It took double overtime for Boston University and Harvard to settle a choppy jumble of a game in the semifinals of the Beanpot Monday at TD Garden.
Freshman Ty Amonte of Norwell scored a bad-angle shot from the right circle 1:55 into the second OT to send BU past Harvard, 3-2, and into next Monday’s championship game against Northeastern. This was the second double-overtime game between Harvard and BU in the first round of the Beanpot. BU won, 4-3, in 2015.
“I just took it up ice, and I just tried to get it on net,” Amonte said.
Amonte is the son of Tony Amonte, a former BU and NHL star. Ty declined to say he’d have family Beanpot bragging rights. His father was knocked cold by a trio of Boston College players in 1991 and then came back to score a hat trick in BU’s 8-4 victory.
“He’d probably say, ‘Come back and talk to me when you get knocked out,’ ’’ said Ty.
After winning its first Beanpot in 24 years last February, the defending champs from Harvard arrived at the 66th annual battle for Boston trying to win back-to-back titles, a feat Harvard alone among Beanpot teams had never accomplished.
It still hasn’t.
Ty Amonte wins it for BU! It will be a dogfight between the BU Terriers and the Northeastern Huskies in the 2018 Beanpot championship. Tune in next Monday on NESN! pic.twitter.com/RisKQOa6e5— NESN (@NESN) February 6, 2018
Instead, BU (15-11-2) advanced to the Beanpot title game for the fourth straight season. The Terriers, who raced into the Beanpot on a seven-game unbeaten streak (6-0-1), reached the Beanpot title game for the 31st time in 35 years.
The Crimson (10-9-4) were relegated to the consolation game against Boston College.
“For us it was a tale of two games,’’ said BU coach David Quinn. “The first period was OK, the second was as bad as we’ve played all year. We had to make a decision: Do you want to play at 4 o’clock next Monday or at 8 o’clock?
“In the third period and the overtime, we started playing the brand of hockey we’ve been playing for the last month.’’
Harvard couldn’t convert the momentum when it had it.
“Obviously a tough way to end,’’ said Harvard coach Ted Donato. “I feel badly for our players. They certainly left it out there on the ice. “I thought the game was a series of momentum swings. As often happens in overtime, it’s not necessarily this great Picasso that ends up in the net. But as they say, ‘There’s no bad shots in overtime.’ ’’
It was BU that Harvard defeated to win last season’s Beanpot. In this year’s matchup, both teams had trouble maintaining offensive pressure, scrambling to a 1-1 tie after two periods, followed by a burst of offense to start the third.
Harvard dominated the second period, outshooting BU, 20-4. But the Terriers took the lead 32 seconds into the third when Brandon Hickey collected his own rebound and slipped a backhander behind Harvard goalie Merrick Madsen.
The lead didn’t last long. Harvard freshman Jack Badini beat a defender to get to the rebound of Nathan Krusko’s shot and whipped it into the net at 2:04 to make it 2-2.
Harvard answers! Jack Badini lights the lamp to tie the game at two. Catch the rest of the third period between BU and Harvard on NESN. pic.twitter.com/bGUe7BARV2— NESN (@NESN) February 6, 2018
Harvard entered the game stuck at 29th in the nation in team offense with a 2.95 goals per game average. The Crimson got their first chance about six minutes in when Jake Horton won a draw at the right faceoff dot in Harvard’s offensive zone. The puck came back to Wiley Sherman at the right point and he fired a shot that disappeared between BU goalie Jake Oettinger’s pads. The puck hit the left post and skidded back across the crease, where Harvard’s Henry Bowlby pounced, trying to jam it in by the right post. Oettinger got some help from Hickey in keeping the puck out of the net.
The referees reviewed the play to see if the puck had crossed the goal line when it disappeared behind Oettinger, but ruled no goal.
BU responded quickly, taking advantage of its first power-play opportunity to take a 1-0 lead at 8:02. With John Marino in the box for cross-checking, Logan Cockerill picked up his fourth goal of the season, connecting from the bottom of the right circle after Hickey’s centering pass deflected off a knot of players in front of Madsen, and landed snug in front of Cockerill.
If Harvard was going to get back in it, it would probably have to be off the stick of Ryan Donato, the nation’s leading goal scorer (21) and the heart of the Harvard offense.
Brandon Hickey strikes early in the third to give Boston University a 2-1 lead. Make sure to catch the final frame between BU and Harvard on NESN. pic.twitter.com/UyOAmIKwaX— NESN (@NESN) February 6, 2018
Harvard started the second period with time left over on a power play and Donato blasted a rebound in the slot, but Oettinger stood up to it. The Crimson kept up their barrage, and it was Donato, indeed, who was responsible for tying the game when he set up Ty Pelton-Byce for a goal at 14:29. Donato was nearing the bottom of the left circle when he slid the puck back to Pelton-Byce in the slot for a wrist shot that beat Oettinger for the sophomore’s fourth goal of the year.
The first overtime was full of end-to-end action with Harvard getting its best chances with Amonte off for holding at 14:43.