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Coach's New Lines Deliver For M. Hockey

By Elijah M. Alper, Crimson Staff Writer

Every team wants to play the proverbial “full 60 minutes” of quality hockey. But sometimes 20 minutes is more than enough.

The Harvard men’s hockey team used a flurry of second-period goals to turn a 2-1 deficit into an insurmountable 6-2 lead, ultimately beating RPI 6-4 on Friday night. It was just the second time all season the Crimson (14-7-1, 13-3-0 ECAC) has come from behind to win a game.

“That’s the type of thing we can do,” Harvard captain Dominic Moore said. “When we’re focused and firing on all cylinders we can be dominate. It’s a positive sign that we were able to come back strong in the second after having a poor first period.”

With the Crimson idle the following night, every team in the conference has now played an equal number of games. Harvard sits solidly in second place, two points behind Cornell, and can clinch a share of the regular-season crown by winning the rest of its games. Harvard hosts the Big Red this Saturday in the Crimson’s most significant regular-season game in years.

The game against Rensselaer was a promising debut for the Crimson’s reshuffled forward lines, which had remained mostly constant for much of the season. Harvard coach Mark Mazzoleni teamed Moore with sophomore Kenny Turano and freshman Charlie Johnson for the first time this year and paired senior Brett Nowak with juniors Dennis Packard and Tyler Kolarik, reuniting a line that had seen great success last year.

“We hit a roadblock against BU [a 2-1 loss last Monday], and it didn’t seem that we were creating too much with some of our lines offensively,” Moore said. “It was time for a change.”

These two lines sparked the Crimson’s second-period surge, with each producing two goals. Harvard’s six tallies Friday were more than the team scored in its previous three games combined.

“It’s a different style,” said Moore of playing with his new linemates. “The line I have now is better able to work in sync and create plays together.”

Packard, who had played with Moore for much of the season, also welcomed the change.

“Dom is one of the best players in the league, so a lot of time you want to make space for him and get to the net and hope for rebounds,” Packard said. “With Brent and Tyler, we like to pick with each other, and either one of us can get the puck to the net. We’re all working together.”

Packard’s new line started the second-period scoring binge just 54 seconds in, setting up a goal by sophomore defenseman Ryan Lannon to tie the game 2-2.

Less than two minutes later, Johnson gave Harvard the lead for good with his second goal of the season.

Packard chased RPI goaltender Kevin Kurk from the game with a goal at 7:51—his first since early December.

But Nathan Marsters, his replacement, offered the Engineers little relief. Just three minutes after entering the game, Moore beat Marsters on a pretty goal. The Harvard captain carried the puck toward the goal from the boards and deked a defenseman before faking out Marsters and finding the open net.

Senior Aaron Kim made the score 6-1 before the Engineers finally stopped the bleeding with a goal late in the period.

RPI picked up the pace in the third period, outshooting the Crimson 19-6, but was unable to threaten Harvard seriously until the game was all but over.

“They outshot us for the game,” Moore said. “But if you looked at the scoring chances, we definitely had the edge. Most of their shots were from the perimeter.”

Harvard plays in its fifth straight Beanpot consolation game today at 5 p.m. against Northeastern at the Fleet Center. After coming just minutes short of a rare Beanpot title last year, the Huskies have struggled all season and have not yet beaten a team of Harvard’s caliber.

A win over Northeastern would give the Crimson its first victory over a Hockey East school since 2000.

—Staff writer Elijah M. Alper can be reached at alper@fas.harvard.edu.

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