moving down to Fenway Park. It's going to be jammed. Just think -- a BU-BC game under the Fenway lights on a Friday night.

"Both of us are very, very strong. It's almost at the height of the rivalry right now."

"We might just dress in our dorm rooms and walk over here," said Parker about his campus' proximity -- BU is just across Commonwealth Avenue from Fenway. "Jerry and I have been coaching here for quite a few years. This will be unquestionably one of the highlights of our careers, to be on opposite benches at Fenway Park."

That same sentiment was echoed by players on each roster at Thursday's news conference, especially by the locals with immediate ties to the Boston and its suburbs.

BU and BC are separated by two miles; ditto for Eagles sophomore forward Jimmy Hayes' home from Fenway Park. The 6-foot-5, 210-pound forward was a giddy kid in a surreal surrounding on Fenway's turf as he talked about the game.

"I'm not sure there are many true city guys on any team," Hayes said. "It's a huge experience being from Dorchester just a couple of T (train line) stops away is really unbelievable. I'll be up every night now thinking about this game. 

"A lot of guys kept saying it was just a rumor, but when the NHL announced its game, we knew this could happen. Our team is so excited, even the guys from Minnesota and Connecticut and across Canada."

"I never quite envisioned BU and BC playing here at Fenway Park. It's a terrific opportunity for our players and fans. We're old-time rivals moving down to Fenway Park. It's going to be jammed. Just think -- a BU-BC game under the Fenway lights on a Friday night."
-- Boston College coach Jerry York

At the opposite end of the growth chart is junior Joe Whitney, who grew up playing on the natural and artificial frozen sheets in a suburb just north of Boston.

"This is a dream come true since growing up in Reading," smiled the Eagles' 5-foot-6 junior. "I don't really know what to say. Growing up, I went to the BU-BC games and all the BC games every Friday night. 

"It's really unbelievable to be from around Boston and be a part of it. Hopefully, all that outdoor practice will pay off. We use to go out late at night when the rink lights were still on, and if it was snowing we'd shovel it off with my two brothers and bring the net down."

BU sophomore defenseman David Warsofsky was sporting a black-and-blue left eye, compliments of an incident last week in an exhibition game against Russia at the U.S. National Junior Evaluation Camp.

"Gets me ready for BC and the season," said the Marshfield, Mass., native. "Everyone knows this rivalry. To be on this stage at Fenway Park will hype that even more."

There haven't been many bigger goals scored in BU and NCAA history than Nick Bonino's tally with 15 seconds left in regulation that tied the title game against Miami last April. The pride of Unionville, Conn., enters his junior year with many BU-BC and other significant experiences under his belt.

"Just walking out and stepping on the ice for warm-ups," said Bonino, "and seeing a packed Fenway park will be unbelievable.

"The national championship and this (game at Fenway) are two totally different things in their own right," he said. "The national championship I don't think can be topped, but every year we get bigger games with BC in the Beanpot; now this is the top of the line. We're the envy of a lot of college and pro teams."

"We've been talking about this game over a number of years," said Parker. "This will be the biggest crowd, bar none, in BC and BU history."


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There's no discouragement in that room. There's no issues there at all to be honest with you. It's more about, 'Hey, it's opportunities for players.' And if we become that bad of a team because of one player, it's not a real good sign for our hockey club. So this is part of sports. It's part of hockey.

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