The Harvard men’s hockey team (5-15-2, 3-12-1 ECAC) snapped its losing streak in anticlimactic fashion Sunday evening, tying No. 17 Dartmouth (11-8-4, 7-6-3 ECAC), 1-1, at the Bright Hockey Center.
With just over three minutes left in regulation, it looked like Harvard would skate away with its ninth straight loss. Dartmouth senior Dustin Walsh appeared to give the Big Green a late 2-1 advantage as it looked as if he had put back a rebound from classmate and captain Mike Keenan. But officials waved off the goal as a video review tagged Keenan with crease interference.
“We thought, seeing it on the replay and live, that their player interfered with our goalie’s ability to make the save to get across,” Crimson coach Ted Donato ’91 said. “I thought they made the right call. I’m sure that the other side would see it a different way, but I thought our guys battled all game… It would have been unfortunate if that goal had counted.”
The Crimson would force overtime. After five minutes of extra time, the conference rivals remained deadlocked at one. It was a fitting conclusion to an even 60 minutes of hockey over which neither squad managed to gain a solid upper hand.
Defender Andy Simpson provided Dartmouth an early lead less than 10 minutes into the opening frame. A close-angle shot from the right wing slipped past the pads of junior Crimson goaltender Raphael Girard for the Big Green sophomore’s second goal of the season.
“I don’t think we started our best, but I think we built up through the second and third period,” senior forward Marshall Everson said. “I felt that at that time [of Dartmouth’s goal] we had more of the momentum… In the past we haven’t really dealt with those types of back-breaker goals so well, so it was tough to give up, but I was pretty proud of the way the guys battled back the rest of the game.”
With less than nine minutes left in the second, Crimson co-captain Danny Biega drew a trip from Dartmouth freshman Connor Dempsey—brother of Harvard women’s hockey co-captain Jillian Dempsey—to earn Harvard’s third power play of the game.
The Crimson had entered the match with an NCAA Div. I-worst 9.52-percent success rate (8-for-84) on the man advantage. This time, Harvard capitalized on its opportunity.
More than a minute into the power play, Everson received a tape-to-tape centering pass from senior forward Alex Fallstrom and laced a close-range equalizer over the right shoulder of Dartmouth goaltender Cab Morris.
“We won a battle in the corner, which is big. We haven’t been winning as many as we need to this year,” Everson said. “[Sophomore forward Colin] Blackwell made a good pass down to Fally, and Fally really made a patient play and found me in a nice area.”
While Dartmouth threatened to strike in the closing minutes, Harvard also had its fair share of opportunities to seize the lead late.
“We missed the net five or six times that really negated a couple of great scoring chances,” Donato said. “I thought a couple of our best chances never made it to the net, probably three or four in the third.”
In the final frame of regulation, Dartmouth freshman defender Geoff Ferguson covered up the puck in the Big Green crease after a slap shot from Harvard junior blueliner Dan Ford bounced loose. Officials declined to award the Crimson a penalty shot.
“Our guys thought he used his hand to cover the puck in the crease,” Donato said. “But the refs are down there, and it’s one of those things where there’s not much you can do about. We just wanted to keep playing.”
In overtime, Dartmouth outshot Harvard, 3-0, but failed to break through. Girard finished with a game-high 26 saves on the night as the Big Green edged the Crimson in shots, 27-22.
With the tie, Harvard picked up its first point in conference play since a 4-1 win over Cornell on Nov. 16. The last-place Crimson trails the 11th-place Big Red by three points in the ECAC standings with six games remaining in the regular season.
Because of the weather postponement, Harvard now faces a quicker-than-expected turn around as it prepares to face Boston University in the Beanpot consolation game Monday evening.
“We’re positive coming out of this game. It’s always fun to play BU, and it’s always a big moment if we can beat them,” said Everson, who will be competing in his last Beanpot game. “We [seniors] want to make an impression or at least go out on top as much as we can.”
—Staff writer Michael D. Ledecky can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @mdledecky.