Grand Forks, ND – The University of North Dakota and the Harvard Crimson have not played each other very often. The last time that UND and Harvard played was December 6th, 2008.
While neither team was very familiar with each other, there was one thing that UND could expect, Harvard, led by Head coach Ted Donato was going to play a tough physical game and be smart in the defensive end of the rink. Donato’s team didn’t disappoint as they got in the shooting lanes and limited UND’s time and space while jumping on turnovers and creating opportunities going to the other way.
It was apparent from the drop of the first puck that Harvard was going to play a defensive 1-2-2 trap style game and try to slow down the Sioux forwards at the blue line.
The Crimson are not a one dimensional team and they brought the seventh ranked offense in the nation to the Ralph Englestad Arena. In tonight’s game the Crimson generated a good counter-attack off of turnovers in the neutral zone and caused havoc in the offensive zone.
Harvard forward Alex Killorn had a big night for the Crimson, as he scored a goal and two assists to led Harvard back from a two goal deficit in the third period, and assisted on the game tying goal at the 13:16 mark of the third period.
The Crimson also came into the game with the nation’s top ranked power play and showed why they are ranked that high, as they scored off the faceoff of their first power play with a goal from Patrick McNally. UND outshot and out played the Crimson in the first period 8-2, but trailed on the scoreboard, 1-0.
The Second period proved to be an exciting period of hockey as UND outscored the Crimson 4-1, and gave the UND fans a glimpse of the team that many think they can be. The Sioux scored their first goal at the 01:25 mark of the second period with a goal from Nick Mattson. UND scored again 14 seconds later with a goal from Brendan O’Donnell.
Harvard answered the two-goal outburst from UND with a goal 1:16 later, at the 02:55 mark of the second period, when Alex Killorn scored his seventh goal of the season to tie the game at 2-2. Nick Mattson became the first UND defenseman since October 16, 2009 to score a shorthanded goal at the 05:12 mark of the second period. Connor Gaarder would finish the scoring in the third period with an awesome wrap around goal at the 12:51 mark of the second period. (4-2 UND after 2).
The Sioux had a comfortable lead going into the third period, but looked like they ran out of gas. After a couple of untimely turnovers, UND opened the door and let the Crimson back in the game. The Crimson scored two goals in three minutes to tie the game. There would be no more scoring from either team as the game would end in a 4-4 tie after the overtime period.
UND forward Carter Rowney, when asked what they [UND] have to do better tomorrow night,replied, “we have to concentrate on playing a full 60 minute game, cannot let up at all. Every team is good in this league, good in this country, and you have to play a full 60…you can’t let up at all!”
Tonight neither goalie was very sharp and both teams appeared to be rusty from the holiday break.
The game would go to overtime and the game would end in a 4-4 tie.
After the game, Fighting Sioux head coach Dave Hakstol was not very happy with his team’s effort in the third period and said that his team went out soft in the third period. “We had three shots on goal fifteen minutes into the third period. We didn’t go out and play hard in the third period and that is what cost us the game.” Coach Hakstol also said that he thought, “the team didn’t play well in the third period…” He thought “they were on their heels and had their heads up their rear ends. “
The Crimson and UND play game two tomorrow night at 7:07pm at Ralph Englestad Arena.