By Eric Getzoff
BU News Service
The Boston University Terriers and Harvard University Crimson flipped rankings in the latest USCHO.com poll, with Harvard taking over the No. 3 spot and the Terriers falling down one spot to No. 4. The Crimson proved the committee right Monday, defeating the Terriers 6-3 in the 65th annual Beanpot title game.
Utilizing an offensive attack similar to Tom Brady’s in the fourth quarter of last week’s Super Bowl, Harvard outshot the Terriers 46-17 overall and 18-2 in the first period. The victory secured Harvard’s 11th tournament title and first since 1993.
“Without question, the better team won tonight,” Terrier head coach David Quinn said. “They outskated us, they outhit us, they outcompeted us, and they outshot us.”
The Crimson took advantage of five Terrier penalties, with three of them coming in the first period. They scored on two of their odd-man chances, including two 5-on-3s. One of those resulted in the first goal of the game after Kieffer Bellows and Charlie McAvoy took penalties 57 seconds apart in the first period.
The Terriers, outshot 18-2 in the frame, escaped the first period trailing only 1-0.
BU came out flying in the second period and scored two unanswered goals to take a 2-1 lead just 4:22 into the middle frame. Bellows connected on a power play and Clayton Keller scored less than three minutes later, notching his fifth goal in six games. Keller had a 15-game point streak snapped during Friday night’s loss to UMass Lowell.
Keller wasn’t thinking about starting a new point streak after Monday night’s game. Instead, he lamented the Terriers’ poor offensive performance.
“This one definitely hurts,” Keller told the Daily Free Press.
Harvard responded six minutes later in the second period when Luke Esposito deflected a shot past Terrier goaltender Jake Oettinger to even up the game. The Crimson added one more goal with 1:06 remaining in the period when the puck deflected off of Dante Fabbro’s skate and onto Nathan Krusko’s stick, who beat Oettinger for his second goal of the game.
BU would be assessed a penalty following the goal due to a Fabbro hook during the Crimson’s goal-scoring possession. With 22 seconds remaining in the period, BU committed another penalty on a trip by McAvoy, which set up Harvard’s second 5-on-3 of the night.
The Crimson again scored on the two-man advantage early in the third period, giving them a 4-2 lead BU wouldn’t overcome.
“The penalties killed us,” Quinn said. “You can’t go down 5-on-3 twice for that length of time against a team like that.”
Each team scored one more goal before the Crimson connected on an empty-netter to seal the Terriers’ fate take the Beanpot trophy across the river to Cambridge for the first time in 24 years.
Over the Terriers’ last two games, they are averaging just nine shots through the first two periods.
Captain Doyle Somerby, one of only three seniors on the team, said the team’s preparation isn’t where it needs to be.
“It’s the mentality before the game, getting ready for games,” Somerby said. “We haven’t shown up ready to play the last two games, and we’ve paid the consequences for that.”
Defenseman Brandon Hickey left the game in the second period after taking a tough hit from Luke Esposito. Hickey had to be helped off the ice and did not return to the game, though he did return to the bench in the third period.
The Terriers sit behind Boston College for the No. 1 spot in the Hockey East. Each team has four games remaining. While BU would love to think about the team in front of them, they have to be aware of the teams behind them, as UMass Lowell, Notre Dame and Providence are all within striking distance. BU hosts Notre Dame for a two-game series in the final weekend of the season.
First, the Terriers will prepare for New Hampshire. A home-and-home series awaits them this weekend, starting Friday night at Agganis Arena.