Raphael Girard made 42 saves in net for the Crimson Monday night (John Quackenboss).
BOSTON, Mass. - Despite junior netminder Raphael Girard's best efforts, the Harvard men's hockey team fell to No. 5 Boston College, 4-1, Monday night in the opening round of the 61st Beanpot at TD Garden.
Girard made 42 saves - his second-highest total of the season - for the Crimson, including several spectacular stops, but a 51-second spurt that saw the Eagles put up two goals at the end of the second period proved to be the difference to send Harvard to a consolation matchup against Boston University Feb. 11. Danny Biega scored Harvard's lone goal, while Luke Greiner and Danny Fick both had an assist.
The Crimson came out of the gates strong, getting the first five shots of the game and holding Boston College without a shot until the 11:13 mark. Despite several scoring opportunities for both sides, it appeared as though the initial 20 minutes would end scoreless.
Boston College's first scoring chance triggered a flurry of opportunities for both teams. With just over nine minutes remaining, sophomore Johnny Gaudreau had a breakaway on net, but Harvard defensemen Brayden Jaw dove in front of the BC sophomore to knock away the puck and prevent a shot on goal.
Harvard answered when Jimmy Vesey weaved his way into the BC zone, knifing his way through the Eagles' defense, before firing a shot from the top of the left faceoff circle straight into the chest of Parker Milner.
The Eagles had another opportunity as Girard made an initial save that careened off his pads and found its way to the stick of Gaudreau. The Harvard junior sprawled back across the crease to deflect Gaudreau's shot and keep the game scoreless.
At the 5:20 mark, the Crimson nearly broke the scoreless tie when senior Luke Greiner rifled a shot from just above the right faceoff circle that clanged off the inside of the left post and back out of the crease.
The Crimson then killed off a power play with just over three minutes remaining after Brendan Rempel was whistled for interference, as Girard made six saves during the two-minute span to keep the Eagles at bay.
Boston College was able to break through after winning a faceoff in the Harvard zone with just over 30 seconds remaining in the period. Steven Whitney received the puck off the draw and sent it down to Quinn Smith in the slot, who flipped it into the top left corner of the net to give the Eagles a 1-0 advantage heading into the break.
After the intermission, Alex Fallstrom had a chance to tie the game, skating in on net with a BC defender draped on his back shoulder, before he sent a wrist shot off the left pad of Milner just under 2 minutes into the frame.
The Eagles continued to pepper Girard but he worked to deny BC scoring opportunities, making a snaring glove save before recording a sliding kick save about one minute apart five minutes into the second.
Neither team mustered much after the opening five minutes on the offensive end until BC struck again with just over 1:30 remaining in the frame. Smith found the scoresheet for a second time as he sent home a puck that skittered across the face of the net to push the advantage to two.
The Eagles then tacked on another tally just 51 seconds later off another faceoff. After Fick was whistled for holding, Mullane won the ensuing faceoff and sent the draw back to Teddy Doherty. He passed it to Michael Matheson sitting just to the right of the right faceoff circle, and the freshman fired a one-timer that snuck between Girard and the nearside post to make it 3-0.
In the third period, the Crimson got on the scoreboard with 10:43 remaining to cut into the deficit. After Greiner won a draw in the BC end, Harvard worked the puck around the zone with Fick feeding Biega, who ripped a shot from above the left faceoff circle that found the back of the net, aided by a screen from Conor Morrison, for his first tally of the season.
BC pushed the lead back to three after Steven Whitney intercepted a pass near center ice. The senior fired a wrist shot through a trio of Harvard defenders just under the crossbar into the top left corner of the cage with 5:02 left in the game to put the game out reach.
Before taking on BU next Monday, the Crimson hosts Dartmouth Saturday at 7 p.m. in a game televised on WBIN-TV and Fox College Sports.