Harvard in 65th Beanpot.
By CAROLINE CRONIN
The 65th playing of the Beanpot Hockey Tournament features the pitting of four Boston school teams against each other in a competition that is characteristic of New England sports. As Harvard, Northeastern, Boston University and Boston College all made their way to TD Garden on the first Monday of February, both loyal school fans and hockey purists alike joined them. The T was packed with students sporting both their respective team’s gear and the unmistakable mark of the Patriots – distinguishing the true Boston natives from the rest. But both had come to watch the matchups of Harvard v. Northeastern and BU v. BC in the Men’s Beanpot Semifinals.
Upon arrival at the Garden for the Harvard game at 5pm, one might pause at the dominating color combo of yellow and black over anything crimson. Indeed, the large majority of seats were left empty to remind everyone that we were visitors in the home of the Bruins. While such an athletic legacy is inspiring to some, the slow fulfillment of those same seats as time came closer to the BU v. BC game was disheartening for the number of Harvard students in attendance. And yet, those who did come out to witness the defeat of Northeastern made sure to cheer with the band, fly the flag, and jeer unfavorable calls.
The first of the three periods on the ice provided little excitement for the fans. No goals were made by either team though plays moved quickly back and forth. It seemed the Harvard team offense simply needed a little warming up though goaltender Merrick Madsen skillfully stopped six shots on goal. For much of the second period, Harvard kept Northeastern on the defensive and Alexander Kerfoot scored a celebrated goal at 13:50. However, that celebration was cut short when, five minutes later, Northeastern’s Adam Gaudette reciprocated in the culmination of a power play and the period ended 1-1.
The No. 4/5 ranked Harvard team came in strong to the third period as the band played “Ten Thousand Men of Harvard” and students sang along with the familiar verse (not the Latin one, for the most part). The second Harvard goal was decisively scored by Clay Anderson after a few minutes of attempts on the Northeastern net. A broken stick on the ice displayed Harvard’s good use of body defense while the puck was kept in play. The third goal by Tyler Moy drew fans to their feet as a rough pile on at the net resulted in a lengthy referee discussion behind the glass. It was at this point that Harvard supporter Emelia Vigil ’18 fully subscribed to the excitement of hockey. Vigil admits that though hockey has not been one of the main sports she watched in the past, she was “excited to see the first Harvard game,” and “loved the speed and strategies of the athletes.” She cheered particularly loudly when the refs awarded the third Harvard goal and called the play good.
The Crimson, now confident in their 3-1 lead made a quick turnaround to boost the differential with Luke Esposito scoring the fourth goal. At 4-1 more than halfway through the final period, Harvard’s victory seemed certain. But Northeastern was able to shake that confidence with 2 more goals as another stick broke in the action, penalties were called, and players ended up sliding into the net. Still, Madsen saved four shots in the last minute of the game as the Huskies played a man up on the ice and an empty net to make that final push. And thus, Harvard made it to the finals for the first time since 2008 with a competitive and determined team.
The triumphant Crimson will play again next Monday against the winner of the BU v. BC game: the BU Terriers.
Caroline Cronin (firstname.lastname@example.org) wishes the Harvard team luck in next Monday’s matchup!