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Beanpot spotlight: Cam Atkinson ready to lead BC on another postseason run 02.14.11 at 8:13 am ET
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Boston College‘€™s Cam Atkinson led the country in goals last season and is within striking distance of that title again this year as he leads the Eagles into Monday night’s Beanpot championship game against Northeastern. But six years ago, it appeared that he would never get the chance to achieve those feats.

A week before tryouts during his freshman year at Avon Old Farms in Connecticut, Atkinson broke his leg and was told he would probably never play hockey again.

‘€œThat was a pretty down time in my career,’€ Atkinson said. ‘€œBasically, the doctor came in and told me, ‘€˜There goes your career.’€™ That was the only time I actually started crying.’€

But Atkinson, a native of Greenwich, Conn., refused to let his career end that day. As soon as he could get back on his feet, he started training and working up the strength in his leg again. He said he did physical therapy twice a day and never even thought about giving up.

By the middle of his sophomore year, several Division 1 schools were beginning to recruit Atkinson. The following summer, he was selected to play for the U.S. Under-18 Team that won the silver medal in the 2006 U-18 Junior World Cup in the Czech Republic.

After the tournament, teammate Jimmy Hayes, who had already committed to BC, told Atkinson that the Eagles were interested in him. Atkinson said he didn’€™t believe Hayes at first, but a couple of days later he got a phone call asking him to visit BC. Atkinson, who called BC his ‘€œdream school,’€ committed on the spot during his visit.

‘€œIt was a no-brainer for me because I knew in my heart that I wanted to go to BC,’€ Atkinson said. ‘€œSo I was just waiting for them to call. Once they did, it was a pretty easy decision.’€ Read the rest of this entry »

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Beanpot preview: BU looks to break through vs. BC 02.07.11 at 9:21 am ET
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It might not be the Super Bowl, but the Beanpot has become something of a social event itself. On the first two Mondays in February, TD Garden is the place to be if you’€™re a Boston sports fan.

‘€œI think it’€™s evolved into something a little bit more social than it is a sporting event,’€ Boston University coach Jack Parker said on Sunday. ‘€œIt’€™s become like the Boston Marathon or Opening Day of the Red Sox. ‘€˜I want to be at Opening Day.’€™

‘€œAnd now we’€™ve got people showing up to the Beanpot who want to go into work Tuesday and say, ‘€˜I was at the Beanpot last night.’€™ ‘€¦ The crowd is always sold out, but it’€™s a different crowd now.’€

Parker and the Terriers have dominated the Beanpot. BU has won 29 of 58 titles and has failed to reach the championship game just 10 times. This year, however, the 14th-ranked Terriers will need to pull of a first-round upset just to get to the final.

That’€™s because their opponent in Monday’€™s prime-time game is No. 1 Boston College, the reigning national champion and a team that has already beaten BU three times this season.

The Eagles, who won their 15th Beanpot title last year, embarrassed their archrivals in early December, outscoring the Terriers 14-7 in a weekend sweep. That was the most lopsided sweep by BC over BU in 23 years.

The teams’€™ last meeting on Jan. 21 looked as if it was going to be another blowout, as the Eagles jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first. But the Terriers battled back to make things interesting, only to come up a goal short in the end.

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Read More: Cam Atkinson, Jack Parker, John Muse, Kieran Millan
Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl preview: BC vs. Nevada 01.07.11 at 8:29 am ET
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Just like college students face their hardest tests at the end of the semester, Boston College’€™s top-ranked run defense will face its toughest challenge at the end of the season when the Eagles take on No. 13 Nevada Sunday night in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl at AT&T Park in San Francisco (9 p.m. ET; ESPN, WEEI).

The Wolf Pack (12-1) of the Western Athletic Conference rank third in the country in both total offense (535.5 yards per game) and rushing offense (305.9). Senior quarterback Colin Kaepernick, a dual threat who will be capping off a record-setting career, leads the attack.

This season, Kaepernick has passed for 2,830 yards and 20 touchdowns and rushed for 1,184 yards and another 20 touchdowns, making him one of just two members of this year’€™s 20-20 club (the other is Auburn quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton).

Kaepernick also became the first player in Bowl Subdivision history with 9,000 career passing yards and 4,000 career rushing yards, as well as the first player to pass for 2,000 yards and rush for 1,000 yards in three straight seasons.

“He is the leader of our team; there is no question about it,” coach Chris Ault told The Associated Press. “He makes plays. That’s what his legs do for us. He has done that throughout his career here. He is a pretty special guy.”

Kaepernick directs coach Ault’€™s often-imitated pistol offense, which features the quarterback lined up three or four yards behind the center (rather than the normal seven for a shotgun offense) with the running back directly behind him (rather than next to him like in the shotgun).

Whether Kaepernick keeps the ball or hands it off to tailback Vai Taua, BC will have its hands full. Taua ranks sixth in the country with 1,534 rushing yards and is tied for first with 22 total touchdowns, a mark matched only by Oregon’€™s LaMichael James.

But just like the Wolf Pack’€™s ground game will be the biggest test for the Eagles’€™ run defense, the Eagles’€™ run defense will be the biggest test for Kaepernick and Taua. Led by linebackers Luke Kuechly and Mark Herzlich, BC (7-5) has held opponents to a meager 80.2 yards per game on the ground.

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Read More: Chris Ault, Colin Kaepernick, frank spaziani, luke kuechly
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