February 3, 2014

Huskies hang six on Harvard in Beanpot opener

By Joshua Kummins

Kevin Roy (right) celebrates his power-play goal in the first period, which put Northeastern up 2-0 at the time. (Photo by Dave Arnold/New England Hockey Journal)

Final: Northeastern 6, Harvard 0

Recap: The Huskies practically put the game away from the start, scoring twice in the first period. NU jumped up by a 1-0 count as freshman Dalen Hedges walked into the left wing and fired a wrister over Harvard senior Raphael Girard at 5:57, before sophomore Kevin Roy shot through an open lane on a two-man advantage at the 12:08 mark.

After laying out Harvard freshman Alexander Kerfoot with a heavy hit in his defensive zone, Huskies captain Josh Manson was issued a major penalty and game misconduct. NU hardly seemed fazed, killing off the infraction with relative ease.

Just 31 seconds into the second, NU went up three as Torin Snydeman (Groton, Mass.) took a feed from freshman Mike Szmatula and beat Girard.

At 4:22, senior Braden Pimm took Szmatula's second assist of the game - a bouncing feed across the offensive zone - to score his team-best 16th of the season.

NU added two more scores for good measure. Just 16 seconds into the third period, junior defenseman Colton Saucerman found the back of the net on a long shot through traffic from the blue line, before Szmatula banged in a rebound on a major power play late at 16:47.

Records: Harvard 6-12-3 (3-9-3 ECAC Hockey); Northeastern 16-8-3 (8-5-1 Hockey East)

Key Play of the Game: Even with a two-goal lead, the definite shift in momentum came as the Huskies killed off Manson's major penalty. The easy kill gave NU life, before it scored twice in the first four-plus minutes of the second period.

Kummins’ Commendations: The Huskies are among the nation's highest in shots on goal allowed, but junior Clay Witt turned in his fourth shutout of the season and had to make just 27 saves, weathering about half of them (13) in the second period. ... In addition, the NU freshmen class contributed in a big way in its first Beanpot appearance, accounting for two goals and five helpers.

Kummins’ Critiques: Penalties. There were a lot of them.

Notes: The game marked NU's first Beanpot win over the Crimson since the 2011 semifinal and vaulted the Huskies into the title game for the second time in as many years and third time in four years. ... After his hat trick to singlehandedly beat BU in last year's semifinal, Roy added a goal and an assist to bring his Beanpot career total to seven points in just three games.

Final Thoughts: The Huskies will take aim at erasing their quarter-century drought next Monday night after dominating the lowly Crimson, which are just 1-4-1 in their last six games. Harvard has had to open the second Monday with a consolation game draw in 15 of the last 16 years.

Next: On Friday night at 7:00 p.m., both teams return home as the Huskies host UMass and Harvard welcomes in longtime Ivy League foe Dartmouth.

Twitter: @JoshuaKummins
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