Final, Northeastern 6-0: That’ll do it.
Northeastern is headed to the Beanpot championship game on the heels of an absolutely dominating 6-0 shutout of Harvard.
Stay tuned for more postgame reaction, and be sure to click over to Nick Goss’ live blog of Boston College-Boston University, which is set to get underway at 8:30 p.m.
Third period, 16:47, Northeastern 6-0: And the Huskies capitalize immediately. Mike Szmatula scores his first of the night just 13 seconds into the power play to bump the Huskies’ lead up to a half-dozen.
Since Guiltinan’s penalty was a major, Harvard will remain shorthanded for the duration.
Third period, 16:33, Northeastern 5-0: An open-ice hit by Harvard’s Kevin Guiltinan on Torin Snydeman lands Guiltinan in the box and nearly sparks another fight.
It’ll be a five-minute penalty by the the blueliner, giving Northeastern a power play for the remainder of the game.
Third period, 9:48, Northeastern 5-0: Harvard’s Kyle Criscuolo finally gets a puck past Witt, but it comes after the whistle. He drops his stick to the ice and holds his head in his hands before skating to the bench.
It’s been that kind of night for the Crimson.
Third period, 7:30, Northeastern 5-0: Northeastern’s offense has overshadowed how spectacular Clay Witt has been tonight.
The netminder foiled yet another Harvard scoring chance, and Crimson frustration led to a full-team scuffle in the corner. The scrum was broken up before any punches could be thrown, but there is now a full-blown party in the penalty boxes.
Three Harvard skaters currently have a seat in their box, and four Huskies are hanging out in the other.
Third period, 6:51, Northeastern 5-0: How you know a game is a blowout: The Northeastern student section has started singing “Stacy’s Mom.”
Huskies D-man Matt Benning was sent to the box for hooking, and the Crimson managed a spirited scoring bid or two, but Clay Witt stood tall yet again.
And while I was writing this, two more skaters have booked stays in the sin bin. Northeastern’s Dax Lauwers (who joins teammate Colton Saucerman on the Hockey East All-Name Team) is called for diving, and Harvard’s Victor Newell follows up with a hooking violation 21 seconds later.
Third period, 1:31, Northeastern 5-0: Another flurry of penalties followed shortly after Saucerman’s goal. Harvard’s Luke Esposito went for elbowing, and Kevin Guiltiman and Kevin Roy were given matching unsportsmanlike conduct minors.
That brings the PIMs total to 55 on the night.
Third period, 0:16, Northeastern 5-0: Make that a five-goal game.
Colton Saucerman beats Raphael Girard from straightaway off assists from John Stevens and Kevin Roy before fans are even able to get back from the concession stands. Since Alexander Kerfoot was still in the box from his penalty late last period, it goes down as a power-play goal.
It’s also the goal that ends Girard’s night. Minnesota Wild draftee Steve Michalek is now in net for Harvard.
Third period, 0:00, Northeastern 4-0: The third period is underway. The Crimson will have to get something going, and fast, if they hope to have any chance of closing this four-goal gap.
Second intermission, Northeastern 4-0: The Huskies, who seem content with a dump-and-chase strategy now up four goals, almost added another on a 2-on-1 breakaway.
Third-line winger Adam Reid skated in on Raphael Girard through the left face-off circle and dropped a pretty no-look pass to a trailing Mike McMurtry, but Girard turned away the sophomore’s bid.
Northeastern had another chance to pad its lead when Harvard’s Alexander Kerfoot was whistled for holding at 18:20, but Girard made a nice save in traffic on a Mike Szmatula shot, and the Harvard defense was able to kill the remaining clock. The Huskies will remain on the power play for the first 19 seconds of the third period, though.
Harvard has not won when trailing after two periods this season (0-9-1), and they have some serious work to do if they have any shot of changing that statistic.
Northeastern is 20 minutes from its third trip to the Beanpot championship game in four years.
