By Andrew Pratt
The Beanpot, a classic tournament founded in 1952, gives college hockey players of the greater Boston area a chance to perform on a larger stage. This tournament includes Northeastern University, Harvard University, Boston University and Boston College. Taking place on the first two mondays of February, these four teams bring the intensity and excitement that Boston has come to love.
As of Tuesday, the NCAA college hockey rankings placed Harvard at #3, Boston University at #4 and Boston College at #7 with Northeastern not making the top 25. The first week of the tournament features Boston College vs Boston University and Harvard vs Northeastern.
In the first semifinal game on Monday, Harvard beat the unranked Northeastern 4-3. Junior Clay Anderson, sophomore Tyler Moy and junior Luke Esposito scored in the third period, allowing the Crimson to hold onto its lead to beat Northeastern and advance to the final. After a long drought, Harvard is seeking their 11th tourney title and their first since 1993.
Not making the finals and ending up in the consolation game, Harvard senior Alexander Kerfoot told ESPN how little the consolation games have to offer.
“We haven’t played a night game yet. For the last three years it’s been pretty demoralizing playing in that consolation game. Nobody wants to be a part of it.” Although it is a great experience, the consolation game, often draws little attention from college kids, leaving it to family spectators and the school bands.”
A much livelier game with a higher attendance rate, Boston College vs Boston University is an old rivalry of two competitive schools. Attending 30 Beanpot championships in the past 35 years, Boston University wants nothing less than to add another one to their trophy case. Taking a quick 1-0 lead, Boston University brought pressure, forcing the Boston College defense to cough up the puck deep in their defensive zone.
After a shift of sustained pressure, Boston University took an undisciplined penalty, leading to a Boston College powerplay. While on the powerplay, team leader, one of the strongest college hockey players, senior Clayton Keller scored a shorthanded goal to give the Terriers a 2-1 lead.
Boston College has won 6 of the last 7 Beanpots, including a 1-0 overtime win against Boston University last year. The game was filled with constant bickering from either end of the ice including, “sucks to Be-yoU” and “sunday school.” The only thing these two teams came together for was the communal cheer of a man with a Patriots jersey on the jumbotron.
In the championship game Monday night, Harvard got the win it was looking for, bringing the Beanpot home after a 24 year drought. A surplus of Boston University fans arrived to cheer on their team, hoping for their 31st Beanpot victory, while few Harvard fans came to the game.
Despite the small turnout from the Harvard fans, the remaining Boston College and Northeastern fans were primarily rooting for Harvard, hoping the the Beanpot goliath of Boston University would not win another title. Bringing the intensity to Boston University immediately, Harvard was clearly the stronger and more prepared team.
Without a stunning performance from the Boston University junior goaltender Jake Oettinger, stopping 40 out of 46 shots, the game could have been a landslide. He kept them in it early, allowing Boston University to rally the troops for the late 1st and 2nd period, before Harvard would get a key goal from junior Luke Esposito. Capping the game off with a late empty netter, Harvard sealed the victory and a 6-3 Beanpot win. Earlier in the night, Northeastern defeated Boston College, putting them in 4th place, for the first time since Harvard’s last win in 93’, hardly a coincidence.