BOSTON — Whether you attended an Ivy League school or not, it wasn’t hard to do the math after Tuesday’s game between Harvard and Boston University.
The teams each had eight power-play opportunities, and the Crimson converted four while the Terriers capitalized on three.
Although the snake-bitten Terriers outshot the Crimson 29-18, Harvard nipped BU 4-3 behind 26 saves by Oliver Jonas. Domenic Moore and Chris Bala each notched a goal and an assist for the victors, while Dan Cavanaugh did the same in a losing effort in front of 3,093 fans at Walter Brown Arena.
Fans of Harvard (4-1-1) could be excused for being startled by the sudden outburst of power-play production, given the team’s anemic output with the man advantage coming into Tuesday’s game.
“It was 6.7 percent coming in, so I don’t know if there’s a Pee Wee power play that’s worse than that,” Harvard coach Mark Mazzoleni said. “We just changed some things yesterday, and all we did was shoot the puck.
“We forgot about trying to make a play on it, and I think it shows. Get the puck to the net, congestion happens, people lose their check, you get some bounces, and put it in. We needed it.”
Meanwhile, BU (2-6-1) was left to shake its head over a third period in which it explored all sorts of ways to do everything but put the puck in the net.
“Scotty Perry had an open net and pulled the goalie and shot it wide,” BU coach Jack Parker said. “[Mike] Pandolfo had an open net and mishandled it; Freddy Meyer’s alone and shoots it off the inside of the pipe. …
“Those things will fall the other way for you sooner or later, but they better fall soon or we’ll be taking their ties and belts away from them in the dressing room.”
The Crimson took it to the Terriers early in the game, dominating play and forcing a pair of penalties in the opening minutes. After several chances went wide, Dominic Moore took a shot that Jason Tapp blocked, only to have freshman Tim Pettit collect the rebound in the left-wing faceoff circle. Tapp got a piece of the shot but not enough, and it was 1-0 Harvard.
The tide seemed to turn in BU’s favor at the 7:45 mark, when Pettit came in alone and managed to get Tapp to go down early, only to have the junior netminder blindly thrust his stick across the crease to block what appeared to be a sure goal.
BU gained momentum from there, with perhaps five good scoring chances over the rest of the period. With 41.7 seconds left in the first, Jonas showed shades of Dominik Hasek: Dan Cavanaugh patiently waited for Jonas to go down on his knees and seemed to have him beat, only to have the German roll onto his back to block the shot with a sprawling glove hand.
“I think he pretty much had me beaten; I just got lucky, stuck out my arm,” Jonas said. “Pure luck.”
BU looked good killing a power play early in the second period until it inexcusably gave up an odd-man rush when failing to dump the puck deep in the Harvard zone. The Crimson came in two-on-one, and Dominic Moore opted to shoot and buried a beauty, lifting it over a sliding defenseman and somehow getting the puck past Tapp from an angle.
The Crimson proceeded to help BU get back into the game. Already shorthanded, Harvard simultaneously received a high-sticking call and a bench minor on an assistant coach, giving BU a five-on-three advantage for a full three minutes.
The Terriers capitalized. Jonas blocked John Cronin’s right-point slap shot, but Cavanaugh put the rebound away to make it a 2-1 game at 8:47.
BU looked poised to tie, but Jack Baker’s five-minute, hitting-from-behind penalty at 16:58 punctured the scarlet-and-white balloon.
On the ensuing power play, Harvard junior Jeff Stonehouse got the puck all alone just a few feet from the crease. Tapp stayed up and made the nice save, only to have Bala pick the rebound up off the goal line and slip the puck through the smallest of openings between pad and post.
The Terriers survived the rest of the major and even inflicted a little power-play punishment of their own early in the third. Dan Cavanaugh looked like he might attempt a wraparound but instead pulled up and slipped the puck out to Brian Collins just outside the crease. Collins one-timed the shot in to make it 3-2.
Yet again, the Terriers foiled their comeback with a trip to the penalty box and a fourth Harvard power-play goal. Junior blueliner Graham Morrell shot while breaking in from the right point, and freshman Tyler Kolarik nicely redirected the shot down and past Tapp to make it 4-2.
BU started looking like a jinxed team. Besides the aforementioned missed chances by Perry and Meyer, John Sabo knocked down the puck with his hand near the crease and failed to get his stick on it before Pandolfo tapped it into the net, so the goal was waved off due to the hand pass.
A little hope for the Terriers returned with 2:09 left in the game when Carl Corazzini scored the game’s seventh power-play goal to pull BU within one once again. He broke in alone and deked before beating Jonas low.
BU put pressure on Jonas right up to the last tick of the clock but to no avail.
“In general, I thought we did a hell of a job,” Parker said, remaining calm despite conceding that his team’s record was miserable. “We should have had five in the last five minutes of the game I thought.
“The day’s going to come where we’re going to be a little more comfortable putting the puck in the net.”
BU travels west to play at Denver and Colorado College over Thanksgiving weekend, while Harvard hosts BC on Saturday night.