Alexander Kerfoot netted Harvard's second goal against Cornell Saturday (Gil Talbot).
ITHACA, N.Y. – It was a gritty battle between ancient Ivy Rivals Saturday at Lynah Rink, but the No. 11/11 Cornell delivered the final blow, dropping the Harvard men's hockey team, 3-2, in overtime in the regular season finale for both teams. The Crimson finishes its regular season with a 10-15-4 overall record and 6-12-4 ECAC mark, while Cornell finishes at 15-8-5 and 11-7-4 in league play.
With the result, Harvard finishes the regular season in 11th place in the ECAC standings, and will travel to sixth-seeded Yale for a first round playoff series next weekend.
Harvard had the better chances early in the extra period, firing a pair of shots on Andy Iles in the first two minutes and keeping the puck in the Cornell zone thanks to stingy play along the blue line. Cornell had its first chance on a set rush midway through the period, but it was its second push that resulted in the game-winner, as Joel Lowry put a wrap-around attempt on net and shoved home his own rebound for the game-winner with 36 seconds left to play.
After the usual fish-and-newspapers fanfare from the raucous Cornell crowd, the Crimson let its play do the talking, quieting the building with a power-play tally just 80 seconds into the game. Victor Newell established possession on the Cornell blue line and slid a pass to Brian Hart in the right faceoff circle. Hart caught the pass and wristed a cross towards Sean Malone on the back door and Malone swept the puck past Andy Iles for a quick 1-0 lead. Cornell had two chances to grab a power-play goal of its own, but Steve Michalek stood tall and the Harvard shot-blockers prevented the hosts from leveling the score in the opening stanza.
Cornell continued to go for big hits, but the Crimson kept springing back up, absorbing the Cornell pressure to start the second and holding tight at 1-0. It was the special teams once again that came through for the Crimson, allowing Harvard to take a 2-0 lead with nine minutes to play in the second. Kyle Criscuolo hunted down a dumped puck from Max Everson to Iles' right and emerged from the corner with help on the high and low sides. He quickly dished back to Alexander Kerfoot right on top of the crease and the rookie buried the attempt for his eighth of the season. The Big Red finally figured out Michalek in the waning minutes of the frame, however, tallying goals from John McCarron and Matt Buckles to knot the score at 2-2 after 40 minutes of action.
The third period saw each team gain its share of chances, but both defenses and both goalies remained poised, keeping the score knotted at two. Cornell finished regulation with a 29-16 advantage in the shots column.