Second period, 14:52, Northeastern 4-0: Some unnecessary shoving after the whistle earns Harvard’s Sean Malone and Northeastern’s Tanner Pond first-class tickets to the penalty box.
The Crimson continue their assault on Clay Witt, but the goalie has remained composed. Harvard is still searching for its first goal of the night.
Second period, 11:13, Northeastern 4-0: A “Clay Witt, Clay Witt” chant rains down from the Northeastern corner of the arena as the goaltender turns away a mad flurry of Harvard shots.
The Crimson have certainly been more aggressive offensively here in the second, but they have not been able to put together nearly enough solid looks against a Northeastern D-corps that has been excellent at clogging passing lanes.
Second period, 8:01, Northeastern 4-0: Harvard just cannot seem to enjoy a good thing.
A nice rush on Witt led to a Crimson power play, as Kevin Roy was called for a hook on Tyler Moy. That man advantage lasted just nine seconds, though, as Harvard winger Kyle Criscuolo was also whistled for hooking, leading to yet another round of 4-on-4 hockey.
Second period, 4:22, Northeastern 4-0: The rout is on.
Mike Szmatula took a nifty, backhanded, cross-ice feed from defenseman Colton Saucerman and fed Braden Pimm in front of the crease for the Huskies’ fourth goal of the night.
It was the team-leading 16th goal of the season for Pimm, and the team-leading 20th helper for Szmatula, who also assisted on Torin Snydeman’s tally earlier in the period.
Second period, 3:23, Northeastern 3-0: How about another couple of penalties?
Harvard’s Alexander Kerfoot and Northeastern’s Kevin Roy are both sent off, Kerfoot for hooking and Roy for embellishment.
Second period, 2:54, Northeastern 3-0: The penalties are starting early here in the second, too. Northeastern’s Zach Aston-Reese is sent to the box for cross-checking, and Harvard’s Luke Esposito joins him just nine seconds later. Esposito was called for high-sticking after smacking Northeastern goalie Clay Witt in the helmet.
We’ll be 4-on-4 for a few minutes here.
Second period, 0:31, Northeastern 3-0: That did not take long.
Northeastern’s Mike Szmatula raced in on Raphael Girard before feeding linemate Torin Snydeman to extend the Huskies’ lead to three goals just 31 seconds into the second.
The goal apparently surprised TD Garden’s Jumbotron operator, too. The video boards flashed with images of Milan Lucic (who wear’s Snydeman’s No. 17 for the Bruins) before they were corrected.
First intermission, Northeastern 2-0: Harvard spent the bulk of its five-minute power play in the Northeastern zone, but the Crimson were able to manage just two shots on goal. Clay Witt turned both away, and the Huskies still hold a two-goal lead.
Northeastern was the dominant team by far here in the first, owning a 15-8 shot advantage and really allowing only one quality scoring chance (Sean Malone’s dribbler that hit the post).
The Huskies will be down a skater the rest of the way, though, with captain Josh Manson forced to watch the final two periods from the dressing room after drawing a game misconduct. That will also prevent Manson from playing in next Monday’s championship or consolation game, depending on how Northeastern fares over these final 40 minutes.
First period, 14:12, Northeastern 2-0: It’s getting a bit tough to keep up with all of these penalties. Northeastern captain Josh Manson is handed a five-minute major and a game misconduct for contact to the head after blowing up Harvard’s Alexander Kerfoot along the side boards.
This is as good a chance as any for the Crimson to get back into this game.
I should also note that Kerfoot did not appear to be injured on the play and was back on the ice for his next shift.
First period, 12:08, Northeastern 2-0: Harvard is not doing itself any favors.
After Northeastern spent upward of a minute in the Crimson zone, Harvard’s Max Everson was sent to the box for high-sticking, his second violation of the night.
Less than a minute later, Crimson blueliner Kevin Guiltinan elects to join his teammate in the box after being whistled for interference.
