Terrier Icemen Take First Round of Beanpot
Defeat Crimson 3-1
BU owned the first two periods, BU owned the crowd, and BU ultimately owned the night.
The number-one-ranked team in the nation lived up to its billing Monday night, as the Boston University Terrier icemen took down the Harvard Crimson in the first round of the 60th annual Beanpot tournament at Boston’s TD Garden.
The game marked the second time the Terriers beat the Crimson this season, improving their overall record to 17-8-1. BU remains in sole possession of first place in Hockey East and will face Boston College next Monday night, as the Terriers go after an unprecedented 30th Beanpot championship.
BU struck first in the game when forward Matt Nieto (CGS’12) beat Harvard goalie Steve Michalek on a wrap-around goal with 8:14 gone in the first period. Assistant captain Alex Chiasson (CAS’13) and defender Sean Escobedo (SMG’13) earned assists on the goal. Nieto has emerged as a significant offensive force for the Terriers. He had an 8-game goal streak earlier in the season and went into the game tied for first on the team with 26 points.
Despite a disappointing season, the Crimson entered last night’s game leading the nation in power play efficiency, converting on 30.8 percent of their chances. The Terriers tested fate when forward Evan Rodrigues (SMG’15) went to the box for boarding at 9:12, but Harvard was unable to score, thanks in large part to an excellent play by Chiasson, who dove to the ice to block a shot as the power play expired.
Harvard gave BU plenty of opportunities to extend its lead in the second half of the period, handing over three power plays. The Terriers first failed to convert when Crimson forward Rence Coassin went to the box at 11:55 for hitting from behind, although Sahir Gill (CGS’12) and Wade Megan (CGS’11, MET’13) made strong bids.
Crimson junior forward Marshall Everson then gave the Terriers more chances by committing two penalties in under three minutes—for interference at 14:19 and then for hitting from behind at 16:25.
Not only did the Terriers fail to convert on either power play, but they nearly allowed Harvard to score its first shorthanded goal of the season. Crimson forward Colin Blackwell had a breakaway opportunity after a turnover in the neutral zone, but standout goalie Kieran Millan (MET’12) made a highlight-reel kick save, keeping Harvard off the scoreboard with just over two left to play in the first.
The period ended with BU and Harvard registering nine shots apiece, leaving the Terriers with a 1-0 advantage.
“We were in the box far too often in the first half of the game,” said Harvard head coach Ted Donato, “and Millan made it awful tough for us to get back into it.”
Terrier head coach Jack Parker (SMG’68, Hon.’97) agreed, noting that neither team played up to its ability. “I don’t think that either team played their best game tonight,” he said. “We acted like we were very frustrated that we weren’t playing better, and we continued to act very frustrated.”
Play by both teams became even sloppier in the second period, as Harvard committed three more penalties and BU four.
Megan earned the game’s first power play goal at 7:30 of the second, beating Michalek with just nine seconds remaining on the Terrier power play. Gill and Escobedo were credited with assists.
Megan was just getting started, though, scoring his 2nd goal of the game and 14th of the season at the 14:02 mark. Line mate Gill assisted again, for his 2nd of the game and 13th on the year.
The Terriers’ three-goal lead proved short-lived, however. Just after defender Ryan Santana (CAS’13) went to the penalty box for cross-checking at 14:48, Chiasson turned the puck over in the Terriers’ zone. That allowed Crimson assistant captain Alex Killorn to put Harvard on the board at 15:27, beating Millan to his right for a 3-1 BU lead. That goal marked the 15th of the year for the Crimson’s leading scorer.
With 16:15 gone, Harvard pulled Michalek in favor of sophomore goaltender Raphael Girard, much to the delight of the predominantly BU-friendly crowd. The Crimson were barraged with taunts of “grade inflation” and “safety school” all night, playing in front of what seemed to be a Terrier home crowd.
After a comparatively uneventful third period, Harvard put plenty of pressure on Millan late in the game. The Terrier goalie, who entered the game with a .923 save percentage, was up to the task, keeping Harvard off the board and cementing BU’s 3-1 victory.
This year is the first time since 2007 that both the BU men’s and women’s ice hockey teams will play in Beanpot championship games. The men beat BC that year, and the women fell to Harvard.
The Boston College Eagles defeated the Northeastern Huskies in last night’s second first round game by a score of 7-1, making BC the team to beat in next Monday’s Beanpot championship.
BU and BC last squared off on December 3, with the Terriers falling 6-1.
Now the other Comm Ave team is all that stands in the way of the Terriers’ 30th Beanpot title in program history.
The BU Terriers will face the Boston College Eagles in the Beanpot championship game Monday, February 13, at 7:30 p.m. at the TD Garden, Boston. Harvard and Northeastern will play in the consolation game at 4:30 p.m. Ticket price information can be found here. The games will be televised on NESN. If you’re watching the game, add #bubeanpot at the end of your tweet on Twitter, and you’ll be added to the comments queue. Not on Twitter? Add your feedback as a comment to the CoverItLive event dialogue on BU Today.
The BU women’s ice hockey team goes up against the Northeastern Huskies in the women’s Beanpot championship game tonight, Tuesday, February 7, at Walter Brown Arena, at 8 p.m. Harvard and Boston College play in the consolation game at Walter Brown at 5 p.m. Tickets are $5 for the general public, $3 for children 12 and under and seniors, and free for students from each of the four participating schools showing a valid student ID. Tickets may be purchased in advance or at Walter Brown Arena one hour before the game. If you’re watching the game, add #bubeanpot at the end of your tweet on Twitter, and you’ll be added to the comments queue. Not on Twitter? Add your feedback as a comment to the CoverItLive event dialogue on BU Today.
Ben Carsley can be reached at email@example.com.+ Comments