Northeastern Beats Up On Harvard to Reach Beanpot Final
CHN Staff Report
BOSTON Every three years, Northeastern gets to avoid Boston College or Boston University in the first round of the Beanpot. And this year, the Huskies took advantage, defeating Harvard 4-0 in game they dominated, setting up next Monday's Beanpot final against Boston College.
Northeastern hasn't won the Beanpot since 1988. No team but BU and BC has won it since 1993. The Huskies did make the final two years ago.
"(Two years ago), the BU and Northeastern game was a great game," Northeastern coach Greg Cronin said. "BU scores three shorthanded goals and a power-play goal. I mean that just doesn’t happen in the Beanpot. We end up losing that game. Last year, we played a terrific game against BU in the first round. Again [Alex] Chaisson shoots the puck and it squeaks through the shirt and trickles into the net ... Unfortunately, those are the memories for a lot of the Northeastern people over the last twenty years … near misses."
Mike McLaughlin scored the first two goals of the game.
"I didn’t know a lot about the Beanpot when I came here," McLaughlin said.
The last time these two teams played in the semis, Harvard won. But the prior four times, it was Northeastern. With Harvard winners of just two of its last 18 games coming into this tournament, it was ripe for the picking.
"They outplayed us in pretty much every facet of the game, from the net on out," Harvard coach Ted Donato said. "I thought we played somewhat of our resemblance of our game in the first period, but it seemed after their second goal they got a little bit of a bounce that we really couldn’t mount much of an attack after that.
"I think we are, obviously, very disappointed. I felt we were playing some pretty good hockey coming in, even though we weren’t scoring enough goals to produce victories, but tonight was frustrating."
Usually, Northeastern has to beat Harvard to make the final. After winning its Beanpot in 1988, Northeastern only won semifinal games in the years it played Harvard, until that 2008 game. Then, the next year, the Huskies broke the spell, the year they went to the NCAAs, defeating BC in the semis before losing to Boston University in the final.
It's the second straight shutout this season by Chris Rawlings against Harvard, following a 34-save 3-0 effort in January.
"Defensively, I thought we were good," Cronin said. "Looking at their record (Harvard), they are a better team than their record reflects. They are in a lot of one-nothing, two-one games. A lot of one-score games. They do throw a lot of pucks at the net. We knew that, and we played them back in the middle of January. Our defense did a good job clearing out the front (of the net). There were some rebounds there, and I thought (Rawlings) was terrific."
Rawlings, like McNeely, didn't know much about the Beanpot, being from Vancouver. But he's itching to win it now.
"It is completely different now. We weren’t too worried about two years ago in the Beanpot," Rawlings said. "It is today. It is a new year. Just go out and play in it."
Cronin reflected on what it would mean for Northeastern to win The Beanpot.
"When I got here six years ago, the program was … well it just needed a lot of work structurally and in addition to getting the fans back," Cronin said. "The fans come in when you win, so we have started to win incrementally. We started to fill the building and last year we had good crowds. Now this year they have stopped showing up and I think you see a reflection of of the fans when you are on the bench and you look into that left corner, and there wasn’t nearly as many black shirts as there was a year ago.
"I am not a baseball fan, (but) believe it or not, I like the Yankees over the Red Sox, don’t kill me now. But I liked the Yankees because they would always win and the Red Sox would lose. I think we have a little bit of the mentality of when are they going to win this damn thing. And they get sick of it and I don’t blame them. ... They would have to get both the NUPD and the Boston police on our campus if we won."