In the opening period of the annual Beanpot men’s hockey tournament at TD Garden on Monday (Feb. 7), Northeastern consistently showed its mettle as one of the nation’s most effective defensive squads.
Withstanding a barrage of shots from a wily Harvard squad — 32 attempts in the first period alone — Northeastern killed a Crimson power-play opportunity and then suddenly flexed its offensive muscles, on its way to an eventual 4-0 win.
At the 10:48 mark of the initial stanza, just five seconds after Northeastern’s Garrett Vermeersch rejoined his team following a two-minute penalty for tripping, a surging Mike McLaughlin split a pair of Harvard defenders before chipping the puck past senior Crimson goaltender Ryan Carroll to set up the go-ahead goal. Unfortunately for Harvard, the efficient Huskies offense (as well as a stingy Huskies defense that allows just over two goals per game) was beginning to roll into what amounted to a Northeastern avalanche.
In the middle period of the semifinal matchup, Harvard’s crosstown rivals rattled off three unanswered goals, including one by McLaughlin a mere 1:43 into play, en route to the shutout in the 59th edition of this storied tourney. Steve Silva and Brodie Reid rounded out the Huskies onslaught with goals at 10:53 and 16:19, respectively. In an inspired effort, goalie Chris Rawlings cast aside 41 shots.
“I thought they outplayed us in pretty much every facet of the game,” said sixth-year Harvard coach Ted Donato ’91. “I thought we played a semblance of our game in the first period. But after the second goal, where they got a little bit of a bounce, we really couldn’t mount much of an attack after that. Give Northeastern a lot of credit.”
Individually, Carroll thwarted three of Northeastern’s four power-play opportunities en route to 20 saves. On the offensive end, senior Pier-Olivier Michaud paced the Crimson with seven shot attempts, followed by junior winger Rence Coassin, who managed six. As a team, Harvard committed a manageable eight penalties, versus a dozen by Northeastern.
Despite aggressive play and dramatically outshooting their Beanpot brethren in each period (by a total of 81 to 62), Harvard failed to capitalize on its six power plays, including a trio of man-advantage situations in the final period. The scoreless effort marked Harvard’s third of the season, as well as the Cambridge club’s third straight loss to Northeastern.
Optimists take note, however: The Crimson still own the series lead against the Huskies (to the tune of 64-33-0; 22-18 in Beanpot action), as well as a 10 to 4 advantage in Beanpot titles. The Crimson icers — who will battle Boston University on Valentine’s Day for the right to be deemed Boston’s third-most-lovable team — fell to 4-18-0 on the season (3-13-0 ECAC; 0-7-0 Ivy). The Huskies, meanwhile, improved to 10-11-6. The crew from Huntington Avenue next take on Boston College, who were 3-2 overtime winners over the BU Terriers in the Beanpot’s marquee game.