PROVIDENCE, R.I.--The Crimson stickmen rallied from an 8-2 halftime deficit here yesterday to send the game into overtime, 10-10, but finally bowed to eighth-ranked Brown, 14-10.
A shot at an NCAA tournament berth was at stake, but it was the Bruins who took control of the game at the beginning. Brown midfielder Mike Evens gave the home team the first goal of the day, but Giles Whalen countered for the Crimson, intercepting a pass by the Bruin goalie and firing the ball into the empty net.
Brown score the next two on a goal and assist by All-American performer Bob MacLeod, taking a 3-1 lead. Harvard rallied again, Kevin McCall scooping up a groundball in front of the goal and beating netminder Tad Aburn for the score.
Then the home squad shifted into high gear, reeling off the next five tallies to take an 8-2 lead with three minutes left in the half. When the bulge held up until the intermission, it looked like the Bruins had the contest safely tucked away in the win column.
Within a Whisker
But that's underestimating how much the Crimson stickmen wanted this game, and in the second half they charged out and came within a whisker of taking it. In the first 30 minutes, they had had trouble getting the ball out of the Harvard end. Brown passed the ball well on offense and the Crimson succeeded on only five of 11 clears. In the second half, Harvard passed the ball with precision, and did the job on 11 of 15 clears.
As one might expect, senior attackman Billy Tennis, who now leads the team with 32 goals and 49 points, was right at the heart of the rally.
First, he assisted Bobby Mellen in a man-up situation for the Crimson's third goal of the game. Then he scored on a pass from Steve Martin on the tail end of a fast break triggered by Chris Ecker. A minute later, he fed the ball to Giles Whalen for another tally, and then took his man one-on-one, beat him to the crease, and rifled the ball past Aburn.
Only 41 seconds later, another fast break--Bruckmann to Gellis to Martin to MacKenzie--gave Harvard another score. In less than five minutes, the stickmen had poured in five goals to cut the Bruin lead to one, 8-7.
In another power play opportunity, shortly thereafter, Tennis dodged to the crease and beat the goalie, but his bounce shot hit the pipe. The play seemed to take the wind out of the Crimson sails for a moment, but two minutes later, Harvard did tie the score.
Brown was attempting to clear the ball, but Chris Doherty broke up the play and fired the ball to Dailey Kennedy, who was standing on the crease with his back to the goal. He adroitly cradled the ball and fired it over his head, beating the Brown goaltender. With less than 19 minutes left in regulation, it was a new ballgame, 8-8.
And if it was a new ballgame, that meant Brown had to get off to a fast start, and it did. Middie John Grill scored from John Meister at 12:09 of the third quarter and Peter Bensley converted with Jack Lawrence's pass at 14:17.
That was all the Bruins were to get until the overtime period. Crimson goaltender Jim Michelson was at his best in the fourth quarter, shutting out the home team with the help of a great effort from defensemen Mike Belmont, Hank Leopold, and Chris Ecker.
Meanwhile, the Harvard offense battled to get the necessary goals. After nine minutes of furious defensive lacrosse, Billy MacKenzie took a pass from Tennis in front, dodged past half the Brown team, and beat Aburn to pull the Crimson within one, 10-9.
Finally, with only two minutes left on the clock, the two teams were scrambling for a ground ball at midfield. MacKenzie cut in to scoop up the ball, flipping it to McCall as he galloped past, headed for the goal.
McCall fed the ball to Tennis, and the big attackman came through again, notching the last tally of his hat trick to knot the score, 10-10.
Crimson Miss White
Crimson faceoff specialist Sandy White was injured in the first half, and he was missed. After winning nine of 13 confrontations in the first 30 minutes, Harvard lost 10 of 12 in the late going. It was the first time all year, even against top-ranked Cornell, that the Crimson had not out-faced its opponent.
Perhaps the most important face off came after Tennis's tying tally, and Brown won the right to the ball for the final minutes of regulation. Harvard's defense rose to the challenge, but when the Crimson finally got the ball back, McCall carrying it into the offensive end, less than a minute was left on the clock.
In those hectic seconds, Billy Forbush's long shot from up top went wide, and Aburn made a save on Bobby Mellen, and the game went into overtime.
Harvard got the ball to start the overtime. Aburn made one save, lost the ball while he was out of the crease, but blocked the Crimson shot attempt on a crucial play.
That really was the last gasp for the Crimson. In the rest of the overtime, Brown took complete control. Bensley, Bill Ohlson, John Meister, and Chris Gibson fired goals past Michelson for the 14-10 triumph.