The Harvard men’s hockey team continued its recent tear, and the team’s resurgence could not have come at a better time.
Facing Cornell in a one-game playoff in the ECAC semifinals, the Crimson dominated both offensively and defensively en route to an easy 6-1 win over the Big Red Friday night at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, N.J.
The victory marked the first time all season that the Crimson won three games in a row. The squad looked to make it four Saturday in the finals against No. 6 Union, which advanced earlier in the night with a 6-2 win over Colgate, but it ultimately fell, 3-1.
The third time proved to be the charm for the Crimson, as No. 19 Harvard (13-9-11, 8-5-9 ECAC) defeated No. 13 Cornell (17-8-9, 12-4-6) after losing and tying its Ivy League rival in their previous two matchups.
“I thought we came out and played really well [Friday night] in pretty much all facets of the game,” sophomore defenseman Dan Ford said. “Obviously, scoring six goals is great, and I thought we did a good job defensively, limiting their chances and blocking shots.”
The Crimson scored six straight goals on Friday, two in each period, to build on its eight-goal outburst against Yale in the quarterfinals last Sunday. Sophomore goalie Raphael Girard led Harvard defensively and tallied 18 saves while losing a shutout with only 1:04 remaining in the game.
Forwards senior Alex Killorn and junior Marshall Everson netted two goals apiece while freshman forward Colin Blackwell recorded four assists in the Harvard victory.
The Crimson took control early and never looked back on Friday night.
Having skated down the length of the ice after a defensive zone win by captain defenseman Ryan Grimshaw and senior forward Eric Kroshus, freshman defenseman Patrick McNally began the offensive surge for Harvard with his score just under five minutes into the contest.
Killorn scored soon thereafter at 7:11 with a high shot from the point, assisted by Blackwell and junior defenseman Danny Biega. The senior forward continued his strong play during the winning streak, in which he has four goals and nine points.
“Killorn has been like this for the last three games now where he has just really taken over and has dominated the play,” Ford said. “It was no different [Friday night with his] scoring of some big goals.”
In the second, senior forward Colin Moore gathered a bouncing puck off a rebound from junior forward David Valek and fired it over the left shoulder of Big Red goalie Andy Iles and into the net for his first goal of the season.
Capping off the scoring in the second, Everson finished a series of passes from Blackwell and McNally on the power play with an easy one-timer put in near the right post.
The Crimson complemented its offense with stifling defense, allowing four shots during the period after allowing five in the first. Throughout the game, the Harvard defense was able to block 24 of 53 shot attempts and broke up any momentum Cornell was trying to build.
“Everyone across the board was blocking shots,” Valek said. “It was unbelievable [and] a great team effort, and Raphael Girard made all the saves he had to that got past to him.”