Cambridge, MASS - Harvard and Quinnipiac squared off for the 21st time in their short history as opponents. Harvard held a slight edge at 9-8-3 in the all-time series coming into the night. The first period was very Quinnipiacesque, as the Bobcats dominated the possession. It outshot the Crimson 11-6 in the period and left with a 1-0 lead. Kellen Jones scored the only goal in the first period from the slot on a wrister at the seven minute, 33 second mark of the period.
The second period was much of the same but Harvard had the best goaltender in the period. Raphael Girard was phenomenal in the period stoning quality shot, after quality Bobcat shot. Girard’s efforts were rewarded at 12:22 of the period, when Max Everson sent a beauty of a pass to Kyle Criscuolo in the low slot that gave Harvard a 1-1 tie with Quinnipiac in the second period. Matthew Peca scored a go-ahead goal at 2:14 of the third period, which looked to be the game winner until the waning moments of the contest. Harvard’s Alexander Kerfoot scored a game-tying,extra-attacker goal with 49 seconds remaining, which sent the game into overtime.
Harvard and Quinnipiac played an entertaining, scoreless overtime and the 2-2 tie would hold as the final score. Quinnipiac moves its record to 15-3-5, 6-2-3 in the ECAC, while Harvard goes to 5-7-3, 2-6-3. The point puts Quinnipiac a point behind ECAC leader, Union in the race for the regular season title who waits in the wings for a huge matchup on Friday night in Hamden. The Bobcats, though, have played three more games the Dutchmen and its time may be running out to make a run, as most teams around it have played three less games.
What I Saw
- For Harvard, the best player on the ice was goaltender Raphael Girard. His play in the late stages of the first period and throughout the second period was just phenomenal. Quinnipiac sent 12 grade-A opportunities toward the Harvard net in the first two periods, Girard stoned them all. His play this season has been phenomenal, unlike his team. If Harvard turns it around, he will be the key piece in such turnaround. The Crimson have the talent to be one of the top teams in the league.
- Quinnipiac had its usual workmanlike, domination of possession going in this game but something was amiss because even though they had the possession, it just didn’t have the compete level that it normally has. It showed not only on the scoreboard but at the simplest level of the game, puck battles. Harvard won more puck battles than it probably would have against Harvard, but credit Harvard because they were ready to play Quinnipiac hard.
What I Thought
- Harvard seemed to get better as the game went on. When the Crimson play as a team they are really good and could be one of the top teams in the conference, but when it doesn’t it relies upon its goaltender Raphael Girard a little too much. On this night, Harvard’s first period was awful, its second period had flashes of greatness and its late third period and overtime was flawless. I personally think this team has another gear, I saw it at UNH. If it plays 60 minutes as a team, not as five individuals, Harvard could be a force to be reckoned with. There is not doubt they have some talent.
- Quinnipiac didn’t get the result it would have liked but its goaltender had a positive night. Despite getting outplayed by his counterpart on the other side of the ice, Garteig made solid saves in the third period. If anything he knows how to win,but then again he also has pure talent to tap into.
- Quinnipiac has a great possession game, but something is amiss when you get 35 shots a game and struggle to find the back of the net. The Bobcats had a plethora of great opportunities to score against Harvard but were unable to do so. I saw them against Providence College earlier in the year and it had the same problem. With the talent it has in its top six, this should not be an issue. Tonight it wasn’t as glaring as it was against PC, because Raphael Girard played well and made some ridiculous saves. Some great opportunities were missed high or wide which is something that has become the mantra of this team. One has to wonder if this might haunt it come tournament time. Finding a big goal is huge in the playoff formats.
What They Said
Quinnipiac Coach Rand Pecknold said,
“I thought that we could play a lot better. We need to play harder than that. We didn’t stop a lot of pucks, we lost battles and we are just a better hockey team than we showed tonight. I thought Girard was really good but we have to start finishing our chances. We have to come out of here with more than one point.”
Quinnipiac forward Matthew Peca said,
“We lost battles and races early on. We know that we are a better hockey team than we showed out there tonight. I think there is a lot of things that we can improve on. I think we can have a better compete level all around.”
Harvard coach Ted Donato said,
“I think it was a good game. I thought the first period we were stuck in mud a bit and weren’t able to get things going but the second and third I thought we played better, got the game going. Obviously, they are a very good team from the net out and very dangerous. I dont think it was a pretty game but I think from our standpoint there is a lot to be gained.”
Harvard forward Alexander Kerfoot said,
“It’s pretty exciting to come in and play against one of the top teams in the country, especially in our division. It was a hard fought game We had been playing pretty well coming into this game. We wanted to see how we stacked up against some of the better teams. It was a tough start for us but we battled back.”
“we have been looking forward to it the whole season (Yale game at MSG). It is a pretty exciting to go to MSG The history Harvard vs. Yale is unlike anything else in the country. It is the first time it has ever happened obviously. They have the football game but hopefully get this going. Everyone is just wicked excited for the experience.”
What Else You Should Know
Quinnipiac will play Union on Friday in a battle for first place. The last matchup between the team’s went to Union and Quinnipiac will look to respond from a less than stellar effort against Harvard. Union has not played a game since December 14th, a 3-3 tie against St. Cloud State. The Dutch are also unbeaten in ten games.
Harvard will next play in the Rivalry on Ice game against Yale at Madison Square Garden. This game should set them up perfectly for the big stage. The players and the coaching staff are looking forward to playing in the big venue.