The Harvard men’s hockey team struggled early in the season, winning just four of its first 22 games.
But something has clicked for the Crimson as of late.
In a hard-fought game Friday night at the Bright Hockey Center, Harvard (8-19-1, 6-14-1 ECAC) capitalized on two power-play goals to defeat Clarkson (15-17-2, 8-12-1 ECAC), 3-1. In the process, the Crimson won for the fourth time in its past five contests.
“[The] game was great,” said co-captain and forward Michael Del Mauro. “We showed we could play in a close game and in the end come out with a win. That’s the resiliency we need to see at this point in the season.”
The contest began uneventfully, with neither squad able to find the back of the net in the first period. While the Harvard front line struggled initially, managing only three shots on goal in the first nine minutes, the home team began to come alive later in the period, tallying seven shots in the ensuing 11 minutes.
But it wasn’t until the next period that Crimson found the back of the net.
Thanks to an elbowing call on a Knight forward, Harvard earned a power play 13 minutes into the frame. With the Crimson supplying pressure in Clarkson’s defensive zone, junior defenseman Ryan Grimshaw took a shot from the point, which sophomore forward Marshall Everson tried to tip in. The Knights goaltender blocked Everson’s shot, but the puck landed right in front of sophomore forward Alex Fallstrom, who hit it past the Clarkson netminder for the score.
The 1-0 lead proved short-lived. Just 34 seconds later, Clarkson responded with the equalizer.
“The puck moved back, and we really just miscommunicated and misplayed the entire play,” Del Mauro said. “It ended up costing us.”
But that one lapse proved to be the Knights’ only goal of the night.
“[Clarkson’s goal is] something that we were able to recover from which earlier in the year maybe would’ve sent us into a little bit of a spiral,” said Harvard coach Ted Donato ’91.
The score remained tied well into the third period until the Crimson earned its third power play of the night.
And once again, Harvard made Clarkson pay.
With just over six minutes left, freshman defenseman Dan Ford and Grimshaw traded passes at the Knights blue line before Grimshaw fired a shot on goal. Like in the earlier power play, Everson tried to tip it past the Clarkson goaltender. But this time, Everson’s play worked, with the puck finding its way into the net to give the Crimson the 2-1 edge.
With the goal, Harvard had converted 11 of its past 23 power play opportunities in ECAC play.