ITHACA, N.Y.--Something fishy happened last night here at Lynah Rink.
Cornell's home barn was at a fever pitch. The Ithaca faithful thought the decibel level would inspire the Big Red to rally from a 5-1 deficit and upset the favored Harvard men's hockey team.
But the Crimson (4-0-0 overall, 4-0-0 ECAC), aided by some question-able officiating, held on for a 5-4 win over the Big Red (1-1-1, 1-1-1 ECAC) in front of 3,824 spectators.
The Crimson capitalized on two extended five-on-three power plays and two bench minors to Cornell--one for a fish that was thrown out onto the ice by a Big Red bozo--to notch four power play goals, two belonging to Brian Farrell (his fourth and fifth of the season).
But it was sophomore Tom Holmes' first goal of the year early in the third period, a backhand rebound off a shot by Cory Gustafson, that clinched the Crimson victory.
"A win's a win," Harvard Coach Ronn Tomassoni said after the nationally-televised contest. "This has always been a tough place for us to play, and I thought our guys showed a lot of character out there to hang on."
"A tough, physical game," Captain Sean McCann said. "We had some guys get hurt, and some of us were really tried out there in the third period."
Ugly stuff--check out 235-pound forward Ethan Philpott, known in these parts already as a first-class goon. Philpott suffered a cut under his left eye and above his nose, and left a trail of blood on one of his numerous trips to the penalty box.
The physical play took a tool on the Crimson as well. Both Jason Karmanos and Derek Maguire sustained injuries and may have to sit out tonight's game at Colgate.
"Neither [Karmanos or Maguire] played in the third period," Tomassoni said. "We're a pretty banged-up team right now."
Blame some of the carnage on referees Tim MacConaghy and Dan Murphy, who made it look at times as tough the ECAC referees were on strike instead of the NHL's. McConaghy worked last week's game between the Hartford Whalers and the Philadephia Flyers, but you'd never have known by some of the calls out there last night.
The Harvard forwards gave a gutsy performance against an inspired Cornell defense and Big Red goalie Eddie Skazyk (26 saves). Cornell had yielded over 40 shots to both Dartmouth and Vermont last weekend, but last night it gave Skazyk a chance to hang in the game.
Sophomore Mike Sancimino scored his first of two third-period goal to cut the Harvard lead to three goals.
Big Red center Brad Chartrand banged home a loose puck eight minutes into the third, and Sancimino wristed a pretty left-side burner past Crimson netminder Aaron Israel (19 saves) to bring Cornell to within one tally.