Harvard's hockey team rebounded from its lop-sided 9-2 loss to Denver Thursday to upset WHCA champions Michigan Tech, 6-5, in a marathon double overtime contest for third place in the NCAA tournament Saturday at the Air Force Academy Rink at Colorado Springs.
Defending NCAA titlist Denver edged Cornell--a 4-3 overtime victor over Michigan Tech Friday night--to retain its crown.
Junior defenseman Chris Gurry took Jack Turco's rebound and fired a slap shot from the blue line to end the 55-tie at 8:55 of the second sudden death overtime. Gurry's goals gave the Crimson its highest finish in the national tournament since 1955 and insured Harvard its best season record (19-8-1) since 1963.
Turco started the play by bouncing a hard shot off goalie Gordon McRae's pads. Gurry picked up the puck and whipped it past McRae for his 29th point of the season--a record for a Harvard defenseman.
The Crimson would not have survived 78 minutes of play without the magnificent goaltending of Bill Diercks. The senior goaltender played behind sophomore goalie Bruce Durno all season, but when Coach Cooney Weiland gave him the starting position for the last game of his career, Diercks responded with 47 saves--breaking Durno's record of 44 set against B.U. early in the season.
Diercks--a second team All-Ivy selection last year--was bombarded by the Huskies in the first overtime period, but he turned back their nine shots on the net to force a second overtime period.
The Crimson capitalized on Tech's fatigue--it has played a taxing overtime game against Cornell the night before--to jump out to a 4-2 lead in the first period.
George McManama repeated Harvard's pattern against Denver by scoring only 22 seconds into the game. His two wings, Ron Mark and Bobby Bauer, assisted. Bauer's assist was the first of three points which vaulted him into the top ten scorers in Harvard history.
First-line wing Brian Watts evened the score at 1:12 with a shot from the side, but Harvard connected by pulling ahead to a 3-1 lead on gaols by Joe Cavanagh and Mark.
Cavanagh took Dan DeMichele's pass and slipped a short shot by McRae for his 24th goal and 62 point of the season. Mark's score came at 9:37 after stickhandling through the Tech defense and faking McRae.
George Bell narrowed Harvard's lead with a goal at 12:24, but DeMichele tipped Steve Owen's centering pass into the net for a 4-2 Crimson margin.
Husky captain John Haines connected on backhander at 3:36 for the first goal, and then Terry McKnight scored from short range at 11:2 to deadlock the game, 4-4.
In the final period, Tech gained he lead for the first time in the game on Carl Ahlsten's point-blank shot at 4:04 of the final period. But Bauer added his third point of the night by scoring at 7:55, sending the game into two overtimes.