CAMBRIDGE, Mass.—The Harvard men's hockey team is heading back to the ECAC Hockey Championship semifinals. The Crimson rolled over rival Yale, 8-2, Sunday night at Bright Hockey Center to complete its series comeback and book a date with second-seeded Cornell Friday in Atlantic City, N.J.
David Valek registered his first career hat trick to lead third-seeded Harvard (12-9-11), while Alex Killorn and Marshall Everson notched four points each and Raphael Girard logged 39 saves. The Crimson poured in four second-period goals and added three in the third to reach the semis for the first time since 2008 but the eighth time in the last 12 years. Top-seeded Union and No. 4 seed Colgate will meet in the other league semifinal. Tickets are available at Ticketmaster.com.
Alex Fallstrom and Daniel Moriarty, two of 11 Crimson skaters to earn a point, added a goal and an assist each. Tommy O'Regan had two helpers, as Harvard followed up Saturday's 4-3, double-overtime victory with a less dramatic win. Yale (16-16-3) saw its season come to an end despite winning Friday's series opener, 2-1 in overtime.
Each team put 41 shots on net, and Girard narrowly missed his third straight 40-save game. He helped Harvard kill three of four Yale power plays to finish the series 17 for 18 on penalty kills. The Crimson scored twice in its five advantages.
After each team scored once in the first period, Harvard took control as soon as the puck dropped to start the second. Killorn won the opening faceoff, and 35 seconds later, the Crimson had a 2-1 lead on Fallstrom's wraparound. Yale stayed within a goal until the game's midway point, when O'Regan outworked a Bulldog for the puck in the corner of the offensive zone. His centering pass deflected off Conor Morrison to Valek, who deposited his first goal in the top corner.
Killorn added his second goal of the game—the 50th of his career—at the 12:26 mark, and Harvard did not look back. Everson banged in a Killorn rebound in the final three minutes of the period to give the Crimson a 5-1 lead after two periods. Dan Ford made a key defensive play in the period, clearing a loose puck off the goal line while Harvard led by just a goal.
Valek ignited the Crimson offense again in the third. Before the period was two minutes old, he collected the rebound of a Patrick McNally shot and banked it off the back of Jeff Malcolm, the second of three Yale goaltenders. Malcolm finished with three saves, after starter Nick Maricic made 28 and before Connor Wilson logged two.
The Bulldogs finally got their first power-play goal of the series, from Antoine Laganiere, more than four minutes into a five-minute power play. They could get no closer before both Moriarty and Valek banged in power-play goals for Harvard in the final five minutes.
Colin Moore assisted on the final goal. He was one of four Harvard seniors to register a point in the class's final game at Bright. Ryan Grimshaw blocked five shots and assisted on Killorn's second goal. Killorn fired seven shots on goal and won 11 faceoffs.
The first period was filled with end-to-end action as the teams totaled 30 shots, including 17 by Harvard to tie its season high. For the third straight game, it was Yale scoring first, on Chad Ziegler's backhand from the left side. And for the third straight game, the Crimson answered. After Everson kept the puck in at the left point, Killorn grabbed it, skated to the slot and slipped a backhand shot between the legs of Maricic.