In a battle for late-season momentum, the Harvard men’s hockey team skated to a 2-2 draw against historic rival Cornell (9-13-3, 5-10-3) Saturday night at a crowded Bright Hockey Center.
Usually one of the most highly touted games of the year, of flying fish and Love Story fame, this contest is rarely one between the bottom-dwellers of the ECAC. But that was the story this year, with the Crimson (7-15-3, 4-12-2 ECAC) sitting in last and the Big Red entering Saturday ahead of Harvard by just three points.
Nevertheless, both teams had hopes of building on some recent success to spark a late surge. Cornell had snapped a seven-game losing streak with a win over No. 17 Dartmouth the night before, and the Crimson had snapped a nine-game winless streak earlier in the week in the consolation game of the Beanpot against No. 13 Boston University.
The two Ivy League teams traded leads over the first two periods, with the Big Red going ahead 1-0 early in the first and Harvard taking a 2-1 lead in the second, but regulation ended with the teams knotted at two.
Despite being outshot, 40-23, the Crimson had several chances to take two points on the night.
With around 20 seconds remaining in regulation, sophomore Tommy O’Regan passed the puck to senior Luke Greiner on a two-on-one. Greiner wristed a one-timer towards the left side of the Cornell net, but Big Red netminder Andy Iles dove to the left and blocked the forward’s shot.
The two teams were unable to capitalize in the five-minute overtime period, and each team left the 141st meeting between the two with one point.
With four games in the last six days, the Crimson was unable to muster enough energy to win in the end, but finished the weekend with three out of a possible four points.
“To me energy wise I thought we ran out of gas,” Harvard coach Ted Donato ’91 said. “A lot of that goes to giving credit to Cornell—I think they did a good job of getting the pucks deep and holding on to it and when we needed it [junior Raphael Girard] came up with some good saves.”
Girard finished with 38 saves on the night in front of a crowd filled primarily by Cornell fans.
“It’s always nice to kind of silence the crowd a little bit at times,” Girard said.
Cornell opened up the scoring early in the first period, with senior Greg Miller scoring on a redirect of a pass from freshman defenseman Reece Wilcox from the left point.
Miller, having scored 15 points in his last 16 games, now leads the Big Red in scoring and is aiming to be the first three-time points leader for Cornell since Matt Moulson, who currently plays for the NHL’s New York Islanders.
The score remained 1-0 for most of the first before the home team responded with a power-play goal with less than thirty seconds left in the opening frame. assistant captain Alex Fallstrom was able to put a rebound into the net after the Crimson initially won a fight along the boards.
The two teams traded goals in the second period, with Harvard first taking the lead with an opportunistic goal.
After a lengthy set up by Cornell, captain Nick D’Agostino skated up the left side from behind the Big Red net, tripped and fell, and lost the puck. Harvard freshman Kyle Criscuolo took the puck from the defenseman, skated back towards the Cornell goal, and sent the puck across the left to senior Marshall Everson, who fired the puck past Iles.
The Big Red was able to tie the game at two with an even-strength goal by D’Agostino. Freshman forward Joel Lowry cut back along the left side, sent the puck behind the net to teammate Brian Ferlin, who curled back up to the right side of the net and passed the puck to the captain, who one-timed it past Girard.
With two more goals tonight, the senior class has scored 11 of the last 13 goals, and entering the game, the Crimson had 11 goals in the previous two games compared to 11 goals in the nine before that.
“I think our senior group has really elevated its game,” Donato said. “They are the catalysts for us and with their improved play our power play has become better and they’ve given us a real lift emotionally as well.”
—Staff writer David Mazza can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.