Boston, MA. — Super Bowl celebrations are the new normal here in Boston when February rolls around, but one tradition has been around much longer. The Beanpot, Boston’s historic celebration of its four college hockey institutions, is in its 67th year and still going strong. Tonight’s match-ups feature Boston College taking on Harvard University at 5:00 pm, followed by Boston University against defending Champion Northeastern University at 8:00 pm.
BC holds the Beanpot edge over the Crimson 28-14 in their 43 previous meetings. The Crimson are 2-0-1 vs the Eagles in their last three meetings in all play. The Eagles once again are struggling against non-conference opponents, having not won a game outside of Hockey East since November of 2016.
The opening period got going when a loose puck was picked up by BC’s Graham McPhee in the neutral zone for an initial two on one opportunity for the Eagles. The play morphed into a 3 on 2 chance as Patrick Giles came into the Harvard zone as the trailer, took a McPhee pass and wristed the puck past goalie Michael Lackey. The go-ahead goal was Giles first collegiate goal.
The Crimson’s NCAA leading power-play unit got it’s first crack when BC’s Oliver Wahlstram was whistled for Tripping at 6:36. Reilly Walsh mustered a shot on BC goalie Joseph Woll, but was easily saved. The Eagles power play had an opportunity at 12:08 when Jack Badini was called for Cross-Checking. BC’s David Cotton had a backhanded attempt turned aside by Lackey for the Eagles best scoring chance. Another Harvard power play at 18:11 yielded no return for the Crimson. The period ended with the Eagles up 1-0. The Crimson outshot the Eagles 8-5.
The middle frame had Harvard’s Baker Shore in the penalty box just: 10 in for Boarding. Two minutes later each team had a man sent off for Hitting After The Whistle. Jack Drury for the Crimson and JD Dudek for the Eagles. Harvard’s Henry Bowlby would be sent off twice for Hooking at 5:02 and again at 7:15. The Crimson successfully killed both to keep within a goal. Harvard’s Adam Fox hit the post with a shot as BC’s Chris Grando sat in the box for Holding.
Bowlby would atone for his 4 minutes of penalties when he battled for position in front of Woll and took a fed from defenseman John Marino as he wound his way around the BC net. The period would close in a 1-1 tie with the Crimson again outshooting BC 7-5.
The pace of the third period was quick as the two teams traded blows looking for the knockout punch. The Crimson had the first chance to pull ahead early in the third when Drury had a shot between the circles that Woll easily saved. BC’s Logan Hutsko set up McPhee with some nifty stick play but McPhee had a weak finish on Lackey. Harvard’s Fox sent Michael Floodstrand in on Woll with a stretch pass but he was unable to solve the Junior keeper. The Crimson continued to apply pressure but it was BC who had the best chance midway through the period when Dudek had a wraparound chance but a sprawled Lackey was able to get enough of the puck to deny a goal.
Shortly after that chance BC created another that ultimately put the Eagles in the 8:00 pm game next Monday. Nifty passing by Jesper Mattila and Wahlstrom set up a streaking Jack McBain who buried the puck past Lackey. Harvard would get one last crack at tying the game via a penalty on Julius Mattila at 18:03. Even with the two-man advantage, as Lackey was on the bench, the Crimson were unable to crack Woll. After outshooting BC 13-8 for the period, and 28-18 for the game, it was the Eagles that were celebrating as the clock struck 00:00.
Overall it was a hard fought game that could have gone either way. Woll played amazing, stopping 28 of 29 shots. BC’s freshmen goal scorers, Giles and McBain, added their names to a long legacy of Beanpot heroes.
Afterward Eagles coach Jerry York said, “I thought we had some really good performances by several of our players, particularly Joe Woll, who was a rock in the goal for us. He made incredible saves.” York was visibly excited when he mentioned Giles first career goal.
While discussing Harvard’s power, the legendary coach said, “the Eagles were fortunate to get through four penalty kills.”
As for Harvard’s Ted Donato, he said “It was a hard fought game, pretty much back and forth for the most part.” The coach added he was “frustrated by the amount of time we spent in the box. Basically, it made it difficult for us to get any kind of flow and game momentum to roll our lines.”
The Crimson will skate again on Friday when they host Union at 7:00 pm at the Bright Landry Center. They will play in the Beanpot Consolation game a week from today. The Eagles travel to Lowell to take on the River Hawks at Tsongas Arena at 7:00 pm.