ITHACA, N.Y. — In a game that had ECAC playoff implications for both teams, the Harvard defeated Cornell at Lynah Rink. The Crimson will finish third in the ECAC and will have a first-round bye, while the Big Red will end up in fifth place and will play a first round game at home against the 12th seed next weekend.
Cornell started the game with two early man-up opportunities, the first coming thirty-eight seconds into the game, but neither bore fruit. After a successful penalty kill for the Big Red, a penalty on Harvard sophomore Ian Tallett for hitting from behind gave Cornell another five-on-four opportunity 14:48 into the first period.
The advantage turned out to be Harvards. Crimson senior captain Mike Taylor broke the puck out from a Jack Christian pass in the opening seconds of the penalty kill. Taylor skated past one Cornell defender in the neutral zone, then two more at the Cornell blue line and finished by stick handling around Ben Scrivens, putting it past him blocker side for Harvards first goal of the night.
The second period was a physical back-and-forth struggle between the two rivals and both squads attacked relentlessly with their fore check. The Crimson and Big Red created several turnovers in each others zone and generated 28 total shots in the second stanza. Almost none of these chances resulted in a tally, thanks to solid play from Scrivens and Harvard net-minder Kyle Richter.
But 17:16 into the second period, Cornell responded with their own short-handed goal from leading scorer, sophomore Colin Greening. Freshman Riley Nash intercepted a Harvard pass near the Crimson blue line and forwarded it to Greening, who wristed a shot glove-side on Richter.
The Red followed their shorthanded goal by taking another penalty, putting them man down for the remainder of the period. But they weathered the two and one man deficits and staved off the Crimson. They headed into the locker room at the end of the second knotted up at one goal apiece.
The physical play continued into the third, but Cornell seemed to dominate early with their offense attack. Harvard repeatedly elected to dump and chase in an effort to slow down the Big Reds onslaught.
The teams traded shots throughout the stanza, but it was Harvard who broke the tie. A turnover from Scrivens in front was picked up by Michael Biega and dished to Paul Dufault, who buried it the back of the net.
The Crimson added an empty net goal from Biega to put the icing on the cake. Harvard finished the regular season 14-11-4 overall and 12-7-3 in the ECAC, while the Big Red finished 14-12-3 overall and 12-9-1 in the ECAC.