BOSTON — Wade Megan scored twice and Kieran Millan made 29 saves, as Boston University defeated Harvard, 3-1, in the first Beanpot Seminal Monday night at the TD Garden.
Megan scored the second and third Terrier goals after Matt Nieto gave BU a 1-0 lead at 8 minutes, 14 seconds of the first period. Both of Megan’s goals came the second period and effectively put the Crimson away. Alex Killorn’s 15th goal of the season cut the BU lead to 3-1 at 15:27 of the second period, but Harvard failed to draw any closer.
The Terriers will play the winner of the second semifinal, between Boston College and Northeastern, next Monday night.
What I Saw
- Kieran Millan was very sharp throughout the game for BU. The senior made 19 saves through two periods — hardly a staggering amount — but Harvard created some quality scoring chances off the rush and with long possessions. Millan brushed all but one of the attempts aside and covered pucks well. With BU leading, 1-0, in the first, Harvard freshman Colin Blackwell broke in alone on Millan and looked to have the senior beat with a pretty forehand fake. Millan recovered, however, and kicked out the left pad just as the freshman released his shot. Blackwell and other Harvard players kept the pressure on throughout the game, trying to cut into the Terriers’ lead. Millan never relented, though, matching the Crimson and sealing the victory with impressive saves late in the game.
- Colin Blackwell’s fast track to the acme of the ECAC continued chugging along on the biggest stage he’s seen this season. The freshman didn’t record a point, but he was the most dominate Harvard forward throughout the game. In 23 games, he’s put in just five goals and chipped in 10 assists, and 15 points in 23 games will hardly get you a spot on any all-conference teams. Still, the dynamic winger generated scoring chances and created space for his teammates with relative ease. Against a big and wickedly talented BU blue line, Blackwell dangled his way to clean looks around Millan and skated his way to breakaways and two-on-ones.
- BU’s team defense was exceptional in the win. The one noticeable breakdown came on Harvard’s lone goal, with Alex Chiasson badly missing an assignment and leaving Alex Killorn alone in the slot. A few other exceptions arose, but Millan handled those without much trouble. Mounting a 3-0 lead, BU forced Harvard to attempt a comeback, but the Terriers forwards and defensemen made it impossible for the Crimson to string anything together offensively. Every time the Crimson managed to work a puck past one guy, another layer awaited to clear any danger
What I Thought
- The game seemed pretty flat throughout. The afternoon game of Beanpot Monday is never the best in terms of atmosphere, with fans slowly filling in throughout the fame. The 5 p.m. start time makes it even more difficult for players to get a feel for the game. Even with the desperation that comes with a Beanpot game and a berth in next Monday’s championship game, the feel is never quite right early. That said, neither team was at its best, and both BU coach Jack Parker and Harvard boss Ted Donato pointed this out afterward.
- Wade Megan was the best skater on the ice for BU. The overall best Terrier goes down to Megan or Millan, but Megan’s pair of goals were just another fantastic result in what has been a revelatory junior season. With his two goals, Megan has 14 on the season, exactly one more than he had in his first two seasons combined. Aside from scoring, Megan’s leadership has been a major asset for BU as it navigates toward a run at a conference championship and a potential national title. He has served on three different lines this season and been the main catalyst for success on each. His two goals on Monday are among the biggest of his career, but they were just two more shining moments in what has been a sensational season for Megan.
- Harvard’s power play had the chance to get the Crimson back into the game and failed spectacularly. Midway throughout the second period, the Crimson had a four on three for 1:02. With Max Nicastro and Adam Clendening the two Terriers in the box, the chance was even greater for the Crimson. Despite scoring on a power play just before that, the Crimson man advantage was poor for the most part. Killorn’s goal was more a result of a dreadful defending from Chiasson than a great play from Harvard. For the game, Harvard was one for for on the power play, but managed just three shots. Again, one resulted in its lone scoring opportunity, but Harvard needed more from its best trailing, 3-1, and received almost nothing.
What They Said
“In the end, it’s about winning a championship, and you can’t play for a championship unless you’re playing on the second night. … It’s very, very difficult to play in (the Beanpot Consolation Game). It’s a 4 p.m. start. There’s nobody here. It almost feels like an exhibition game, and sometimes that’s a very, very important game for the teams playing in it for (the PairWise).” — BU coach Jack Parker
The Terriers played in the Beanpot Consolation Game a season ago, and Parker and his club had no interest in doing so for a second consecutive. Defeating Harvard on Monday obviously places BU in the Beanpot final game, where it will play either Boston College or Northeastern. However, the win over Harvard gives it another win over a Team Under Consideration. Winning the Beanpot has served as something of a launch pad for it winners in recent years. BC has won the last two and three of the last four, with BU winning the other. Until last season, three consecutive national championships were won by the team that won the Beanpot. Moreover, the last four Beanpot champions went on to win the Hockey East Championship.
What They Didn’t Say
Donato didn’t say anything about Harvard’s stretch of futility in the annual tournament. With the loss to BU, Harvard is now without a championship in the last 19 years. Losing to BU is hardly a shame, but the Crimson and its alumni are growing impatient. They want a Beanpot and they want consistent year-to-year success. Donato and his staff are certainly attracting high quality players to Cambridge, but they can’t seem to win these big games.
What Else You Should Know
- Under Parker, BU is now 58-19 in Beanpot games. The coach, in the middle of his 39th season leading the Terriers, is 33-6 in the opening round Beanpot game. The Terriers have advanced to 26 of the last 29 Beanpot finals and 16 of the last 18. Overall, BU has advanced to 49 of the 60 Beanpot Championship games. It hasn’t been dubbed the BU Invitational for nothing folks.
- Wade Megan’s two goals on Monday were the second and third of his career in five Beanpot games.
- BU junior Max Nicastro played in the game after missing the last two with a left shoulder injury. Freshman defensemen Alexx Privitera is still out due to a broken wrist.