Will the Fenway classic displace one of following to move into the top three in the history of this rivalry? Here's a look at what most college puck pundits in Beantown rank as the three most memorable BU-BC games in the 247-game history:
No. 3 -- Beanpot final on Feb. 10, 1986 -- College hockey' biggest in-season tournament played the first two Mondays each February, pitted BC against BU in the final for the 10th time since 1952 at the time.
"All the BC seniors got together and made a video called 'The Beanpot trot,'" said BU's Scott "Shags" Shaunessy. "They released it to the news media, and after they won their first-round game, it's all that played on the news. They were loaded with talent. Somehow they thought it was their destiny to win this thing. This thing made me so angry; all week long I was just chewing nails. I could not wait to get a piece of them."
"It was smash-mouth hockey," said Emrick. "BC happened to win the opening faceoff. Bob Sweeney got the puck along the wall in the neutral zone, and Scott Shaunessy took about 17 strides and hit him so hard that he broke the glass. It pretty much set the tone for the rest of the game."
"They may have the 'trot' but we have the 'pot,'" quipped Shaunessy about the 4-1 final.
No. 2 -- NCAA Northeast Regional final, March 25, 2006 -- The two teams had never met in regional NCAA play.
"In 2006," said Emrick, "BU dominated the Eagles for most of the season. But the final meeting of the year was in the NCAA regional tournament."
"I think when we play on big stages," said York about the game played in nearby Worcester, "in the white-hot spotlight -- we've had those situations over the years. We've lost some disappointing games where you feel like your heart was just taken out of you."
York's Eagles dominated the Terriers, 5-0, en route to a fourth national-title game appearance since 1998.
No. 1 -- National championship game, March 25, 1978 -- "It's been over 90 years and over 280 games," Emrick said. "It's hard to believe these two eastern powers have met only once in the NCAA championship game."
"The '78 title game is the one that is looked back upon," said Corbett about that season's final 60 minutes played 60 minutes south in Providence, Rhode Island. "It's what makes this rivalry special -- that you can have two teams just a couple of miles apart on the same trolley line capable of playing for a Division I national championship."
Tony Meagher's second goal of the game at 7:05 of the second period would stand as the game-winner in the 5-3 final for BU's third national championship at the time.
-- Bob Snow
Last Friday afternoon, the 2010 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic showcased the Bruins and Flyers at Fenway Park. Come Friday night at 7:30 p.m. ET, the 248th battle in the classic rivalry between Boston College and Boston University -- the last two national champions -- takes place at Fenway -- the first outdoor college game in the modern era of New England hockey.
At 4 p.m. ET, the women's teams from Northeastern and New Hampshire play in the first women's outdoor game.
Only two other such outdoor games have been played in NCAA history. "The Cold War" between Michigan State and Michigan in 2001 before 74,554 in Spartan Stadium in East Lansing, and the "Frozen Tundra Classic" in 2006 at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wisc., between Ohio State and Wisconsin with 40,890 in the stands.
The first ended in a 2-2 tie; the latter a 4-2 victory for the host Badgers.
Only that Michigan-Michigan State and the Minnesota-North Dakota rivalries come close to the fan fervor and player passion associated with each meeting of BC and BU, schools separated by three miles of trolley tracks along Commonwealth Avenue, and headed for 100 years of hockey history. The Terriers hold a 123-107-17 edge in the series that began in 1917.
"I don't think it can be anymore intense," BU's legendary coach Jack Parker said about the rivalry when interviewed on the recently produced DVD, "The Battle of Comm. Ave." that has saturated the airwaves of the popular New England Sports Network (NESN).
Both Parker and BC's Jerry York are entrenched in the legacy of these two programs as alums and former players -- often against each other.
"I think it's just as intense when I was a sophomore in college in 1966," Parker said.
"It's a blood rivalry in the best and worst sense of the word," York said. "In Michigan, it's Michigan State. In Boston it's these two rivals."
No shortage of like sentiments well beyond both coaches.
"One of the words I use very rarely is 'hate,' said Steve Nazro, vice president of events at the TD Bank Garden and director of the annual Beanpot Tournament played there. "I really think there is athletic hate."
