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College Hockey:
Beanpot Notebook

Early Bird Gets The ‘Pot?

In the early game between Harvard and Northeastern, Harvard jumped out to a 3-0 lead with three goals in the first seven minutes of the game.

According to Harvard senior captain and Minnesota native Mike Taylor, who scored the second goal and assisted on the third, getting the advantage early was crucial.

“As a freshman coming in, particularly from the Midwest, I didn’t really understand how important the game was right away,” said Taylor. “By the time I realized it, we were down by a couple of goals. So I really knew how important it was to get out to an early start.

“We really wanted this one, probably more than any game of my career. [Harvard's seven seniors] really instilled that in the younger players.”

Northeastern coach Greg Cronin was more impressed with what happened after the three goals.

“They played a really smart game,” said Cronin. “Once they got the lead, they didn’t allow us any odd-man rushes, or really allow us to get back in the game. I was really impressed how they played the last 53 minutes of the game.”

Huskies junior captain Joe Vitale, also a Midwesterner, had his own comments about the Beanpot prior to the series.

“When I go back to St. Louis, the first thing I’m asked about is ‘What it is like to play in the Beanpot?’” said Vitale. “Not, ‘What is it like to go to a Red Sox game?’ or ‘What is it like to live in Boston?’ but rather, ‘What is it like to play in the Beanpot?’”

History Lesson

Harvard had not been in a Beanpot final since 1998, and hadn’t won a first-round game against Northeastern since 1993. Rather than allowing the weight of that history to hold his team back, Harvard coach Ted Donato turned it into a positive.

“We’ve had some frustration over the years in the Beanpot,” said Donato. “And maybe that frustration causes the event to lose some of the excitement, some of the luster, that it is supposed to have.”

So Donato and his coaching staff prepared a video of key Harvard moments to show the team before starting practices.

“We watched a video on the history of the Beanpot,” said Taylor. “It really got us fired up for the game.”

No doubt, the video contained some clips of Donato, who as a player carried the Crimson to two finals in 1989 and 1990.

“So we showed the team some highlights of past Beanpots,” said Donato. “Not as motivation or pressure, but as a message for them to seize the opportunity. And it worked.”

Eagles In Tune

Boston College had an unusual advantage before starting the second match against BU.

Massachusetts native and BC sophomore Ayla Brown sang the national anthem in spirited fashion to a thunderous ovation.

Brown was one of 24 finalists on American Idol during the fifth season, advancing to Hollywood after auditioning in Boston. Brown is attending BC on a full athletic scholarship for basketball. She is one of the all-time leading scorers in Massachusetts high school basketball history.

This came just a day after the season-six American Idol winner, Jordin Sparks, performed the same duty of singing the national anthem at Super Bowl XLII in Glendale, Ariz.

Sick Puppy

Boston University has recently been devastated as a particularly nasty version of the flu as Jack Parker missed the Beanpot media luncheon on Tuesday afternoon, and assistant coach Mike Bavis ran practices for the team all week.

Parker was behind the bench for Monday evening’s game against BC, but first-line forward Bryan Ewing’s status was unknown right up to game time. Ewing ended up starting, and provided a crucial screen on BU’s third goal.

Reviewed Plays

Two goals in the game needed to be reviewed.

In the second period, Boston University had 17 seconds of a 2-man advantage, as both Brian Gibbons and Nathan Gerbe were sent off for the Eagles. BU scored its third goal just as the initial penalty counted to zero, and the play was reviewed to determine if the goal was scored before or after the penalty had expired. It was after, so Boston College escaped without additional shorthanded time.

In the third, Boston College scored what would have been the go-ahead fourth goal, as Andrew Orpik slapped in a puck sitting in a wide-open crease after BU goalie Brett Bennett had been pushed clear. It was determined that another BC player had entered the crease before the goal was scored, and the goal was disallowed.

“On a play like that, sometimes the reaction on the bench can be a real downer,” said BC coach Jerry York. “But for us, it wasn’t like that at all. We fed off of it.”

Gerbe, who scored the game-winning goal in overtime, agreed.

“It was a huge setback at the time,” Gerbe said. “But the coaching staff did a real good job of keeping us composed. We just tried to get the goal back on the next shift, and then again on the next.”

The reviewer for both plays was Brendan Sheehy, former Supervisor of Officials for Hockey East.

Quotable

“I want to apologize to all the Northeastern fans, particularly those that stood outside for up to six hours to get tickets for tonight’s game. We didn’t give them much to cheer about.” — NU coach Greg Cronin

“This is uncharted territory for us, playing in the consolation game next week.” — Jack Parker, BU coach. The Terriers have not played in a Beanpot consolation game since 1994, and prior to Monday had won 23 of the last 24 first-round games.

“I’m still bummed about the Pats. It’s a tough day to be a Boston sports fan. This takes some of the sting out of it, though.” — Jerry York, BC coach, on the Patriots’ upset loss in Sunday’s Super Bowl.


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