DETROIT — Harvard held off a furious third period comeback by Michigan Tech and hung on for a 3-2 victory in the third-place game of the Great Lakes Invitational tournament at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit Saturday night.
Freshman goaltender Kyle Richter turned away 41 of 43 Husky shots for the Crimson and junior Mike Taylor continued his torrid scoring streak by adding two goals to spark the win. Taylor has scored five of his seven goals this season in Harvard’s last three contests.
Heading into the final period, Harvard held what appeared to be a comfortable 3-0 lead
Tyler Shelast’s power play goal for Michigan Tech 7:37 into the third period brought the Huskies to life. A rebound off Richter squirted free to Shelast who finally solved the Crimson goaltender on his second swipe at the puck.
Only four minutes later, Husky forward Malcom Gwilliam converted a pass from Peter Rouleau to pull Michigan Tech within one goal with eight minutes to play.
Gwilliam, Shelast and defenseman Lars Helminen all had great opportunities to knot the game as the clock wound down, but Richter denied all the Husky attempts stopping 17 Michigan Tech shots in the third period alone.
“We’re happy to get the win,” said Harvard coach Ted Donato. “Michigan Tech is a very good team. There was no quit in them and they certainly took over in the third period. I thought our goalie, Kyle Richter, had an outstanding game. The first two periods, I thought we had the game going in the direction we wanted.”
Richter entered the third period with a shot at a second shutout in only the sixth appearance of his collegiate career, yet was simply happy with the win after surviving the Michigan Tech third period onslaught. His first shutout came earlier in the season against Boston College.
“They were definitely pressing pretty hard there,” said Richter. “The puck was bouncing and the guys were really committed to working hard. I just tried to keep it simple, to keep the puck to the outside. My teammates did a good job blocking shots.”
“It’s good to get some momentum,” added the Crimson netminder. “I thought we played well last night. We just came out on the wrong end. It was nice to get on the other side, the winning side, tonight.”
Michigan Tech coach Jamie Russell was upbeat about his team’s performance despite a second loss in two nights. The tournament host Huskies had high hopes for the GLI after heading into the holiday break with two road wins over WCHA power North Dakota. “It was disappointing last night (against Michigan) because I don’t think we played a very good hockey game,” said Russell. “I don’t think we played like the type of team we are. I think we turned around tonight and had a very good effort. We didn’t get a lot of bounces. Our goaltender probably would have liked two of those goals back. We played more like the hockey team we’re capable of being tonight. With the exception of last night, I think we’ve been a very good team defensively.”
“I thought our effort was much better tonight certainly compared with last night,” continued Russell. “Considering the short turnaround from last night to an afternoon game, I thought our kids laid it all on the line. We got over 40 shots on goal, a number of chances in the third period.”
After the Huskies successfully killed off two early first period minor penalties, Taylor scored the first of his two goals.
Taylor shoveled freshman Doug Rogers’ pass by starting Husky goaltender Michael-Lee Teslak to finish off a two-on-one break at 8:06 of the opening frame.Teslak left Taylor just enough room to add to the Crimson lead six minutes later.After circling behind the Husky goal, Taylor centered a pass into the crease from behind the goal line. The puck bounced off Teslak’s left skate into a small opening he failed to cover at the corner of the net at 14:18.
“He’s been consistent for us all year,” said Donato of Taylor. “He’s always been positionally solid. It was just a matter of time before he started scoring goals. He’s had the chances. He’s really turned into an exceptional player with a lot of upside. He was certainly the difference (offensively) tonight”
The Crimson added their final goal early in the second period. Following four minutes of sustained Husky offensive pressure at the start of the period, Teslak fanned on an attempt to clear the puck away from the front of the night and Crimson forward Alex Meintel swatted the puck past Teslak at 3:56.Russell replaced Teslak with Rob Nolan to start the third period and the Huskies responded with the comeback attempt that fell just short.
Harvard returns to action on January 5-6 with an away weekend visiting Rensselaer and Union.Michigan Tech also hits the road on the same dates with a weekend series at Minnesota-Duluth. .