It was a bit anticlimactic after two straight overtime thrillers the previous two nights, but the Harvard men’s hockey team finally knocked off Yale. Coming back from a 1-0 series deficit to take the deciding Game 3 Sunday night, the Crimson defeated the Bulldogs, 8-2, in a dominant showing at the Bright Hockey Center.
The Crimson will move on to the ECAC Championship Weekend, where it will face Cornell in the semifinals on March 16 in Atlantic City, N.J. It will be the first time Harvard has made the ECAC semifinals since losing to Princeton in the championship game in 2008.
“We really felt, five-on-five, we carried the play for most of night,” Crimson coach Ted Donato ’91 said. “We had what it took to get it done, and we were confident being at home we were going to be able to finish the job tonight.”
After finishing the first period tied at one, Harvard broke open the game with an explosive four-goal second period, including senior Alex Killorn’s 50th score of his career.
“I definitely don’t want to retire that Harvard jersey for as long as I can,” Killorn said. “Tonight was the last chance for our seniors to play at the Bright Center, so it was definitely something special.”
Junior David Valek recorded a hat trick, scoring two in the second and one on the power play in the closing seconds. All three of Valek’s scores came on a different Bulldog goalie.
Sophomore goalie Raphael Girard continued his strong play for the Crimson, saving 39 shots in a game that quickly turned into a blowout.
“It was just one of those games where everything was going our way, and the puck kept going into the back of the net,” Killorn said.
Yale netted the first goal of the game 4:04 into the first. Nicholas Weberg kept the puck in along the boards and sent the puck bouncing up the left side of the ice. After it hit Clinton Bourbonais’ foot, Chad Ziegler gathered the puck and sent it into the back of net with a backhand.
Harvard responded about three minutes later on a goal by Killorn. Despite having two defenders all over him, he skated up the left side through the defense and dragged the puck across the net before sending it through Bulldogs goalie Nick Maricic’s five-hole to knot the score at one.
The second period was a completely different story. The Crimson pounced on the Bulldogs for four goals in the second frame, breaking open the contest and putting Harvard up, 5-1.
Junior Alex Fallstrom opened the scoring on a wraparound wrist shot 35 seconds into the period after Killorn initially sent the puck down to him by the right goal line.
The Crimson’s second goal of the period came after freshman Tommy O’Regan won the puck on the boards behind the net and sent it back up to junior Danny Biega. The blueliner then tapped it to junior David Valek, who fired a hard high wrist shot from center that made its way into the net.
Killorn was at it again for Harvard’s third goal of night. With the score, Killorn became the first player to tally 50 career goals for the Crimson since Tim Pettit ’04. Captain Ryan Grimshaw passed the puck up from the defensive zone to Killorn rushing up the right side, who then faked a pass to junior Marshall Everson before cutting back to the backhand, faking out Maricic and netting the goal.
Everson scored the last goal of the period on the rush after Killorn, streaking on the right side, found the open junior forward on the left.