A Slighty Better Bean

BOSTON—Know that sound you make when you first wake up?

It’s not a yawn so much as a grumble. It’s actually more of a ‘Grrrrmph’—the thing that comes before you thump the snooze bar into oblivion at 8:30 a.m. and decide that the Science Center is too far away for Chem lecture today.

Every February, a few hundred folks leave work early to meet at the FleetCenter around 5 p.m. to make that noise together.

It’s called the Beanpot consolation game.

Harvard fans reluctantly took part in that ritual for the fifth consecutive season Monday night. But—unlike the last two years—they left with pride, thanks to the Crimson’s 4-1 win over Northeastern last night before a sparse gathering on Causeway Street.

So even after last week’s heartbreaking semifinal loss to Boston University, Harvard took something positive away its annual trip to the Fleet—namely a victory, which snapped the Crimson’s five-game ‘Pot losing skid and improved its record to 15-7-1 overall.

This was just what Harvard needed.

Captain Dominic Moore was dazzling and scored two goals. Playmaker Tom Cavanagh did his thing—you know, made some plays—and finished with two goals of his own, including a pretty one on a breakaway that began all the way at the Northeastern blue line.

Freshman goaltender John Daigneau got the start and improved to 3-1 on the season, and senior goalie Ben Weiss —a Chestnut Hill native—made his first collegiate appearance late in the third period in front of his parents.

It was a feel-good win, even though there were only a few hundred fans in the stands at the start of the game.

But for Harvard, the attendance hardly mattered. The win, meanwhile, was huge.

“Every game is important now,” Moore said.

Here’s why.

Entering the game, Harvard had gone exactly 0-13-1 in its last 14 games against Hockey East teams, dating back to a 4-3 win at Boston University in November 2000. Back then, we were still talking about dimpled chads.

So, in front of what Harvard coach Mark Mazzoleni called “some of the most knowledgeable people in hockey,” the Crimson took it upon itself to earn some respect. It needed this bit of redemption—however insignificant in the all-important Pairwise Rankings—for last Monday’s near miss with BU and its other non-conference transgressions this season.

Sure, the opponent wasn’t BC or BU or Maine, but the Huskies still had those blue “Hockey East” patches on the right side of their sweaters, which had squelched so many Harvard efforts during the past several seasons seemingly by themselves.