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Terriers fall to Harvard in Beanpot consolation game

Terrier senior captain Wade Megan scored a goal in BU’s matchup against Harvard University in the Beanpot consolation game Monday night at TD Garden. MICHELLE JAY/DAILY FREE PRESS

Terrier senior captain Wade Megan scored a goal in BU’s matchup against Harvard University in the Beanpot consolation game Monday night at TD Garden.
MICHELLE JAY/DAILY FREE PRESS

Sinking in the national rankings has not been enough to spur the No. 13 Boston University men’s hockey team out of its funk in the winter 2013 semester. Neither have the embarrassments of poor performances against inferior teams.

On Monday, it was clear that even the memory of a crucial loss in an identical game two years ago was not enough to get the Terriers (13–12–1, 10–7–1 Hockey East) in the right frame of mind for their Beanpot consolation game against Harvard University, which they lost 7–4.

Two years ago, when the Terriers fell to Harvard (6–15–2) in the consolation game, it effectively ended their season. They did not lose again until the last game of the regular season, but the Harvard loss hurt their PairWise ranking enough that it kept them from an at-large bid in the NCAA tournament.

Barring a dominant run through their last nine games leading into a Hockey East tournament win, it will now be an uphill battle for BU to escape the same fate this year.

“It had been said already, before this game, that [the game] is not important to Harvard,” said BU coach Jack Parker on Monday. “Harvard is not going to get into the national tournament by an at-large bid. Now we will drop well out of the PairWise.”

BU had 47 shots on Harvard goalie Peter Traber, who made a rare start in relief of the Crimson’s usual No. 1 Raphael Girard. But nothing the Terriers did on the offensive end could overcome the breakdowns on the defensive end — a refrain that has become common over the last month and a half.

BU appeared to start strong as freshman forward Mike Moran opened the scoring just over three minutes into the game. Traber thought he had control of a soft shot, but the rebound trickled away from him and into the slot, where Moran was ready to tap in his first career goal.

Then, with BU shorthanded after an interference call on freshman forward Sam Kurker, senior captain Wade Megan chipped the puck out of the defensive zone, chased it down himself and executed a tape-to-tape give-and-go play with sophomore center Cason Hohmann for his 13th goal of the year.

Harvard answered shortly afterward. BU freshman goalie Sean Maguire was against the left post after blocking a shot from the goal line. That rebound bounced off a few sticks and out into the slot, where Crimson defenseman Dan Ford slid it into the open net.

With 14.2 seconds remaining in the first, Harvard senior defenseman Danny Biega tied the game 2–2. As he entered the zone, BU junior defenseman Patrick MacGregor sent him flying into the boards, but Biega got up, apparently unaffected, took a puck coming out of the corner and ripped a wrist shot over Maguire.

As the period ended, Maguire took a stick to the head, but remained in the game and didn’t appear to see the puck as well as he had before the collision. Parker said Maguire was examined in the intermission and was not injured in any way.

Sophomore forward Evan Rodrigues put BU up 3–2 with a power-play goal from his new spot at the point early in the second. But Harvard came right back with a one-timer from left wing Marshall Everson that found its way over Maguire.

Then Harvard took the lead for good seconds later, when senior center Luke Greiner flipped a puck from the slot over Maguire’s shoulder.

With senior forward Ryan Santana in the box, Harvard increased its lead to 5–3 late in the second. A rebound came to Greiner in front of the net, and no BU player got to him in time to stop him from flipping it into the net.

After the fifth Harvard goal, Crimson forward Alex Fallstrom rocked BU sophomore defenseman Alexx Privitera with a hit to the head in the defensive zone.

Privitera responded, sending Fallstrom flying with a leg check despite the fact that Fallstrom wasn’t involved in the play.

Privitera received a five-minute major penalty and a game misconduct for the hit, the third time he’s been ejected from a game this year.

Parker hinted that Privitera could sit out BU’s next game, but did not say for certain.

