NOTEBOOK: Men's Hockey Finishes Off Close Contest
BOSTON, Mass.—For a team that has made a habit of keeping games close, the Beanpot consolation game between Harvard and Northeastern was not as close as the final score line, 3-2, made it seem.
The main event would come later in the evening, with No. 2 Boston University taking on No. 3 Boston College in the championship. But the matchup between the Crimson (8-7-10, 6-4-8 ECAC) and the Huskies (11-14-3, 7-12-2 Hockey East) provided the spattering of fans that showed up early to TD Banknorth Garden with some excitement.
Harvard is currently tied for the NCAA-record with 10 ties, and, despite dominating Northeastern on both ends of the ice, nearly faced the prospect of heading to its 12th overtime of the season.
GLIMPSE OF THINGS TO COME?
Junior forward Alex Fallstrom scored a pretty second period goal off a pass from freshman Tommy O’Regan who was filling in for injured junior starter Marshall Everson. The goal was the first for Fallstrom in six Beanpot appearances and his first at the home of the Boston Bruins. Fallstrom’s rights were acquired by the Bruins in 2009 after being drafted in the fourth round by the Minnesota Wild.
“It was kind of a broken play in our zone,” Fallstrom said. “I came cutting across the middle and O’Regan hit me with a nice stretch pass. I came across the ice and fired it past the goalie. It definitely felt good to get a goal in the Garden.”
Fallstrom is one of eight players on the Crimson roster belonging to an NHL team, and the goal he fired past Huskies’ goalie Clay Witt was his 10th on the season.
The first score of the game came shortly after a penalty kill, with senior Alex Killorn returning to the ice—after a cross-checking penalty—for a goal. Killorn, the team’s leading scorer, took a pass from O’Regan before deking out Witt and faking a pass to Fallstrom. As the defense shifted to stop Fallstrom, Killorn gently tapped the puck over the line to open up the scoring.
Harvard stayed on the offensive the whole game, attempting to capture the momentum from the get-go.
“Offense feeds energy, [and] guys enjoy scoring goals,” Crimson coach Ted Donato ’91 said. “That lightens up the mood and brings a lot of energy to the game. We really wanted to establish our ability to get pucks on the net. We got almost 40 shots off, hit three posts. [We were just] trying to attack all night.”
The third and final goal for Harvard came when junior Luke Greiner took a pass on the break-away from senior Colin Moore to break a short-handed scoreless streak that reaches back to last year’s Beanpot. Last year’s victory in the consolation game sparked a Crimson run that took it to the quarterfinals of the ECAC tournament. A similar run would be much appreciated after an up-and-down season.
“I think last year [the Beanpot] emotionally gave us a lift,” Donato said. “I think this year, coming down the stretch, we’ll go in with a positive feeling coming out of this game.”
Freshman goalie Steve Michalek played another solid game between the pipes, and was two fluke goals away from his first clean sheet of the season.
Both of Northeastern’s goals came on plays in which the Glastonbury, Conn. native stopped the puck, only to have it slip out of his grasp and over the line.