But the play on the way to this 2-1 Bears (12-5-4, 10-3-1 ECAC) win in overtime was very different than the Crimson’s shutout early in the season. On this occasion, Harvard tested Brown’s excellent netminder Yann Danis early and often, peppering him with 38 shots, and taking an early first-period lead off a power-play goal from freshman Kevin Du.
The Bears rallied to tie the game in the second period on a power-play goal from Vince Macri, finally solving a Crimson penalty kill that succeeded in suffocating Brown’s top power play for most of the game.
And when the game went into overtime, it was all Bears. All 31 seconds of it. Brown got three shots in that half a minute of OT and Nick Ringstand grabbed the rebound off of one and found the net behind Harvard goalie Dov Grumet-Morris.
The opening game of the 52nd Annual Beanpot Tournament featured defending-champion Boston University (8-10-6, 4-9-2 Hockey East) skating against Northeastern (7-13-4, 2-10-3). In a fast-paced game that featured a number of odd-man rushes, the Terriers pulled out a 5-2 win. BU will face Boston College in the Beanpot championship next Monday.
The scoring began early, with the Huskies’ Eric Ortlip tallying a goal 1:11 into the first period. But before momentum could even begin to sink in, the Terriers’ Steve Greeley took a pass from defenseman Ryan Whitney and popped a shot past Northeastern goalie Keni Gibson. That goal provided an important momentum shift, according to BU coach Jack Parker.
“The fact that they had jumped out 1-0 and we came back and scored was huge,” he said.
The Terriers took the lead minutes later, when Brad Zancanaro, standing right in front of Gibson, deflected in a point shot from Mark Mullen. The Huskies answered before the end of the first to tie the score at 2.
But those early goals were not the key to the game; as BU pulled ahead of Northeastern with two unanswered goals, the play of Terrier netminder Sean Fields became the deciding factor in the game, according to both Parker and Huskies coach Bruce Crowder.
While Gibson was solid only for parts of the game, Fields was consistently solid throughout and was occasionally spectacular in the third period amidst sustained Northeastern pressure.
“Our goalie played great and he made a couple of huge saves in the third period,” Parker said.
“The goaltending was the big difference tonight,” Crowder agreed.
In an unusual move, Harvard coach Mark Mazzoleni yanked junior netminder Dov Grumet-Morris 3:20 into the second period. After two fluke goals—one the result of an inexplicable ricochet off the glass, the other knocked directly in by the shot of a teammate—and one soft rebound that led to the Eagles third goal, Mazzoleni elected to replace Grumet-Morris in net with sophomore John Daigneau.
It marked the first time Mazzoleni pulled Grumet-Morris since Feb. 15, 2002—a span of 54 starts.