Allston, MASS- Cornell came out flying in the first period in front of a rare, packed house at the Bright Landry Hockey Center. The Big Red held the Crimson without a shot for nearly ten minutes of the first period, and were rewarded by a short-handed goal on a breakaway by Madison Dias at the six minute, 22 second mark of the first period. The lead was doubled with just four seconds remaining in the period, as Joakim Ryan picked up his second assist of the night on a beautiful individual effort on a 2 on 1 break by Christian Hilbrich. Cornell held the Crimson to just five first period shots, and the Crimson struggled to possess the puck on the much bigger Big Red.
Harvard played a much better second period and came charging back in the period. Sean Malone brought the Crimson to within one, while getting tripped in the slot on a feed from Jimmy Vesey at 10:17 of the second period. Devin Tringale scored his first collegiate goal to tie the game, short-handed, five minutes later. But Cornell scored another last minute of a period goal, when Brian Ferlin fed a pass to Dustin Mowrey all alone in front of Steve Michalek sending Cornell into the second intermission up 3-2.
Cornell would hold on, literally, in the third period for the win. Harvard arguably gave its best performance of the season, as it outshot the Big Red 11-7 in the third period but it was not to be, as Cornell won the game 3-2. Cornell improved to 9-4-3, 5-3-2 in the ECAC with the win, while Harvard fell to 5-9-3, 2-7-3. Cornell moves within seven points of league leading Quinnipiac, with still three games in hand.
What I Saw
- Not sure if it was the big game nature of a Harvard-Cornell game, or if Harvard just came out flat but the first half of the first period was dominated by the Big Red. Cornell did a great job keeping Harvard out of its own zone for much of the first and Harvard didn’t possess the puck for nearly ten minutes in the Cornell zone. When Harvard got possession it did a great job in moving the puck throughout the zone, but Cornell territorially dominated the first. The 11-5 shot margin seemed rather kind in the grand scheme of the period.
- Cornell, for much of the first half of the game, was just so good at keeping Harvard at bay. For ten minutes of the first period, Harvard hardly possessed the puck in the Cornell zone and it had no shots on Andy Iles. The neutral zone play and fore-check were phenomenal in the first 30 minutes, which led to Cornell’s 2-0 lead in that time frame. Despite, the marked territorial advantage, Harvard still led the Grade A chances in the first and the second periods. Andy Iles was solid, as he usually is.
- Harvard, as it has for much of the season, came on big time in the third period. Unlike against Quinnipiac, where it was able to find a tying goal, the Crimson were unable to solve the wiley veteran, Andy Iles. It is moments like the latter stages of the third period, that Harvard looks brilliant. For them putting it together for a full 60 minutes might mean it beating a great team. This writer would not be surprised.
What I Thought
- When Harvard wants to play, it can compete with any team in College Hockey. But as has been the case for a few years now, when Harvard gets down it is down. On this night, Harvard didn’t start well but its second period was phenomenal, until the latter moments when it got soft. The Crimson gave up goals in the waning stages of both the first and second periods., with 4 seconds to go the premiere stanza and 20 seconds remaining in the second. These goals should not happen, In a sense it shot itself in the foot twice, which proved to be the difference in the contest.
- The Crimson can take solace in the fact the positives outweighed the negatives for 50 minutes of this hockey game, although there are no moral victories in hockey. The positives in this game for me were many.
- Cornell played well for much of the contest, but the latter stages it got sloppy and allowed Harvard to control possession. Cornell too showed flashes of brilliance in transition but then again the impressive part of Cornell is the skill mixed with size, that few teams in college hockey can stake a claim to. It used this for the first 30 minutes but seemed to go away from at as the game wore on. This almost cost them the win, but Andy Iles took over the game for them, with brilliant save after spectacular one.
What They Said
Cornell coach Mike Schafer said,
“It was a very sloppy game for us from really the first period on. We haven’t played a lot and we are trying to get better with the little things, like not turn it over in the offensive blueline getting pucks deep and all those things. But it was a solid game to get the win but a very sloppy game from our perspective.”
“I thought we did a good job of controlling the lead in the third period and kept them on the perimeter.”
Harvard Coach Ted Donato said,
“We are frustrated and beat ourselves. We gave up two goals in the last twenty seconds, one at the end of the first and one at the end of the second. Both times we had full possession of the puck and basically turned it over. First goal we got beat on a bad change, giving up a breakaway. We didn’t really make them work for their opportunities. They are a ver good team .you have a tough time winning when you give a team one goal, but to give them three when you have complete control of the puck its not a good thing.”
Harvard forward Sean Malone said,
“I wish we could have came out with the W. I thought we deserved better but that happens, it’s hockey.”
“We can’t just walk away from this one. These were points that we needed.”
“I think when they got there two goals, that is just unacceptable. We bounced back into the second with two goals to tie it up. The it was 3-2. We battled back but it didn’t pan out.”
What Else You Should Know
Harvard will face a surging Colgate team on Saturday night at the Bright-Landry Hockey Center. Colgate defeated Dartmouth on Friday night to improves its record to 3-0-1 in the second half. Both teams play an uptempo style and it should make for another great game for the Harvard fans.
Cornell will make the short, two hour drive to Dartmouth for a game at Thompson Arena Saturday night. The team’s have yet to play this season. Dartmouth has been playing better hockey of late but have struggled to get wins. It is probably a game that Cornell should and needs to win.