Sports, Winter, Hockey, Men's Hockey

BC Shuts Out Harvard 5–0 in Beanpot Consolation Game

When No. 1 Boston College faced off against No. 3 Boston University in the Beanpot Semifinals a week ago, it was tough to find an empty seat in TD Garden. The much anticipated matchup drew a packed house that reacted to nearly each and every bounce of the puck, and the game reciprocated that intensity.

But this was not the case when still-No. 1 BC faced off against Harvard in the Beanpot Consolation Game on Monday. The stadium was sparsely populated at the drop of the puck, and the game played like a scrimmage for the first period, with BC starting a backup netminder to boot.

“[The empty arena] doesn’t make it easier, but the guys were talking a lot before the game to create our own energy, so I love the messages they were telling each other,” BC Head Coach Greg Brown said.

Despite the lack of energy from the crowd, the Eagles (21–5–1, 13–3–1 Hockey East) defeated Harvard (4–15–4, 4–8–4 ECAC) by a score of 5–0 thanks to three second period goals and 17 saves from Jan Korec, registering a shutout in his first appearance in a BC sweater.

“I thought for us, you know, you’re, disappointed you’re in the early game, but we know it’s still a very important game as far as pairwise goes for the national picture, so we stressed that a lot, and our team came out and played with purpose,” Brown said.

The Crimson didn’t do much to rattle Korec, a freshman from Bratislava, Slovakia. They failed to force Korec to make a save until 8:13 into the game. The Crimson didn’t pick it up much for the rest of the period either, only managing to record three shots before the first intermission.

“Very happy for Jan to get a shutout in his first game,” Brown said.

Gabe Perreault finally broke the tie with eight minutes left in the second period when he tapped in a rebound on a shot by Ryan Leonard that bounced over Harvard goaltender Derek Mullahy.

“The puck just didn’t go in, but we felt if we stayed the course with that we would get our chances and then it opened up a bit in the second period,” Brown said.

A pair of one-timers in the final minute of the frame tightened BC’s grip on the game.

First, Oskar Jellvik hammered one in on a feed from Cutter Gauthier with 54 seconds left in the frame, then Leonard did the same 15 seconds later, with Perreault getting the assist on the goal that would put BC up 3–0 over the Crimson.

“If you keep getting chances like that, you’re gonna get some goals,” Brown said of Leonard after the game.

Harvard switched goaltenders during the second intermission, and BC captain Eamon Powell got on the board 7:34 into the third, beating replacement netminder Aku Koskenvuo blocker side.

Will Smith finished out the dominant win with a smooth breakaway goal off of a stretch pass by Leonard in which he beat Koskenvuo by faking to his forehand and then sweeping the puck all the way around the Harvard netminder and tucking it in with his back hand, putting BC up by five with just 4:38 remaining in the contest.

Despite the slow start, BC ended up turning in a dominant performance, outshooting the Crimson 39–19 to earn a third place finish in the 2024 Beanpot Tournament, its fourth third place finish in a row.

“As Coach York used to say, ‘Beanpot is the start of trophy season,’” Brown said. “We had a very good season and weren’t able to win last week, but we do know that this is the stretch run and you have to keep building and keep playing well and hopefully play in a lot of big games in the near future.”

February 12, 2024