Familiarity Breeds Contempt

Harvard has played Cornell eight times since 2001, with the Big Red holding a 6-2 advantage

Feb. 3, 2001

Cornell 2, Harvard 1

at Bright Hockey Center

The Big Red scored twice in the first and withstood Dominic Moore’s third-period shorthander to overtake the Crimson for the ECAC lead. This began an eight-game stretch in the rivalry in which one of the teams was first in the ECAC, the only exception being the 2001 ECAC semifinal.

March 16, 2001

Cornell 5, Harvard 2

ECAC Semifinal

Harvard dominated early, but saw two would-be goals by Dennis Packard disallowed, opening the door for Cornell’s three-goal outburst in 2 minutes, 37 seconds of the second period. It marked the second straight season that Cornell knocked its archrival out of the ECAC playoffs.

Nov. 16, 2001

Harvard 4, Cornell 3 (OT)

at Bright Hockey Center

A nickname that defined the season—“Cardiac Crimson”—is born. Then-freshman Noah Welch scored the game-tying goal with 40 seconds left in the third period, and Brett Nowak poked in the winner at 1:14 of overtime. Dov Grumet-Morris earned the win in his first collegiate game, and Harvard handed No. 11 Cornell its first loss.

Feb. 1, 2002

Cornell 6, Harvard 3

at Lynah Rink

After not playing a regular-season game in 20 days—thank you, exam period—Harvard was no match for the Big Red before a revved-up Lynah crowd. Cornell scored twice in the first period and coasted, while bad blood begat fisticuffs following Sam Paolini’s blindside hit on Capouch late in the game. Amid the chaos, Harvard coach Mark Mazzoleni was assessed a bench minor for banging a stick on the boards and dropping it on the ice. Harvard’s highlight came with less than a minute to play, when Tim Pettit sidestepped a fish to score from the high slot.

March 16, 2002

Harvard 4, Cornell 3 (2OT)

ECAC Final

Instant classic. The Feb. 1 loss had started Harvard on a 2-8-1 slump to end the regular season, so it was only fitting that the Crimson icemen completed their resurgence against the Big Red—in an epic game, no less, and one that is still on the books as the longest in Harvard history (96:11). Tyler Kolarik played the hero, squeezing the game-winner past All-American goaltender Matt Underhill at 16:11 of the second overtime, giving Harvard its first ECAC title and NCAA tournament berth in nearly a decade.

Nov. 22, 2002

Cornell 5, Harvard 2

at Lynah Rink

In contrast to the awful loss at Lynah nine months earlier, the rivalry’s first renewal last season was much closer than it seemed. Kolarik—again at his best against the Big Red—brought Harvard to within 3-2 midway through the second, but the Big Red popped two goals in the last two minutes of the period to clinch it.

Feb. 15, 2003

Cornell 4, Harvard 3

at Bright Hockey Center

In what everyone knew was a precursor to an ECAC title game rematch, the Big Red stormed out to a 2-0 before a crowd composed largely of the Traveling Lynah Faithful. Harvard scored three goals over the final two periods but was done in by a third-chance power-play goal with under a minute left in the second. The victory all but assured Cornell would win the Cleary Cup for the second straight season, but both teams were looking toward Albany. “We’ll see Cornell again,” Mazzoleni said after the game. “No question about it.”

March 22, 2003

Cornell 3, Harvard 2 (OT)

ECAC Final

Another thriller. Harvard came oh-so-close to the first back-to-back ECAC championships in school history. It led, 2-1, with under a minute to go—on the strength of another big goal by Kolarik—then senior Brett Nowak’s bid at an empty Cornell net knuckled on choppy ice and slid mere inches wide. Icing. Cornell’s Ryan Vesce won the next faceoff cleanly back to Mark McRae, who weaved a shot through traffic and past Grumet-Morris with 33.3 seconds left in the third. The Cornell-dominated crowd erupted, then went hysterical when good-guy hero Sam Paolini scored the winner in OT.

Staff writer Jon Paul Morosi can be reached at morosi@fas.harvard.edu.