BOSTON – The 59th edition of the Beanpot Tournament got underway Monday night at the TD Garden, pitting the Hub’s top teams against each other for local bragging rights. Here are a few notes from Monday’s first round contests.
HUSKIES DOWN CRIMSON
The first game featured Northeastern University facing off against Harvard. Although the Crimson outshot the Huskies 17-10 in the first period, Harvard failed to make a dent in goaltender Chris Rawlings’ armor, and Northeastern escaped with a 4-0 win.
“It gives me a little relief knowing we got four goals instead of one,” Rawlings said. “It makes my job a lot easier.
The netminder finished the night with 41 saves, which was a relief for Huskies head coach Greg Cronin, given his team’s play.
“I thought our special teams were a big factor in the game. We had a power play goal in a critical moment, and I thought the penalty kill was good in the first period. Offensively I felt we were really sloppy, we had no one who played really good. Defensively we were good.”
Although the game did not get particularly physical, two successive penalties to Harvard in the second period sealed the Crimson’s fate. Playing with a 5-on-3 advantage, Brody Reid converted on a slick pass from Wade MacLeod at 16:19 to close out the game.
“[Northeastern] outplayed us in pretty much every facet of the game,” Crimson head coach Ted Donato said. “We played a semblance of our game in the first period, but it seemed after the second goal when they got a bounce that we couldn’t really mount much of an attack after that.”
CROSS CAPS OFF OVERTIME CAPER
The evening match between Hockey East rivals Boston College and Boston University was far more entertaining, featuring goals from both teams, numerous offensive opportunities, and dozens of saves.
The tight game was a hard-fought struggle that went the distance, before BC defenseman Tommy Cross scored a power play goal at 3:17 of overtime to send BC to its 31st appearance in the finals – the first overtime game between the clubs since the Eagles defeated the Terriers 4-3 in 2008.
The Eagles rebounded from a 2-1 deficit in the third, thanks to an early third period goal from junior forward Jimmy Hayes, which sent the game into the extra session.
It was more of the same intense action in overtime, until Terriers defenseman Ryan Ruikka was penalized for cross-checking. It only took 16 seconds for Cross to capitalize on BU’s mistake. After receiving a pass from partner Brian Dumouin, Cross curled at the right point and unleashed a wrist shot that found its way through traffic in the slot and past goalie Kieran Millan’s glove side.
Associate head coach Mike Cavanaugh spoke for head coach Jerry York during the post game press conference, who was dealing with a bout of laryngitis. Cavanaugh was pleased with his players’ performance.
“You don’t get second chances losing in the Beanpot.” Cavanaugh said. “It adds to the intensity and excitement of the game; it was a terrific college hockey game.”
NU defenseman Jamie Oleksiak showcased the skills that made him the top-ranked North American skater in Hockey East from Central Scouting’s Midterm rankings (27th overall), going plus-2 and recording two blocked shots
The championship and consolation games will be played next Monday, Feb. 14 BC and NU will face each other each other in the championship game for only the third time in tournament history. Each team has a 1-1 record against each other BU leads all teams in tournament history with 29 Beanpot championships. The other teams have combined for 29 (BC 15, Harvard 10 and NU 4)
York’s record has improved to 11-6 in Beanpot semifinal action; he is 21-12 overall in tournament play Cronin is now 2-4 in the semifinals, 4-7 overall.