PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Two struggling teams did exactly what you’d expect them to do when they faced off in the consolation game of the Dunkin’ Donuts Coffee Pot tournament — they tied.
In a hot arena, the Clarkson Golden Knights and Harvard Crimson played to a 3-3 deadlock in a game that saw Knights’ netminder Dustin Traylen make 37 saves.
“He’s struggling with his rebounds right now,” said Clarkson coach George Roll, “but he made some big saves for us.”
On the other bench, Harvard coach Mark Mazzoleni was pleased with his team’s overall effort.
“I thought the team played exceptionally,” said the bench boss. “If we keep playing like that, it will turn for us.”
On an afternoon when a Providence basketball game delayed the start of the hockey contest by 30 minutes, the sweltering temperature inside the rink made for less than favorable ice conditions.
Clarkson converted on its first power play of the game just 6:08 into the first period on a beautifully executed sequence. Rookie defenseman Nathan Beausoleil passed the puck from the point down to Mac Faulkner at the right faceoff circle, who quickly dished a cross-ice pass to Chris Blight. The Knights’ leading goal-scorer then one-timed the puck from the left circle by Harvard’s Dov Grumet-Morris.
The Crimson rebounded to tie the contest exactly two minutes later when the newly formed “T” Line of Tim Pettit, Tom Cavanagh and Tyler Kolarik connected once again.
Pettit wristed a shot from the bottom of the left faceoff circle just as Kolarik jumped in front of Traylen. Unbeknownst to the goalie, the puck appeared to bounce off Kolarik’s rear and trickle into the net. Pettit was credited with the goal, his fourth of the season and second in as many nights.
“It’s pretty hard not to play well,” said Pettit, “when you play with them.”
Harvard connected on its first power-play goal in four games at 9:42. Cavanagh’s initial shot from the left circle was stopped by Traylen, but Kolarik managed to free it and Cavanagh followed up by sweeping the loose puck by the Knights’ goaltender.
The “T” Line, which played together as a unit for the first time Saturday, dominated the opening 20 minutes, combining for both Harvard tallies and all four assists.
The Crimson controlled most of the second period — outshooting the Knights 16-6 — but Harvard was unable to beat Traylen. Clarkson, however, capitalized on one of its opportunities at 16:02 of the middle stanza.
Junior Jay Latulippe’s slick move at the right faceoff circle turned Harvard defensemen Tom Walsh and Kenny Smith around and put the blueliners out of position. Latulippe then moved in alone against Grumet-Morris, skating right through the netminder’s crease before sweeping the puck into the far side of the net to tie the score at two.
Harvard had a golden opportunity to regain the lead with just over a minute left in the period, but rookie Kevin Du was robbed by Traylen on a shorthanded breakaway.
The alert freshman hopped off the bench on a line change and caught Clarkson’s Jamie McKinven with his back to the onrushing forward. Du stole the puck and came in alone on Traylen. He faked the netminder down to the ice and moved the puck to his forehand, but Traylen somehow managed to reach out with his glove and swallow the puck up at the goal line.
“I don’t know how he made that save,” said Roll.
Undaunted, the Crimson regained the lead, 3-2, just 1:50 into the third period when Cavanagh scored shorthanded. The junior from nearby Warwick, Rhode Island, streaked down the right side of the ice and ripped a shot that Traylen stopped, but as the puck bounced high into the air, the netminder was plowed over by Blight.
Cavanagh continued around the net to the slot where he backhanded the loose puck high over the prone Clarkson players.
The Knights, who appeared headed for their second loss this weekend, were rescued by sophomore John Sullivan, who poked a loose puck at the side of the net under Grumet-Morris at 13:41.
“Sullivan and [linemate Trevor] Edwards played very well tonight,” Roll said. “I thought they were the best players out there.”
Harvard hit the crossbar twice in overtime, but neither club was able to convert.
“Overall, they had the better of the play,” said Roll, “but I’m proud with our third period. We had a lot of chances to win the game. It’s tough to get up for a consolation game, but we came out with a lot of legs [in the third].”
“We should have won,” he said. “I thought we had them in the third period.”
Clarkson (6-7-4, 3-3-1 ECAC) returns home for a pair of games against Mercyhurst, while Harvard (6-7-2, 4-5-1) travels to New York’s Capital Region to battle Rensselaer and Union.