Men's Hockey Wins a Smaller Pot of Beans

Harvard Downs Northeastern for first Beanpot win in three years

BOSTON—When you’re playing in the matinee on the second Monday of February, already that says something. The Harvard men’s hockey team, though, managed to make a positive out of the Beanpot consolation game last night by defeating Northeastern 4-1.

Harvard (15-7-1) controlled the game early, and built a 3-0 lead midway through the second period before handling a strong Huskies (9-17-2) push in the final frame to seal the victory in front of sparse consolation crowd.  Still, the Crimson wasn’t downplaying the importance of last night’s win.

“It’s a consolation game, but down the stretch every game is important for us,” Crimson captain Dominic Moore said.

The win, in addition to helping Harvard in the standings, ended a number of ignominious streaks for Harvard hockey. The win over Northeastern was the Crimson’s first win in 15 games versus a Hockey East opponent.  It also represented Harvard’s first Beanpot win since 2000.

“I’m very pleased with the victory tonight,” Harvard coach Mark Mazzoleni said.  “I thought our kids played inspired.  I thought our guys came out and battled, and they won the majority of the one-on-one battles.”

Although Harvard didn’t look as sharp against Northeastern as it did a

week ago against BU, the Crimson did put pressure on senior Huskies goalie Mike Gilhooly early.  The Crimson’s first goal came five minutes into the first, when the team sustained pressure in the Northeastern end.

Junior defenseman Kenny Smith fired a shot from the blue line which Gilhooly stopped. The rebound squirted loose and junior forward Rob Fried poked it back towards the net.  Gilhooly stopped this shot as well, but couldn’t find the puck—which was beside him in the crease—until Moore swept in and tapped it home. The goal was Moore’s first in Beanpot play—or first official goal since he had one called back in 2000 after the referee consulted a video replay.

The second period was more of the same, although a little more balanced than the first.  Sophomore Tom Cavanagh scored his eighth goal of the year at 9:35 of the period, the beneficiary of a Tim Pettit slap shot that Gilhooly stopped but could not control.  The puck came off Gilhooly’s pads hard and straight up the center of the ice.  Cavanagh, outskating the Huskey defenders, scooped up the puck and, in one motion, roofed it, leaving Gilhooly with no chance for a save.

The Huskies broke through freshman goaltender John Daigneau with 36 seconds left in the middle period.  Daigneau made a save, one of his 29 on the night, but lost the puck underneath himself and accidentally kicked it in with his skate as he attempted to regain his footing in the crease.  

The goal was credited to junior Trevor Reschny, and it was the only dimple in an otherwise superb effort by the freshman, an effort that left Mazzoleni buzzing post-game.

“This was [Daigneau’s] fourth game tonight, and he’s solid,” Mazzoleni

said.  “I turned to [Assistant coach Nate Leaman in the third period and said: ‘We really have another goaltender.’”

Northeastern struggled to generate offense all game, leading directly to two Harvard goals.

“Our inability to produce goals puts us back on our heels,” Northeastern coach Bruce Crowder said.  “The more you press, the more it leaves room for the other team to capitalize.”

And capitalize Harvard did, with two unassisted break-away goals.  The first came of the stick of Moore in a penalty killing situation.  Putting on a burst of speed, Moore skated through center ice and began a two-on-one break with junior Tyler Kolarik.  Moore held the puck, faked and then spun, losing Northeastern defenseman Tim Judy, and glided past the net, freezing Gilhooly before ultimately wristing it past him.

While Moore’s break away goal may have gotten style points, Cavangh’s second tally of the game was the rare example of a one-on-none break.

“I had a break from my own blue line, so I just put my head down and tried to separate myself from all the other players,” Cavanagh said.

And Cavanagh did separate himself. Gilhooly had no back up and no answer for Cavanagh’s wrister, just as Northeastern had no answer for Harvard.

Ultimately, Mazzoleni was pleased with his team’s performance.

“Where we are now from where we were three years ago—we’re light years ahead,” Mazzoleni said.  “We’re taking steps that we need to.  Are we finished yet?  No.  But I do think we are getting there.”