Trouble in TD Garden

By

Harvard loses to BU in first game of Beanpot.

By JASPER FU

The 2018 Beanpot Hockey Tournament, hosted at Boston’s TD Garden came hot on the heels of the Super Bowl LII, barely twenty-four hours after a Patriot defeat that left most of New England reeling. Harvard sports fans flocked to the 66th Boston Beanpot in desperate hope for redemption, not only for the Super Bowl defeat but in the hopes that a flagging though still formidable hockey team might upset the favored Boston University Terriers.

Though Harvard took the Beanpot trophy in 2017, victorious in the Boston-based hockey tournament for the first time in over two decades thanks to a 6-3 win against BU, the rematch looked grim for the Crimson. The Harvard team has lost eight powerful seniors from the roster that took us to the Frozen Four, and even a victory in the Beanpot semifinals would have brought Harvard to the finals without a star player – Ryan Donato ‘19 – who as a member of Team USA is travelling South Korea in the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.

Goals were traded throughout the opening periods, with neither team able to  muster a commanding position. Boston’s early lead in the first period was reclaimed by Harvard’s Ty Pelton-Byce ’20 as the second was ending, assisted by Donato. The third period began in a furious blitz as both teams scored almost in the same breath. The raucous cheers of the BU fans as Boston University Brandon Hickey scored 32 seconds after the player hit the ice in the third quarter were quickly smothered and returned twice as loudly, as Harvard Jack Badini ’21 sent the puck into the the BU net just 90 seconds later.

The fourth period showed little action, as Harvard lined up shots shot down by BU goalie Jake Oettinger. This was a definite trend throughout the match — though Harvard, for most of the game, took aggressive play after aggressive play, racking up more than twice the cumulative attempted shots of the often-defensive Terriers by the end of the second period, the Crimson never had a goal advantage. The last period of regular play ended with no goals scored on either side.

With the scores tied 2-2 going into the first overtime, Harvard was playing conservatively. Sudden death was on the line, and it showed — neither team wanted to have their chances at the Beanpot Championships on February 12th snuffed so ignominiously, and Harvard as the defending champions especially had its pride strung out on the line. The winner would be facing Northeastern University, itself a team that hadn’t won the Beanpot since 1988, but who had defeated Boston College in a 3-0 sweep only hours before.

Neither team scored in the first overtime, and midnight approached the audience began to get antsy. Most fans wearing BC and Northeastern gear had already left, but even Harvard and Boston University fans were tempted to catch the last T rides home. The double overtime that the TD Garden found itself hosting was only the fourth such extension in the Beanpot’s history — the better part of a century since its inception in the 1952-1953 ice hockey season—  and few fans of either team expected such a hard-fought game.

Ultimately, it would be BU’s freshman forward Ty Amonte — without any assists — who scored the final and deciding goal of the game, just two minutes into the second OT period. It was a close game, and a grueling one, and though Harvard fans had hoped for victory it is the Boston University Terriers that will advance to the championships, to face Northeastern’s as-of-yet untouched Huskies, while the Crimson will be taking to the ice against Boston College Eagles.

 

Jasper Fu ‘21 ([email protected]) is rooting for the Crimson!