BOSTON — Saying that Steve Michalek stood on his head Tuesday evening at TD Garden might sell short the performance he put on in net for the Harvard Crimson.
The senior goaltender stopped an incredible 63 Boston University shots, setting a new Beanpot saves record as his team fell to the Terriers 4-3 in double overtime in the 2015 semifinals of the annual tournament.
“I thought I did my job,” said Michalek, a Glastonbury, Conn., native and Minnesota Wild draftee. “I thought everyone on the team really did a great job buckling down defensively. I know we had numerous blocked shots on Grade-A opportunities that I really thought was kind of the difference in the game. That kind of kept us in the game.”
The goalie isn’t wrong in that assessment — his teammates did block 29 Terriers shots, including 10 in the third period and 12 in overtime. That work in front of the crease coupled with Michalek’s work in it allowed Harvard to hold the highest-scoring offense in Hockey East scoreless for nearly 45 straight minutes.
Michalek did not look like the picture of perfect health for much of this time, either, often dropping to one knee while his team had possession in the opposite end. He said after the game that he merely was experiencing some cramping, but the Terriers smelled blood and sought to take advantage.
“Yeah, I think we noticed it on the bench with a couple of minutes left in the first overtime,” junior winger Danny O’Regan said. “Just guys on the bench saying, ‘Throw pucks at him.'”
“We noticed it,” added senior alternate captain Cason Hohmann, who finished with a goal, an assist and a game-high 11 shots on goal. “One time, we were back in our end, and he was kind of hunched over and kind of holding his arm. You never want to see a guy get hurt, but that was our mindset. We just wanted to get pucks to the net, and maybe he’ll give up a soft one or something.”
Michalek didn’t give up any softies, but he was unable to protect the net long enough to give Harvard the victory. Crimson sophomore forward Tyler Moy bundled a breakaway midway through the first overtime, spoiling Harvard’s best chance to end it, and O’Regan lit the lamp at 2:18 of the second extra session to send BU to next week’s title game.
“It’s a tough one to swallow,” Michalek said.
Thumbnail photo via Twitter/@mashmore98
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