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Preview: Harvard Men's Ice Hockey to Face Boston University in 69th Beanpot Opener

Senior forward Jack Donato controls the puck in a 3-2 victory over Cornell on Nov. 5. On Monday, Donato and his father, head coach Ted Donato, will face Boston University in the opener of the 69th Beanpot Tournament.
Senior forward Jack Donato controls the puck in a 3-2 victory over Cornell on Nov. 5. On Monday, Donato and his father, head coach Ted Donato, will face Boston University in the opener of the 69th Beanpot Tournament. By Owen A. Berger
By Bridget T. Sands, Crimson Staff Writer

Next Monday, the 7th, is the first Monday in the month of February. In the city of Boston, that means it's time for the Beanpot. The annual tournament brings the best out of Harvard, Northeastern, Boston College, and Boston University and crowns the best collegiate hockey team in the Boston area.

The 69th rendition of the event begins this Monday, with the Harvard Crimson taking on the Boston University Terriers at TD Garden at 5 p.m.

“I think in light of all of the difficulties last year to even have a chance to play in the Beanpot is something we’re grateful for,” Harvard head coach Ted Donato remarked. “It's a great opportunity to play against a team that's very talented and we have a lot of confidence in ourselves and worry about our game. And it should be a heck of a game.”

Headed into Monday, Harvard holds a 12-7-2 record and is on a four-game win streak. It has yet to face Boston University this year. The Terriers are 14-10-3, and have won eight of their last nine.

The Crimson will have its depth tested, facing No. 19 BU with two of its top point scorers, junior captain and forward Nick Abruzzese and sophomore forward Sean Farrell, away representing Team USA in Beijing.

The newly promoted first line of sophomore forward and Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) player of the month Alex Laferriere, junior forward John Farinacci, and first-year forward Alex Gaffney will look to step up and attack BU’s goalie Vinny Duplessis. Duplessis has been starting since Drew Commesso left to join Abruzzese and Farrell on Team USA’s roster.

In net for Harvard will likely be junior goalkeeper Mitchell Gibson, who has started 17 of the Crimson’s 21 games this season, posting a .911 save percentage. He, along with junior defenseman Henry Thrun, have led the Crimson’s defense to an NCAA 14th-highest penalty kill percentage this season, 85.7%.

The current senior class looks to savor their last Beanpot, after losing one to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“It should be pretty emotional,” senior forward Jack Donato claimed. “Our class has never been to a final so we’re going to have that on our minds but [we] just [need] to play the game the right way…we’re going to go in there and give it our best shot.”

If Harvard defeats BU on Monday, it will play the winner of the BC-Northeastern game (Monday, 8 p.m.) the following Monday to play for the Boston hockey crown, 7:30 p.m. at TD Garden. If it succumbs, it’ll face the loser of BC-Northeastern, for third place, 4:30 p.m. at TD.

-Staff writer Bridget T. Sands can be reached at bridget.sands@thecrimson.com.

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