Having played an overtime game against Dartmouth the day before Monday’s Beanpot consolation game with Boston University – a back-to-back rarity in college hockey – Harvard had a built-in excuse. That’s a difficult schedule for anyone, much less a team that hasn’t won in more than a month, the Crimson’s last victory Jan. 9 against BU.
Oh, and Harvard was sitting its top goaltender.
But despite going down two goals in the first period, despite BU’s history in the tournament, Harvard didn’t need the excuse. The Crimson pulled even by the end of the first, and shot ahead with three goals in the second.
By the time the final horn sounded, Harvard had dropped seven goals on BU for a 7-4 win at TD Garden, the most they’ve scored in a game this season.
“My first comment to [Harvard coach] Teddy Donato was he should play us all the time,” BU coach Jack Parker said. “They’re 2-0 against us and they’ve manhandled us.”
Freshman Peter Traber, who took over in goal for Raphael Girard Monday, was making just his second collegiate start. And he came through with 43 saves, including 18 in each of the last two periods. BU’s Sean Maguire managed only 24 saves.
“We thought Peter deserved the opportunity,” Donato said. “I think he looked a little nervous at the start – I think the first goal probably he’d like to have back – but he made a lot of huge saves. I think he looked strong in there. Nice to see him get his first win making  saves at the Boston Garden.
“I think there were a lot of guys that had great games, but I think you would start with Peter.”
The loss left BU in its own tailspin, having lost five of its last seven, with just one win and one tie in that span. BU hadn’t played in a week, not since losing to Northeastern in the Beanpot semifinal. The Terriers’ game against Merrimack Friday was postponed because of the storm.
The game contributed to a dubious period in BU’s hockey history. It put BU in fourth place in the Beanpot for just the fifth time ever, and marked just the second time that BU has finished fourth twice in a three-year span. The only other time that happened was in 1961 and 1963.
Much of Harvard’s offense was generated from behind the BU goal, part of the Crimson’s strategy in the game.
“We’ve been trying to work the puck down low,” said Luke Greiner, who had a hat trick. “We’ve got some guys who can really play down there, hang on to it. Tonight we did a good job getting it behind the net and springing some guys out front.”
The last time Harvard scored at least 13 goals against BU in a season was 1982-83, when the Crimson scored 14 (Harvard beat BU, 6-5, in that Jan. 9 game). Of course, that year they only won one of the two games between the two clubs. The last time Harvard beat BU twice in a season was 1979-80, including the Beanpot consolation game.
“We’re just giving up too many chances,” BU’s Ryan Ruikka said. “You can’t win a game when you give up [seven] goals. We scored four, but we gave up [seven] and that’s just unacceptable.”
From BU, there were mostly harsh words after the game. The Terriers had been disappointed in their performance last week against Northeastern, and were even more so after the loss to Harvard.
“We looked like there was compete in us, we had 47 shots,” Parker said. “But it was nowhere near the type of effort we need. Just more of the same from my club. Just not quite right.”