This post will be updated.
While No. 15 Cornell men’s hockey had to scrap by in two overtime games to sweep Alaska Fairbanks, No. 13 Harvard enjoyed smoother sledding. The Crimson scored a combined 16 goals over the weekend to handily defeat Dartmouth and Bentley.
The Red traveled to Lynah East in search of its first Ivy victory, and early in the second period, the team looked primed to bring home a win. Cornell raced out to a 2-0 lead, but the Crimson responded with three unanswered goals to steal the win, 3-2.
Harvard (3-0, 1-0 Ivy League), which displayed its prowess on offense last weekend, came out of the gates firing. Relentless on the forecheck, the Crimson applied significant pressure in front of freshman goaltender Joe Howe.
This pressure quickly materialized into a Cornell (2-1, 0-1) penalty as senior defenseman and captain Cody Haiskanen was whistled for tripping. Howe and the penalty kill successfully defended two shots from Sean Farrell and John Farinacci.
Throughout the first frame, the Crimson continually dominated possession, keeping the puck behind Cornell’s blue line. Harvard ripped off the first 13 shots of the game before the Red could log one of its own.
But when the Red started to take aim, the offense came to life. This time, Cornell dominated the puck, launching 12 shots in a row. But Harvard goaltender Mitchell Gibson stood tall in net, denying each shot, including a flashy glove save on a rushing shot by senior forward and captain Kyle Betts.
Cornell’s persistence soon culminated in a penalty. Betts drew an interference penalty on Harvard defenseman Henry Thrun, setting up a prime scoring opportunity.
The Red went to work, peppering Gibson with shots. Junior forward Matt Stienburg broke through 16 minutes into the first period, picking up his own rebound and firing it past Gibson to give Cornell a 1-0 lead.
Soon after, Harvard’s Austin Wong horse-collared junior forward Jack Malone, nearly removing his helmet and inciting a scrum. Following a review and a Cornell timeout, the Red received its first power-play chance.
The power play drained the remaining 1:32 of the first period, and by the beginning of the second period, Harvard held firm on the penalty kill. It didn’t take long for Cornell to find the back of the net, even if it had to resort to nontraditional means.
Cornell doubled its lead 47 seconds into the second period. Junior defenseman Sam Malinski fired a shot that sailed just wide of the goal, but it bounced off the backboards and then deflected off Gibson before finding its way into the back of the net.
Harvard did not waste time in mustering a response. The Crimson began to find more quality looks against Howe, and at the 6:13 mark of the second stanza, Harvard halved Cornell’s lead. Gibson warded off a 3-on-2 attack by the Red, and Harvard capitalized on the rush with Farrell burying a shot behind Howe to make it 2-1.
That goal marked the first collegiate goal Joe Howe had conceded. Cornell was gifted with another power-play opportunity as the officials cited Jack Donato for hooking. The Red attacked with a flurry of activity before Gibson recorded a stunning backside save. Junior defenseman Travis Mitchell launched a one-time from the outside, but Gibson reached behind to glove it in impressive fashion.
Harvard then regained control on offense and tied up the contest. Cornell turned the puck over on the blue line, and Casey Dornbach made them pay, burying a cross-ice pass into the net to tie it up, 2-2.
Cornell then launched eight shots — including four on a power-play chance 15 minutes into the second period — but none of them connected. With 1:38 remaining in the frame, senior forward Liam Motley committed a holding penalty, giving Harvard its first power-play chance in nearly 39 minutes.
The Red remained composed on the penalty kill. Cornell’s defensemen blocked two shots, Howe recorded a save and the Red shut down its second power play of the evening going into the third period.
Just a minute after killing that penalty, Cornell’s penalty-kill unit was called up again when freshman defenseman Hank Kempf was sent to the penalty box for interference. Harvard — the second-leading team in the nation in power-play conversion percentage — scored on its third power-play chance of the evening.
The score came in an odd fashion, though. Farrell left off a shot, and Howe dislodged the net by backing into it prior to the shot crossing the line. Though officials initially called it a no-goal, the play was overturned upon review as the shot was bound to cross the line, whether or not Howe moved the net. That crucial call gave Harvard its first lead, 3-2.
Cornell had another chance to score on the power play 5:14 into the period, but Gibson defended his post, adding two saves.
Neither team gained much ground over the next few minutes, but with five minutes left in the game, the Red reignited for several shots on goal — including one that hit Gibson’s shoulder — but none of them found the back of the net.
The Red then opted for an empty net, pulling Howe for an additional attacker in order to find the equalizer. Cornell’s best shot came from junior forward Ben Berard, whose last-ditch rocket with under 10 seconds left hit just an inch too wide of the post, deflecting outside and securing a Harvard victory.
Cornell will complete the weekend slate tomorrow. The Red will venture to Hanover, New Hampshire for a date with Dartmouth at 7 p.m.