DURHAM, N.H.--For close to 70 minutes of hockey at Snively arena last night, Harvard was hunting Wildcats and only shooting blanks.
But then, like all good hunters, Harvard resorted to a decoy.
With the game tied, 3-3, and 56 seconds remaining in overtime, sophomore Peter Ciavaglia took the puck on a faceoff and looked to the point...and Wildcat rookie defenseman Frank Messina fell into the trap. Ciavaglia passed the puck to sophomore John Weisbrod--whom Messina left open in front of the net--and Weisbrod fired in the game-winner in a 4-3 triumph for the Crimson.
"It looked like I was going to the point with the puck. It was a decoy," Ciavaglia said. "John knew what I was doing. We set it up."
But the Crimson (10-0 overall, 8-0 ECAC, 6-0 Ivy League) snoozed through the three regulation periods, allowing UNH to grab the lead twice, and just barely sneaking into overtime.
"Overall, it was a disgrace of a hockey game," Weisbrod said. "I hope that this wakes us up. It was bad for us that we let it get that far."
Senior Steve Horner slipped by Crimson defenseman Josh Caplan 8:43 into the first period to give UNH (5-9 overall, 3-7 Hockey East) a 1-0 lead. Horner took the puck from junior David Aiken, cruised around Caplan's left and found the short side of the net.
Give up the hunt, Harvard, the Wildcats said. Go fishing instead. The UNH fans donated the first catch--a dead bass thrown on the ice after the goal.
But Harvard stocked up on ammunition. Linemates Ted Donato, Mike Vukonich and John Murphy made goalie Pat Morrison face a firing range, with Donato tallying on a Murphy deflection to knot the score, 1-1, 16:23 into the game.
Wildcat Savo Mitrovic responded with his first career goal at the 9:41 mark of the second period, and Harvard trailed beyond the first period for the first time this season.
Junior C.J. Young slipped in a Lane MacDonald deflection less than four minutes later and MacDonald blasted a power-play goal off the pipes 53 seconds into the third period to give Harvard its first lead, 3-2.
"Speed is Harvard's strength," UNH Coach Bob Kullen said. "They can really skate and handle the puck. But if you can keep them at bay, stay in the hunt with them long enough, anybody can win."
UNH kept scratching at Crimson rookie goalie Allain Roy, and eventually Aiken stuffed in a goal with 12:36 remaining in regulation to send the game into overtime.
"You worry about a game like this," Harvard Coach Bill Cleary said. "We weren't ready mentally. We just didn't bear down and it reflected tonight."
"We can thank Mr. Roy, though," Cleary continued. "He played a heck of a game."
While his teammates napped, Roy came up with 42 blocks--including a sliding save on a Mitrovic shot early in the contest and a jump-kick combination that defused a dangerous one-on-one at the end of regulation.
"This type of game helps my confidence a lot," Roy said. "I don't mind the number of shots. It keeps me awake."
Morrison also recorded 42 saves for the Wildcats.
THE NOTEBOOK: Senior Allen Bourbeau failed to score a point last night, bringing to an end a 26-game consecutive scoring streak that spanned two seasons. Bourbeau was only three games short of the school record set by Scott Fusco '85.