Good try, Harvard: Men’s Hockey advances to Beanpot finals

Photo by Mark Fraenkel

The Boston University men’s hockey team (15-10-3, 10-6-3 HE) kicked off the 69th annual Beanpot tonight at the TD Garden against the Harvard University Crimson (12-8-2, 9-5-2 ECAC) where they advanced to the finals with a 4-3 victory. 

With scarlet flooding the stands, history on their backs and a buzz in the building, BU pieced together a gutty win––a culmination of the first class hockey they’ve been producing. 

After settling into the moment, the Terriers began to play their game. They produced some quality chances, were aggressive on the backcheck, and hit a Harvard jersey whenever possible. The confidence this team is skating with is outstanding compared to a month ago. 

Sophomore forward Dylan Peterson re-entered the lineup for his first game since Jan. 21, taking his place on the fourth line with Jamie Armstrong and Sam Stevens. Sophomore forward Nick Zabaneh slotted in with Peterson at times––it was nice to see the dynamic duo back together. 

Following his shutout performance on Friday, sophomore goaltender Vinny Duplessis started in the crease for BU. The Quebec City native seemed more comfortable between the pipes, giving up far less rebounds with good puck control. Duplessis garnered 22 stops and stood tall under the brightest lights he has played in. 

“He gave us an opportunity to win the game, and that’s all you can ask for,” O’Connell said in the post game press conference. 

Senior forward and captain Logan Cockerill opened up scoring for his group for the second game in a row. Picking up a pass from junior defenseman Case McCarthy, Cockerill blasted down the left side leaving two Crimson in his dust. Pulling junior goaltender Mitchell Gibson out to the left, the BU leader tucked the puck behind his opposite pad to give the Terriers a 1-0 lead at 13:52. 

Cockerill was the absolute heart and soul of the BU group. The pride he has wearing “Boston” across his chest is like no other, and shows through his leadership on and off the ice. 

“This guy here played one of his better games at BU––he was dynamite tonight. He led by example and kind of led the way to the victory,” O’Connell said while pointing to Cockerill beside him.  

Harvard was quick to respond, finding the equalizer less than a minute later with a top-shelf goal from senior forward Casey Dornbach. BU left Dornbach open in front, but that was their only lapse in coverage for the period. 

The Terriers had their first power play at 16:05 after sophomore defenseman John Fusco collected two minutes for holding. Junior forward Jay O’Brien capitalized on the man-advantage with a snipe from the right faceoff circle, regaining the lead for a 2-1 score. 

BU put together a largely cohesive opening 20 minutes, leaving the period up 14-8 in SOG and with a touch of momentum on their sides. 

Senior forward Ty Amonte took a big hit in the first and didn’t return for the remainder of the night. Stevens took his place on the third line––a pretty seamless transition after losing a veteran guy. 

The scarlet and white got back on the power play four minutes into the middle frame and set up junior forward Matt Brown on a wrist shot scoring play that meant far more than just a Beanpot tally. Pointing up to the sky following the goal, Brown honored his mother who passed away last week and emotionally secured the 3-1 lead at 4:10. 

“He really handled himself well,” O’Connell said. “He’s a passionate guy. He probably has a heavy heart right now but I think he’s probably looking up thinking about his mother when he’s scoring the goal. I was really happy for him.” 

Junior forward Ethan Phillips, along with his upperclassmen counterparts, really came to play and did so with great tenacity. Fighting up until––and sometimes past––the whistle, Phillips poured all of himself into every shift on the Garden ice. He got rewarded at 10:58. 

A strong blast from the point off the stick of freshman defenseman Ty Gallagher made one more stop before finding the back of the net. Phillips deflected the puck mid-air to make it 4-1 on his sixth of the season. 

Harvard didn’t leave the period without a fight, though. Propelled by a Peterson roughing penalty, freshman forward Matthew Coronato and senior forward Jack Donato brought the Crimson within one, scoring goals 20 seconds apart at 18:16 and 18:37. 