“We have to just remove guys from ice time,” he said. “That’s the only thing you can do. If you can’t stop taking stupid penalties — if you don’t get on the ice, it’s hard to take a penalty.”

BU killed off the ensuing Harvard power play, only to have Everson slam home a rebound just seconds later for a 6–3 Harvard lead.

Hohmann brought BU within two with 8:36 left in the third, but late penalties — two from senior defenseman Sean Escobedo and one from junior defenseman Garrett Noonan, on top of the end of Privitera’s major — hurt their chances to come back.

“We were undisciplined again tonight,” said senior defenseman and assistant captain Ryan Ruikka. “We took some stupid penalties. Guys get tired on the back end and we give up goals we shouldn’t be giving up.”

Greiner finished off a hat trick with an empty-netter with eight seconds remaining to make the final score 7–4.

This is the second time in the last three years BU has finished fourth in the Beanpot — something that only happened once before, when they did it in 1961 and 1963.

“There wasn’t enough desperation,” Ruikka said. “Two years ago this team beat us, and we didn’t make the national tournament. Looks like we’re in the same boat again … we’re not playing the right way right now.”

 

Harvard answered shortly afterward. BU freshman goalie Sean Maguire was against the left post after blocking a shot from the goal line. That rebound bounced off a few sticks and out into the slot, where Crimson defenseman Dan Ford slid it into the open net.

With 14.2 seconds remaining in the first, Harvard senior defenseman Danny Biega tied the game 2–2. As he entered the zone, BU junior defenseman Patrick MacGregor sent him flying into the boards, but Biega got up, apparently unaffected, took a puck coming out of the corner and ripped a wrist shot over Maguire.

As the period ended, Maguire took a stick to the head, but remained in the game and didn’t appear to see the puck as well as he had before the collision.

Parker said Maguire was examined in the intermission and was not injured in any way.

Sophomore forward Evan Rodrigues put BU up 3–2 with a power-play goal from his new spot at the point early in the second. But Harvard came right back with a one-timer from left wing Marshall Everson that found its way over Maguire.

Then Harvard took the lead for good seconds later, when senior center Luke Greiner flipped a puck from the slot over Maguire’s shoulder.

With senior forward Ryan Santana in the box, Harvard increased its lead to 5–3 late in the second. A rebound came to Greiner in front of the net, and no BU player got to him in time to stop him from flipping it into the net.

After the fifth Harvard goal, Crimson forward Alex Fallstrom rocked BU sophomore defenseman Alexx Privitera with a hit to the head in the defensive zone.

Privitera responded, sending Fallstrom flying with a leg check despite the fact that Fallstrom wasn’t involved in the play.

Privitera received a five-minute major penalty and a game misconduct for the hit, the third time he’s been ejected from a game this year.

Parker hinted that Privitera could sit out BU’s next game, but did not say for certain.

“We have to just remove guys from ice time,” he said. “That’s the only thing you can do. If you can’t stop taking stupid penalties — if you don’t get on the ice, it’s hard to take a penalty.”

BU killed off the ensuing Harvard power play, only to have Everson slam home a rebound just seconds later for a 6–3 Harvard lead.

Hohmann brought BU within two with 8:36 left in the third, but late penalties — two from senior defenseman Sean Escobedo and one from junior defenseman Garrett Noonan, on top of the end of Privitera’s major — hurt the team’s chances of coming back.

“We were undisciplined again tonight,” said senior defenseman and assistant captain Ryan Ruikka. “We took some stupid penalties. Guys get tired on the back end and we give up goals we shouldn’t be giving up.”

Greiner finished off a hat trick with an empty-netter with eight seconds remaining to make the final score 7–4.

This is the second time in the last three years BU has finished fourth in the Beanpot — something that only happened once before, between 1961 and 1963.

“There wasn’t enough desperation,” Ruikka said. “Two years ago this team beat us, and we didn’t make the national tournament. Looks like we’re in the same boat again … we’re not playing the right way right now.”

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