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Harvard 5, Boston College 2: How A Game Unravels Quickly

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The instant when Friday’s game was lost

2016 Beanpot Tournament - Semifinals Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

For most of this season, Boston College hockey hasn’t done much to show how inexperienced they are. But their youth was on display in Friday night’s huge clash against Harvard, making a few mistakes in key situations that allowed an otherwise winnable game to unravel in under a minute in the third period.

BC trailed 2-1 entering the third period after 40 minutes of back-and-forth hockey that was essentially even; shots were 28-24 in favor of the Crimson.

The Eagles put themselves in an early bind in their attempts to crawl back when their two best players took penalties within 57 seconds of one another - interference on Colin White at 1:01, and slashing on Ryan Fitzgerald at 1:58. This put them in an extended 3-on-5 and gave Harvard a chance to pull away.

However, BC actually looked poise to use that shorthanded situation as a momentum boost. The Eagles got two big clears and never really let Harvard get set up on the two man advantage. As the first penalty was expiring, Ryan Donato interfered with an Eagle behind BC’s net, meaning that as soon as Harvard touched the puck, BC would have successfully killed off the extended PK and had a 4-on-4, followed by a power play with a chance to tie the game.

That’s when everything turned on a dime. BC tried to get the puck out of the zone quickly and get Joe Woll pulled; along the wall, a Harvard player was about to touch the puck, but Michael Kim made a mistake and slashed at the Crimson stick - taking a penalty that kept BC down 5-on-4 as coincidental minors were called at 3:10.

That’s where the game was lost. It was an unnecessary play - just let Harvard touch the puck and their power play is over. But it wasn’t to be.

It didn’t take long for things to get sideways after that. At 3:50, Seb Lloyd scored a power play goal to put Harvard up 3-1. Lloyd was aggressive during a scrum around the net that led to the goal - setting off the Eagles and leading to a mini-line brawl, in which the Eagles took the extra penalty. Tyler Moy capitalized for Harvard, scoring another PPG at 4:23.

Down 4-1 and dejected, BC switched off mentally for a shift. You can’t do that against a good Harvard team, and the Crimson made them pay, scoring again through Sean Malone at 4:39.

Harvard scored three goals in a staggering 49 seconds, and just like that, the game was over. At 3:09 of the second period, BC seemed to have some momentum; at 4:39, they were done and dusted. And that’s how you lose a hockey game in a minute and a half.

BC battled back in the final minutes despite the big deficit and did close to within 5-2, but obviously the game was pretty much over at that point.

Harvard is a very good team, and this could serve as an important lesson for the Eagles as they continue to grow and develop during the early days of this season. BC, now 10-3-1, faces UConn tomorrow night at the XL Center in a return to Hockey East play.