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A Little Black & Gold in the Beanpot

by Staff Writer / Boston Bruins – Harvard hockey Head Coach and former Bruin Ted Donato will forever have his name engraved in Beanpot history.

He won the Beanpot in 1989 as Harvard took a 9-6 victory over Boston University, but tonight, he will take part in something that’s never happened in the tournament’s 60-year storied legacy.

For the first time, all four coaches have played in the Beanpot for the teams they are coaching (Jack Parker - BU, Jerry York - BC, Jim Madigan - NU, Ted Donato - HU) and the group has combined for eight titles.

Along with Donato’s title, Parker won three straight from (1966-68), while York won back-to-back titles in 1964 and 1965 and Madigan won two in 1984 and 1985.

“Being able to coach in it with coaching legends like Jack Parker, Jerry York and a great guy this year in Jim Madigan, it’s an honor,” Donato said. “It’s not often you get to realize the dream of not only being able to play in the Beanpot, but to be associated year after year has really been extra special.”

But for Donato, who spent nine of his 13 NHL seasons with the Boston Bruins (1991-98, 03-04), his dreams of playing in the Beanpot fostered long before he attended Harvard.

Donato, who grew up in Dedham and is the all-time leading scorer at Catholic Memorial High school in Roxbury, always dreamed of playing in the tournament.

“My Beanpot experience really starts as a kid watching it on T.V.,” Donato said. 
“The many street hockey games pretending to be one of the Beanpot schools, and we used to play hand hockey back then with socks inside the house when it got cold out.

“To go from there, and then being one of four boys and to be the first to have a chance to play in the Beanpot was really special. I felt I was carrying the torch so to speak and really it was special to be there as a player.”

Tonight, Donato will get to watch his dreams unfold in front of the TD Garden crowd and to him, a win would make it that much sweeter.

“Success in the Beanpot means a lot of things for the players, for the school itself, and it really adds to the overall excitement,” he said. “It’s been far too long since we have won (1993) and I think it’d be a great boost to us to win.”

Cross tries for one more title
Boston College defenseman Tommy Cross has played his share of thrilling Beanpot games.

After BC finished third during his freshman season, Cross and the Eagles won the next two straight titles, highlighted by last season’s nail-biting 7-6 overtime win against Northeastern University.

Tonight, Cross will try to help his team punch a ticket to next Monday’s championship game against the winner of the Harvard/Boston University game when they face Northeastern in the first round at 8 p.m.

“It’s just as exciting every year,” Cross said at January's annual Beanpot Luncheon. “You almost get more excited for it as you get older just because it’s my last Beanpot.

"You want to cherish it and I know everyone on our team is excited and we’re looking forward to it and we want to have a good first game against Northeastern and give ourselves a chance to win a trophy.”

Cross, who was selected by the Boston Bruins in the 2007 draft (35th overall), said he expects a tough battle against the Huskies, who tend to play BC extremely well.

This season, the two have met three times, including once at Fenway Park, and the Eagles have won all three by one goal.

“All games that could have gone either way so we’re going to have to play really well," said Cross. "They play really well as a team, they work real hard so we have a lot of respect for them.

"We’re definitely going to try and play our A-game and give ourselves a chance to win.”

Cross’ favorite Beanpot moment as a fan was watching Nick Petrecki score the game-winning goal in 2008 as BC beat Harvard 6-5. But as a player, nothing can top last year’s championships game against NU, and also when Cross scored the game-winner in the semi-finals against BU.

Nonethless, Cross said he expects another great tournament and he’s excited to play in the TD Garden, a place he’s become quite familiar with between the Beanpot and Hockey East playoffs.

“I love playing here, all the guys on our team love playing here,” he said. “It’s a great venue – the crowd’s always great and it’s such a big event in Boston.”

Fallstrom focused on Terriers
It’s been 19 year’s since the Harvard Crimson have won the coveted Beanpot title.

Last year, the Crimson picked up an enthusiastic 5-4 win over the Boston University Terriers in the consolation game, and in the first round of the tournament, Bruins prospect Alex Fallstrom and Harvard will battle BU at 5 p.m. for a chance at advancing to the final.

“It’s just a great atmosphere to play in, I love playing in that rink,”  Fallstrom said, who was drafted by the Bruins in the 2009 Draft (116th overall). “Of course it’s going to be great to play BU. We played them (Jan. 14) and unfortunately we lost in overtime [4-3].

“It’s going to be a great opportunity to play them again and hopefully get a win so we can play in the championship for the first time since I got to the school.”

--- Anthony Gulizia
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