If you continue to give an explosive team like Northeastern power-play opportunities, it’ll hurt you, which is just what Kevin Roy did. Roy struck 19 seconds after Guiltinan’s penalty, beating Girard top shelf to stretch the Huskies’ lead to 2-0.
First period, 9:56, Northeastern 1-0: And here’s another whistle. Northeastern’s Saucerman is called for holding, which will give the Crimson a brief power play after Zielonka’s penalty expires.
Saucerman and Zielonka have picked up four PIMs apiece already tonight.
First period, 9:08, Northeastern 1-0: Harvard came agonizingly close to knotting this one up, as a Sean Malone wrist shot dribbled through Clay Witt but caught just enough of the post for the Huskies defense to swoop in and clear it out.
This hasn’t been a particularly clean game so far, as Harvard’s Phil Zielonka heads to the box for cross-checking. It’s the third penalty already for the Crimson (Northeastern has two).
First period, 5:57, Northeastern 1-0: The Huskies persistence pays off, and freshman Dalen Hedges beats Girard unassisted for his eighth goal of the season.
Harvard will now go on the power play, however, as winger Torin Snydeman is send to the box for hooking.
First period, 4:21, 0-0: The Huskies were all over Crimson goalie Raphael Girard during that power play, but they were unable to capitalize. Girard made a big glove save on a Matt Benning slapper with 14 seconds remaining on the man advantage, and Harvard came away with a clear on the ensuing face-off to complete the kill.
First period, 2:21, 0-0: Harvard had a golden opportunity to jump out to an early lead, but Tyler Moy was unable to beat Clay Witt with a top-shelf backhander.
Northeastern will now have the first power play of the night, as defenseman Max Everson is sent to the box for elbowing.
5:09 p.m.: Harvard wins the opening draw, and we are underway.
5 p.m.: Fans are still filtering into TD Garden as the players line up for introductions, but the Northeastern contingent — known for its volume — is definitely the more sizable thus far.
One quick note on the lineups: Northeastern will be starting its second line of freshman Mike Szmatula centering between freshman Zach Aston-Reese and junior (and Groton, Mass., native) Torin Snydeman.
Let’s play some hockey.
4:45 p.m.: Here are the full line breakdowns for both sides.
4:30 p.m.: We’re just about 30 minutes from puck drop here on Causeway Street, so let’s take a look at the top lines and pairings for the Huskies and Crimson.
Northeastern’s most prolific scorer, sophomore Kevin Roy, leads the Huskies’ first line alongside freshman center John Stevens and senior alternate captain Braden Pimm. Sophomore Mike Gunn and junior captain Josh Manson will start on the blue line, with goalie Clay Witt — who earlier today was named Hockey East Goalie of the Month for January — getting the nod in net.
On the other side, Harvard’s entire top five consists of NHL draftees. Freshman Sean Malone (Buffalo) centers between sophomores Jimmy Vesey (Nashville) and Brian Hart (Tampa Bay), with juniors Patrick McNally (Vancouver) and Max Everson (Toronto) handling defense duties. Senior Raphael Girard, a three-year starter, will start in goal for the Crimson.
12:45 p.m.: Super Bowl Sunday has come and gone. Now, it’s time for Beanpot Monday.
College hockey fans from around Greater Boston will descend on TD Garden for the 62nd annual Beanpot tournament Monday night, with a struggling Harvard team facing off against surging Northeastern at 5 p.m. in the first semifinal of the evening.
Both squads enter this season’s tournament looking to snap 20-plus-year championship droughts. The Crimson took home their last Beanpot trophy in 1993, and the Huskies — who, with a No. 10/11 national ranking, have surpassed all expectations thus far — have left the tournament empty-handed each year since 1988.
I’ll be bringing you the live blog for Game 1 before handing the reins over to my colleague Nick Goss for coverage of Boston College-Boston University, which is set to begin at 8 p.m.
Keep it tuned to NESN.com throughout the afternoon for up-to-the minute updates leading up to puck drop.
Photo via Twitter/@Eric_Alves87