Mars and Venus
After watching the Harvard men's hockey team fall 4-0 Monday night to Boston University in the men's Beanpot semi-finals, the Harvard women's hockey team restored some Crimson pride with a 7-0 trouncing of the Terriers' women's team.
In the other semi-finals, the story was similar. Only the names and faces changed.
On Monday night, the Boston College men's team coasted to a 6-0 victory over Northeastern.
But last night, in another reversal of roles, the Northeastern women extracted a little revenge of their own by downing the Eagles 7-0.
Four teams, four games, four shutouts, four different winners, and no surprises.
The No. 3 Terriers (17-6-6) were expected to easily advance past the Crimson to the men's finals. B.U. has won the Beanpot for five consecutive years, and has prevailed in its last twelve Beanpot matches.
On the other hand, Harvard has won only one of its last twelve Beanpot games.
"We expect nothing else than B.U. will play in the Beanpot finals," said Terrier sophomore winger Jack Baker. "We don't like to play in consolations. The last two senior classes have never lost in the Beanpot."
The other men's semi-final was no less predictable.
Everything went according to plan for No. 5 Boston College (18-7-1), who buried Northeastern with a hat trick courtesy of freshman forward Krys Kolanos.
On paper, the story of this year's men's and women's Beanpots appears inseparable.
Two dominating national title contenders faced off against substantially weaker opponents in both tournaments.
That analysis, however, would be far too simple.
Whereas the scores are similar in all four games, the final tallies hide the real story.
To their credit, both Harvard and Northeastern kept their respective games close when facing rosters laced with more talent than their own.
The Crimson men's team was down only 1-0 heading into the third, and the outcome could have been drastically different had what appeared to the tying goal by Harvard freshman center Dominic Moore not been called back.
In the early game, B.C. dominance on the scoreboard was equally deceptive.
Northeastern outshot the Eagles and was robbed of a win Monday night by the stellar goaltending of B.C. junior Scott Clemmensen.
"Northeastern got a lot of good opportunities," BU coach Jack Parker said. "If you don't look at the scoreboard, you'd at least think that Northeastern was in the game, maybe even winning it."
It wasn't a fluke either that Northeastern had more opportunities in the offensive zone.
The Huskies skated to a 4-4 tie against Hockey East division leader B.U. earlier in the season.
In the women's tournament, on the other hand, the scores were probably closer than they should have been.
Harvard and Northeastern weren't in the same league as their counterparts from B.C. and B.U.
The Terriers don't even have a varsity program. The women's team that took the ice against the Crimson last evening was B.U.'s club team.
There were times during the game where Harvard coach Katey Stone called off the troops, as the Crimson held the puck in the B.U. zone for minutes on end without taking a shot.
The reason for the disparity between the top and bottom of the men's and women's divisions in college hockey is the same reason why Stone was able to turn a sub .500 Harvard team into a National Champion in only one season.
Women's college hockey is dominated by a small group of talented players, while the men's game is decided primarily upon the depth of a team's roster.
With the addition of sophomore center Jennifer Botterill and sophomore defenseman Angela Ruggiero to the roster, and the return of junior winger Tammy Shewchuk and center A.J. Mleczko '99 after taking a season off to play at the Nagano Olympics, Stone essentially relied upon one line to carry the Crimson to the National Title.
No surprise to anyone, Stone's doing it again this year. Heading into last night's contest, Harvard's top line had scored 64 of the team's 82 goals this season.
Harvard coach Mark Mazzoleni's challenge is much stiffer. Men's college hockey is too competitive, and there is too much depth in the league to win with only a few players consistently scoring.
Both B.U. and B.C. won Monday night, not because of their stars, but because of their no-names.
Baker, B.U.'s hat trick hero, had five goals on the season and had never had a multi-goal game prior to obtaining Beanpot glory.
The same was true for Eagle freshman forward Krys Kolanos, who came into the Beanpot with-guess what?-five goals, before potting a hat trick of his own and outshining top B.C. prospect Jeff Farkas.
On the other side of the puck, there were no surprise stars for the Crimson Monday night.
The top Crimson line of Moore, freshman winger Brett Nowak, and junior winger Chris Bala might have been able to skate with B.U.'s top line, but the Terriers' depth bit the Crimson down the stretch.
The moral of the story for the Crimson faithful is simple.
Whereas Stone was able to spin straw into gold in just one season for the Harvard women's team, Mazzoleni's job has not been so easy.
It will take at least a couple of years of recruiting and more top recruits like Moore and Nowak to bring another NCAA banner to the Bright Hockey Center.
Until then, enjoy it while it lasts as the women continue to dominate the national hockey stage, and wait patiently for the men's team to rekindle past glory.