BOSTON—If only. Although the Harvard men’s hockey team ultimately fell to No. 1 Boston University 4-3, the Crimson held its own against the top-ranked team in the nation and nearly secured a victory, as junior Alex Biega slammed in what would have been the tying goal just milliseconds after time ran out on the first round of the Beanpot tournament last night.
“The game was pretty even throughout,” said Harvard coach Ted Donato ’91. “But we put them on the power play, and they’re tough to stop.”
While the Crimson managed to remain competitive, the Terriers, which have converted 23.8 percent of power plays and are 89 percent on the penalty kill, came through on special teams to secure the win.
“Our power play won it for us,” BU coach Jack Parker said.
Harvard gave the Terriers three man-advantage opportunities in the first period, but the Crimson killed each chance, with freshman Colin Moore and co-captain Brian McCafferty clearing the puck out of the defensive zone to limit BU’s persistent offensive threat.
On top of that, the Terrier offense had trouble getting the puck on frame, with only seven of 22 attempts making it on target.
But when the Crimson gave the opponent man-advantages in the remaining periods, BU proved its power-play mettle and broke through Harvard’s defense to score a pair of momentum-shifting goals.
Terrier Nick Bonino knocked in the tying goal during a second-period power play. The game-winner was scored on a BU man-advantage created by a Crimson penalty with just over two minutes remaining in the game.
Less than 20 seconds into the power play, Terrier Jason Lawrence slammed in the deciding goal to advance his team to the championship round.
“This is a team that can really hurt you on the power play in a lot of ways,” Donato said. “We did a decent job killing penalties for most of the night, but when you give them opportunities in the 6, 7 range, they’re going to score a couple goals on most teams.”
It is a truth universally acknowledged that the Beanpot is a tournament in which seniors really come out to play.
So it’s somewhat surprising to learn that some of Harvard’s biggest plays at last night’s event were made by underclassmen.
Sophomores Michael Biega and Pier-Olivier Michaud slapped in two of the Crimson’s goals, while freshman Alex Killorn tallied an assist on the first score of the night.
Killorn scored an unassisted power-play goal of his own one minute into the second period, firing a shot from the left side that slipped into the right pocket of the net past BU goalie Millan Kieran, who is also a freshman.
Perhaps one of the most notable performances of the night came from freshman goaltender Matt Hoyle, who made 30 saves and allowed four goals, two of which were results of power plays.
And although Hoyle took a period to get into a good rhythm, the rookie made a few crucial saves later in the night that kept the Crimson neck-and-neck with the Terriers.
Hoyle jumped on the puck to save a long shot from a BU defenseman to keep the score tied at the end of the second period.
Halfway through the final frame, Hoyle dove to block the puck with his glove, and then made another glove stop seconds later on a similar attempt from the Terriers.
“It’s difficult for anybody to play their first Beanpot game,” Donato said. “There were times where Matt was excellent during the game…and there were times when he wasn’t at his best. That’s part and parcel of having a young goalie, but ultimately, I think he gave us a chance to win.”
—Staff writer Courney D. Skinner can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.