The independent student newspaper of Northeastern University

The Huntington News

The independent student newspaper of Northeastern University

The Huntington News

The independent student newspaper of Northeastern University

The Huntington News

‘O Captain My Captain’ : Justin Hryckowian leads the way to Huskies’ sixth-straight Beanpot final

The+Huskies+celebrate+their+Beanpot+semifinals+victory.+Northeastern+defeated+Harvard+3-2+in+overtime+.
Sofia Sawchuk
The Huskies celebrate their Beanpot semifinals victory. Northeastern defeated Harvard 3-2 in overtime .

The Beanpot semifinal wasn’t Northeastern’s cleanest win this season, but the Huskies got it done. 

The competition was the first time Northeastern and Harvard faced each other since last year’s Beanpot championship game which the Huskies won in a historic shootout and once again, the two teams couldn’t decide it in regulation. After 60 minutes of chippy back-and-forth play, Northeastern took back the reins with an overtime goal to send the rows of Husky fans into an uproar and end the matchup 3-2.

“You know how important the Beanpot is and playing in those high-stakes moments,” said captain and junior forward Justin Hryckowian. “You feel a little more poise in these situations when you get older and you’ve been through it. I think you have a greater appreciation for winning the thing when you’ve lost it before.”

Harvard started out strong, putting Huskies freshman goaltender Cameron Whitehead to work early. Backed by Whitehead’s stellar saves and a couple of broken Crimson sticks the Huskies turned it around. 

Eight minutes into the period, senior forward Alex Campbell put Northeastern in front. Taking the puck from end to end, Campbell caught the Crimson in transition. Hryckowian dropped it off for Campbell in the defensive zone and fended off Harvard’s blue line as Campbell dove through the slot and whipped a low shot past senior goaltender Derek Mullahy.

With interceptions, stolen pucks and nimble skates, Northeastern maintained control of the period, fueled by its leading scorer’s opening goal. The Huskies outshot the Crimson 15-7 in the first period, and Harvard quickly got frustrated. 

With 5:44 to go in the period, the first penalty of the night commenced — a tripping call against Harvard sophomore forward Casey Severo. The Huskies tried to create the opportunity for a one-timer on the power play, but despite Harvard’s bottom-of-the-barrel .750 penalty kill percentage, Northeastern only managed to get a single shot in before the two minutes expired.

A few minutes later, the Huskies started feeling the heat. Senior forward Gunnarwolfe Fontaine was sent to the box with less than two minutes left in the period. At first, Harvard was quick with the extra skater and Northeastern struggled to clear the team’s quick cycles around the zone. However, once the Huskies got the puck on their sticks, they gained a shorthanded opportunity to put the Crimson back on their toes. 

With a few seconds carrying over from the Fontaine penalty, Harvard gained momentum and came out quicker in the second period. The Crimson held Northeastern to its own zone and were able to capitalize and find the back of the net. 

In the third minute, freshman forward Ben MacDonald snapped the puck past a wall of defending Huskies, tying the game 1-1. 

The second period was riddled with penalties, many of them courtesy of Northeastern. Its second of the game came in the seventh minute of the middle frame when sophomore defender Hunter McDonald was sent to the box for indirect contact to the head. Despite coming into the game with the third-best power play percentage in the NCAA, Harvard was not able to take advantage of this opportunity.

The Crimson had another chance to take the lead as sophomore defenseman Ryan Healey took a penalty shot in the ninth minute of the period after Northeastern sophomore defender tripped him in the crease . Healey fired the puck at the center of the net, but Whitehead was able to make the stop.

“The penalty shot was huge. He made a huge save against a really good player, and our team has so much confidence in him,” said head coach Jerry Keefe. “It’s his first game doing it here at the Beanpot, so I think he showed that he’s going to show up for the games.”

Despite advantage after advantage for Harvard, the team couldn’t follow through on goal. With eight minutes left, graduate student defender Pito Walton received a penalty for cross-checking, but the Crimson could not find the back of the net.

The Huskies gained more possession at the tail end of the period after relentless penalties. 

