BOSTON — The Boston University Terriers and Harvard Crimson have squared off in three consecutive Beanpot tournaments.
Their first two meetings ended in routs. Tuesday’s most certainly did not.
Nope, the BU-Harvard matchup that kicked off the 2015 Beanpot was an instant classic, one that pitted the most explosive offense in Hockey East against a senior goaltender playing the game of his life.
It took until the 2:18 mark of double overtime — three hours and 39 minutes after puck drop — for a winner to finally emerge.
BU winger Sean Rodrigues intercepted a pass near the Harvard blue line and found linemate Danny O’Regan, who took care of the rest. The Needham, Mass., native fired a shot past Crimson goaltender Steve Michalek, clinching a 4-3 win for the Terriers and spoiling Michalek’s Beanpot-record 63-save effort.
The tournament brass couldn’t confirm whether it was the longest game in Beanpot history — a 1965 semifinal between Boston College and Northeastern required three overtimes but might have used shorter extra sessions — but for BU, which carried a five-game Beanpot losing streak into Tuesday, it’ll easily go down as one of the most memorable contests.
“Phenomenal opening to the Beanpot,” BU coach David Quinn said. “Harvard’s a heck of a hockey team. … We were kind of expecting a one-goal game or a game that would come down to the last minute. I certainly didn’t envision double overtime, but I’m just really proud of our guys.”
Harvard has had BU’s number of late. The Crimson smoked the Terriers in each of the last two Beanpot consolation games — winning by a combined score of 13-6 — and also are one of only four teams to beat them this season. Harvard’s 3-2 overtime win Nov. 25 at Agganis Arena knocked BU from its No. 1 perch in the national rankings.
Early on, it looked like that streak might continue. Alexander Kerfoot and Sean Malone tallied second-period goals to put Harvard up 3-1, and the ensuing period of what Quinn referred to as undisciplined “pond hockey” resulted in numerous odd-man rushes for the Crimson.
Around the midway point of frame, however, the Terriers composed themselves and began unleashing a barrage of shots in Michalek’s direction. BU finished with a 67-34 advantage in shots on goal and an absurd 123-58 edge in total shots taken.
That onslaught resulted in a Nikolas Olsson goal and another by Ahti Oksanen that tied the score with 23 seconds remaining in the second, but nothing more until O’Regan’s game-winner more than two full periods later.
“As the game went on, it got a little frustrating for me, I know, because I had plenty of chances to score,” said O’Regan, who registered six shots on goal, including three in overtime. “But we just kept saying, ‘We’re just going to keep doing the same things.’ The same little things. Get to the net, and good things will happen.”
Good things did indeed happen for O’Regan and his teammates, who now turn their sights toward next week’s championship game — the 50th in BU’s storied Beanpot history. They’re hoping to become the first Terriers squad since 2009 to take home the trophy.
Thumbnail photo via Twitter/@BGlobeSports
Powered by WordPress.com VIP