Looking somewhat rusty after an 18-day layoff for exams, Harvard's hockey team bored a few thousand die-hard fans who showed up for the first game of the Beanpot, but woke up at the end of the second and the beginning of the third period to turn an embarrassing 4-3 game into a respectable 8-3 rout over Northeastern.
The Crimson jumped to a quick 1-0 lead at 3:13 of the first on defenseman Kevin Hampe's screened wrist shot, but the Huskies came back to tie it up at 8:25, exploiting poor Harvard coverage.
Harvard recovered with back-to-back goals six minutes later, as Billy Corkery drilled home a deflected shot by defenseman Andy Burnes and third-liner Leif Rosenberger converted Bobby Havern's pass off a draw.
Northeastern cut the Crimson's lead to 3-2 after only nine seconds of the second period, breaking through the Harvard defense right after the opening face-off. It took less than two minutes for Harvard to restore its two goal lead, however, as the Local Line picked up its second of four goals for the evening.
Bob McManama received the credit for the goal, but Corkery did the work, cutting in front of the Huskie defense on a power play and lofting a screen backhander that nicked McManama's stick before it sank in the Northeastern net.
The Huskies took advantage of an overly long shift for Tommy Paul's line to stay alive with their third goal at 9:39, beating Harvard net-minder Joe Bertagna as the tired Crimson skaters looked on. Paul's line rested up for three minutes, however, and came back to begin the rout on a nice play at 12:51.
Paul collected the goal, his sixth of the season, taking a pass from Bob Goodenow at the corner of the crease and flipping a backhander over Eberly. Dave Hynes made it 6-3 at 15:38 with a five-footer, and Northeastern forgot about its distant upset hopes.
The first half of the third period was completely dominated by Harvard, as the Huskies began to pick up their customary late-game penalties. McManama finished off a power-play passing exhibition at 8:00, with assists going to Hynes and Corkery, and Harry Reynolds ended the scoring at 10:16, sliding a shot under Eberly after taking a pass from Rosenberger on a two-on-one.
Harvard took 42 shots on Eberly, 12 by Hynes alone, and Northeastern managed to get off 30 at Bertagna. Harvard's defense could have been better against the 2-13 Huskies, but the Crimson was missing Doug Elliot.
Elliott's absence may be a bad omen for the Crimson as it enters a stretch of six games in two weeks. Elliott has the flu, and an epidemic would be disastrous in the next two weeks, when Harvard faces the second and third place ECAC teams, B.U. and Cornell.
Cornell seems to be fading, with two losses in the last week (to Clarkson and Dartmouth), but B.U., which Harvard meets in the Beanpot finals, is flying again.