SCHENECTADY, N.Y. — After a long road trip, Union returned home to play Harvard in the first of two matches in two weeks. The second, of course, will be next Friday as part of a doubleheader at Fenway Park. As for today’s game, the third period was the story.
The Dutchmen took a 3-1 lead in, but at 7:03 Harvard completed its 15th comeback of the season to tie the game at three. The goal was scored by Danny Biega with a hard shot from the blue line.
“I’m proud of the character we showed against a very good team coming back from two goals going into the third, but we have to find a way to get to our team game right away,” said Harvard coach Ted Donato.
“There is a fine line between winning and losing, especially within this league,” responded Union coach Rick Bennett. “I felt tonight we had our chances, but it’s great to say we had our chances, but you’ve got to bury them. You’ve got to put them away. We had a chance to put that team away tonight in the third period and we didn’t.”
“Obviously it is the third period that is killing us,” said Union defenseman Mat Bodie. “We came out to a great start in the first, and we had a pretty strong second. A little bit of lack of composure and lack of discipline in the third cost us. We battled hard back and we had a few chances in overtime that could have won this game, but I think you are right, we could have won this game in 60 minutes.”
The tie marks the third against an ECAC opponent for both teams, and gives them both nine points for the season.
In the first, the Dutchmen challenged freshman goalie Steve Michalek early and often, peppering 13 shots compared to Harvard’s four, but only managed one goal at 1:05 by Wayne Simpson in the slot after receiving a beautiful feed from Kelly Zajac, who dug the puck out of the corner prior to the setup.
In the second, Union seemed to take a 2-0 lead, but after review the goal was waved off, and instead Harvard was awarded a power play with Union forward Mark Bennett whistled for goalie interference.
Harvard wasted no time in showing why they are the top power-play unit in the nation (34.4 percent), knocking in a goal to tie the score at one at 3:58 by Alex Fallstrom, with two well-deserved assists going to Alex Killorn and Marshall Everson. It marked the 17th straight game Harvard has scored a power-play goal dating back to last season, and the fourth straight game the Crimson converted on their first attempt.
“I think our power play has given us a lift in a lot of games this year,” said Donato. “We’ve had different guys score goals, and it has been a good mix. We really haven’t been one dimensional.”
“I think it was huge if you just look at the way we played after that power play,” added Killorn. “It kind of changed the momentum of the game, so yeah it was pretty big.”
After the goal, Harvard had all the momentum until Union was awarded its third power play. Proving the old mantra “third time’s the charm,” the Dutchmen took back the lead with a Bodie shot from the blue line at 11:24.
Later in the period, Union was given another power play and converted for the second straight time in as many attempts. The goal came after an extremely acrobatic steal from Bodie, who was then able to hit a striding Josh Jooris, and a final pass to Daniel Carr, who tallied the goal at 17:15.
“I had a guy on my right there and when I cut back into the middle there was a guy right there and I was able to beat him, and next thing I knew we were in the clear and Josh and Dan both made great plays to put that puck in the net,” Bodie explained.
Harvard wouldn’t go away easily though, quickly reminding everyone of its penchant for a comeback (the Crimson have trailed 18 times this season, and managed to tie it up on 14 of them) with a power-play goal at 1:04 in the third. The goal, scored by Killorn, was the second power-play goal in as many attempts, which gives the Crimson seven multiple power-play goal games this season.
The goal was Killorn’s second point of the day, and increased his team leading total to 18.
Tomorrow Union hosts Dartmouth and Harvard travels to play RPI. Both games start at 7 p.m.