The late burst from the opposition set up for a high-pressure third period. The Terriers handled the moment with poise and determination, working as a unit to fend off a desperate Crimson side. 

BU dove through passing lanes and threw themselves in front of Harvard shots to support Duplessis as the final frame winded down––you could feel from the very highest press box how much this Terrier team wanted to win. 

“The third period I thought we kind of locked it down, not a lot happened for either side,” O’Connell said. “It was a really good third and I thought we closed out really well.” 

The celebration pouring out from the bench onto the ice and up above in the dogpound at the sound of the final buzzer is what college hockey is all about. The players and fans live for nights like tonight and our team did us proud. 

“This was one of the main reasons I came back to BU,” Cockerill said in the post game press conference. “I wanted to win a Beanpot and I’m happy I get a chance to compete for it next Monday.”

BU is now headed to the finals next Monday against the winner of the Boston College v. Northeastern game. They face Providence College this Thursday at 7:00pm before they fight for the Beanpot title. We’ll have full coverage of both games so be sure to follow along on Twitter @BOShockeyblog and Instagram @boston.hockey.blog.

15 thoughts on “Good try, Harvard: Men’s Hockey advances to Beanpot finals”

  1. Very entertaining game tonite at the Garden. The Terriers started fast and took control of the game with pressure and speed while Harvard attempted to counterpunch.Terrific goal by Cockerill who was really wheeling and dealing out there in the first period Another turnover led to Harvards tying goal, but then until the latter stages of the second period dominated play scoring 2 well executed PP goals for a 4-1 lead. However after that BU allowed Harvard the initiative and they just missed some golden chances and a goal seemed inevitable. A costly offensive zone penalty by the Terriers gave Harvard a chance and they not only scored on the PP but again just a minute late and suddenly were back in the game. BU was able to control play for most of the 3rd period and Harvard only had a few chances to tie the game.
    Though its hard to be critical about a team that’s only lost one game ( and that in overtime) since thanksgiving there are still a few things to work on, namely avoiding turnovers in the defensive zone and playing 60 minutes. Other than that i think we should all be very happy with the way the team has completely turned their season around and are now ranked in the top 20 pols,( i’m not sure pairwise) but with such a winning streak that they have they must at this point be considered an NCAA threat, and a beanpot final with a good chance to win against a NE team they have played even this season. Their is good reason to be optimistic for the remainder of the season.

  2. whew! we’ll will take it. impressed how they limited harvard to 7 shots in the third period and no goals. Plus we scored 2 per play goals. nice. Also i love that we only took 2 penalties all night and NONE in the third period. i would like to see us improve our faceoff percentage, however

    i am starting to dislike NU almost as much as BC. i actually rooted for the Eagles last night. don’t hate me. love to beat NU next week and stop all this repeat champs BS. their back up goalie, however, did look sharp as he made a number of sliding saves

    3 big points on the line thursday against PC. gotta find a way to put this one aside and get ready for that game without thinking ahead to monday. mentally and emotionally tricky. you know PC is smarting from the last time we beat them

    any word on Amonte? i thought Stevens did a great job moving up to the third line. good face off guy

  3. looks like i am talking to myself today on the blog :). anyways, call me a traitor but i rooted for Canada. just love Poulin.( i know Compher is on USA.) without a doubt MPP is one of my favorite BU hockey players ever. that includes men and women

    • Good afternoon Vinnie! I wholeheartedly am in your camp inasmuch as (1) wanting very much for BC to beat NU last night and (2) cheering for Team Canada for the exact reason you mentioned. MPP was an absolute joy to watch during her years here at BU. Back in the day, when I watched USA versus Canada WIH all I saw was BC versus BU LOL.

