M. Hockey Dominates Brown, 5-2
Against the same team on Saturday night, it was the Crimson’s savior.
The Bears (3-5-1, 3-4-1 ECAC) had control in the early going, thanks to Les Haggett’s tally at 3:16 of the first period, but Harvard (5-4-2, 5-2-2 ECAC) was able to regain its composure and coasted to a 5-2 win before 2,310 at Meehan Auditorium.
“We weren’t lethargic in the first ten minutes, but we were just kind of watching them. After that, we began to play our way and were much more decisive,” Mazzoleni said after the victory, which kept the Crimson in first place with 12 ECAC points. “They tried to trap, but we didn’t turn it over like we did in the first game. We executed extremely well….This is a good place to be after 11 games.”
The turnaround started midway through the first frame when forwards Dennis Packard, Brett Nowak, and Rob Flynn picked up their forecheck and forced a turnover behind the Brown goal line.
Nowak and Flynn were able to push the puck along to Packard, who was stationed to the left of Bear goaltender Brian Eklund. Packard then brought the puck out just inside the left faceoff circle and wristed it past Eklund from 15 feet to tie the game at the 12:08 mark.
“Flynn did a great job of pushing it along to me,” Packard said after the game. “I came out and wanted to get to the far post.”
That same line put the Crimson ahead in the closing seconds of the period.
Nowak took a shot from just above the right faceoff circle that was tipped in front by Flynn. The puck found its way to Packard, who slammed it past Eklund’s glove for a 2-1 Harvard advantage with just 28 left in the period.
Packard’s first multi-goal since high school was a long time coming, as he leads the team in scoring opportunities, according to Mazzoleni.
Packard attributed his success to good chemistry on his line.
“I’ve been playing with Brett for awhile, and I’m starting to get really comfortable [playing with him]. And [Flynn] does a great job of staying over the puck,” he said.
“They kind of play a similar style of hockey. They’re all smart, have good hands, and have a good feel for the game. They feed off each other very well.”
Mazzoleni was equally pleased with his other forwards Saturday night.
“I thought we had good chemistry with all of our lines tonight,” he said.
After both teams seemed to find their legs in the early moments of the second period, Harvard center Tom Cavanagh was pressured near the blue line but was able to work the puck along the boards to freshman winger Brendan Bernakevitch in the corner. Bernakevitch then made a perfect feed in front to sophomore forward Tim Pettit, who buried it for a 3-1 Crimson advantage at 3:03 of the second period. The lone goal of the second period was Pettit’s seventh on the year but his first in an even-strength situation.
Harvard extended its lead while working with a fresh sheet of ice and the man advantage to open the third period, as Dominic Moore’s blast from the top of the right faceoff circle hit Eklund’s glove before trickling past him for a 4-1 Harvard lead at 1:07.
The power play goal was the Crimson’s first on the man advantage since its 8-4 loss to Boston University on Nov. 20.
Less than two minutes later, Brown’s Tye Korbl was whistled for a blatant interference call on Harvard defenseman Liam McCarthy. The ensuing hack-and-whack literally included every player on the ice.
The scuffle lasted for roughly 20 seconds, and before all was said and done, eleven penalties were called at 3:01 of the third period: every skater on the ice for roughing in addition to Korbl’s initial infraction. The en masse penalty left the press box statisticians frantic and the Meehan sin bins looking like Green Line cars at rush hour.
Order was eventually restored, though, and the Bears mounted a threat soon afterward. With both teams back at even strength, Brown cut the lead to 4-2 on a blast from the slot by sophomore winger Adam Saunders at 7:18 of the third frame. Haggett was credited with an assist for his second point of the evening.
Harvard was able to seal the deal later in the period.
Working with the puck behind Eklund, Moore flipped a nifty pass behind his back to the cutting Tyler Kolarik, who deposited it for a 5-2 lead with 5:59 to play for the final margin of victory.
Brown coach Roger Grillo sounded very much like Mazzoleni after the season opener.
“I thought we had the early edge, but they responded well and capitalized on our mistakes,” he said. “We were careless with our passes. We just made too many mistakes. We beat them up there. They were prepared.”
Both Eklund and Harvard goaltender Will Crothers stopped 29 shots on the night.
Mazzoleni was pleased with Crothers’ performance.
“I thought Crothers played very well and was very timely for us,” Mazzoleni said in reference to a big stop as the third period opened. “He gave us a chance to win.”
Harvard travels to Ann Arbor for a matchup with Michigan this Saturday night, while Brown is off until its heads west for the Bank One Badger Showdown on Dec. 27.