Del Mauro's goal got the Crimson offense going late in the first period (photo courtesy Gil Talbot).
TROY, N.Y.—A year after putting together a furious third-period rally to tie at Rensselaer, the Harvard men's hockey team could not repeat history despite a dominant third period, falling to the No. 14 Engineers, 3-2, Friday night at Houston Field House.
The Crimson (3-14-0, 3-10-0 ECAC Hockey) outshot the Engineers (14-6-3, 6-5-0) by margins of 38-16 in the game and 18-3 in the third period but could not get enough out of eight power plays. Allen York made 36 saves for RPI, allowing goals to Harvard seniors Michael Del Mauro and Pier-Olivier Michaud.
The Engineers entered the third period with a 3-1 lead but had trouble staying out of the penalty box in the final frame. They committed penalties nine seconds apart, and Michaud took advantage with a five-on-three goal to cut the deficit to a single score at 6:22 of the third. He banged in the puck from the right after Danny Biega took a pass across from Dan Ford and had his shot from the left point stopped by York.
Chase Polacek scored twice for Renssleaer, which held a 3-1 lead on Harvard last season before the Crimson tied the game, 3-3, in the final seconds of regulation.
Aside from one penalty kill, Harvard spent virtually the rest of the game in the offensive zone following Michaud's goal. York stopped chance after chance with perhaps the best save coming on a Chris Huxley point shot through traffic. The Crimson pulled goaltender Kyle Richter for a six-on-four advantage with 75 seconds remaining, but Rensselaer survived a final flurry, and the clock ran out on the Crimson comeback.
The defenses owned the first half of the opening period, and Richter kept the Engineers off the board with a nice glove save on Brock Higgs about nine minutes into the game. Rensselaer managed to find the net first, though, as Patrick Cullen put in a shot from in front of the right post at the 13:31 mark.
Del Mauro evened things up with 18.6 seconds left in the period. He stole the puck from RPI goaltender Allen York behind the net and skated in front to stuff the puck in the net. The Crimson outshot the Engineers, 8-5, in the period.
Rensselaer regained control with a pair of goals by Polacek during four-on-four play early in the second period. The first came two minutes in, when Higgs took the puck in front of the Harvard net and fed Polacek in the slot for a shot into the top left corner. Polacek struck again 97 seconds later, scoring from deep on the right side of the zone.
The Crimson moved the puck well on two power plays in the period but could not solve York. He made 12 saves in the second period, including a tough stop on Alex Killorn from right in front after an RPI turnover in the closing minutes. Harvard held a 12-8 edge in second-period shots but could not cut into the two-goal lead before the second intermission.