The second Monday of February donned with snow falling—but perhaps it shouldn’t be any other way. After all, it is February in Boston, and more importantly it is the second Monday and therefore the Beanpot Championship game. But first, there was the earlier consolation game.
This year’s 65th Beanpot saw the Boston College Eagles and the Northeastern Huskies battling it out in the earlier consolation game. This is a game that, sadly, isn’t well attended and yet the two teams play their hardest. After all, no one really wants to be the fourth place finisher of a four-team championship.
Most interested parties had the first game going to the Eagles, but hockey is a game of inches and seconds. Going into the third period the teams were tied at one each, when Matt Filipe of Northeastern got his team ahead at 6:47, with his second goal of the game. In hockey time though, there was still a lot of time remaining and sure enough the Eagles got the equalizer not quite seven minutes later. They would remain knotted until the clock ticked under the two-minute mark when it looked like the Eagles had taken the lead. However, a review of the play overturned the call on the ice, citing goaltender interference, and that was all the Huskies needed to take over the game. Having received the puck from Garrett Cockerill, Zach Aston-Reese made a well-timed, solid pass to Dylan Sikura who got the goal. The Eagles would pull their goalie on the next play, and he was out for just a second before the Huskies Adam Gaudette had the puck in the back of the net, making the final score 4-2.
To have a goal of this magnitude overturned is certainly a difficult experience for any team, and such was the case with the Eagles. However, if these players continue their hockey into the professional leagues, they will experience this kind of setback again, and perhaps their experience in this year’s consolation game will give them a resolve that other players may not have to shake it off and get back to their game.
It has been 24 years since the Boston College Eagles have lost in the consolation game—interestingly enough they lost to the Northeastern Huskies that time also, with a score of 4-3. And as everyone was assembled awaiting Eagles’ head coach Jerry York and then Huskies head coach Jim Madigan and two of his players—Sikura and Filipe—facts and stats were being handed out. Among those historical facts was that the last time BC lost in consolation, it was Harvard University who won the Beanpot Championship.
Would history repeat itself?
As the Harvard Crimson and the Boston University Terriers took to the ice, a ceremonial puck drop recognized the many years of service of TD Garden’s Steve Nazro—who is retiring. His involvement in bringing many events to the Garden predates the existence of the current TD Garden, but of all the events he helped book into the venue, the Beanpot was near and dear to his heart.
As the game got underway, it was evident that even if the Crimson players didn’t know about the historical fact, it was certainly their intention to raise that bean pot at the end of the game. The first period had Harvard shooting on goal 18 times compared to the minimal two of the Terriers. So it was probably no surprise that the score after the first was 1-0 in favor of Harvard. When the shot charts came around during that intermission it told an even bigger story of Crimson domination. Harvard had attempted 33 shots. The Terriers? They had attempted four.
However, as often happens in a hockey game, a power play goal in the first 90 seconds of the middle frame for the Terriers followed by an even strength goal about three minutes later had Boston University leading. The shots in the period were not quite as one-sided but the Crimson were clearly determined not to be intimidated and tied the game about half-way through the second. However, it may have been Nathan Krusko’s second of the game, with 1:06 remaining in the second period to give Harvard the lead that took all the momentum out of the Terriers.
Coming out in the third period the opening minutes were a shooting gallery on Terriers’ netminder Jake Oettinger who, by the final buzzer, would have saved 40 of 45 shots he saw—which included two separate minute-long 5-on-3 penalty kills. The Crimson would also stick a final dagger in when they got an empty net goal for a final score of 6-3, having outshot the Terriers 46-17.
As the horn sounded and the Crimson players knew they had won, sticks and gloves went everywhere as they piled on each other in a large heap of bodies. When asked after the game how heavy the Beanpot Trophy was, Harvard senior Alexander Kerfoot said it felt pretty light as he held it—undoubtedly because of the joy that was helping him hold it up.
The 2017 Beanpot Champions! pic.twitter.com/AW4ZA4rrNL
— Harvard Men's Hockey (@Harvard_Hockey) February 14, 2017
Indeed history has been repeated and while it is always difficult for the losing teams, it’s impossible not to smile at a team that has ended a 24-year drought, hoisting the Beanpot Trophy for only their 11th time.
Well done Crimson! You brought the heart, the drive, the energy and the belief amongst your entire team. Enjoy the win–until the first Monday in February, 2018 anyway.