Men's Hockey Stays in ECAC Playoff Tourney With 2-2 Tie

ITHACA, NY--It took them 10 minutes and one goal to come alive, but after that mark, the Harvard hockey team, the one which everyone has been waiting to emerge, finally arrived in Lynah Rink last night.

This new team may have been late, but give it credit for showing up when it counted.

And in a tournament where you are only as good as your last game, it was a godsend.

In undoubtedly its biggest game of the season, the Harvard men's hockey team (11-17-2, 9-11-2 ECAC) surprised the No. 2 seeded Cornell with a 2-2 overtime tie.

"It was nice to get that point," Harvard goaltender J.R. Prestifilippo said. "But it is not satisfying because you always want the win."


An overtime thriller is always exciting, but when you pit these two teams against each other, it becomes another story.

"It's not a surprise that we tied," freshman Brett Chodorow said. "No matter what the situation and who is where in the standings, it will always be about the Cornell-Harvard rivalry."

Rivalries are indeed magical, but this one was far from perfect. HARVARD, 2-2 at Lynah Rink Cornell  1  0  1  --  2 Harvard  1  1  0  --  2

First Period

CU-Papp 5 (Smart, Bergin) 00:29

HU-Chodorow 5 (Philpott) 8:54

Second Period

HU-Philpott 3 (Moore) 15:36

Third Period

CU-Auger 10 (Stienstra, Tymchyshyn) 9:34

Saves: CU--Eliot 65:00 10-8-6-5-29; Har--Prestifilippo 65:00 9-5-17-2-33.

Power Play: CU--0/9; Har-0/2

Attendance: 3604

Just twenty-nine seconds into the game, with the referee's arm in the air waiting to signal a Harvard penalty, Cornell forward Jamie Papp broke free from the crowd of players at the right side boards and stuffed the puck through the legs of Harvard goal-tender J.R. Prestifilippo.

It sure didn't take long for the referees arm to move 90 degrees nor did it take the Cornell crowd to think up their newest cheer, "Thirty seconds!"

For the next nine and a half minutes, Harvard witnessed the same unrelenting Big Red assault. Thoughts drifted back to the Crimson's last first period against St. Lawrence, which in the words of Coach Ronn Tomassoni, was a "wake-up call".

If that period was an awakening, then the first 20 minutes on the ice with Cornell was simply pedagogical.

"I don't think that it was necessarily nerves," Harvard coach Ronn Tomassoni. "I did think that we were tentative...they were coming at us and that put us back on our heels a bit."

Harvard did find its footings with the help of Prestifilippo who not only notched 33 saves in the contest, but in the process he broke Harvard's single season save record of Grant Blaire '86 early in that first period.

"I didn't know that I broke it," Prestifilippo admitted. "But I sure wish that I could have traded it in for a win."

"Prestifilippo has been outstanding all year long," Tomassoni added. "He has kept us in so many games this season."

Thus, with Presto holding down the fort on the defensive end, with 11minutes remaining in the first period, the Crimson finally took the offensive.

Chodorow exploded over the blue-line and broke down the left wing. Showcasing a great individual effort, the freshman forward lifted the puck over the extended glove of Cornell goaltender Jason Elliott, evening up the contest at 1-1.

Junior forward Ethan Philpott followed Chodorow's tally with one of his own with only five minutes remaining in the second period to give Harvard its first lead at 2-1.

The Big Red would not be silenced, however, as it quickly answered with a Vinnie Auger one-timer midway through the final stanza to force a sudden-death overtime period.

Neither team could find the back of the net, and after five minutes of extra play, the two teams skated off the ice with the tie.

After an entire season of mediocrity and question marks, Harvard found new life last night.

It left Lynah Rink with one point, a point which very few fans and critics believed would ever belong to the Crimson.

A win or a loss by either team tonight will decide the series. Cornell  2 Harvard  2