BOSTON -- Boston University fans have to wonder where the road leads from here, after the No. 13 Terriers finished dead last in the Beanpot tournament -- an event some have called the BU Invitational because of the school's 29 crowns -- for the second time in two years.
In 2011, the Terriers dropped both Beanpot contests for the first time since 1980, losing to Harvard in the consolation game, 5-4. The fallout was severe, as Jack Parker's squad missed the NCAA tournament at season's end.
On Monday, the Terriers (13-12-1) again came up short against the Crimson (6-15-2), squandering an early two-goal lead and dropping a 7-4 decision in the Beanpot consolation game. Harvard, led by Luke Greiner's hat trick and two goals by Marshall Everson, ended a nine-game winless streak.
Winless in their three games prior to Monday, the Terriers jumped out to a 2-0 lead, including a goal at 3:12 by Mike Moran that appeared to expose some Beanpot jitters by Harvard freshman goalie Peter Traber. However, Traber settled down after BU captain Wade Megan lit the lamp with a shorthand strike at 11:45, surrendering only two more goals and finishing the night with 43 saves.
Harvard came back to knot the game before the end of the first on even-strength markers by Dan Ford at the 13-minute mark and captain Danny Biega with only 15 seconds left in the stanza.
With Harvard's Colin Blackwell in the box for a high-sticking call to start the second period, BU surged to a 3-2 lead on a bomb by Evan Rodriguez at 1:38. After that, however, the Terriers stopped playing defense, and the Crimson jumped out front 4-3 on goals 71 seconds apart by Everson (3:19) and Greiner (4:32), both scored from the low slot.
Greiner got goal No. 2 on the night on a power-play tally at 16:33, and the Crimson looked to be cruising. Everson stretched Harvard's lead to 6-3 at 3:13 of the third with his second of the game, and seventh of the season.
BU's Cason Hohmann pulled the Terriers back to 6-4, after Sahir Gill drove hard to the Harvard net, drawing a crowd. The puck squirted loose to the right of Traber, and Hohmann tucked it home at 11:24.
Desperate for offense, Parker pulled BU netminder Sean Maguire (24 saves) with about minute to go, but Traber made a point-blank stop on Sean Escobedo at the doorstep with 33 seconds left to blunt any hopes of a Terrier comeback.
In a play that epitomized BU's night, Greiner picked the puck off Megan's stick at the BU blue line, and with the Terriers captain lying prone on the ice, slid it into the empty net with 8.6 seconds left to finish off his hat trick and the 7-4 scoreline. He may have ended BU's postseason hopes in the process.
Brion O'Connor covers college hockey for ESPNBoston.com.