BOSTON — Northeastern University captain Tyler McNeely scored twice to lead his team to a 4-1 win over the Harvard Crimson Monday night in the consolation round of the 58th Beanpot at the TD Garden. This is the first Beanpot victory for the Huskies over Harvard since 2007.
“We just try to reiterate that every game is important in this league and you can’t take any game lightly; every game counts,” said McNeely. “We were looking for the win and we got it.”
The first 15 minutes of play started slowly, as each team tried to find their groove. With five minutes left in the period, the Huskies gave up a risky five-on-three penalty when Chris Donovan and Mike Hewkin were sent off the ice for tripping and hitting from behind, respectively. The Huskies’ defense stepped up to kill both of the penalties.
Just as Hewkin’s penalty was about to expire, Jake Newton fed the puck to McNeely and he sent a short-handed goal past Harvard netminder Ryan Carroll to put Northeastern up 1-0.
The Crimson started the second period a man short, as Ian Callett served the rest of his tripping penalty he acquired with 51 seconds to go in the first. Shortly after returning to full strength, the Crimson gave up their second goal when Greg Costa notched his second season goal with help from Drew Daniels and J.P. Maley.
During a four-on-four at the midway point of the second, Harvard’s Chad Morin passed to Ryan Grimshaw, who sent a slap shot towards the net. Conor Morrison gave Grimshaw’s shot the tip right in front of the net to sneak it past Huskies’ goalie Chris Rawlings, cutting Northeastern’s lead to one.
Nearing the midway point in the third, the Huskies regained their two-goal lead on a power play. Harvard’s David Valek took a seat in the penalty box for hitting from behind, and shortly after, McNeely tipped it in the net once again on a hard pass from Garret Vermeersch. Kyle Kraemer also picked up an assist on the play.
Harvard’s pulled Carroll with two minutes left to play in regulation, but Wade MacLeod sent an unassisted rocket from the blue line into the net to make the score 4-1.
“I think obviously we’re disappointed,” said Harvard coach Ted Donato. “I thought we started the game a little bit flat and put ourselves in some tough situations penalty-wise. I thought in the third period it was a combination of Northeastern wearing us down and us running out of gas. I give Northeastern a lot of credit. For us, we had the bench cut too short and we had a lot of hockey over the past five days.”
It wasn’t just the offense that had its momentum going during the game. Chris Rawlings made an excellent debut in his rookie Beanpot performance, recording 60 saves and a .953 save percentage while only allowing three goals. Rawlings helped to kill six penalties while making 27 saves against the Crimson.
“I think the one common thread that is visible when he’s on his game is his aggressiveness and how square to the puck he is,” said Northeastern coach Greg Cronin “He is a huge asset for us and his future looks extremely bright.”
Northeastern looks to continue its newly gained momentum at Amherst against the University of Massachusetts while Harvard will host Rensselaer. Both games are set for Friday February 12th at 7 p.m.