Another Lost Year at Beanpot for Harvard
by Joshua Seguin/Staff Writer
BOSTON One cannot sugarcoat Harvard's performance against Northeastern in the first round of The Beanpot. After losing 6-0 and officially marking a 21st straight year without a title, words like horrid come to mind.
From the start, Harvard looked out of sync. Northeastern led 2-0 out of the first period and never looked back from there. The performance was eerily similar to many of its performances this season.
"It is something that we have talked about (slow starts)," Harvard captain Dan Ford said. "We had been getting off to good starts. It is a mentality type of thing. It is disappointing that we came out flat tonight because it seemed like we had gotten better at the past couple of games. It is something we have to think about going forward because it is all mentality."
Harvard was looking to end a drought that started in the first year of the Bill Clinton administration.
"It is disappointing, very disappointing," Havard coach Ted Donato said. "With a young group coming in, we were hoping to capitalize on the energy. We knew we were playing a strong Northeastern team, but we were just worried about ourselves. We just didn't execute."
The last time Harvard even participated in the final was 2008. Since its last Beanpot win, the Crimson have been in the final just three times in 21 tries.
This senior class for Harvard, has not participated in a Beanpot final.
"It is going to be tough watching the late game next week," said Ford. "I would have liked to have been a part of a championship game. But we have a lot to play for still. We just try to move forward here and focus on what we can do in the last five weeks of the season."
The last two seasons have been much of the same. Last season, the Crimson played Boston College in the first round, the result and effort was much of the same, a 4-1 loss.
Often this season, Harvard has bounced back from slow starts. But not in this game. That hope was put to rest early in the second, as the Huskies scored two goals in the first four minutes, 22 seconds of the period. The lead allowed Northeastern to cruise to the win, while allowing Harvard to admit its defeat.
The pressure continues to mount, internally within the program.
"We put a lot of pressure on ourselves regardless of what happened tonight," said Donato. "We have been playing decent hockey lately. This one was a tough pill to swallow but we have plenty to play for. We have 14 points available in our league and we would like to get into a spot to get home ice in the first round of the playoffs."
The last five Beanpots in particular have been disastrous for the Crimson — it has been outscored 23-2 in those games.
"The most disappointing thing is that we were never able to turn it into a hockey game," Donato said. "The penalties really chopped the game up and we were never able to establish any type of 5-on-5 play We never were able to score a goal to get the game up and down the ice."
Donato has distant memories of the last time the Crimson won the tournament; he was a player. His record in the Beanpot is 5-13, and a nightmarish 1-9 in the opening round. This was a tough one to swallow for him not only as a coach, but an alum of the school.
"They outplayed us all over the ice and out-coached us for that matter as well," Donato said.
Harvard had a chance to get back in it in the first period when Husky captain Josh Manson took a contact to the head roughing major. That sent the Crimson on a five-minute power play. Harvard hardly generated any offensive pressure, nor had possession of the puck for much of it. Not only did Harvard fail to score, it failed to gain any momentum. It was the story of its game really and has been the story of its season.
The loss marked another opportunity wasted.
For Donato, the pressure on him mounts even more.
"I don't think this was a result or performance that any coach would be proud of," Donato said. "We can play better and have played better. But that was not a game I am proud of.
"As an alum, this is certainly not a game that I am proud of and it is a tough pill to swallow."