Harvard Finally Advances in Beanpot
by Tim Rosenthal/Staff Writer
BOSTON Historically, when talking about Northeastern and Harvard, it's typically about a Beanpot consolation game. But every three years, someone has to go to the finals, because they play each other in the first round.
Which is not to minimize Harvard's accomplishment, considering that, thanks to its 3-1 win Monday, it will play in the Beanpot final for the first time since 1998.
For Ted Donato, its his first final as head coach, and first appearance since doing it as a player in 1989 and 1990.
"Growing up as a kid in Boston the Beanpot was very important," said Donato. "We're very excited about the win. I'm particularly happy with my senior class; it's their first chance to get a Championship at the Beanpot."
On the other side, Northeastern coach Greg Cronin was disappointed again in his third Beanpot appearance.
"It was evident right from the very beginning that Harvard wanted to win the puck battle more than Northeastern did," Cronin stated. "We lost the one-on-one battles and they had second and third shots at our goalie.
"We weren't very fundamentally sound in our defensive zone."
Harvard outshot Northeastern, 33-19.
"I thought we spent a lot of time in Northeastern's zone the first two periods," Donato said. "We were determined to stay in their zone and create an offensive presence."
In the first period, it was total domination by Harvard. The Crimson had the edge in every statistical category: shots, scoring chances and, most importantly, the scoreboard. Paul Dufualt, Mike Taylor and Doug Rogers each netted a goal en route to a 3-0 first period lead.
"There was a lot of buzz on campus about our chances to win the Beanpot," said Northeastern goaltender Brad Thiessen. "It is a bitter pill to swallow.
"They went to the net real hard and had good chances right off the bat."
Harvard certainly wanted this game for the class of 2008. Overall the class was 1-5 going into the 2008 tournament. Now another victory, and a chance to capture the school's first Beanpot title since 1993.
"Tonight, our class especially, stressed how bad we wanted this game," said Taylor, a captain for Harvard.
Harvard goalie Kyle Richter might not have seen many shots, but a key pad save kept the game at 3-0 at the 17:23 mark. Though Northeastern did get a goal from Ryan Ginand, that was all the team could gather. Strong forechecking and good defense were the key to Harvard's win.
"Kyle made two or three big saves for us when it mattered," Donato said.
"It makes the job a lot easier when the defense does its job," said Richter. "It was huge for everyone involved."
Donato helped prepare his team for the game by showing it classic Beanpot tapes.
"It was a good feeling," said Donato. "We were re-focused as we tried to focus on past Beanpots. Tonight I think we seized the opportunity."
Harvard had just come off a loss against Brown this past Friday. Monday, it looked like a different team.
Said Cronin, "Harvard is like that other school in the Beanpot. They had a drive in their game from the very beginning.
"Nobody had sustained cycle presence against us all year. They wanted the puck more."