"When one team is playing well and has bragging rights," said legendary Boston hockey writer John "Jocko" Connolly of the Boston Herald, "the other team wants to knock them off that pedestal. It's like two heavyweights going jaw-to-jaw trying to knock each other's head off. All their hearts beat as one on each team. It brings out the boiler-plate passion in everybody -- the fans, players, coaches, rink attendants, Zamboni drivers."
"When you stepped onto the ice against BC it was a totally different mindset," said Mike Eruzione who played on the 1978 BU national championship team before captaining the 1980 U.S. Olympic team to gold in Lake Placid.
"We're approaching this hundreds years of holy war," said Bernie Corbett, BU hockey historian and radio play-by-play analyst. "It doesn't seem to get older or diminish its passion or excitement. We take it for granted here and we shouldn't."
Why such deep-seated and heated emotions?
"We recruit the same players and the fact that they'll be around Boston the rest of their lives," said Parker.
Classic, Legends games buzz to BU-BC
Bob Snow - NHL.com Correspondent
BC and BU will put the books aside Friday in lieu of the boards and go head-to-head under the lights at Fenway Park. READ MORE ›
"Kids that grew up in Boston that played against each other," said Eruzione who hails from nearby Winthrop. "[And] Kids that didn't get recruited by the other school or decided to go to the other school."
"Both claim an astonishing 800 wins," said veteran broadcaster Mike Emrick -- who called the Winter Classic last week on NBC and contributed to the DVD -- about York and Parker who rank No. 2 and No. 3, respectively, in all-time career wins. "Both attribute the culture of their program's success, in part, to those who coached before them."
"I think that there's really almost like a passing of the torch, not only with players, but behind the bench," said Connolly about the symmetry woven throughout the rivalry's history. "BU has had three great coaches in the last 40 years in Harry Cleverly, then Jack Kelley. Now you have Jack Parker. Similarly, you look at BC with 'Snooks' Kelley, Lenny Ceglarski and Jerry York."
"What's at stake," asked Corbett about any game between the last two national champions, and especially the first one of the New Year and decade on Jan. 8. "Often times, there's a great deal at stake."
For one, those ultimate bragging rights for many years to come.
And the proverbial two points -- in a game that will kick-start the second-half of the season for each team, especially BU.
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The Terriers (5-9-3) have yet to find rhythm in the 2009-10 season after winning a fifth national title last April. The Eagles (10-5-2) have climbed back to their customary top-10 national rank off a slow start and lackluster campaign last season after winning their third title in 2008.
Friday night's game will have a national-championship-game aura as the 2008 and 2009 champions meet in one of their most unique games and settings in Boston and NCAA history.
On Campus Clips -- Victors of the Division I holiday-tournament final games the past two weekends include: In the Florida Estero Classic, Maine took down Colorado College, 3-2. ... In The Great Lakes Invitational, Michigan State trounced Rensselaer, 6-1. ... The UConn Hockey Classic had the Bentley Falcons -- with one of the biggest upsets of the season thus far -- taking out Massachusetts, 4-1. ... In the Denver Cup in Denver, host Denver rallied to topple Boston College, 4-3. ... The Dodge Holiday Classic tournament was won by Northern Michigan, 4-2, over Minnesota. ... The Catamount Cup was won by host Vermont, 5-2, over Minn.-Duluth. ... The Shillelagh Tournament in Hoffman Estates, Illinois, had Niagara over Colgate, 5-2. ... The Badger Showdown had surging Ferris State, 5-1, over Merrimack. ... The Ledyard Bank Classic in Hanover, N.H., was won by Northeastern over UMass-Lowell, 2-1.
You don't see many. The [Drew] Doughtys, the [P.K.] Subbans, those are guys that create offense from the back and then on top of that ability, the size that he has. In the West you play against some pretty big players, and being able to clear the crease and contain the [Ryan] Getzlafs and the [Corey] Perrys and [Anze] Kopitars and players like that, we're excited about him going back there.
— Sharks general manager Doug Wilson on Brent Burns returning back to defense