BOSTON-—It’s easy to say that the No. 10 Harvard men’s hockey team is impressive this year, that it has felled a slew of formidable opponents, and that, all in all, this is a season of which the Crimson can be proud. Nevertheless, it remains impossible to say anything that will lessen the sting of last night’s double-overtime Beanpot defeat.
“It’s a heartbreaking loss,” admitted Harvard coach Ted Donato ’91 of the more-than 82 minute contest, one determined by a high-slot slapshot by Northeastern’s Tim Judy early into the second, 20-minute extra period.
Said Huskies coach Bruce Crowder, “It was almost one of those situations that you hate to see somebody lose.”
Especially if that somebody loses every year, which has been the case for each current member of the Crimson. In fact, Harvard has not made it past the first round of the Beanpot since 1998, when most of this year’s Crimson seniors were mere freshmen in high school.
“I don’t think it’s really hit me yet,” said captain Noah Welch, who has talked extensively of the tournament’s importance and his now-conquered desire to win one before he graduates.
“Four consolation games,” he said, “it’s not something I had planned when I came to Harvard. I planned to win four Beanpots.”
The February tournament has remained elusive despite any success the Crimson program has enjoyed in recent years, be it consistent or limited to postseason runs. But if ever there was a year for Harvard to buck its history, this would be it.
It is a new and impressive Crimson team that has plowed through its schedule thus far, offering a glimmer of opportunity to the program that has so long suffered Beanpot embarrassments.
“I’m disappointed for our guys,” said Donato, who won the tournament in 1989 as a player. “I have great feelings, especially for my senior class.”
Donato spoke of Welch, assistant captain Ryan Lannon and Rob Flynn, Massachusetts natives all three. He spoke of Dov Grumet-Morris, Harvard’s nation-leading goaltender, and of assistant captain Tom Cavanagh and Andrew Lederman and Brendan Bernakevitch.
The seven form a group that has played in the NCAA tournament in each of the last three years, and it has a strong chance to return for a fourth this time around.
But now, there is one prize for which the seniors will never play.
“I think when you’re a senior in college,” Donato said, “you start to see the end of your college career near, and I think there was a large part of me that really was hoping that these guys would be able to experience a Beanpot final.”
THE LINES, THEY ARE A CHANGIN’
Junior Dan Murphy, who had been sidelined with a shoulder injury since Harvard’s January exam break, returned to the ice after watching his team’s last four games in a suit and tie.
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