A season full of struggles is quickly becoming a distant memory for the Harvard men’s hockey team.
In a best-of-three series, the 10th-seeded Crimson (11-19-1, 7-14-1 ECAC) only needed two games to knock off seventh-seeded Clarkson (15-19-2, 9-12-1) at Cheel Arena in the first round of the ECAC playoffs. Harvard began the series with a 2-1 win on Friday night and didn’t look back, taking the Saturday contest, 6-4.
“We did pretty well,” said co-captain and defenseman Chris Huxley. “No matter what happened, we stuck with the game plan: get pucks in deep and see if we end up getting shots on that.”
With the two victories, the Crimson extended its winning streak to five games, the team’s longest since 2005. Harvard will continue its playoff run next week in an ECAC quarterfinals matchup against Dartmouth.
HARVARD 6, CLARKSON 4
After a low-scoring contest Friday night, neither team could find the back of the net in the first period of Saturday’s game.
That all changed in the second frame. In just a 15-minute interval, the Golden Knights scored three times, and Harvard answered twice.
Only 2:29 in, Clarkson defensemen Nik Pokulok fired a shot from the blue line that flew past senior goaltender Ryan Carroll to put the Golden Knights up by one. Less than two minutes later, Harvard responded, with senior forward Pier-Olivier Michaud tying the score at one apiece.
After Clarkson scored again, the Crimson quickly followed suit.
At the 13:40 mark, sophomore forward Alex Fallstrom managed to deflect a shot pass from junior forward Alex Killorn into the net.
In the back-and-forth battle, the home team regained the lead just 11 seconds after the Fallstrom goal, retaining the lead until the end of the period.
But at the end of the second period, Pokulok earned a game misconduct for contact to the head, giving Harvard a five-minute power play.
And the Crimson took advantage.
Three minutes into the power play, Huxley received a pass at the blue line and quickly sent the puck towards junior forward Daniel Moriarty, who had positioned himself at the right side of the net. The forward then tipped the puck past the Golden Knights goaltender to knot the score at three apiece.
“I saw [Moriarty] back door, and I just tried to give him a shot pass,” Huxley said. “He did a great job tipping it in.”