Cornell Ties Harvard 3-3 in Back-and-Forth Contest
For the second time this season, Cornell and Harvard played a tight game, with both teams at one point holding the lead. However, this time there would be no last-minute heroics, as the Big Red (10-11-4, 8-8-2 ECAC) and the Crimson (13-8-3, 9-6-3 ECAC) tied 3-3 Saturday at Bright Hockey Center in Cambridge, MA.
Despite the 4:00 pm puck drop due to inclement weather, as per usual Cornell fans took over the rink. Long dubbed “Lynah East” by the Big Red faithful, there were Cornell fans in almost every section, as well more than two-thirds of the rink seemed to be rooting for the away team. But the early starting time also appeared to slow down the Big Red, who at first were often outskated by a Harvard team known for speedy, aggressive play. However, despite a few close calls, and being outshot 10-7 in the opening frame, the game remained scoreless after the first period.
Cornell was able to start the second period on a power play, as Jimmy Vesey was given a five-minute boarding penalty at the end of the first. After few chances, the Big Red got on the board first when finally able to generate a solid possession. In the final minute of the man-advantage, Cole Bardreau took a pass from Joakim Ryan and beat Steve Michalek low to the blocker side to give the visitors a 1-0 lead. However, despite the newfound enthusiasm from the majority-Cornell crowd, Harvard quickly struck back. Six minutes later, Alexander Kerfoot received a pinpoint pass from Jimmy Vesey, who went one-on-one with Mitch Gillam to beat the sophomore high to the glove side to tie the score.
But the Crimson weren’t done in the middle frame, taking the lead less than three minutes after tying it. Vesey went behind the net and attempted to jam the puck under Gillam’s pads. But Alexander Kerfoot was able to knock the loose puck home, giving Harvard a 2-1 lead. However, it could have been much worse, as the Crimson had an 18-11 shot advantage in the second period. Gillam, who finished with 35 saves on 38 shots, thwarted several quality scoring attempts. After odd-man rushes on both ends of the rink failed in the final minute, the second period ended with the same 2-1 score.
The third period was one of the wildest in recent memory, with three goals scored in roughly eight minutes. Jeff Kubiak got it started when he tied the game 7:31 into the frame. Matt Buckles centered the puck to the sophomore center, who beat Michalek under his pads to knot the score at two. However, with just over five minutes left in the game, Harvard re-took the lead on a miscue by Gillam. Vesey took a pedestrian shot from the right circle, which Gillam swatted at with his glove, but the puck still ended up in the goal. It seemed that the Big Red would lose on a late-period goal for the second straight night, having lost on a late goal against Dartmouth last night.
But that was not to be. Barely a minute after Vesey’s goal, Cornell tied the game again. Teemu Tiitinen’s shot was blocked by Michalek, but the net was left wide open, which allowed Jared Fiegl to bury it home, igniting a raucous celebration from the Cornell faithful. The goal created the potential for another last-minute win vs. Harvard, with the Big Red having beaten the Crimson 3-2 last month on Eric Freschi’s goal with 40 seconds left.
However, both teams would have to settle for a tie. Cornell had a chance to win it in overtime when Bardreau had a one-on-one chance vs. Michalek. But the senior’s backhand try sailed over the net, and that was the last quality chance either team had in the game.
Cornell returns to Lynah next weekend for the final regular season games of the season, starting Friday night vs. RPI.