The Boston University men’s hockey team dropped its fifth consecutive game on Monday night, falling to Harvard University 5-2 in the consolation game of the 2019 Beanpot.
We wanted a nice game of shinny, and [Harvard] wanted a real game of hockey,” said BU head coach Albie O’Connell.
The two sides would remain scoreless after the first 20 minutes. Harvard (13-7-3, 9-5-2 ECAC) attempted 31 total shots in the period, but BU freshman goaltender Vinnie Purpura, making just his second start with the Terriers, was up to the task for the 12 shots on target.
BU (10-14-3, 8-7-2 Hockey East) only tallied five shots on goal in the opening frame, but the Crimson were able to block 11 Terrier efforts, to their credit. Still, the discrepancy in terms of shots, especially early, continues to be a concern for BU.
According to O’Connell, “it’s frustrating, because that’s probably one of the only things we talked about – being ready to show up on time, being ready to go.”
The lopsided offensive play continued into the second period, with the Crimson leading in shots on goal by a whopping 32-14 after 40 minutes. As the opportunities piled up, Harvard were eventually rewarded for their persistence.
Nearing the halfway point of the period, junior forward Frédéric Grégoire drew first blood on a rocket from Purpura’s left that snuck in under the bar. The assists were credited to junior defenseman John Marino and sophomore defenseman Reilly Walsh.
Walsh was involved in the second Crimson tally seven minutes later, receiving the puck from junior forward Colton Kerfoot and feeding it to an uncontested Jack Badini outside BU crease. The sophomore forward converted easily, and Harvard held a 2-0 lead at the second break.
“It wasn’t a good first period, and the second was even worse,” said Coach O’Connell.
The game opened up in the third, starting with BU finally getting on the board six minutes in. A driven pass by sophomore defenseman David Farrance at the blue line was knocked centrally by freshman forward Joel Farabee, where fellow forward Patrick Curry tapped it in. The goal was the junior’s tenth of the season, and cut the Crimson lead in half.
“I thought we played pretty well for stretches of the third,” said the first-year BU head coach.
BU could not capitalize on the momentum of Curry’s tally, as Harvard restored the two-goal lead at the 12:28 mark. In 4-on-4 play, a trio of Crimson attackers flooded the BU zone, and it was Grégoire who drilled one past Vinnie Purpura for his second goal of the game.
Purpura would vacate the Terrier net in exchange for an extra attacker with just over three minutes left, but Harvard defenseman Adam Fox took no time to quickly toss one in from distance to extend the lead to three. It was the 100th point of the junior’s career.
“I can’t say enough,” remarked Harvard head coach Ted Donato about Fox reaching the 100-point milestone. “I think what he’s accomplished so far in college is pretty special.”
Junior forward Gabriel Chabot got one back for BU with less than two minutes to play off of passes from freshman forwards Mark Cheremeta and Jack DeBoer. After striking the post with an initial effort, Chabot would corral his own rebound and slot it past Michael Lackey for the first goal of his junior campaign, and his fifth as a Terrier.
With the BU goalie pulled again, the Crimson would have the last laugh, as freshman forward RJ Murphy made a slick move to find space and walk the puck into the Terrier net with 43 seconds to play.
The game would finish 5-2 in favor of Harvard, meaning that after four consecutive appearances in the Beanpot final, BU would finish in fourth out of four teams in this year’s tournament.
“You can’t play a D1 hockey team and expect to win when you don’t show up,” said O’Connell.
Harvard attempted an astounding 76 shots in the contest, including 39 on target. As has been the case for BU as of late, the Terriers simply could not match the opposing offensive output, tallying just 42 shots of their own with only 26 reaching Lackey between the pipes.
“[Harvard] were more competitive,” said O’Connell. “They were skating harder.”
Still in search for their first win since January 25th, BU now turn their attention to the seven Hockey East fixtures remaining to conclude the regular season. This stretch of conference clashes will begin this upcoming weekend, as BU will travel to the University of Connecticut for a 7pm puck drop on Friday the 15th, and then host the same Huskies the next night at 7pm as well.
Photos by Emily Hunter: