Bobby Bauer's overtime goal capped a three-goal Harvard comeback as the Crimson edged the University of New Hampshire, 4-3, in a wild first-round contest of the ECAC hockey tournament last night at Watson Rink.
New Hampshire played superb hockey through three periods and almost upset Harvard, but slowly folded before the increasingly-aggressive Crimson attack, losing a two-goal lead in the second period.
Harvard erased the lead with a spurt at the end of the period to tie the score but could not find the mark in the final period, sending the game into overtime.
Bauer's winning goal came at 3:14 of the overtime period. The swift wing grabbed a pass from center George McManama, broke in alone on Wildcat goalie Rick Metzer, and whipped a perfectly-placed backhand shot into the net for the victory.
Harvard will meet Clarkson--winner over B.C. in a 4-2 upset--in the semi-final round of the tournament Friday at the Boston Garden. B.U., which defeated R.P.I. 4-2 last night, will face Cornell--a 3-0 victor over St. Lawrence--in the other half of the draw.
New Hampshire dominated the play at the start, and jumped out to a 1-0 lead at 12:55 of the opening period. The Wildcats held Harvard scoreless for the rest of the period in what looked like the beginning of the Crimson's second upset in four days.
Harvard had enough scoring opportunities in the period--New Hampshire drew four--penalties--but goaltender Jim Metzer stopped the Crimson shots with a number of hair-raising saves.
In a turbulent second period, Harvard tied the score, fell behind by two, then tied the score again with only eight seconds remaining.
Joe Cavanagh broke a two-game scoring slump at 8:32 with the first tying goal. Dave Jones slapped a low shot from the blue line and Cavanagh tapped the rebound in from the side.
New Hampshire bounced back only 45 seconds later to regain the lead on a 20-foot wrist shot by sophomore wing Mike McShane, and increased its lead at 17:15 when Bob Brandt drove past Gurry and beat Bruce Durno with a high wrist shot.
But Harvard only increased its pressure wiping out the Wildcat's hard-earned lead with two goals in two minutes.
Ron Mark scored the first on a classic one-on-one situation. The junior wing took a pass from Gurry, and flew around the U.N.H. defenseman for a clear shot. Mark closed in on Metzer, and, after freezing the goal tender with fakes, flipped a short backhander into the net.
In the last minute of the period, coach Cooney Weiland inserted Cavanagh on the first line and moved McManama back to defense with Gurry, and the strategy paid off. Mark whipped a shot at Metzer which bounced off his pads high into the air. While the goalie was looking for the puck, McManama shoved it in for the tying goal.