Harvard freshman defender Matthew Morden was sent to the box for slashing with 20 seconds left in the period, giving Northeastern a leg-up to begin the third period.

With a 5-on-4 advantage to open the final frame, the Huskies gained back momentum. Although the Crimson killed off the penalty with ease, they struggled to escape Northeastern’s set-up for nearly a quarter of the period.

However, once the Crimson got going, they couldn’t be stopped. On their first shot of the period, a full 4:21 in, Harvard finally broke into Northeastern’s zone and scored quickly. Pressured by the Huskies’ defense, Harvard freshman forward Cam Johnson banked the puck back to the blue line. Junior defender Jack Bar slid it across to Morden, who slammed it through traffic from the point for his first career goal. 

Down 2-1, the Huskies tried to get back in the game, but they kept shooting right into bodies. 

The extended zone time finally paid off halfway through the period. Borgesi took a moving shot from the left faceoff circle, and with commotion in the crease, Mullahy couldn’t cover the puck. The rebound popped free and Hryckowian picked up the loose puck, giving it a quick backhand shove into the empty net. 

“The bench was really positive and we knew we were one shot away from tying that game,” Keefe said. “Our captain was outstanding. Every time he stepped on the ice we had great scoring chances. I think the rest of the group just fed off of that and we kind of started to roll there.”

With the clock ticking down toward the end of regulation and the score tied 2-2, Northeastern became frantic. The Huskies had tons of opportunities — an open net shot that went just wide, a wraparound attempt that landed in the crease, a flurry of rebounds that couldn’t quite find the back of the net — but Mullahy kept the Crimson alive. 

After a brief pause in the action, overtime commenced and Harvard didn’t stand a chance. The Huskies won back the draw, and though they were forced to retreat to their own zone to set up again, they never lost control of the puck. 

Northeastern advanced with speed. Moving into the offensive zone, Fontaine dropped the puck back to Hryckowian and skated toward open ice. Hryckowian returned the favor, splitting the Harvard defense, and Fontaine, who scored both of Northeastern’s regulation goals against Harvard in last year’s Beanpot finals, took the one-timer into the open net to end the game 3-2 in favor of the Huskies just 33 seconds into overtime.

“Yeah, I mean I obviously like playing Harvard a little bit,” Fontaine said. “It seems like I keep scoring against them. Me and [Hryckowian], [we’ve] played with each other for three years now. I think we have pretty good chemistry on the ice and it was a heck of a pass by him, and I just had to put it in the net.”

Gunnarwolfe Fontaine looks for the puck. Fontaine scored the game-winning goal in Monday night’s competition. (Sofia Sawchuk)

With another come-from-behind victory, powered by a three-point performance from the captain, Northeastern punched its ticket to the Beanpot championship, its sixth in a row, and extended its winning streak to five. Next Monday, the Huskies have a chance to hold onto their crown when they face No. 3 Boston University in the championship game. BU defeated No. 1 Boston College in an upset win in the later semifinal match. 

“Whoever we’re playing we obviously respect,” Keefe said before the BU versus BC game. “Everyone’s a good team, especially the team that we are playing next. But we expect to win. It’s a confident group, and we feel like if we play a certain way we’re going to give ourselves the best chance to win.”

Northeastern has won four of the last five Beanpots, its sole loss in that span coming from BU in 2022, so the team has a debt to settle. The long-time rivals will square off at TD Garden Monday at 8 p.m. for the 71st Beanpot title.

About the Contributors
Amelia Ballingall, Sports Editor
Amelia Ballingall is a third-year speech language pathology and audiology major. She is sports editor for The News and previously served as deputy sports editor and deputy design editor. She is also Vice President of Membership Development for Delta Phi Epsilon, the social media manager for Speech and Hearing Club, and a Student Success Guide on campus. Amelia is looking forward to another great semester with The News!
Sofia Garrett, Deputy Sports Editor
Sofia Garrett is a second-year journalism and media and screen studies major at Northeastern University. She previously edited her own documentary in London and managed the social media accounts for her town’s local bakery, along with working as the women’s soccer beat writer for The News. Now, she serves as the deputy sports editor and is on co-op with The Boston Globe.
More to Discover