HAMILTON, N.Y. — Sixty-five minutes proved not enough to settle the contest between No. 20 Harvard (13-11-4, 11-7-3 ECACHL) and Colgate (14-13-6, 8-8-5 ECACHL) at Starr Rink on Friday night.
The lead exchanged hands three times according to the ebb and flow of penalties. Both coaches were visibly frustrated with the officiating, but would not comment specifically on the referee.
“Penalties have a lot to do with the momentum of a game,” Raiders coach Don Vaughan said.
Coach Ted Donato of the Crimson preferred not to make any comments on the subject, particularly about a controversial unsportsmanlike conduct call against Jon Pelle that negated a Harvard power play opportunity toward the end of the game. He did say that he did not agree with a number of the calls made throughout the game and “Donny didn’t agree with a lot of them too.”
Colgate got on the board first late in the first period. Ethan Cox picked off a clearing attempt by Crimson defenseman Ian Tallett and skated the puck back into Harvard’s zone. Cox, a-la Messier, took the puck down the right-side boards on his off-wing and wristed a shot on goal that slipped under the glove of Crimson goaltender Kyle Richter.
Colgate monopolized the offense in the first period, in large part to the team having the only three power play opportunities of the frame, but Harvard was able to stave off the storm.
Harvard roared back in the opening minute of the second and soon after took a 2-1 lead.
On the first goal, Michael Biega fed the puck over to Paul Dufault as they approached the Raiders’ zone on a three-on-two. Dufault took the puck wide on the right side and then slid the puck along the ice five-hole through Mark Dekanich’s legs for his sixth of the season.
For goal two, Pier-Olivier Michaud won an offensive-zone face-off back to Alex Biega at the right point. Biega let go a blistering slapper that went through a Raiders’ defender who had gone down to block the shot and through several other bodies top shelf on the near side of the net. Dekanich probably never saw the shot.
David McIntyre knotted the score at two for Colgate. McIntyre backhanded a loose puck on net that he and Tom Riley had worked free from the left corner in the offensive zone to the front of the net. The puck trickled in on the near side under Richter’s blocker for his eleventh of the season.
Colgate retook the lead early in the third. After Colgate had sustained some good offensive pressure, Joe DeBello took possession of the puck in the right corner and zipped a pass to Mike Werner streaking into the slot from outside the Harvard zone. Werner gathered the disk and coolly slid it under the sliding Richter for his first of the season.
“Better late than never,” Werner candidly said, but he felt that it would have been nicer if it were the game-winning goal.
Harvard tied up the score a little after the halfway point in the third. As Colgate returned one player to the ice during a five-on-three penalty kill, Mike Taylor found Michael Biega wide open on the right point. Reading the play, Doug Rogers headed toward the front of the net to create a screen. Lucky for him, Biega took a shot that caromed in such a way that the puck bounced off Rogers’ right skate right to his stick, so Rogers was able to walk around the fallen Dekanich, who had gone down block the initial shot, and tuck in his eleventh of the season.
Both teams had quality chances in the overtime period, but neither were able to cash in. Dekanich capped off the period with a stellar glove save in the waning seconds to keep Harvard off the board and seal the tie.
Both coaches felt that their respective goaltenders had average nights.
“They both set the bar pretty high,” commented Donato.
“We’re so used to watching them stop everything,” Vaughan affirmed. “They did make some big stops tonight as well, though.”
“Neither team did enough things to win the game and both did enough poor things to lose the game,” summed up Donato. “It was a hard-fought game. I would’ve liked to get two points out of it.”
Colgate will host Dartmouth at Starr Rink tomorrow afternoon at 4 p.m. If Harvard wins or ties tomorrow night at Lynah Arena against Cornell, they will attain the cherished bye. The Big Red and the Crimson will square off at 7 p.m. on Saturday.