It's always tough to lose the close ones.
The Harvard men's hockey team lost its second overtime game in eight days, falling to crosstown rival Boston College at the Bright Hockey Center, 2-1. The non-league loss drops the Crimson to 4-3-1 overall, but Harvard remains tied for first place in the ECAC with a 3-1-1 conference record.
"It was frustrating to look at the scoreboard and see another overtime loss," senior forward Kirk Nielsen said. "In a way it's almost easier when you have a horrendous game. At least then you can just feel bad."
Harvard played very well throughout the first period, with strong offensive pressure yielding 21 shots on goal in the period. The team moved the puck well on its three power play opportunities, but it was unable to score on any of its many chances.
"The first period we came out like gangbusters," Harvard coach Ronn Tomassoni said. "And then I think we got frustrated because we didn't score."
Boston College was more aggressive in a sluggish second period of play, getting off 22 shots to Harvard's 13. But the period ended with the teams still deadlocked at 0-0. The offensive frustrations for both teams threatened to make the game the first scoreless tie for Harvard since 1928.
Trust Nielsen to put those thoughts to rest. He scored off an assist by senior captain Brad Konik just one minute into the third period to put Harvard ahead 1-0. Although the Crimson kept up the offensive pressure throughout the rest of the period, firing off 24 shots in the final frame, Nielsen's goal was Harvard's only score.
BC senior forward Clifton McHale tied up the score with a shorthanded goal with 8:51 remaining in the third period, forcing overtime. And halfway through the overtime period, Eagles captain David Hymovitz scored the game-winner.
"Both teams played well," Boston College coach Jerry York said. "We were fortunate to be able to tie it with that type of goal--it just bounced off a skate or something."
A big reason for Harvard's scoring woes was the dynamic play of Boston College goaltender Greg Taylor. He had 36 saves, stopping a number of excellent Crimson scoring chances.
Taylor frustrated the Crimson all night. In the first period, freshman Michael Bent fired off a shot right in front of the goal, but Taylor made an amazing grab to stifle the scoring opportunity. In the second period, the crowd started cheering what looked like a sure goal by Bent when the puck slipped behind Taylor as he tried to fall on it. But Taylor managed to cover it up at the last moment to prevent the score.
"Taylor came up big," Tomassoni said. "You've got to tip your hat to them."
If it hadn't been for Taylor's efforts, the Crimson might very well have come away with a win.
"Our kids played well," Tomassoni said. "Sure, we'd like to win them all. But we shouldn't be discouraged. We're still tied for first place [in the ECAC]."
After three straight non-conference games, Harvard will return to the ECAC when it hosts Brown this Saturday. Harvard defeated Brown 7-2 in the season-opener.
"We'll be ready to go on Saturday," Nielsen said. "Brown will be a tough test. It will be good to get back in the league again."