If you talk to people in the world of hockey, they will tell you the worst lead in the sport is three goals. Just ask Boston University.
On Wednesday night, the eighth-ranked Terriers had leads of 3-0 and 5-2 but couldn’t close out Harvard, which battled back to earn a 6-5 overtime victory in front of 4,259 fans at Agganis Arena.
Senior right wing Conor Morrison gave the Crimson (5-7-1) the win with 47.3 seconds remaining in the extra frame. Morrison scored on a wrist shot from the left circle, which snapped Harvard’s winless streak at six games. BU (11-7-0) has lost two of its last three outings.
There were several subplots surrounding the matchup.
There was the rivalry between the Boston squads. There was the brotherly rivalry between Harvard sophomore left wing Tommy O’Regan and freshman center Danny O’Regan, who hail from Needham. Their father, Tom, is a Cambridge native and former standout at BU.
Then there was the drama regarding the teams’ seasons. The Crimson were struggling through a winless streak (0-5-1 going into Wednesday) and the Terriers were surging with five victories in their previous seven contests.
BU jumped to a 2-0 lead in the opening period. Freshman center Wesley Myron struck first when he scored from just outside the right post off a scramble in front at 5:37. The Terriers added a power-play goal with 34.5 seconds remaining.
Junior left wing Matt Nieto fired a shot from the right point that junior goalie Raphael Girard stopped but Danny O’Regan pounced on the rebound and beat Girard from just outside the left post.
BU made it a three-goal game at the 56-second mark of the second when senior left wing Wade Megan buried a rebound from just outside the right post.
Tommy O’Regan put Harvard on the board at 2:29 with a snap shot from the right circle. The Crimson closed to within 3-2, when freshman right wing Brian Hart beat freshman netminder Matt O’Connor (29 saves) on a shot from high in the right circle during a power play at 8:45.
But just over a minute later, BU added a fourth goal. Freshman defenseman Ahti Oksanen dished a pass to Nieto, who was high in the right circle. Nieto’s shot beat Girard (38 saves) cleanly for the 4-2 lead at 9:51.
Danny O’Regan restored the Terriers’ three-goal lead with his second of the game at 1:27 of the third, prompting the BU student section to chant, “Danny’s better.’’
Senior left wing Marshall Everson cut the deficit to a pair on a rebound goal at 6:38. Senior center Luke Greiner closed the gap to one with a power-play goal at 8:34, making it 5-4.
Sophomore center Colin Blackwell brought the Crimson all the way back, tying the game at 16:14 on a very strange play. Freshman left wing Jimmy Vesey flipped in the puck to the BU zone and O’Connor stopped it with his pads but couldn’t control it. Blackwell whacked at it and beat O’Connor for Harvard’s fifth goal.
That set the stage for overtime and Morrison’s heroics, which no doubt give the Crimson a much needed boost to their season.
In the O’Regan family, it was a wash with both earning three-point nights.
“Any win is a good win,’’ said Tommy O’Regan, who had a goal and two assists to Danny’s two goals and one assist. “The win was definitely satisfying but it was just cool to be out there against him and have such a great game with him. That was one of the best games I’ve played in since I’ve been at Harvard, so it was a lot of fun. It was definitely more competitive. He got the first goal for them. I guess it kind of lit a fire under me a little bit.’’
Nancy Marrapese-Burrell can be reached at email@example.com.