LAKE PLACID, N.Y. — Call it the luck of the half-Irish.
At the 1:32 mark of overtime, Harvard center Dominic Moore took a pass from linemate Tom Pettit and netted his 15th goal of the season, giving the Crimson a 3-2 win Sunday afternoon in the ECAC consolation game before a sleepy gathering at 1980 Olympic Rink.
With the goal, Moore, who’s half-Irish, handed the Big Green its first loss in nine trips to overtime — on St. Patrick’s Day, no less.
“It’s tough on St. Patrick’s Day to play a team called the Big Green,” said the sophomore Moore, who completes his season with a team-leading 43 points. “They played well and I thought Boucher played a fantastic game, but it was nice to be able to put one in there.”
This game was a consolation, but Harvard coach Mark Mazzoleni didn’t think the downsized significance of the affair was apparent on the ice.
Dartmouth, for one, was playing its third game in three days but battled back from two deficits to take the rival Crimson (16-15-2) to overtime. For the Big Green, it wasn’t meant to be.
For Harvard, however, the season ends on a high note, as the Crimson finishes with an above-.500 record — and high hopes for the coming years.
“It’s been a long two years so far,” said Mazzoleni, in his second year with the Crimson. “Last year, we took our lumps, but we took a step up this year.
“We had three goals in mind and we reached every one of them. We wanted to get home ice, get here and finish with a winning record. And we did all those things.”
After falling behind twice, the Big Green nearly won the game with six minutes to play when Pete Summerfelt banged the puck into an empty net after Harvard goalie Oliver Jonas had failed to cover up. Heartbeats earlier, referee Dan Murphy had whistled the play dead, negating the goal.
Either way, Dartmouth’s three seniors — forwards Michael Byrne and Peter Mahler, and defenseman Dory Tisdale — were proud of what the Big Green achieved during their careers.
They entered the program along with head coach Bob Gaudet, and saw the team go from failing to make the playoffs their first two years to battling all the way to the ECAC semifinals as seniors.
“We’ve had a lot of bumps in the road over the course of my four years,” said Mahler, who finishes his career with nine goals and 20 points in 94 games. “We didn’t make the playoffs the first few years and then lost last year in the first round to RPI, but this year has been awesome.
“Coach Gaudet has done so much for the program. I can’t say enough about what he’s done. And it’s just going to keep getting better.”
It took Harvard nine minutes to take its first shot, but the Crimson owned the next five minutes thanks to three Dartmouth penalties.
Harvard opened the scoring at 9:06 of the period when rookie Dennis Packard deflected an Aaron Kim shot from the point past goaltender Nick Boucher (33 saves) for his third of the year. Packard’s goal, also assisted by Tyler Kolarik, came on the power play.
Minutes later, the Big Green passed its biggest test of the opening 20 minutes — a Harvard 5-on-3 chance — and the period ended with Dartmouth holding an 12-11 shots advantage.
The teams traded goals in the middle frame, as the Big Green tied it before Harvard responded minutes later.
Dartmouth made it 1-1 at the 9:30 mark. Skating along the boards, Michael Byrne centered the puck to a waiting Jamie Herrington, who one-timed it past Jonas (32 saves) for his seventh of the year. Freshman Jason Costa also assisted the goal.
The deadlock was short-lived, however, as the Crimson took advantage of a turnover in the Dartmouth zone to reclaim its one-goal lead. Kolarik recorded the goal, punching his 13th of the season past Boucher after a pass from Packard.
Midway through the third stanza, the Big Green had a 5-on-3 power play, and promptly knotted the game at two when Summerfelt shot the puck from the blue line, and right winger Mike Murray tapped it in for his seventh goal of the year. Kent Gillings also earned a helper on the goal.
Dartmouth nearly took its first lead of the game minutes later when Summerfelt punched in an apparent goal, but Murphy’s quick whistle set the stage for overtime.
The Big Green took one unsuccessful shot in the extra session before Moore fired in the game-winner, ending both teams’ seasons.
“I’m very proud of the way our guys performed,” Gaudet said. “I’m very proud of the statement they made for our program. We let people know that we mean business. We didn’t do it this year, but I think you have to get here in order to be able to win it in the future. You have to experience it.”