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PROVIDENCE, Rhode Island--The Crimson icemen threw everything but the kitchen sink at the Providence net in the final minute of play, but Friar netminder Bill Milner rose to the challenge and Providence held on for a heart-stopping 5-4 triumph.
Harvard lost to the Friars by an identical 5-4 margin back at Watson rink in December, but if possible, this game was even closer. Down by a goal with only a minute left, Harvard pulled goalie Brian Petrovek off the ice and went with six skaters.
In the next hectic 30 seconds, Harvard fired half a dozen desperation shots at Milner. At one point, Crimson captain Bill Horton and two of his teammates ended up jammed into the net, but Friar goalie lay sprawled in the goalmouth, holding the puck just inches short of the line.
With 30 seconds left, Murray Dea was called for trying to high stick the puck into the net. That brought play back for a face off at the other end of the ice, and Petro skated back on. The Friars battled to keep the puck in, and before Harvard was able to mount another charge the bellowing Providence multitude was counting down the final seconds of play.
The game winner came at 15:28 of the frenzied last period, after each team had already missed a handful of serious opportunities. After Petro had made a series of brilliant saves, Rick Campisi beat him after passes from two of the Wilson brothers.
In the first period, the two squads had traded goals. Tallies by Harvard's Brian Cook and Dea matched Providence scores by Tom Byers and Colin Ahern, a relentless forechecker who gave the Crimson defensemen fits all night.
In the next frame, the Friars made a bid to ice the game away. This time, it was two of the ever-present Wilson trio, brothers Brad and Ron, who connected to put Providence on top, 4-2.
But then, Harvard put together its most explosive minute of the season. First, after a short-range shot misfired, Horton picked up his second assist of the game by slipping the puck out to John Cochrane for a long slapshot and Harvard's third goal.
Just 43 seconds later, Horton notched his third feed, taking a long pass from defenseman Jim Trainor and setting up Dea right in front of Milner.
Harvard came into the game tied with the Frairs and Northeastern for eighth place in the ECAC. The loss dropped the icemen to 8-8 overall.
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