By Matt Noonan
BOSTON, Mass. – A pair of second period power play goals by sophomore Zach Sanford and freshman Colin White proved to be the difference as the fifth-ranked Boston College Eagles defeated seventh-ranked Harvard University, 3-2, in the 64th Boston Beanpot semifinals on Monday evening at the T.D. Garden.
With the win, the Eagles will compete in their 35th championship in program history. Boston College will face either ninth-ranked Boston University or Northeastern University next Monday, February 8 at 7:30 p.m.
The Crimson will compete in the consolation game with puck drop scheduled for 4:30 p.m.
Boston College freshman Casey Fitzgerald provided the Eagles with an early lead, potting his third goal of the season at 1:35 in the opening stanza. Fitzgerald’s goal was the quickest marker since Bryan Ewing lit the lamp 10 years earlier as a member of the BU Terriers.
Harvard, which did not register a single shot for close to 10 minutes, capitalized on its initial attempt as freshman Ryan Donato netted his first-ever Beanpot goal after racing into the Eagles zone at 9:47. Classmate Adam Baughman pushed the Crimson ahead, 2-1, minutes later as he slid the puck past BC junior goalie Thatcher Demko at 14:44. The goal marked Baughman’s initial collegiate marker.
The Crimson would not locate the back of the net for the remainder of the game as Demko turned aside 21 shots. Harvard sophomore goaltender Merrick Madsen denied 30 shots, including 13 attempts in the final session.
“(Boston College) played a strong game and were really able to limit us. (We) didn’t get the amount of zone time and possession of the puck that we needed (so we could) create more offense, so give them a lot of credit for (the win), but we’re disappointed and frustrated that we didn’t execute a lot of the things we needed to do to be more successful,” said Harvard head coach Ted Donato.
Monday’s win marked Boston College’s 12th consecutive victory against Harvard in the Beanpot, while head coach Jerry York improves to 14-1 against the Crimson.
“It was a good test for us,” York said following his team’s 18th win of the season. “I thought Harvard gave us all we could handle tonight, I thought the ability for us to kill (a late third period) penalty was a major factor, and then our five versus six – we never really let them get settled coming up the ice, so those are kind of key parts of the game.”