  4. I won’t say much now I’m incredibly busy at work. This is my first break of the day. I could comment on so much but I will wait till later to do that. I just wanted to express how happy I am for this group of kids. I’m thrilled they will play for a trophy they deserve it. Go bu 🐾

  5. Nice win — let’s finish the job next Monday!

    Last time I saw BU in those Terrier head jerseys was the last ECAC game the school ever played — a loss to RPI at the Gahden in 1984. Love that look.

  6. i know we have PC on thursday, but looking ahead to NU, they can beat them but it will not be easy. it will require their greatest effort of the season, both mentally and physically, to get the job done. i think they can do it. how they play against PC will give us a clearer idea of what they are made of at this time of year when trophies are up for grabs. Gut check time

  7. The day after breakdown from Roy … Great effort great 3 period… Everyone should up expect tuch very slow not skating but big body u need he’s been good.. Peterson wasn’t clearly in game shape he tried A for effort … Amonte what else is knew hopw he comes back if not I see carrabesin there … Vinny still looked over angling on shots which leaves easy rebounds tap in.. We will need to move bodies in front of our net vs Huskies… Huskie goaile had the game of his life last night he’s not doing that again so we play our game we will win… But first tough game Thursday against pc… Hopefully they stay focused and not looking ahead bc friars want revenge for last week .. Go BU 🐾

  8. Roy easy big dog.🐾 Tuch can move his feet with the best of them but his role on that line is not to dazzle with his skating his job is to be heavy on the puck physically dominant and to get the puck to O’Brien and Phillips who were buzzing all night. I thought a few times last night when we got hemmed in our zone it was his outlet passes that established our breakouts. I had no issue with his game Harvard has some jump so if your not moving at there speed it may appear your off but I thought he helped his Line out last night.

    With Ty Amonte it’s a tough break the kid battles injury after injury I could see the jump he had and the terriers could sure use his energy and his ability they feed off of him. He plays so well in these games hopefully he’s a go Thursday if not Monday. If he can’t go we have so many guys capable of taking his place I never question coach on this blog and I won’t speculate who will take his place if Ty Can not go but I would not mind seeing his brother get a shot. The Amonte’s all three are different type of players but they have one thing in common they come to play in the big games. I have watched bu hockey for a long time and there is something special about that family and there compete level. Injuries have gotten the better of Ty the past few years but it’s clear he’s a big time player I believe I have seen enough of his brother to see they are cut from the same cloth.

    I despise Northeastern never liked the way they conducted themselves in recent years. Make no mistake they will play dirty we need guys to play smart hockey. I said it on the last blog beanpot momentum can change in seconds. Peterson penalty allowed Harvard to prove me right bu needs to be disciplined to beat Nu

    The tough part is bu is excited to play next Monday but we have to Chanel those emotions because we have a pc team chomping at the bit to play us. We played 4 lines with success last night let’s hope we can do the same Thursday and take that momentum into next Monday. Go bu 🐾

    • Awesome news Ozzie we are due and I would like nothing better then to beat them on that stage. I don’t like the way they carry themselves over there. Go bu 🐾

  9. But we played them dead even in the first half of the year and they had Levi, so if this back up does not all of sudden turn into the second coming of ken dryden, we can beat them. it will take a supreme effort. they gotta play smart and stay out of the box. i did not like peterson’s penalty on the offensive zone. unnecessary

    • Vinnie winning creates odd things for two posts now I could not agree more. I thought there back up played unbelievable but I watched the game over a few times and he looked behind him on several shots almost to the point where he was surprised he made the save. Hopefully it was a one game thing.

      As to penalties you are spot on it’s the keys to the game. Bu has to be disciplined. I can’t state enough how much I despise NU game but they are talented and very good at goating a team into a retaliation penalty. We just can’t do that if we want to win.
      Peterson penalty was a bad one to take but it was also proof in hockey East the refs do miss things. Peterson helmet did not fall off it was ripped off but Hughes missed that and only saw the retaliation Nu thrives off of the refs missing the first infraction. Go bu

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