BOSTON (AP) -
Mike Szmatula had a goal and two assists, Clay Witt made 27 saves and Northeastern beat Harvard 6-0 Monday in the opening game of the 62nd annual Beanpot.
Kevin Roy, Dalen Hedges, Colton Saucerman, Braden Pimm and Torin Snydeman also scored for the Huskies (16-8-3), who advanced to the championship round next Monday night against No. 2 Boston College or Boston University.
Northeastern is looking for its fifth Beanpot title -- by far the fewest among the four schools -- and first since 1988. Thanks to Witt, the 11th-ranked Huskies get another shot next week in their third final in four years.
"You need goaltending," Northeastern coach Jim Madigan said. "We obviously feel confident with our goaltending."
Harvard (6-12-3) has lost five of its last six games.
The tournament pits the Boston area's four Division I hockey programs -- located just a few miles apart -- against each other on the first two Mondays in February at TD Garden. Local bragging rights are at stake in an event that's often drawn packed houses dating to its long run at the original Boston Garden.
Some of the fervor has seemed to wear off lately, with empty seats outnumbering those filled on opening night the past few years. That pattern continued Monday, when the building was only about a quarter full for the first game.
It didn't dampen the excitement for Szmatula, a freshman from Michigan.
"Growing up I always watched it on TV," he said. "It's fun to be a part of."
Snowstorms have long been a part of Beanpot lore, too, and a mini storm dumped a couple of inches in the area Monday. Nothing serious, though.
The nightcap featured four-time defending champion Boston College against 29-time champion Boston University.
Northeastern broke it open with two second-period goals to make it 4-0.
Skating with a two-man advantage, the Huskies made it 2-0 midway through the first period when Roy one-timed a shot over the right shoulder of goalie Raphael Girard.
Hedges scored the first goal just under 6 minutes into the game.
Snydeman's goal on the opening shift of the second made it 3-0. Snydeman finished a 2-on-1 break by shoveling Szmatula's pass between Girard's pads. Pimm redirected a pass in front to make it 4-0 at 4:22.
Saucerman scored on a shot from the point 16 seconds into the third, and Girard was pulled. Szmatula added a power-play goal late in the game.
Harvard extended its longest drought without a Beanpot championship to 21 years. The Crimson have won 10 titles.
"They outplayed us all over the ice and outcoached us, for that matter," Harvard coach Ted Donato said. "Quite frankly, we lost battles all over the ice."
Harvard leads the all-time series with Northeastern 23-19.