BOSTON--Boston Garden has never been kind to the Harvard mens' hockey team. But, thankfully for the Crimson, the Causeway Street institution has been downright mean to Boston College.
The Crimson defeated the Eagles of Boston College in front of a sold-out Garden crowd, 6-4, last night.
After climbing to a seemingly comfortable 5-2 lead midway through the final period, Harvard let an inspired B.C. team--seeking to win one last Baanpot for retiring Coach Len Ceglarski--back into the game.
The Eagles consistently intercepted Harvard passes and kept heavy pressure on the Crimson net. B.C. netted two goals in five minutes to cut Harvard's lead to one with a little more than five minutes left.
But a last minute Tim Burke empty-net goal and fierce defensive play by the Crimson nailed the coffin shut and assured Harvard's first victory in the Beanpot in two years.
"We kind of started to go into a shell," Burke said. "They got off some quality shots, and we didn't play tight in our own end."
"We slacked off a little defensively. We got a little sure of ourselves," freshman Steve Martins said.
Of course, all of that means very little because the Crimson came away from the Garden with a victory featuring impressive offensive play and firm defense in the clutch.
Harvard controlled the pace of the game and the puck for most of the night, outshooting B.C. by more than a 2-1 margin.
The Crimson's record is now 11-3-3.
Last night's win by Harvard and Boston University will set up a championship game between the two schools to be held next Monday night--a repeat of the 1990 beanpot final matchup in which B.U. manhandled Harvard, 8-2.
Both teams came out a bit flat at the beginning of the contest.
The Crimson and the Eagles combined for a scanty six shots in the first ten minutes of scoreless, penalty-free play.
With 15:50 gone, the Crimson finally broke through, courtesy of Ben Coughlin. His blast from in front of the blue line during the game's first power play gave Harvard the lead.
While the Concord, Mass., native's tally proved to be the only score in the opening period, B.C. goalie Scott LaGrand was forced to fend off a flurry of Crimson shots near the end of the first 20 minutes. Harvard ended up outshooting the Eagles, 12-4.