BOSTON – With 6:16 left in the third, Harvard’s Luke Greiner scored what proved to be the Beanpot consolation game-winner when he entered the offensive zone and beat Northeastern goalie Clay Witt (36 saves) five-hole for a shorthanded goal. Luke Eibler cut the lead to one just 23 seconds later, but the Crimson held on for the 3-2 win. With the loss, Northeastern has now finished fourth in 30 of the 60 Beanpots all-time.
What I saw
-The Crimson outplayed Northeastern in the first. The consolation game is always a tough game to get up for, especially when neither team is really in serious contention for an at-large NCAA bid, and the Huskies clearly struggled to find their skating legs. Harvard controlled play for much of the first period and took a 1-0 lead 11:44 in when Alex Killorn took in a pass at the right doorstep and waited out Witt before tucking the puck inside the right post. The Crimson outshot Northeastern 12-6 in the first and also hit two posts.
-The second period was more evenly-played and featured a lot more back-and-forth action. Robbie Vrolyk tied the game 4:07 into the period when his wrister from the high slot bounced off Steve Michalek’s (24 saves) arm and trickled over the line. The Crimson reclaimed the lead with a late goal when Alex Fallstrom stormed over the blue line fired a snap shot inside the left post.
What I thought
-Harvard coach Ted Donato said before the tournament that he thought the Beanpot would be a showcase for Killorn. Although it would be a stretch to go that far, he did play very well in both games. He scored Harvard’s lone goal against BU and was one of just a few Crimson forwards to play well in that game. He also scored Harvard’s first goal against Northeastern when he showed some good patience at the right doorstep and waited until Witt went down before making his move. Killorn is quietly putting together a great senior season, as he entered Monday 13th in the country with 1.25 points per game.
-It will be interesting to see how the Huskies’ goaltending situation plays out moving forward. Chris Rawlings surrendered five goals — including two he should’ve had — and got pulled in a 7-1 loss to BC last Monday, then gave up two soft goals in a 3-2 loss to UNH on Friday. Playing Witt against Harvard was done mostly just to get him a start — he hasn’t had one since Oct. 29 — but it also opened the door for him to get more playing time if Rawlings continues to struggle. Witt made some big saves on shots from in close against Harvard, but he also gave up two goals he should’ve had. He got caught a bit off his line on Fallstrom’s goal, then got beat five-hole from about 20 feet out on Greiner’s. Northeastern coach Jim Madigan said after the game that he thought Witt played well and that he’ll make a decision on who starts this weekend later in the week.
What they said
Northeastern coach Jim Madigan: “I’m not thrilled with our effort for two games. Quite frankly, I’m embarrassed with our effort the two nights. I apologize to our alumni, our student body, the DogHouse and everyone else who comes out and supports us each week. Those were two bad performances in the tournament.”
Needless to say, this wasn’t the kind of performance Madigan would’ve liked in his first Beanpot as his alma mater’s head coach. Those comments couldn’t have made that any clearer.