CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — For 59 minutes and 57 seconds of action at Bright Hockey Center on Saturday night, it looked as if Clarkson would skate away with its first road win of the season against Harvard.
Fortunately for the Crimson (4-4-2, 4-2-2 ECAC), hockey games still last a full 60 minutes.
With only seconds to play and Clarkson (4-6-3, 3-0-2) clinging to a 2-1 lead, Harvard captain Peter Capouch sent in a shot from the left point that Golden Knight netminder Mike Walsh saved but was unable to cover. Playing with the extra man, Harvard’s Tim Pettit and Tyler Kolarik helped to free the rebound for junior Dominic Moore, who slipped it past Walsh to tie the game 2-2 with just three seconds remaining in the third.
The score stayed that way through the overtime period and both teams skated off with a point in the ECAC standings to show for their efforts.
The reaction on either side of the ice, however, was not as similar as the scores.
“It’s an awful letdown,” Clarkson coach Mark Morris said. “We keep beating ourselves this year. For most of that 60 minutes, we played very thoroughly.”
Understandably, Harvard coach Mark Mazzoleni put a different spin on the circumstances.
“We wanted two points tonight, no question, but to come back and earn a point like this is really big,” he said. “It’s kissing your sister, but this is a point that will help us down the road.”
Even more than the outcome, though, Mazzoleni was pleased with his team’s effort.
“It’s a positive sign the way our team continued to play,” he said. “We didn’t have a lot of jam in the first period, but as the game progressed we had the better scoring chances.”
The Crimson came oh-so-close on many of those opportunities, seeing two goals disallowed and also hitting the post twice. But while the Crimson may have had more chances throughout, it was Clarkson that lit the lamp first.
Seconds after Harvard’s first power play of the night expired, Clarkson freshman Jay Latulippe gained control of a loose puck along the boards in the neutral zone. Latulippe then sent a pass that skipped over a Harvard stick before reaching teammate Jean Desroches as he cut into the Crimson zone. Desroches skated by a Crimson defender and toward the Harvard goal before firing a shot on goaltender Will Crothers, who got a pad on it before it trickled past him for a 1-0 Clarkson advantage at 13:29 of the first frame.
From that point, the Knights seemed to take control of the game — until Kolarik’s electrifying play evened things up.
Midway through the second period, Harvard’s Dave McCulloch worked the puck across the neutral zone to Rob Fried, who was able to chip it along the boards to Kolarik just outside the blue line. And that’s when Kolarik made the collective jaws of the 2,634 assembled at Bright drop straight to the floor.
The sophomore winger carried it into the zone by himself and virtually skated a circle around one of two Clarkson defenders in the zone before deking Walsh and putting a backhander by him to tie the game at 8:16 of the frame. The tally was Kolarik’s second in as many games. He also had the game-winner with 21 seconds remaining in Harvard’s 2-1 victory over St. Lawrence Friday night.
The Knights responded later in the period, as David Evans pounded a rebound past Crothers at 15:35 of the frame. The line that produced that would-be game winner — Evans, Tristan Lush, and Joe Carosa — was not even scheduled to play together on Saturday. A shoulder injury to standout freshman Chris Blight, however, forced Morris to juggle his lines, something he has become accustomed during this injury-plagued season.
“[Winning on the road] has been a real big challenge for us,” Morris said after his team dropped to 0-5-2 away from Cheel Arena with the tie. “It’s been a long, hard year for us. To keep positive has been a challenge.” Clarkson’s two goals against the Crimson ran its offensive output to only 12 goals in its past eight games.
Both goaltenders performed well. Walsh stopped 33 Crimson shots while Crothers made 37 saves for Harvard.
Clarkson will host a pair of Hockey East foes next weekend in New Hampshire and UMass-Lowell, while the Crimson will travel to Providence, R.I. for a date with travel partner Brown next Saturday night.