Sometimes, it takes a little luck.
In double overtime—the first between Harvard and Yale since 1934—junior Conor Morrison fired a shot point blank at Bulldog goalie Nick Maricic, who apparently made the save and smothered the puck.
But sophomore Dan Ford saw something that no one else on the ice had. The puck had actually trickled out toward the left circle, and while everyone was crashing the net, Ford took a slapshot that easily hit the back of the net, propelling the Crimson to a 4-3 double overtime win.
It was only appropriate that it would come down to yet another overtime game Saturday night for the Harvard men’s hockey (11-9-11, 8-5-9 ECAC) team at a packed Bright Hockey Center.
It took two extra periods, but the Crimson was finally able to pull off its first overtime win on its 14th try, staving off elimination and setting up a do-or-die match Sunday night.
“This time of year, it comes down to making a play,” Harvard coach Ted Donato ’91 said. “We’re happy to live for another day, and it should be an entertaining game tomorrow.”
It looked as if the Crimson was going to wrap this one up during regulation, scoring three unanswered goals after the Bulldogs (16-15-3, 10-10-2) had scored two soft goals in the first period to go ahead, 2-0.
Yale had other plans. With an extra attacker, the Bulldogs knotted up the score at three with 27 seconds remaining in the game.
The home team had been the dominant, more physical team for most of the contest, outshooting Yale, 39-30, at that point and killing all nine Bulldogs power plays. But for the second straight night, the game proceeded into overtime.
“It’s kind of a heartbreaker to give up a goal with less than a minute left,” Ford said. “But we’re kind of used to it, and we knew we’d get back to playing the way we play, and we got the result we wanted at the end.”
The first overtime was a hard-fought affair, with Crimson sophomore goalie Raphael Girard coming up with four huge saves on a relentless power play—Yale’s 11th of the night—towards the end of the period.
Harvard ended the thriller 9:20 in the second overtime. Senior Colin Moore sent a pass from the right corner behind the net to Morrison, playing in only his second game since the season's opening weekend, and the junior one-timed the pass into Maricic. Ford found the puck and ended the game with a high shot amidst mass confusion surrounding the net.
Junior Danny Biega scored the first and third goals for the Crimson in the second and third periods, respectively, both slapshots from the point early on in the power play.
“Those [were] big-time shots by a guy who looked like he was going to refuse to let us lose tonight,” Donato said.
Senior Alex Killorn assisted on both, notching his 100th career point on the first Biega goal. Freshman and ECAC Rookie of the Year nominee Patrick McNally earned his second three-assist game of the season, assisting on the two Biega scores as well as junior Marshall Everson’s goal.