February 10, 2014

BU bottoms out at Beanpot again

By Joshua Kummins

After falling behind early, the Crimson cruised to victory over the Terriers in the Beanpot consolation game. (Photo by Dave Arnold/New England Hockey Journal)

Final: Harvard 6, Boston University 2

Recap: After a sluggish start to the first period, the Terriers found the back of the net just past the halfway mark as junior Evan Rodrigues scored his third goal of the season just in front of Harvard third-year Steve Michalek (Glastonbury, Conn.) in goal.

The Crimson rattled off three goals in the second period to take a commanding lead for third place for the second year in a row. Just 1:14 in, the game evened up on a low-circle snap shot from sophomore Kyle Criscuolo.

A pair of locals scored the next two for Harvard at 3:33 and 6:59. Sophomore Brian Hart (Cumberland, Maine) and freshman Luke Esposito (Greenwich, Conn.) found the back of Terrier sophomore Sean Maguire's net for a 3-1 lead after 40 minutes.

Before the midway mark of the third, the teams traded goals to make the score 4-2.

Second-year Terrier blue liner Ahti Oksanen scored on a long shot off a feed from Rodrigues at 7:07, before Esposito scored his second of the night off a BU deflection in front of Maguire's net at 7:57.

An empty-netter from Crimson sophomore Jimmy Vesey (North Reading, Mass.) made the score 5-2 with 2:14 remaining in regulation, before BU senior Anthony Moccia (Medford, Mass.) came in for the final stretch and surrendered a goal to freshman Tyler Moy in the last 20 seconds.

Records: Harvard 8-12-3 (4-9-3 ECAC Hockey), Boston University 8-16-4 (3-8-3 Hockey East)

Key Play of the Game: It was Harvard's first goal, off the stick of Criscuolo, that started the wave of momentum in favor of the Crimson and allowed them to coast to the win. 

Kummins’ Commendations: Another very solid second period saw the Crimson score three times, helping them to victory. Aside from a wishy-washy start, Michalek was very strong in goal and totaled 25 saves in his third win of the season. In each of their seven wins this season entering Monday's play, the Crimson had a lead after two periods.

Kummins’ Critiques: Penalties were not really a factor in the game, but BU had multiple opportunities throughout play to draw closer. The killer instinct was not completely there as Harvard was able to re-extend its leads quickly as time passed in the latter stages of the game.

Notes: The Crimson were playing in the consolation game for the 15th time in 16 years, but won for the fourth year in a row and second consecutive against BU. Harvard scored three times in the second period for a 7-4 win last year. ... Before this year, the Terriers had never finished fourth in the Beanpot Tournament two years in a row. 

Final Thoughts: Playing in front of a nearly empty arena after falling short of the goal of winning the title is never an easy task, but the Crimson made the most of the opportunity to create some momentum heading into the stretch run in ECAC play. The win marked Harvard's second consecutive - a feat it has not achieved at any point previously this year.

Next: Both sides are in the clear to the finish with just conference games still to play. BU starts off the final push in Hockey East with a home-and-home against longtime rival New Hampshire, which includes Jack Parker Night on Saturday. The Crimson are in the New York North Country for tough road tests against Clarkson and St. Lawrence.

Twitter: @JoshuaKummins
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