In 1993, the Boston College Eagles lost in the consolation game of the Beanpot and the Harvard Crimson won their 10th championship. Since then, BC has avoided last place and Harvard has been stuck on 10. On Monday, the Eagles lost to the Northeastern Huskies in the consolation game and Harvard had a chance to win their 11th Beanpot Title. All they needed to do was defeat the Boston University Terriers. That’s no small task but Harvard was up for it, winning in convincing fashion over the talented Terriers, 6-3.
The Crimson opened up the first period strong, peppering BU’s freshman goaltender, Jake Oettinger, with 18 shots. With a combination of good blue line forchecking and poor offensive play by BU, Harvard limited their foes to only two shots on Merrick Madsen. It took a while, but after getting a 5 on 3, freshman Nathan Krusko buried a shot to put the Crimson up 1-0 and give his team all the momentum going into the first intermission.
BU came out firing to open the second period. Kieffer Bellows netted a power-play goal only 1:29 into the frame to tie the game at one apiece. Three minutes later, Clayton Keller continued his impressive Freshman season with a goal to put BU ahead 2-1. That lead did not hold long. Harvard remained aggressive for the whole game and found plenty of chances to shoot, again outshooting the Terriers 12-8.
Near the halfway mark of the period, Luke Esposito tipped in a goal to tie the game at two. Harvard kept up the pressure, looking to ensure the momentum going into the intermission. They did exactly that when Nathan Krusko netted his second goal of the game and Harvard drew a Dante Fabbro hooking penalty with only 1:06 left. Charlie McAvoy committed a tripping penalty mere seconds later to complete the Terrier’s nightmare end to the 2nd.
With a second five-on-three opportunity, senior Alexander Kerfoot scored to put Harvard up 4-2 only 31 seconds into the 3rd. BU had the offensive potential to even the score, but they never got the chance. Harvard came into the game focused on winning a championship and everyone asked about the game said that the Crimson played with championship desire.
Ryan Donato extended Harvard’s lead with a goal at the 12:47 mark, and Harvard led by three. Keller scored to cut into the Crimson lead and give BU hope only 33 seconds after, but BU could not get it closer. In the final minutes, BU pulled Oettinger to get an extra skater. There were several close calls that almost went in, but BU couldn’t score again. Adam Fox slung the puck the length of the ice for an empty-net goal to cap the 6-3 Harvard victory.
For the second consecutive year, a Terrier from the losing side won the Emberly award for best goaltender. BU’s Oettinger won it, making 40 saves tonight. Quinn did not like the performance of his team.
When asked about the game, Terrier coach David Quinn said “We got out shot and out skated. The only thing we didn’t get was out goaltended.” “This is a game of desire. You can’t increase your desire when you have the puck over when you don’t. They simply wanted it more than we did tonight.”
BU will try to recover for the last two weekends of the regular season. They start with a home and home weekend set against the New Hampshire Wildcats. Puck drops at Agganis Arena on the 17th at 6 PM.
After their first Beanpot title in 24 years, Harvard coach Ted Donato praised the focus of his team.
“This is a special group of guy,” Donato said. “We played hard all game, and we wanted to end our drought. I’m so proud of our senior class especially, the way they’ve represented our program for four years.”
Esposito and Kerfoot echoed their coach’s sentiment. With two goals and one assist in the championship game, the freshman Krusko was named the Beanpot MVP. He isn’t a Massachusetts local, so he couldn’t speak to his personal drive for the Beanpot, but he wanted it for his teammates. “It’s not hard to get up for a big game when you have friends who want the trophy as badly as they want it.”
Harvard will continue their marvelous season with a two-game road trip to play two Ivy League rivals. They travel to New Haven to play the Yale Bulldogs at the Yale Whale on Friday, then they go to Providence to face the Brown Bears at Meehan Auditorium. Puck drops for both games at 7 PM.