CAMBRIDGE, MASS. — Sometimes, all it takes is a hot goalie. That was the story Friday night as the men’s hockey team could not solve Harvard’s Kyle Richter, and the Crimson rode the sophomore’s solid play and utilized a third-period goal to top Cornell, 2-1. The loss broke the Red’s three-game winning streak.
[img_assist|nid=26474|title=Stop that.|desc=Sophomore goaltender Ben Scrivens (right) made 33 saves in the men’s hockey team’s 2-1 loss to Harvard on Friday night. Scrivens has a .933 save percentage and 1.85 goals against average.|link=node|align=right|width=|height=0]Coming into the game, Richter had only given up three goals all year, and had not let in a tally in three games after recording two straight shutouts against Rensselaer and Union. He had recorded a .75 goals against average and a .975 save percentage, which were both tops in the nation.
Despite Richter’s prowess, Cornell (4-3-0, 4-2-0 ECAC Hockey) was able to score one goal on him. Eight minutes into the first period, Harvard (4-2-0, 4-2-0) was leading, 1-0, after a goal by senior Jon Pelle. With the Red on the power play, sophomore Blake Gallagher was able to slip the puck past Richter to even the score at 1-1 and end Richter’s scoreless streak.
“[Freshman Riley] Nash just tried to send it down to me, and the defenseman got their stick on it, and it popped into the slot there,” Gallagher said. “[Sophomore co-alternate captain Colin] Greening made a nice play to kind of chip it out weak-side and I just put it short-side there kind of low on the stick-side.”
Even though Cornell was able to temporarily solve Richter, it could not capitalize throughout the rest of the contest. Despite a number of chances, Richter stopped the Red time and time again, making 22 saves and keeping the score at 1-1 for most of the third period. Cornell was also unable to capitalize on its other three power-play opportunities.
“I thought our guys created an awful lot of offense,” said head coach Mike Schafer ’86. “I thought Richter played tremendous tonight. I really thought he was the difference in the game. Especially the second period, I thought we had a lot of opportunities, and he was up to the challenge. Even when it was a 2-1 game, he made a tremendous save in the third. It was a good college hockey game, and battle by two teams that the rivalry game lives up to its tradition, as far as both teams playing well and an exciting game.”
While Cornell could not score on Richter, sophomore goalie Ben Scrivens was doing his part to keep the Red in the game, stopping 33 shots. Harvard had a number of scoring opportunities, especially on rebounds in front of the goal, but could not score its second goal for the rest of the first, all of the second and part of the third period. The penalty-kill unit also did not allow the Crimson to score on any of its three chances.
“We know Scrivens is going to get the first [shot] for sure, and he knows that we are going to be there to back him up for the second one,” said co-alternate captain Doug Krantz.
Late in the third, though, Scrivens finally let one up after freshman Matt McCollem curled around the net with the puck. Scrivens stopped the initial shot, but there was a pileup in front of the net, and the puck kicked out to junior Brian McCafferty, who was able to shoot it through traffic and past Scrivens for the game-winning score.
“We made a mistake down low, and the guy tried to come out and stuff it, and our strong-side forward came down, and he’s a young guy, he finished his check where he shouldn’t be finishing a check, down by the net,” Schafer said. “He hammered the guy and our guy right on top of our goaltender and McCafferty obviously jumped down there. There were a pile of guys there and he was able to get into the back of the net. I watched it on video and amazing that it got through.”
Despite playing on the road, there was a large contingent of Cornell fans at the game, and the Red was able to feed off the crowd’s energy.
“Anytime you can come into an opponent’s rink, especially our rival, and half the crowd or over half the crowd is Cornell, it definitely pumps you up and gets you ready for the game,” Krantz said.