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NEW HAVEN--According to Harvard Coach Ronn Tomassoni, "It wasn't the magic of the Yale Whale that allowed the Bulldogs to come back from 5-2 to tie the game."
Whatever it was, it was awesome.
After being dominated for over two periods of play, Yale erupted for three unanswered goals in the final 13 minutes of regulation to gain a 5-5 overtime tie here last night.
"I'm tired of hearing about this place," Tomassoni said. "They have a real good hockey club, and they get sky-high for this game like every one else who plays us.
Indeed Yale played the final period as if it was on cloud nine. The Bulldogs outshot their guests 17-7 in the last stanza and controlled the boards.
"We just kept wearing them down," Yale Coach Tim Taylor said. "We went to a little more active and aggressive forechecking late in the game. I probably should have done that from the start."
The tie keeps Harvard (11-3-3 overall, 10-1-4 ECAC) in first place with 24 points, while Yale (11-4-4 overall, 9-2-4 ECAC) stays in second with 22 points.
Harvard, however, lost in one sense: sophomore defender Lou Body broke his hand and will sit out for the next few weeks.
For most of the game, it was Harvard that dominated with strong play and timely shooting. The Crimson outshot the Bulldogs 22-16 in the first two periods and all but silenced Eli leading scorer junior Mark Kaufman.
But just when it seemed the lid was closed on Yale's coffin, the team came alive.
Yale began its comeback at 7:19 when junior for ward Jamie Lavisch pushed a shot by Harvard goalie Allain Roy. The Yale crowd, which previously had been silenced by Harvard's excellent play, came alive as its team cut the deficit to 5-3.
After that, it was all downhill for the Crimson. Another Lavisch shot at 12:14 and a wrap-around tally by Kaufman a minute later knotted the game up.
"I turned around and I just knew it was going in," Kaufman said.
Yale controlled the puck for the rest of regulation, but was unable to score. Neither team could cash in during overtime.
Harvard emerged from the first period clinging to a 3-2 lead over Yale. The Bulldogs got on the board just 32 seconds into the game when Captain Jeff Blaeser pushed in a Lavisch shot rejected by Roy. Yale's early lead was short-lived.
Just as the Crimson began its first power play around five minutes into the period, freshman Cory Gustafson smacked the puck past Eli netminder John Hockin.
Harvard grabbed the lead at 5:50 while the same shift was on the ice. Freshman star Steve Martins, who the Elis did their best to knock around all evening, hit a slapshot from the left point that sailed into the upper part of the net to make the score 2-1.
Yale tied the game on its first power-play. At 11:35, Martin Leroux poked a shot by the diving Roy. Harvard scored the decisive goal of the period at 14:51, on a perfect around-the-net play. Freshman Perry Cohagen passed to classmate Bryan Lonsinger (substituting as a forward) behind the Bulldog goal.
Lonsinger then set up senior Jim Coady 10 feet in front of the goal who promptly blasted a shot by Hockin.
Harvard forward Gus Gardner at 18:53 scored the only goal of the second period by picking the puck out of a pack of players and hitting it by Hockin. Gardner's goal gave the Crimson a commanding 4-2 lead heading into the final session.
Harvard made the lead three when Coady put in his second of the night three minutes into the period.
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