BOSTON -- The past several seasons have helped change the culture of hockey at Harvard University.
First, an ECAC championship. This past year, a Hobey Baker winner in Jimmy Vesey.
Monday night at TD Garden, the Crimson wrote a new chapter.
After Harvard scored twice in the second period and three times in the third period en route to a 6-3 win over Boston University, senior co-captain Alexander Kerfoot answered a question no Crimson players could in the last 24 years:
How much does the Beanpot weigh?
"It felt pretty light when I was out there," said Kerfoot, who scored the game-winning goal on a rebound just 31 seconds into the third period. Certainly, adrenaline will do that.
Against a team that has amassed the second-most wins in college hockey this season, Harvard dominated. It put more than 12 shots on net in every period and held a 46-17 advantage for the game.
In the end, Harvard hoisted its first Beanpot since 1993 and the 11th in the program's storied history. For current head coach and alum Ted Donato, this was Harvard's night.
"I thought we were relentless, and I just felt that our group felt like it was their night," Donato said. "And, they were willing to work to make sure it was their night. I'm very happy for these guys. It's been a long time coming."
It was all Harvard in the first. The Crimson were credited 18 of the period’s 20 shots on goal, but managed just one goal as freshman Nathan Krusko got on the board after picking a puck out of BU freshman goaltender Jake Oettinger's pads at 15:10.
While the Crimson dominated play for the duration of the first period, it was on the reverse end to start the second as the Terriers scored twice before the frame was five minutes old to take a 2-1 lead.
At 1:29, freshman Kieffer Bellows evened the score with his fifth goal of the season, following up defenseman Brandon Hickey’s point shot after sophomore Bobo Carpenter deflected the puck down to the ice in front of Harvard goaltender Merrick Madsen.
Clayton Keller gave BU its first and only lead of the game at the 4:22 marker as he tipped junior defenseman John MacLeod’s shot from the right point.
"I thought the first eight minutes of the second period were the best eight minutes we played all night," BU head coach David Quinn said. "At the end of the day, this is a game of want. And, boy, did they want it more than we did."
From there, the tides turned. Domination continued.
The Crimson scored twice more in the second half of the frame and entered regulation’s final intermission with a 3-2 lead that it would never relinquish. Senior Luke Esposito tied the score at 10:46 with a redirect on Clay Anderson’s shot from just outside the left circle.
Krusko added to his Most Valuable Player resume with his second goal of the game and eighth of the season at 18:54. After defender John Marino powered to the net front, the puck bounced off a skate and right onto the stick of the Alpharetta, Ga., native who slid it home.
"When you come into a team like this, you expect to win games and battle every single night," said Krusko, the first freshman Beanpot MVP since Northeastern's Kevin Roy in 2013. "With this group, we're pretty confident with what we can do. ... Going into a game like this, we know if we really work hard we're going to like our odds at the end of the game."
Kerfoot nabbed Harvard's second man-up goal of the game in the third period's first minute, thanks to senior Tyler Moy's feed to the crease. No lead is safe with BU on the other bench, but sophomore Ryan Donato's rush past several defenders for a wrister from the left side gave the Crimson some insurance at 12:47.
"It was a big goal, the coach Donato said of his son's team-leading 16th goal of the season. "That made the light at the end of the tunnel a little brighter."
Still, BU responded. While falling down, Keller still managed to sneak an unassisted wrister through traffic and Madsen at 13:20. But, freshman defenseman Adam Fox sealed the Harvard win with an empty-netter from the opposite right wing with 1:50 to play.
"For that senior class, they wanted to be the group that broke the curse and leave a legacy," Ted Donato said. "They did that."