CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – When Harvard forward Charlie Johnson netted a power-play goal 8:43 into the third period, it looked as if the Crimson was about to hand the No. 3 men’s hockey team its first ECACHL loss of the season.
Looks can be deceiving, though.
Just over six minutes later, sophomore Doug Krantz notched the equalizer before classmate Topher Scott netted the eventual game-winner off of a rebound on a 2-on-1 breakaway at 17:29 in the period to give the Red a 4-3 win over Harvard on Friday night at the Bright Hockey Center.
“We coughed up the power-play goal to them to make it 3-2 and then we got away from our gameplan altogether,” said head coach Mike Schafer ’86. “[But, it was a] great shot by Doug Krantz to obviously tie the game, and something that we’ve been preaching to our guys all night was to shoot the puck and be around the net … and Topher did exactly that.”
The win kept Cornell perfect in league play (3-0-0) and brought it to 4-1-0 overall, while Harvard fell to 2-2-0 after opening its season with four straight conference games.
The third period scoring actually mirrored the first period, as the Crimson became the first team to tally the opening goal against the Red this season when Paul Dufault netted his first goal of the campaign just 2:12 into the game.
On the play, Nick Coskren seized the puck behind the net and then attempted a wraparound, which glided across the front of junior goaltender David McKee. However, Dufault was there for the rebound, poking the puck off the far post and into the net. Coskren and Jimmy Fraser notched assists on the play.
The Red got into the action just over 3 1/2 minutes later, as junior defender Ryan O’Byrne tallied his second power-play goal of the season while Fraser was in the penalty box serving a 2:00 punishment for a contact-to-the-head roughing infraction. The goal was scored after senior captain Matt Moulson and Scott passed the puck back-and-forth to each other twice and then Moulson spotted O’Bryne open in the center of the ice just inside the blueline, who promptly rifled a shot past Harvard goaltender John Daigneau. Both Moulson and Scott were given assists on the play.
The Cornell run continued at 14:29 in the first frame, when Moulson notched his team-leading fourth power-play goal of the season just 16 seconds after Crimson forward Mike Taylor was whistled for a hitting-from-behind penalty. After receiving assists from sophomore forward Raymond Sawada and Scott, Moulson rocketed the puck from the left side of the ice, across Daigneau’s body and past his right side.
For the evening, the Red was 2-for-4 on power-play opportunities, something which pleased Schafer. However, Harvard’s next two scores, both on the power play, were disappointing to the coach.
“We had good success early on … so I was happy with that,” he said. “I wasn’t very happy with our penalty kill [though]. … To give up two goals on the penalty kill [is bad] … but it’s early in the year and we’re going to make those mistakes.”
The first goal in the second period was the lone tally of the frame and came after junior Mitch Carefoot’s obstruction penalty, as Crimson defender Tom Walsh fired a shot from the blueline that teammate Dan Murphy deflected into the net. The goal, which Johnson also notched an assist on, came after senior Cam Abbott and classmate Daniel Pegoraro failed on a 2-on-1 shorthanded breakaway attempt, as Daigneau made an impressive save. Harvard head coach Ted Donato believed his team’s effort on the plays on both ends of the ice gave his team a mental edge heading into the final period.
“I think that was an incredible save by John,” he said. “[It was] a shorthanded effort where he kind of laid out, and as the game of hockey goes, we came right down and scored. I thought it really changed the momentum of the game for quite a while.”
“For us to go down and get one shortly after [the save], was certainly a big sequence of events,” he said. “And I think it gave us a lot of momentum to finish the period and go into the third.”
For the game, the Harvard goalie stopped 27 Cornell shots, while his counterpart, McKee, tallied 19 saves.
After Johnson gave an assist to a teammate, he received one, as he scored what he thought was the game-winner at 8:43 in the third period off a feed from Kevin Du for his first goal of the season. Also assisting on the play was forward Jon Pelle.
However, the Red would not be denied on this night, as the team got a pair of goals in the final 5:04 of the game to take the win.
The first goal, scored by Krantz, came as the sophomore corralled the puck, which was headed out of the Crimson’s zone, and fired it past the goaltender’s top shoulder from the right point for his first goal of the season.
The actual game-winner was scored just over 2 1/2 minutes later, when Abbott again started a breakaway. The forward ripped a shot from Daigneau’s right side, which deflected off the goaltender and right to Scott, who had a clear net to knock the puck into.
“Cam did a nice job just getting the puck on net,” Scott said. “We’ve been practicing … the past couple of weeks just getting to the net with our sticks on the ice and luckily, the puck hit off the goalie’s pad and right onto my stick, so it was just the right place at the right time.”
After killing freshman Tyler Mugford’s high-sticking penalty for the final two minutes of the game, the Red had sealed the resilient victory.
“We got behind and could have easily got down on ourselves in their home arena, but then we had guys pick each other up off the bench and really get each other going,” Moulson said.
Archived article by Chris Mascaro
Sun Sports Editor