BOSTON — In more ways than one, Tuesday’s Beanpot semifinal win was a long time coming for Boston University.
Although BU has won far more Beanpots than any of its three counterparts, the Terriers had not reached the final since 2012. They hadn’t beaten Harvard in the last five games between the teams over the last three seasons.
Due to a snowstorm Monday, BU even had to wait an extra day to play this game.
Semifinals: Feb. 3
• Third place: Boston College 3, Harvard 2 (OT)
In any event, BU rebounded from a 3-1 deficit and seemed to simply wear the Crimson down as the game went on and on. After getting outshot and generally outplayed for the first 30 minutes or so, BU piled up a massive shot advantage, outshooting Harvard 20-8 in the second, 16-8 in the third, 18-6 in the first overtime and finally 6-0 in just two minutes and 18 seconds in double overtime before winning it 4-3.
“It was a great game, a great effort by our team,” BU junior goalie Matt O’Connor said. “We just really wanted it bad. The last couple of years, we felt like we didn’t get the bounces, and we had it marked off on our calendar. We could never get a win against Harvard until now, so it’s a huge weight off of our shoulders — definitely a gritty win for our team.”
How gritty? With players on both teams cramping, BU captain Matt Grzelcyk actually jumped on the stationary bike between the first and second overtime to get his legs back.
“I don’t think I’ve ever seen it before,” O’Connor said. “We had a player on a bike with his skates on, trying to flush his legs [of lactic acid]. He had a lot of ice time.”
Harvard got a needed boost with top forwards Alex Kerfoot and Sean Malone rejoining the lineup, and they both scored a goal. But it was a tall order to keep getting quality minutes out of them as the night wore on.
“It looked like we ran out of gas with a couple of our guys who haven’t played a lot of recently,” Harvard coach Ted Donato said. “We asked a lot of guys like [Alex] Kerfoot and [Sean] Malone, who have been out for quite some time.”
Harvard goalie Steve Michalek also was visibly hurting, and the Terriers tried to capitalize.
“We noticed it on the bench,” said Danny O’Regan, who scored the game-winner against his brother Tommy’s team, ruining his last chance to win a Beanpot. “‘Throw pucks at him — he looks hurt,’ we were saying.”
“He definitely looked a little run down to me,” O’Connor said of his netminding counterpart. “We threw a lot of rubber at him. I was hoping we would get some quality chances and back doors, and we finally did.”
The win was a great reward for a team that vowed in the offseason not to get outworked this year.
“Obviously, we were getting pretty tired out there after two overtimes, but we have a great strength and conditioning coach,” senior forward Cason Hohmann said. “We trained for these moments all summer long and all season long. … We just knew we would battle for however long the game lasted.”
It lasted until the Terriers took their 67th shot, roughly 3½ hours after the puck dropped.
It was a weight off their shoulders and well worth the wait.