Welcome back, to the ranks of the Boston elite. Welcome back, to a sold out Bright Hockey Center. Welcome back, to NCAA-caliber play in the finest men's program of all the major sports at this school.
So what if the Harvard men's hockey team lost? Saturday's contest was all about respect. No. 4 Boston College was pushed to the limit and was 42 seconds away from walking out of Bright Hockey Center with a 2-1 stinging defeat to the Crimson.
The Eagles pulled it out in the waning seconds, but Harvard proved itself nearly their equal and the Chestnut Hill boys noticed.
"I thought it was a terrific college hockey game; the venue was outstanding," B.C. Coach Jerry York said. "There is no question in my mind that that was two NCAA-caliber teams out there."
The Eagles and the Crimson renewed their rivalry in grand fashion with an absolutely magnificent hockey game. The score was 1-1 entering the third period after some end-to-end action replete with emotion and all its requisite violence.
Adding to the atmosphere was the vibrancy of the normally abysmal Bright Hockey Center. Local B.C. fans filled the building, but it became apparent after two periods that there were as many fans of college hockey in Boston in general as there were Eagle crazies. Chants of "Lets Go Boston" rung through the arena a couple of times referring the new heights that Harvard was bringing the area's competition, so long dominated by B.C. and Boston University.
When assistant captain Chris Bala converted a pass from sophomore winger Brett Nowak at 10:47 of the third period to give Harvard a stunning 2-1 lead, the crowd roared in appreciation.
Bright Hockey Center, at least for the moment, was Harvard's once again. It was as if the Crimson had turned back the clock to the late 1980s, when the post-Thanksgiving B.C.-Harvard game was a grudge match between two teams certain to head to the NCAA Tournament.
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