Boston University played in the consolation game of last year’s Beanpot Tournament and had no intention of doing so again. Forward Wade Megan saw to that last night at TD Garden, scoring two goals to lead the Terriers to a 3-1 victory over Harvard in the first semifinal game.
“After last year, we knew we wanted to play in the later game next Monday,’’ Megan said. “This team was in our way and we knew we needed to play a good game.’’
Megan capitalized on a few defensive miscues by the Crimson, scoring the second and third Beanpot goals of his career in the second period, in helping the Terriers to their 26th championship game in 29 years.
With 10 seconds remaining on a power play, BU’s Sahir Gill intercepted a clearing attempt and passed to Sean Escobedo, who attempted a shot but couldn’t get his stick on it cleanly. Megan finished the job, tucking the puck between goaltender Steve Michalek’s legs with 12:30 remaining in the period.
Megan added another goal at the 14-minute mark. He took a pass from Gill and took advantage of a defensive breakdown, skating to the crease largely uncontested before sending a backhand shot past Michalek.
Megan, who has played on three different lines this year, is the Terriers’ leading scorer this season with 14 goals.
“He’s had a great year for us,’’ said BU coach Jack Parker, whose team took over the top spot in the NCAA Division 1 poll compiled by US College Hockey Online earlier in the day. “He is a hard worker and doesn’t care what line he’s on. He plays a part of every kill and is in on every power play so he gets a lot of ice time for us.’’
Forward Matt Nieto got the Terriers (17-8-1) started midway through the first period. The sophomore made a move as he approached the left post, drawing Michalek out of the net. Nieto then skated behind the net and tucked in a wrap-around before Michalek could recover.
Harvard (7-7-9) spent much of the period on the penalty kill, defending three penalties in the course of about seven minutes. The Crimson, who have not scored a shorthanded goal this season, had their best chance while on the kill. Freshman Colin Blackwell had a breakaway opportunity and tried to tuck the puck between Kieran Millan’s legs, but the BU goaltender made the save.
“Colin broke in all alone and I thought that he made a great move and seemed to have the side of the net fairly open,’’ Harvard coach Ted Donato said. “But he tried to go five-hole with it and Millan made a huge save.’’
That shot was one of only three shots on four power plays for the Crimson. BU was one of five on the power play with only four shots.
Harvard broke up the shutout with 4:33 remaining in the second period on a power-play goal. Forward Marshall Everson found linemate Alex Killorn alone in the slot. Killorn moved toward the net and fired a shot over Millan’s outstretched right leg.
In an unconventional move, Donato replaced Michalek with sophomore Raphael Girard after the Crimson goal. Girard was almost immediately tested and stopped a shot by Escobedo on a three-on-one rush.
“It was going into a timeout and it wasn’t necessarily anything bad by Michalek, but just to try to get a different look back there,’’ Donato said of the switch. “Girard plays the puck very well, which might allow us to transition offensively a little more quickly.’’
Harvard had another opportunity late in the second period when Adam Clendening went to the box for interference. The Crimson used their timeout to prepare for the power play but failed to mount a scoring threat.
“The key of the game was the 5-4 [man advantage] late in the second,’’ Parker said. “They had a chance to get going right there. That would have made it 3-2 and a different game.’’