Jim Madigan doesn’t want to talk about it just yet, but the Northeastern coach will be leading the Huskies to the Beanpot final for the third consecutive year after Northeastern defeated Harvard, 3-1, in the early semifinal game at TD Garden Monday.
“Our focus is Friday [at Maine] and then Monday,” Madigan said. “We’ll focus in on Monday after that. It’s about winning a Beanpot and if we can win the Beanpot for all our guys who haven’t had a chance to win it, then that’s special for them. And then we can add on the three word. We’ll address that when the time comes.”
After Harvard took an early lead with a power-play goal from sophomore Jack Drury just over five minutes in, seven Northeastern skaters contributed to the three goals that sent the Huskies into the final.
In his first Beanpot, graduate transfer Brendan van Riemsdyk potted the winner 30 seconds into the second period off assists from Grant Jozefek and Riley Hughes. The goal broke van Riemsdyk’s scoring silence — his only other goal this season came Nov. 1 against Massachusetts.
“I couldn’t be more thankful for the coaching staff,” van Riemsdyk said. “It’s obviously not the most productive year for me, but they’ve stayed positive with me and they never really get down on me. I couldn’t be more thankful that I got a very good quality [goal] tonight.”
Graduate transfer Craig Pantano, a Bridgewater native also playing in his first Beanpot after playing for Merrimack, made 27 saves as the Huskies outlasted Harvard.
Northeastern junior Zach Solow scored his 11th goal of the season on a power play halfway through the first period, with Harvard’s Henry Bowlby in the box for slashing. Sophomore Tyler Madden and senior captain Ryan Shea helped out, and Shea, a Milton resident, would seal the deal with an empty-netter with less than a minute left to play.
Harvard’s man-up advantage helped on its lone goal, but the Crimson struggled to capitalize on other opportunities. Harvard opened the final frame with a 5-on-3 advantage, with Northeastern freshman Jayden Struble sent into the box at the end of the second for tripping, with classmate Mike Kesselring following 16 seconds into the third for cross-checking.
“We had some good looks,” said Harvard senior captain Nathan Krusko. “I feel like we had some hesitancy to shoot the puck and take it to the net. We did get a power-play goal from [Drury], but I felt like as the game went on we were very reluctant to take pucks.
“We had some good opportunities, and we can tip our caps to the goalie, but at the end of the day we’ve got to find a way if we want to win these big games.”
This year marks the third time the Huskies, back-to-back champions, will appear in the Beanpot final three years in a row. They appeared in the championship game from 1983-85, and again from 2013-15.
Jenna Ciccotelli can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.