M. Hockey Notebook: Effort There, Breaks Not For M. Hockey

The Harvard Crimson and its fans certainly won’t remember the 50th anniversary of the Beanpot Tournament very fondly after yesterday’s 5-3 loss to Northeastern in Harvard’s matinee semifinal. Despite the Crimson’s defeat, there were a few notable moments to highlight from one of the best college hockey nights of the year.

They’ll Get You Every Time

Northeastern captain Jim Fahey, a Milton product, is one of the leaders in fan voting for the Hobey Baker award, given annually to college hockey’s player of the year. As of Feb. 2, Fahey trailed only the University of New Hampshire’s Darren Haydar for the prestigious award. Fahey entered the game with 33 points on 12 goals and 21 assists, which is tops among all the nation’s defensemen.

The Crimson did a fine job against Fahey defensively, as the nation’s most offensive-minded blue-liner did not have a shot on goal until the third period. Despite Fahey’s lack of offensive production, his steady presence around the Husky goal and as the linchpin in Northeastern’s neutral zone trap helped to stymie Harvard’s early offensive threats.

Harvard last played Northeastern in the Beanpot consolation game last year, a wild back-and-forth affair characterized by sloppy defense that Harvard lost, 8-7. Coming off a weekend trip in which it allowed 11 goals in two games, Harvard was looking for a strong defensive effort in last night’s game. However, the Crimson was hurt by a soft second goal off the stick of Ryan Dudgeon and burned three times on special teams, a Northeastern strength.

The Huskies rank 12th nationally on the power play with an impressive 22 percent conversion rate and 12th also in penalty killing efficiency at 85.2 percent. Harvard played right into the Huskies’ hands on that account, logging 10 minutes in the sin bin, which directly led to three Northeastern goals.

“They were opportunistic,” said Harvard Coach Mark Mazzoleni. “They buried their chances.”

The Huskies, on the other hand, committed more penalties than the Crimson, spending 12 minutes in the box. However, their infractions had little impact on the scoreboard, as Harvard failed to capitalize on all but one of its power play chances. The lone exception came courtesy of Kenny Turano late in the third period, with the outcome of the game already sealed.

Reshuffling The Deck

After a disappointing pair of losses against Cornell and Colgate, Mazzoleni shuffled his lines in an attempt to generate more offense against Northeastern. Mazzoleni moved sophomore winger Tyler Kolarik up to the first line to complement Dennis Packard and Brett Nowak. Sophomore Kenny Turano was also bumped up to work the second line with Dominic Moore and Tim Pettit. Freshman goaltender Dov Grumet-Morris drew the start in net after both goaltenders had a tough weekend between the pipes.

Despite the loss, Mazzoleni found his team’s effort much improved from its disappointing upstate New York weekend.

“I can’t question our kids’ effort,” Mazzoleni said. “We got beat by a good hockey team.”

With all of the Beanpot history floating around the Fleet Center, one unpleasant piece of reminiscence for Harvard is its recent record against its Beanpot rivals. The Crimson currently has a Beanpot losing streak against all three of its Green Line counterparts—Boston University (4), Boston College (2), and Northeastern (2).

Another interesting tidbit that failed to come to fruition was Harvard’s past success in milestone anniversary Beanpot games. Harvard won the first Beanpot, 7-4, over Boston University in 1952. On the tournament’s silver anniversary, Harvard against bested the Terriers, this time by a 4-3 count. For the game’s golden anniversary, Harvard must content itself with hopes of a consolation win.

Northeastern junior wing Mike Ryan tallied a hat trick against Harvard, with his first and third goals coming on the power play. Ryan’s hat trick marks the second straight game that a Crimson opponent has notched three goals, the other being Colgate’s Kyle Doyle on Saturday night. By game’s end, Ryan had twenty goals on the season.

On a disheartening note, the Crimson faithful at the game were few and far between. The band attended in force but appeared to outnumber the rest of Harvard’s fans, and the only Crimson jerseys visible adorned the shoulders of band members. In stark contrast to the Harvard no-shows, Northeastern fans were out in force, with almost the entire 309 section wearing Husky black. With the Huskies in firm control, the Northeastern faithful directed a mock “Safety School” chant in Harvard’s direction, with very little response.