POTSDAM One two-on-one breakaway resulted in a tough loss for the Clarkson University mens hockey team as Harvard scored with 14.1 seconds left in overtime to take a 1-0 win before 2,192 fans in an ECAC Hockey game at Cheel Arena Friday night.
The Golden Knights (17-12-2 overall, 10-7 conference) are fighting for a top four spot in the conference standings and the first-round playoff bye which comes with it and had a chance to essentially build a four-point lead over Cornell for that position Friday.
Clarkson is tied with the Big Red for fourth place, but Cornell lost 3-1 against Union Friday night and Clarkson has the tiebreaker with the Big Red because it has more wins, so had Clarkson defeated Harvard it would have had essentially a two-game lead in the standings.
But instead the Golden Knights were stunned by Harvard (9-12-3, 5-9-3), which is in a three-way tie for eighth place in the conference standings.
The winning goal started when Harvards Brian Hart got to a loose puck along the wall just inside the red line and sent a pass to Sean Malone, just outside the Clarkson blue line. Malone skated in and sent a quick pass to Jimmy Vesey who tapped the puck past Clarksons Steve Perry, setting off a celebration for the Crimson.
I thought we deserved a better fate tonight, Clarkson coach Casey Jones said. I thought we were really good in the third period. Its a cruel fate sometimes in sports, thats the way it goes. Well see our character and how we can back it up. I thought our power-play had a good chance to win the game for us. Kudos to them on their penalty kill, thats outstanding.
The Golden Knights had an excellent chance to win the game late in the third period when Harvards Danny Fick was given a five-minute major with 4 minutes, 47 seconds left to play after a hit to the head of Clarksons Jarrett Burton behind the Crimson net. Burton also got a slashing penalty on the play, but Clarkson played the final 2:47 of regulation with a man advantage that carried over for the first 13 seconds of the third period.
But Harvard, which has the third-best penalty kill in the nation (87.9 percent) was up to the challenge and kept the Golden Knights from winning the game with a goal. Clarkson went 0 for 5 on the power play Friday and had only nine shots during those situations.
It was little more than we bargained four getting a five-minute major with, I think, 4:50 or something to go in the game, Harvard coach Ted Donato said. I thought our guys really rallied. They did a good job killing. We kept our shifts short and had a couple big blocked shots. I thought we did a lot of good things, and first and foremost our penalty kill.
We had three minutes to score at the end of the game and we didnt score, Clarkson senior Allan McPherson said. Thats pretty-much what it came down too. We didnt bury on chances tonight. They scored one and we didnt get one. They got in good shot lanes all night. They are good at blocking shots and really packing it in to make it tough to get shots through.
Also frustrating the Golden Knights was Harvard goalie Steve Michalek, who made 31 saves, including two big glove saves in the last 10 minutes of the third period, denying Kevin Tansey on a shot with 8:47 left and robbing a scoring chance by Jordan Boucher with 4:51 left.
It got a little hectic, but I was fortunate enough to come up with a couple saves at the end there, Michalek said. It was great that we battled hard all night and it was great to win at the end.
Clarksons Perry also played well, finishing with 16 saves. His best save of the night came in the first period when he moved quickly to make a save with his leg pad on a shot from Harvards Hart just outside the crease.