No. 4 Boston College squeaks by No. 7 Harvard in first Beanpot semifinal

0
177
Boston College advanced to the Beanpot final with a win over Harvard (photo: Melissa Wade).

BOSTON — In the late game of the 2015 Beanpot semifinal, the look of dismay on the faces of some with Boston College was evident when a Dustin Darou shot trickled through the BC defense and past Thatcher Demko.

The tally coming late in the game, the fate of the Eagles in the tournament was sealed by Northeastern, the potential legacy of a sixth straight Beanpot championship victory dashed.

Beanpot 2016

Semifinals: Feb. 1

No. 4 Boston College 3, No. 7 Harvard 2 | For Harvard, special teams trouble means another loss to Boston College, Beanpot heartbreak

No. 9 Boston University 3, Northeastern 1 | After year off, Boston University's Maguire regains his focus and shines in Beanpot semi

Feb. 8

Third place: Northeastern 5, Harvard 1

Championship: Boston College 1, Boston University 0 (OT)

There were no looks of dismay Monday afternoon for the Eagles when the game winner was notched, nor were there looks of dismay when the final siren sounded at the Garden. Instead, the dismay from the first round 362 days ago was replaced with jubilation, and perhaps, some relief. The No. 4 Eagles exorcised their demons from the 2015 tournament to down No. 7 Harvard 3-2.

The Crimson loss marked the 12th straight loss in the Beanpot to the Eagles.

“I thought Harvard gave us all we can handle tonight,” BC coach Jerry York said.

The Eagles opened up the scoring early — in fact, earlier than in any other game in Beanpot history. Just 1:35 in, Ryan Fitzgerald found the puck in the corner to Merrick Madsen’s left side. Fitzgerald sent the puck from the corner back towards the blue line where his brother, Casey Fitzgerald, was waiting. Fitzgerald rifled a shot on net, beating Madsen, and the Eagles had a 1-0 lead.

At that point, the Eagles were able to prevent the Crimson from getting a shot on goal until around the halfway point in the first. The first shot of the game for the Crimson, however paid dividends. On a counter-attack, Ryan Donato was able to find daylight one-on-one on Demko. Donato wristed a shot past Demko, tying the game.

Going into a media timeout, moments after the goal, the brief moment of mistake was costly for the Eagles, but it was the only blemish on the Eagles efforts.

The second shot on goal for the Crimson, produced a similar result as the first shot on goal. Jimmy Vesey drew contact with Demko, causing Demko to lose his stick. Demko was able to get in position, but was not able to stick away a shot from Adam Baughman from afar. The goal was the freshman’s first, scored in his second career game.

On two shots, the Crimson had turned the tables on the Eagles.

Going back to the 2015 Beanpot game against Northeastern, the second period jumps out on the scoresheet. Four combined goals were scored in the second frame, two apiece. The opening salvo was fired by Northeastern, namely Colton Saucermann. The Eagles were able to match the Huskies in a back and forth, but the second period proved important in the battle for the upper hand.

Part of the issue for the Eagles was discipline, taking four penalties in the second The lack of discipline proved costly, with both Northeastern goals in the period scored a man up.

The Eagles did not leave anything to chance in the second period.

Discipline became an issue for the Crimson as it had for the Eagles in 2015. The issue wasn’t in terms of number, with two penalties certainly not as glaring as the four taken by the Eagles in the previous, but in terms of execution. The Eagles were able to take advantage of both power plays afforded.

Zach Sanford came first. He rifled an Ian McCoshen rebound past Madsen to tie the game at two after Alex Tuch had redirected the rebound.

The go-ahead goal, and the eventual winner, came from Colin White. A move by White put him at point-blank range on Madsen, who could not keep up with White, and could not keep White’s wrister out of the net.

The third period was largely uneventful, but the glaring issue for the Crimson became evident late.

Harvard, in the waning moments of the game, needed to get the puck out of the defensive zone in order for Madsen to come off the ice for an extra attacker. The result was a total of 15 official seconds of empty-net time for the Crimson. Because of the Crimson problem with getting the puck out, they could not able to create a last-minute offensive push, and the Eagles were able to hang on to win.

“[BC] played a strong game,” Harvard coach Ted Donato said. “They really were able to limit us. [We] didn’t get the amount of zone time and possession of the puck that we needed to to create more offense. Give them a lot of credit for that, but [I’m] disappointed and obviously frustrated that we didn’t execute a lot of the things that we needed to do to be more successful.”

The Crimson loss ensured that Harvard would not make the Beanpot championship for the 18th consecutive year.

The win clinched an Eagles berth in the championship game for the 11th time in 13 years.

Of note, Chuck Van Kula dressed in his first collegiate game Monday afternoon. Van Kula, ordinarily a team manager, dressed to replace Ian Milosz, who was out with an injury. Van Kula had played hockey at St. Joseph’s Preparatory School in Philadelphia. York said that he was able to play if necessary.

“It’s either [Van Kula] or me,” York said.