Brian Hart netted the go-ahead goal Saturday against the Saints (Gil Talbot).
CANTON, N.Y. – Facing the nation's top power play, the Harvard men's hockey team killed six penalties and scored a power-play goal of its own, skating to a 2-2 tie with league foe St. Lawrence Saturday night at Appleton Arena. The result marks Harvard's (8-12-4, 5-9-4 ECAC) first tie since Jan. 7 against Quinnipiac, while the Saints (9-12-4, 5-9-4 ECAC) keep pace with the Crimson in the league standings.
The Saints had the momentum heading into the extra period, controlling much of the possession in the extra stanza. Harvard earned a promising chance when Jimmy Vesey and Sean Malone broke on a potential two-on-one, but the lone St. Lawrence defender did well to disrupt the play. With 21 seconds left, the hosts were assessed a minor for too many men on the ice, and Harvard got an offensive zone face off and an extra skater as a result. The Crimson dodged a bullet with 10 seconds to go however, as Gunnar Hughes picked off a pass and had an unimpeded breakaway, only to fire wide of the net as the horn sounded to signal the 2-2 draw.
St. Lawrence's fast and open style was on display early as the puck moved freely from zone to zone throughout the opening period. The first great chance of the game came for the Crimson, however, as Brian Hart barreled towards the net on a two-on-one, only to ring his wrist shot off the near post and see it bounce to the corner. St. Lawrence countered with a couple good looks from brothers Matt and Greg Carey, with the siblings both getting looks at semi-open cages but unable to finish the play.
Penalties plagued the guests in the first period, and with the Saints boasting the nation's best power-play, the Harvard penalty kill was forced to bring its 'A' game. The unit did not disappoint in the first stanza, extinguishing three minors and limiting the number of quality chances for the Saints. The home team closed the frame with an 11-5 edge in shots.
Play remained fast and loose into the second period, but the penalty bug bit the Saints in a big way, clearing the way for Harvard to take a 1-0 lead. With 7:12 gone in the period, St. Lawrence committed a pair of minors on the same play, giving Harvard a full two minutes of the five-on-three play. After an initial push was cleared by the Saints, the puck found its way to Victor Newell in between the faceoff circles, and after a quick exchange with Alexander Kerfoot, Newell unleashed a slapshot that beat Matt Weninger high for his second tally of the season.
The Saints finally managed to figure out the Crimson penalty kill, however, and the hosts leveled the score with 5:21 to play in the period on Greg Carey's shot through traffic. Harvard had a promising two-on-one rush in the waning moments of the period, but Weninger was able to smother the puck. However, on the rush, a piece of broken glass found its way onto the ice, forcing the teams back to their locker rooms as the ice crew decided to clean the sheet with 1:04 left in the second, and just add that time to the final period of play.
It was in that extra chunk of time that Harvard was able to take the lead, technically taking a 2-1 lead into the final frame. Jimmy Vesey threw an outlet pass to Sean Malone and the rookie worked it towards the St. Lawrence zone. Malone found Brian Hart streaking alongside, and Hart was able to bury Malone's pass for the narrow edge.
A Saints power play of the four-on-three variety resulted in another goal for the hosts, however, as this time it was Matt Carey sinking the slapshot from Michalek's glove-side faceoff circle just 1:19 into the final frame. Harvard regained its poise on the kill, stopping a man-up chance for St. Lawrence just before the halfway point of the third. The teams traded offensive pushes in the latter half of the frame, but neither squad could find the game-winner, forcing a second overtime in as many games for the Crimson.
Harvard returns home for its next game as it hosts archrival Yale Friday at Bright-Landry Hockey Center, before taking on Brown Saturday. The Crimson will honor the 1989 National Championship team during Friday's contest, and will have a senior day ceremony following the game against the Bears.