Esposito earned his eighth goal on the season against the Huskies (Gil Talbot).
BOSTON, Mass. – In the 65th annual Beanpot Tournament, the No. 4/5 Harvard men's hockey held on for a 4-3 victory over Northeastern in the semifinal round at the TD Garden Monday, as the Crimson advanced to its first final since 2008.
Harvard extended its win streak to four games and improved to 16-5-2 overall, while the Huskies slipped to 11-12-5. Luke Esposito and Alexander Kerfoot each scored a goal and assisted on two tallies for the Crimson. Harvard will take on either No. 3/3 Boston University or No. 7/7 Boston College in the Beanpot final Monday, Feb. 13 at 7:30 p.m. The game will be shown live on NESN.
The Crimson found itself in a tight contest early, as neither team managed to get on the scoreboard after the first period. Junior goaltender Merrick Madsen, who finished with 27 saves on the day, tallied six stops in the opening frame, and the Crimson totaled five shots on net.
Harvard's attack picked up in the second period, as the Crimson took the lead on a redirect from Kerfoot off a pass from sophomore Viktor Dombrovskiy with 6:10 to play in the period. Dombrovsky stopped the puck at the blue line as Northeastern tried to clear from their zone, and a quick toss at the net allowed Kerfoot to tip the puck past the Huskies' goaltender. The goal marked Kerfoot's 10th on the year.
Northeastern answered with a goal of its own on a power play with 1:52 remaining the second frame. After a penalty on the Crimson for interference, sophomore Adam Gaudette found the back of the net for the Huskies after a shot from the point hit the post and bounced around in front of the crease. Harvard outshot Northeastern, 12-7, in the period, but the score was deadlocked at 1-1 heading into the third period.
Harvard broke the tie at the 7:39 mark of the third, taking advantage of a Northeastern penalty for slashing to make it a 2-1 contest. Senior Clay Anderson fired a laser that beat the Huskies' keeper after the set-up from Esposito. Anderson notched his second goal of the season with the slap shot.
The Crimson added to its lead as senior Tyler Moy scored his team-high 12th goal of the season, maneuvering his way through a crowd in front of the net to poke it in at 9:58.
Harvard continued to attack the Northeastern defense even while a man down, tallying a short-handed goal with 7:42 left in regulation. Kerfoot put on the pressure with a shot that was knocked away by the Northeastern goalie to where Esposito was waiting to put it in, making it a 4-1 contest.
The Huskies cut the deficit to 4-2 with 6:29 left in the third on a power-play goal by Nolan Stevens. Zach Aston-Reese and Garrett Cockerill were credited with assists on the tally.
With 1:33 left, Northeastern inched closer, getting within one, 4-3, as Adam Gaudette, fighting off traffic in front, poked him a loose puck passed Madsen. The Huskies tried pushing the puck through in the remaining minutes, but Madsen recorded four saves in the last minute of regulation.
Harvard will host Union on Friday, Feb. 10 at 7 p.m. The game will be broadcast on the Ivy League Digital Network.