Allston, MA. — One weekend of regular season play in the ECAC is all that is left of the 2018-19 season before the ECAC conference playoffs. The conference has been like a snow globe as of late, shake it up and see where everyone lands. Six points are all that separate first and seventh. At the start of this game, only one point separated Yale and Harvard.
The 270th meeting between the two prestigious institutions will go along way towards determining playoff seeding. Harvard leads the all-time series 145-92-22. Yale, however, comes into this one 2-1-2 in the last five meetings. Last Harvard beat Brown 4-2 after falling behind 2-0 in the first period. Yale meanwhile was blanked at Dartmouth last night 2-0.
Yale came out flat again, like last night’s contest. A Hooking call on Harvard’s Baker Shore helped the Bulldogs generate some offense to test back-up goalie Cameron Gornet early. The goalie, who stopped 30 shots last night, was up to the task turning away three Yale chances on the power play. Harvard took the led at 8:50 off of faceoff in the Yale zone. Jack Badini won the drawback to Adam Fox (three points on the night) on the right point. Fox fired the puck back below the goal line to Badini who looked to find an open man. He found Jack Rathbone pinching in from the left point, who fired a wrist shot past Yale goalie Sam Tucker. Harvard 1-0. The Crimson controlled most of the period. Two penalties on Yale, High Sticking at 10:21 on Dante Palecco and 15:25 Brett Jewell Delay of Game, allowed the Crimson to get in their flow. Shots were tied at 12 for the period but Harvard chances were better. John Marino was called for Roughing at 18:06 giving the Bulldogs another power play. The period closed out with four on four play as Bulldog Justin Pearson was called for Slashing at 19:25.
The second period opened with Harvard on the man advantage. It only took the Crimson forty-six seconds to build their lead to 2-0. Reilly Walsh hit the post on a shot from the slot, a few seconds later Louis Zerter-Gossage walked in from the side boards and buried the puck past Tucker. Harvard was controlling the play until around the midway point of the period. Yale picked up their intensity, got some quality chances on Gornet, the junior goalie was just making the most of his opportunity. This tempo led to a Badini penalty for Tripping at 11:22. Yale threatened but the Harvard penalty kill kept the Bulldogs to the outside. When they did get through, Gornet was there. The period ended with the Crimson ahead 2-0, outshooting Yale 24-21, and controlling the face-off dot 24-17.
The 3rd started off hot for Yale. Jack St. Ivany set up Tyler Welsh alone at the right post, with a pass from the left point, but Gornet slid across his crease to make the point-blank stop. Yale was certainly buzzing this period, unfortunately for them, Gornet was playing phenomenal. The Harvard defense did a great job of clearing loose pucks in front of the net. Marino cleared one that had snuck between Gornet’s legs and was inching towards the goal. R.J. Murphy was called for Hooking at 9:49, Yale kept at it but couldn’t solve Gornet, who was quietly becoming the story of the night.
At 11:16 Palecco was whistled for Holding which created a brief four on four. The extra space was to Harvard’s benefit, as the Crimson found their groove again. Walsh put this one away for the Crimson at 7:15. Adam Fox was toying with a Yale forward at the blue line as the power play was expiring, a spin-o-rama and a cross-ice pass to his defensive partner who was waiting with his stick cocked. Walsh blasted a one-timer past Tucker for the 3-0 lead.
Cameron Gornet was the story in this one, stopping 35 shots, and keeping Harvard in the fight for top seed in the ECAC, now just a point behind Cornell in second. The junior, in just his third start this season, won the annual Tim Taylor Cup for the player of the game for the Harvard-Yale game. With tonight’s shutout loss, Yale was held goal-less for the weekend.
“We are excited to get the win, obviously there’s a lot of emotion any time you play Yale, but on Senior Night even more so,” Havard head coach Ted Donato said. “With two big points on the line on top of it, I liked our effort. I thought we managed the game pretty well, we made some plays, obviously had some goals called back which can happen, but at least were around the net and making plays happen.” s. He added “I thought we got an excellent night in net from Cam Gornet. We did a good job of killing penalties. And obviously special teams at this time of year can be a huge factor, we score twice and we held them off the board.”
Yale wraps up the regular season at home next weekend where they host Princeton and Quinnipiac. Harvard travels to the Capital Region to take on RPI and Union. All four games start at 7:00 pm.