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Harvard 5, BU 4

Some consolation: Harvard regroups

Stunned Terriers come up empty

Harvard’s Michael Del Mauro was in the perfect position to beat BU goalie Kieran Millan for the go-ahead goal with 2:08 left. Harvard’s Michael Del Mauro was in the perfect position to beat BU goalie Kieran Millan for the go-ahead goal with 2:08 left. (Barry Chin/Globe Staff)
By Barbara Matson
Globe Correspondent / February 15, 2011

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The consolation game of the Beanpot Championship meant not much to Boston University, and it meant everything to Harvard.

Or was it the other way around?

Harvard ripped up the script with a dramatic three-goal outburst in a little more than a minute at the start of the second period, and after BU scored three straight, two on the power play, to take a 4-3 lead midway through the third, the Crimson did not quit. Danny Biega tied it up at 15:57 of the third and Michael Del Mauro sank the winner at 17:52 as the Crimson rallied to claim a 5-4 victory at TD Garden before the usual sparse, early-game audience.

It was the first time since 1980 that No. 15 Boston University (14-9-7) did not win a game in the Beanpot. Unranked Harvard (5-18-1) had not had a Beanpot victory over BU since 1994, and the Crimson were outshot in this one, 49-29.

But when senior Del Mauro banged a rebound into the open left side of the goal to make it 5-4, the Garden shifted just a bit on its foundation. BU could not respond in time and Harvard claimed its 14th third-place finish in the ’Pot and a shot of confidence in a ragged season.

The Terriers were stunned, and BU coach Jack Parker was disgusted.

“That was . . . ’’ he started, then paused, rolling over the words in his mouth as if he wanted to spit them, “an embarrassing display by my team. Give Harvard credit; they competed to the end.

“It was a very, very disappointing loss and it will come back to haunt us. That win doesn’t mean a lot to Harvard; that loss means a lot to us.’’

Parker said he expected the loss to an unranked team might figure in the NCAA Tournament selection committee’s deliberation when the playoffs roll around.

For the Crimson, who have been a strong playoff team in recent years, the victory doesn’t change their status, as all 12 ECAC teams get a chance in the playoffs.

But for Harvard, it was a bright spot in a long, dark season, during which the team has struggled to score, and won only five games. Their most recent stretch — including one-goal losses to RPI, Union, and powerhouse Yale, along with a 4-4 tie with then-No. 20 Princeton Friday — has been encouraging.

“This game for us, we wanted to use it as a measuring stick, to get some momentum coming into the playoffs,’’ said Harvard coach Ted Donato.

“It was a strange game, back and forth.’’

BU had a one-goal lead after the first period, Alex Chiasson scoring at 5:42 out of a scrum to give the Terriers’ power play another notch in its belt.

It looked like the game that had been expected, a fairly routine win for a strong BU team against a weak Harvard squad. But the Crimson put their hearts into it early in the second period, scoring three times in 1 minute and 10 seconds to throw a Zamboni into BU’s path.

Alex Killorn got the Crimson started with a shorthanded score, finishing off a rush down the right side by Alex Fallstrom. Fallstrom pulled up just past the BU net and sent a pass back to Killorn, who rammed in a shot from the slot at 4:23.

Ryan Grimshaw got Harvard’s second goal at 5:17, ripping a shot past BU goalie Kieran Millan as he skated through the slot.

Killorn completed the Harvard trifecta at 5:36, scoring his second of the game and 10th of the season. Killorn charged into the BU zone after a puck, beat the defenders to the left circle, and sent the puck across the zone toward the far corner of the net. The puck slipped inside the post.

All this from a Harvard team that couldn’t seem to find the net in the first period, a team that failed to get a shot on net during a 47-second five-on-three advantage in the first.

Parker was forced to call a timeout before the game slipped away.

The Terriers responded, carving their way back into the game with a lightning-quick power-play goal from Garrett Noonan at 12:24 of the second, and a top-shelf shot from Adam Clendening at 13:07.

Chiasson’s second goal of the game, the third power-play score for BU, put BU in front at 14:05 of the third.