BOSTON — The Beanpot consolation win may not have had any impact on Harvard’s conference record, but to head coach Ted Donato, the victory over Boston University had a significant impact on their schedule.
Heading into the matchup, the outlook for the lone ECAC team playing amongst a trio of tough Hockey East competitors was not promising, especially considering the Crimson’s record. Harvard had posted a 5-18-1 record on the year — hardly the mark of a title contender — but they battled into the final minutes with the 18-17-3 Terriers, pulling away with a 5-4 win with just over two minutes to play in regulation.
The Crimson could have packed it in early, giving in to the frustrating fate of a five-minute major penalty late in the first period. Instead of letting the strong BU power play take them over, the Crimson stepped up, killing off every second of the five-minute infraction that stretched into the second, and scoring a short-handed goal to tie the game at 1-1.
“We’re glad to come out with the win,” Donato said. “It was a strange game, a lot of goals against, but I thought our guys battled hard and I was happy with the way they stayed with it after killing off that five minute penalty that could have really done us in.”
Harvard still has a long way to go if they want become an ECAC playoff contender this season as they sit among the bottom two in the conference with a 3-13-1 record in league action. However, they are coming off a stretch of close games against tough teams, and the win over BU might be the boost the team needs for their win column.
“We wanted to use it [this game] as a measuring stick and to get some momentum, but coming into this the game against Northeastern in the first round, we had played some pretty good hockey,” Donato said. “[Monday night] we battled. It hasn’t been pretty even when we have played well but I give the guys a lot of credit and I think we have a lot of optimism for the end of the season.”
The Crimson just might have what it takes to go on a successful run for the last leg of the regular season. Three of their final five games come against teams that hover near the bottom of the ECAC, and the win over BU definitely adds a spring in their step as they play out the final games of the year.
“We wanted it [this game] to give us the opportunity to play against a good team,” Donato said. “And to do the things that we need to do to hopefully have some success down the stretch in our league and into the playoffs.”