BOSTON — This Valentine’s Day was no box of chocolates for Boston University.
Facing their first last-place Beanpot finish since 1980 as well as a dire need to improve their status in the PairWise Rankings, the No. 15 Terriers instead hit their lowest point of the season. Meanwhile, a Harvard team that had every reason to quit Monday night after limping through the regular-season schedule instead showed spunk in rallying to win 5-4 in the Beanpot consolation game at TD Garden.
Danny Biega led the way with a goal and two assists for the Crimson, who also received two goals from Alex Killorn. Right wing Alex Chiasson had a pair of goals for the Terriers.
“I thought that was an embarrassing display by my team,” Terriers coach Jack Parker said. “It looks pretty good: We got 49 shots to their 29. But in reality we didn’t come to play; we thought that the game was over at any time. …
“We get what should be the game-winning goal, and then we go to sleep again. Give Harvard credit for not dying after all they’ve been through this year. They competed hard until the end. We didn’t compete nearly as hard as we should’ve competed.”
If BU fails to make the national tournament, it will be looking back at several key losses to ECAC teams: Brown, Rensselaer and now Harvard. “It’s a loss that going to come back and haunt us, I believe,” Parker said. “That win doesn’t mean a lot for Harvard, but that loss means a lot to us.”
Crimson coach Ted Donato might beg to differ about how meaningful the win was for his team. “Obviously, we’re glad to come out with the win,” Donato said. “It was a strange game back and forth. A lot of goals against, but our guys battled hard. Ryan Carroll in net was great. … I’m happy for our guys, but there’s no denying that both teams would rather be playing in the championship game.
“We wanted to use this game as a measuring stick and to get some momentum,” Donato added. “We’ve played some pretty good hockey. … The group has done a good job of working hard and staying with it, and I think that there’s a lot of optimism about the rest of the season.”
BU enjoyed a territorial advantage for much of the first period, though the shots were deceptively close at 11-10. The Terriers took a 1-0 lead at 5:42. David Warsofsky passed the puck from the point to Corey Trivino near the goal line on the right-wing side. The centerman teed up Chiasson in the slot, but Carroll made the initial save. Matt Nieto and Chiasson took a few whacks at the rebound before Chiasson finally knocked it in.
With just 0.2 seconds left in the first, Harvard left wing Daniel Moriarty was called for a five-minute major and game misconduct for hitting from behind on a check on BU co-captain Joe Pereira into the boards.
It looked like that extended power play might open the floodgates, and it did … but not in the expected direction. The Terriers didn’t threaten more than once on the extended power play, and Harvard startled everyone by scoring a short-handed goal at 4:23. Alex Fallstrom drove down the right wing to the goal line before slipping the puck behind Alex Killorn for the shot and score.
Less than a minute later, Harvard took the lead. Defenseman Ryan Grimshaw cruised into the zone on the right-wing side before finding the far corner exposed for the wrist shot.
Nineteen seconds later, Harvard made it 3-1. Killorn golfed at the puck from a sharp angle on the left wing, and somehow it got through Kieran Millan’s pads.
That made three goals in just 73 seconds, a stunning development for a team that had scored three goals in a whole game in just six of 25 previous games this season.
BU called a timeout and seemed to snap out of zombie mode. They had two good short-handed chances and then scored twice in just 43 seconds.
On a power play at 12:24, Chris Connolly passed it to Charlie Coyle behind the goal line, and the freshman set up Garrett Noonan for the one-timer in front of the net.
The Terriers struck again almost immediately, when Adam Clendening received a pass in the left-wing circle and looked up to see about 85 percent of the net open. He scored easily to tie it up 3-3.
“When we went up 3-1, we probably played our worst five minutes of the game, unfortunately,” Donato said.
The third period was uneventful up until the last six minutes. When Chiasson redirected David Warsofsky’s shot past Carroll at 14:05, it looked like Harvard would be Mudville yet again.
But then Biega wristed a shot from the right point that went through heavy traffic and in at 15:57. The real stunner came at 17:52, when Michael Del Mauro buried a juicy rebound at the far post with plenty of net to hit.
The Terriers turned it on with the extra attacker but couldn’t quite tie it. “I was extremely disappointed with just about everybody on my club,” Parker said.
BU (15-8-7) plays a home-and-home series against Providence this weekend, while Harvard (4-19-1) plays at Cornell and Colgate.