The Crimson was 1-14-1 in its last 16 games against Hockey East teams, winless in its last four against BU and hadn’t beaten a ranked Hockey East opponent during Mark Mazzoleni’s five years here.
No more. Something clicked last night against the 12th-ranked Terriers (3-4-3).
Rather than find a new way to lose, Harvard hit its stride after a 10-day layoff, shook off its recent big-game blunders and came through with a cathartic 5-2 win before a sellout of 2,776 at Bright Hockey Center.
“Pretty sweet,” said senior assistant captain Tyler Kolarik, who had a goal and an assist in his 100th collegiate game. “Better than a regular win, I guess, but it’s like Coach Mazzoleni said: It’s just another win…. You can savor it for a little bit, but then you have to let it go.”
As early-season wins go, though, this was worth remembering. Going in, Harvard was a ho-hum 2-2-1, down to No. 14 in the national polls and wallowing in the vast middleground of the ECAC standings.
“It’s a good starting point for us, a good measuring point,” Kolarik said. “We had a tough start, and BU was going to be a tough opponent. We knew it.
“Did we treat it any differently than any other game? No. Do we realize the impact? Yes.”
More than two decades of impact, in fact.
This was Harvard’s first win over BU at Bright since Dec. 1, 1982. Thirteen current Harvard players were not even born then.
“I didn’t know that,” Mazzoleni said with a laugh.
Mazzoleni’s chuckles provided a fitting epilogue for what was a beginning-to-end, feel-good effort by the home side, featuring a rejuvenated power play (2-for-4), strong play between the pipes by junior Dov Grumet-Morris and a punctuation mark goal from in-and-out-of-the-lineup junior Rob Flynn with 2:41 left.
“We expected to win,” said Mazzoleni, now 2-6-0 against the Terriers. “The atmosphere with our team this year is much different than it was in the past.”“We have guys who have gone through a lot with each other the past four years.”
Harvard scored the two deciding goals within a two-minute span midway through the second period to break a 2-2 tie.
The first of the two—the game-winner—came through the work of Harvard’s freshman line of Steve Mandes, Kevin Du and Ryan Maki.
Defenseman Tom Walsh began the scoring sequence along the right boards and sent a quasi-shot, quasi-pass toward the net. It went off Du’s stick, Mandes took a whack and Du stayed on the doorstep long enough to poke it through at 9:47.