Chris Rawlings made 41 saves to record his fifth shutout of the season and lift the Northeastern men's ice hockey team into the Beanpot championship game with a 4-0 triumph over Harvard in the semifinals on Monday afternoon at TD Garden. Mike McLaughlin scored the first two goals before Steve Silva and Brodie Reid added to the Huskies' lead in the second period.
The Huskies (9-11-6) return to the Beanpot title tilt for the second time in the last three years and will face the winner of the Boston College-Boston University semifinal on Monday, Feb. 14, at 7:30 p.m.
Rawlings stood tall in net despite the Crimson (4-18-0) holding a 41-31 advantage in shots on goal. Ryan Carroll made 20 saves over the first two periods in the Harvard net before being relieved by Kyle Richter, who stopped all seven shots he faced in the final frame.
Northeastern's first grade A scoring chance came around the 3:10 mark of the first after Tyler McNeely wheeled down the left side and tested Carroll to his right side. Carroll let the puck trickle out and Wade MacLeod nearly potted the rebound, but his angle was too short on the put-back attempt.
Sophomore Garrett Vermeersch bestowed the Crimson with its first power play of the game after taking a tripping call at 8:43. Harvard had a couple looks from Chris Huxley and Michael Biega early, but the best chance came off a carom out to the right dot. Alex Fallstrom had a wide-open look to the left side, but did not get enough lumber on it to attack Rawlings' vulnerable position.
Five seconds after the penalty released, Northeastern drew first blood in transition on a goal from McLaughlin at 10:48. Sophomore Drew Ellement swept it out of the zone out to Steve Quailer on the blue line. Quailer relayed the puck out to McLaughlin in the netural zone and the junior split two defenders and beat Carroll under his glove with a wrist shot for the 1-0 lead.
McLaughlin took matters into his own hands again to kick start the second period, blasting his second of the night at 1:47. Freshman Rob Dongara and McLaughlin wrangled the rubber away from Harvard in HU's zone to set up the scoring play. McLaughlin flung the puck towards Carroll and it jumped up his stick and before he realized it, the puck had already crossed the line to give the Huskies a two-goal cushion.
Silva extended the Huskies lead to three with a wrister in between the circles at the 10:57 mark of the second stanza. MacLeod won a scrum along the near side of the boards and carried it down behind Richter's right side in the corner. MacLeod zipped it out to Silva with a pair of defenders on him, but the senior juked the Crimson pressure and lit the lamp for his first-career Beanpot goal.
Michael Del Mauro and Ryan Grimshaw took penalties 1:19 apart at 14:18 and 15:37, respectively, giving Northeastern 41 seconds of a two-man advantage. One second after the first penalty released, NU's power play was still cycling the puck quickly, leaving Brodie Reid wide open in the slot. Freshman Anthony Bitetto and MacLeod worked it over to set Reid up with the one-timer slap shot at 16:19 for the 4-0 lead and the Huskies' first power play goal of the night.
The Huskies three-goal second period forced Harvard coach Ted Donato to pull Carroll and have Richter staff the pipes for the final 20 minutes.
The Huskies were 1-for-4 on the power play, while the Crimson were stymied on all six of their extra-man opportunities.
Before returning to the Garden for the Beanpot championship game, the Huskies visit UMass Lowell for a Hockey East contest on Friday at 7 p.m.
- With the victory, Northeastern's overall record in the Beanpot elevates to 34-83. Northeastern's record against Harvard in the Beanpot is now 18-22. The Huskies are now 8-12 in first round games against the Crimson. All-time in first round games, Northeastern's record rests at 13-45.
- The only time Northeastern has defeated Harvard twice in the same season was in the 1978-79 season when the Huskies beat the Crimson at Matthews Arena on Jan. 4, 1979 (5-3). Northeastern repeated its winning ways on Feb. 12, 1979 in the Beanpot, 5-4, in overtime.
- Sophomore goaltender Chris Rawlings has shutout four of his last six opponents. He is the first goaltender in Northeastern history to accomplish that feat. The North Delta, B.C. native is now in sole possession of second place in the shutouts category across the country. Rawlings has blanked five opponents this season and is second only to Nebraska-Omaha's John Faulkner (6). Rawlings surpassed Keni Gibson (2001-05) and is now all by himself in second place in Northeastern lore with eight-career shutouts. Brad Thiessen (2006-09) is the career leader with nine.
- Mike McLaughlin tallied his third career two-goal game and second of the season after netting a pair against New Hampshire on Oct. 22, 2010. McLaughlin scored his second and third career Beanpot goals after previously netting a goal in the 2009 championship game against Boston University.
- This game marks the second straight Beanpot game a Husky scored two goals. Tyler McNeely scored twice in last year's consolation game against Harvard.
- Tyler McNeely now has a four-game Beanpot point streak after picking up an assist on Steve Silva's goal. McNeely has four goals and two assists in seven career Beanpot games.
- Wade MacLeod (3-5-8) and Tyler McNeely (2-4-6) are riding five-game point streaks (3-4-7) heading into Friday's contests at UMass Lowell. Steve Silva has scored in his last three contests (2-2-4)
- Monday's shutout marks the fourth time Northeastern has shutout an opponent in the Beanpot Tournament. The Huskies blanked Harvard on Feb. 10, 1997 (2-0) in the consolation game. On Feb. 8, 1991, NU shutout Harvard, 5-0, in the consolation contest. On Feb. 1, 1988, the Huskies topped Boston College, 4-0, in the first-round tilt.
- The last occasion Northeastern shutout the same opponent twice in one season is when the Huskies blanked Merrimack on Dec. 2, 2006 (2-0) in North Andover and Feb. 2, 2007 (1-0 - overtime) at Matthews Arena.
- The last time Northeastern won a Beanpot game by four goals or more came on Feb. 2, 2009 in the first round against Boston College in a 6-1 final.