Harvard, Northeastern headed to Beanpot title game
The Crimson (16-6-1) will look to secure their 12th Beanpot title and first since 2017 and will battle Northeastern in the title game next Monday night (7:30) at the Garden.
(TNS) — Harvard freshman Marek Hejduk was literally a last-second overtime option who averted a Beanpot disaster.
The right wing received a perfect saucer pass from Alex Laferriere and scored with 1.5 seconds to play in overtime. Hejduk’s second tally of the game lifted Harvard to 4-3 victory over Boston College in Monday night’s opening match of the 70th Dunkin Beanpot Tournament at the TD Garden. Harvard is 6-1-1 in overtime games this season.
The Crimson (16-6-1) will look to secure their 12th Beanpot title and first since 2017 and will battle Northeastern in the title game next Monday night (7:30) at the Garden. Harvard and NU will meet in the championship game for the first time in Beanpot history.
“I have to check but I do think that was the first (overtime) shift that Marek was out all year in overtime,” said Harvard coach Ted Donato. “We had some guys tired, some guys banged up and I thought he was going and deserved the opportunity and good for him. He made a tremendous shot there. “
The Crimson were bottled up in their own and being mercilessly pelted by the Eagles late in the third period while tenuously protecting a fragile two-goal lead.
BC cut the lead to 3-2 at 15:45 of the third on a great individual effort by Nikita Nesterenko. The junior left wing from Brooklyn got behind the Harvard defense and flicked it by goalie Mitchell Gibson for his sixth of the season.
BC tied the game at 18:29 on when freshman center Cutter Gauthier’s shot from the right point found its way through traffic and by Gibson (45 saves) for his 14th of the season.
“We had a good push and it was great to tie it up,” said BC first year coach Greg Brown. “We definitely had better legs in the third and it looked like they had a couple of injuries and their bench was a little shorter.
“When you are behind you are always a little more desperate to play that kind of hockey and push a little freer.”
Hejduk netted his third of the season to open the scoring at 11:33 of the first. Defenseman Ian Moore of Concord sent Casey Severo and Hejduk up the ice on a 2-on-1 break. Severo skated the right flank and fed Hejduk on the backhand between the circles. Hejduk deftly switched to the forehand and beat BC goalie Mitch Benson high to the glove side. Harvard enjoyed a 9-6 advantage in shots on goal at the end of the first period.
Harvard went up 2-0 on a tic-tac-toe power play goal that sophomore center Matthew Coronato finished at 1:49 of the second. John Farinacci gained possession along the low board and fed Sean Farrell in the right circle. Farrell, a Montreal Canadiens draft pick, relayed the puck to Coronato, who one-timed a wrist shot from the bottom of the left circle for his 15th of the season.
“We’ve been playing together now for four years and developed some chemistry together,” said Farrell, a junior left wing from Hopkinton. “He is a really good goal scorer and I try to find in any spot when he’s ready to shoot. I just found him in his one-timer spot.”
BC made it 2-1 at on a nice collaboration between Colby Amborsio and Mike Posma on the power play at 7:42 of the second period. Ambrosio made a saucer feed from the right circle to Posma, who redirected the puck by Gibson for his third of the season. Gibson was lockdown solid the rest of the way.
Coronato’s second put Harvard up 3-1 on the power play at 8:34. Farrell made a sweet dish to Coronato who fired a laser from the left circle that beat Benson near post on the stick side. BC outshot Harvard 18-12 in the second.
NORTHEASTERN 3, BOSTON UNIVERSITY 1
The Northeastern Huskies ended Boston University’s seven-game win streak and extracted a measure of Garden payback in the process.
NU junior goaltender Devon Levi stoned the Terriers’ vaunted scoring machine with 33 saves in the Huskies 3-1 victory in the nightcap at the TD Garden. Levi recorded his 14th win on the season. BU ended Levi’s bid for a fifth shutout when Matt Brown scored at 18:09. NU’s Hunter McDonald scored an empty net goal with 30.2 seconds on the board.
“I say it all the time, he’s the best goalie in the country,” said NU coach Jerry Keefe. “We have a lot of confidence in him and you can see our guys want to play in front of him. He was really good when we needed him to be.”
BU beat Northeastern 1-0 in last year’s title game. NU will look to secure its eighth Beanpot title against Harvard next Monday night at the Garden.
Both schools turned out in force and the raucous atmosphere, enhanced by the exchange of biting chants and lively band music, was reminiscent of the Beanpot before the pandemic.
Northeastern senior left-wing Aidan McDonough of Milton, a Vancouver Canucks draft and established Beanpot legend, scored the lone goal of the first period at 14:00.
Freshman right wing Jack Williams made a play and the blue line to stay onside and fed defenseman Vinny Borgesi, who was pinching down in the right circle. Borgesi reversed ice to McDonough who wristed it by BU goalie Drew Commesso for his 18th of the season.
“It was just a great play by Vinny,” said McDonough. “He got to the middle of the ice, drew some guys to him and then hit me. I tried to put it on net as quick as I could.”
The Huskies upped the lead to 2-0 at 1:48 of the second on an alert play by graduate left-wing Justin Novak in the BU crease. Defenseman Jeremie Bucheler unleashed a slap shot from the point that Commesso initially blocked with his chest protector. But Commesso failed to control the puck and left a juicy rebound on the doorstep for Novak to notch his seventh of the season.
The remainder of the middle frame was fast and furious across open ice and brutally contested along the boards. NU finished the period with a slim 12-10 advantage in shots on goal. Northeastern killed off two BU power plays while the Terriers stoned the Huskies power play to end the period.
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