It was the game when the Harvard hockey team finally threw off its bandaids and, along with them, all the apologies for its sorry play of late. It was the surprise return of ailing Jackie Hughes to the lineup. It was John Hyne's floping and stopping. It was a lot of things, but mostly, it was vintage Beanpot with the Crimson icemen as wine stewards.
Gene Purdy's spectacular goal 53 seconds into overtime gave Harvard a 4-3 win over Northeastern in the first round of the Beanpot tournament, a victory flavored with excitement and overflowing with revenge.
Purdy's tally came when George Hughes led both Purdy and Jim Trainor into the Northeastern zone on a two-on-two break. Gene took it all the way in; past the blue line, around the net from the right side, and then slam-dunked a tuck shot underneath the stacked pads of Husky netminder Ed Arrington.
The Crimson took the lead for the first time in the contest at 13:34 of the second period, despite outplaying the Huskies for the first half of the game. Captain Bryan Cook, who seems to save his best play for the Beanpot, notched his second goal of the night to give Harvard a 3-2 lead.
With Dave Archambault out for hooking, the Harvard power play, stagnant at best since the B.U. game (Cook's last), gave a 33 second man-up clinic to Northeastern with successful results.
After a quick game of catch between pointmen John Cochrane and Jack Hughes, Cochrane shoved the puck down the right board for George Hughes, who fed it into Barney for a stuff shot at the right post.
Once in the lead Harvard took a brief siesta from aggressive play, which amounted to the next 19 minutes, and had it not been for the heroics of John Hyne in the Crimson cage, overtime would never have come.
Hynes started his gymnastics between the pipes with a little less than three minutes left in the middle period. After turning aside three shots on a Northeastern power play, Hynes came up with his biggest save of the year, a kick job on a drive from in back of the face-off circle by Husky captain Mike Holmes.
Six more circus spots and a post shot by Homes later, it was the third period.
Both teams spent the last period killing off each others' penalties with Northeastern looking for a break and Harvard looking to deny.
The Huskies finally converted a chance and tied the game with less than five and a half minutes to play. Mark Derby fed a pass down the right side to Holmes, whose wrist shot was artfully tipped by Wayne Turner into the upper left corner to make it 3-3 and set up the extra frame.
The Harvard defense, the squad's Achilles heel for the past month, stood tall for the first half of the clash, led primarily by the rejuvenated Hynes (unquestionably his best game since the Brown overtime) and the prodigal Hughes, and waited for the offense to get on track.
Northeastern drew first blood at 5:45 of the first when the Huskies' strong forechecking paid off in a score by Doug Harvey on a wrister from the slot. Omens aside, the goal came on Jackie's first shift in five weeks.
The icemen tied it up for the first time at 13:25 with Cook's first, a shot tipped by Arrington on a backhand flip by Jon Garrity. Defenseman Franco Scalamandre also chalked up an assist on the score, which finally came after consistent pressure by the Cook-Garrity-Bobby Kelley line.
Deadlocked going into the second period, N.U.'s Larry Parks, who splurged for four goals in the 14-5 Northeastern triumph at Watson 16 days ago, ripped home a go-ahead goal at 2:06, the result of a rare bad clear by the Crimson defense.
The icemen then leashed the Huskies for the nest 15 minutes, applying whatever pressure there was, and tying the game on freshman Rick Benson's eighth goal of the year at 6:27.
Cochrane centered Benson from the left corner and the local boy made good with a blazer from just outside the slot that found home in the upper right corner.
So now once again it's Harvard and B.U. in the finals, and while they say nothing is as sweet as revenge, "they" probably never had the chance to beat an undefeated hockey team.
THE NOTEBOOK: Harvard will be temporarily distracted from thoughts of the upcoming Beanpot finals when they face red-hot Cornell in Ithaca tomorrow night.
On a sad note, defenseman Bobby Fowkes has definitely been lost for the rest of the season due to academic difficulties.
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