BOSTON -- For the first time since 2012 Boston University will play in the late game on the second Monday of February. The Terriers advanced to next Monday's championship game with a 4-3 double overtime victory over Harvard. Junior Danny O'Regan scored the game-winner 2:18 into the second extra session after picking up a feed from senior Evan Rodrigues, who had picked off a clearing attempt by Harvard's Kyle Criscuolo.
Terriers end frustration
Boston University, the school that has dominated the Beanpot more than any of the other three schools, won a tournament game Tuesday night for the first time in 1,093 days. BU's last win in the Beanpot came on Feb. 6, 2012 against Harvard, a 3-1 win in the semifinals.
It was a welcome relief for Rodrigues and O'Regan, two Terrier upperclassmen who have experienced plenty of Beanpot heartbreak in their careers.
"It's definitely a special feeling because I was 0 for my first [four]," said O'Regan. "This is probably the biggest one so save the best for last. It was a great game. I'm just really excited to play in a Beanpot final. It's been a dream my whole life."
"It's my fourth year here. We haven't had much success in the Beanpot while I've been here. We worked really hard and we're really excited. We can't wait to play in the finals next week," added Rodrigues.
Michalek sets Beanpot saves record in loss
Boston University out-attempted Harvard, 123-58, and won the shots on goal battle, 67-34, but the game still was in doubt until O'Regan ended the game 2:18 into the second overtime. That was largely due to the tremendous goaltending of Harvard senior Steve Michalek.
Michalek's 63 saves set a Beanpot Tournament saves record, previously held by Boston College's Jim Barton. The former Eagles goaltender made 52 saves in the championship game of the 1970 Beanpot, a 5-4 overtime loss to Boston University.
Michalek also set a program record, eclipsing the mark previously set by Grant Blair, who made 60 saves in a 6-6 tie against Boston College on Nov. 21, 1984.
Michalek cramped up in the overtime period, but managed to keep making saves until O'Regan snuck one by him. It was something the Terrier players and coaches noticed on the bench and it seemed they tried to start throwing the kitchen sink at him.
"Yeah, we noticed it on the bench with a couple minutes left in the first overtime. Guys on the bench saying throw pucks at him. We mentioned it in between the first and second overtimes. We had a little bit of that on our mind. We just wanted to get pucks to the net," commented O'Regan.
Does Harvard have recipe to stopping Eichel?
Boston University's freshman sensation Jack Eichel had 10 shots on goal and his linemates combined for 15 more, but Harvard did a good job of playing him close to the vest and limiting his chances to be a game changer. When the two teams met back on Nov. 25, Harvard held Eichel off the scoreboard in a 3-2 overtime victory at Agganis Arena.
It certainly would be less than accurate to say Harvard contained Eichel, but not too many teams have been able to keep Eichel off the score sheet for as long as the Crimson did. The top NHL Draft prospect had his chances, but was limited due to Harvard playing very physical against him and shadowing him.
When opposing teams have given Eichel too much respect it allows him to have too much space and he capitalizes. The teams that have had success against Eichel have been the teams that have played him tight and hounded him all night. Merrimack did a good job of this on Dec. 5, a 1-1 tie at Lawler Rink.
"They're a physical team. They do a great job of protecting the goalie. I think he had 10 shots. He had plenty of chances so it wasn't like he was standing next to me on the bench," said Quinn. "Give Harvard a lot of credit. They did a great job nullifying him on certain shifts and being physical with him."
Jeff Cox covers college, junior and high school hockey, NCAA recruiting and NHL Draft prospects. Follow him on Twitter @JeffCoxSports.