McCrea's Winner With 1.4 Seconds Left Pushes Cornell Past Harvard

McCrea's Winner With 1.4 Seconds Left Pushes Cornell Past Harvard

ITHACA, N.Y. — In the lore of the Cornell-Harvard rivalry games at Lynah Rink, the 2012-13 season had an overtime winner from Joel Lowry. The 2013-14 season had Eric Freschi's last minute winner. In the future legend of 2017-18, it's Alec McCrea.
 
The junior defenseman scored a power-play goal with 1.4 seconds remaining in the third period, capping the Cornell men's hockey team's dramatic comeback for a 3-2 victory over its Ivy League rival in front of a frenzied sold-out crowd at Lynah Rink.
 
With the victory, #12/14 Cornell is 6-0 for the first time since the 1971-72 season, and it remains the lone undefeated team in the country. To get there, the Big Red needed to shake off a two-goal deficit after fifth-ranked Harvard (2-3, 2-3 ECAC Hockey, 2-2 Ivy League) got goals from Henry Bowlby and Ty Pelton-Byce in the opening 16 minutes.
 
"I thought they made us play the kind of game that we didn't want to play tonight, and it took us awhile to get going," said Mike Schafer, the Jay R. Bloom '77 Head Coach of Men's Hockey. "We turned more pucks over in the neutral zone than all year and going down 2-0, we just found a way to win." 
 
Sophomore forward Jeff Malott factored into all three of Cornell's goals, with a pair of assists bookending his tally early in the second period. The power play helped the climb, including a pivotal five-on-three goal from sophomore defenseman Yanni Kaldis with 44 seconds left in the first period.
 
After Malott tied the score, scoring chances thinned out over the second half of the game until the Crimson ran into penalty trouble late in the third period. Harvard killed off a pair of two-man disadvantages with in the final 2:14 of the game, but the Big Red broke through in the dying seconds. For McCrea, it was his third goal of the season — all coming on the power play.
 
"I haven't had much time to think about it. It's a pretty crazy feeling," McCrea said. "I was actually committed to Harvard in the past before I came to Cornell. So that was really emotional for me getting that last goal. It was a great effort from our team this weekend."
 
The Big Red's lineup:
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How The Goals Were Scored:
Harvard's 1st Goal
1st period, 6:03  •  Harvard 1, Cornell 0
•  The Big Red attempted to break out of its zone with a pass up the middle that was cut down at Cornell's blue line and immediately turned into a golden opportunity for Harvard. Ryan Donato nudged a pass beyond the last defender to sent Zerter-Gossage in on a two-man breakaway, and he passed off to Bowlby at the far post for a slam dunk goal.
 
Harvard's 2nd Goal
1st period, 15:15  •  Harvard 2, Cornell 0
•  The Crimson possessed the puck in the offensive zone leading up to Krusko's cut to the middle from the right halfwall. He dished back to Marino at the point, whose shot hit a mass of bodies in front of the net. With the puck in a scrum, it was deemed to be alive long enough for Pelton-Byce to fish it out on the far side of the crease and shove it in. The goal was confirmed after video review.
 
Cornell's 1st Goal
1st period, 19:16.5  •  Harvard 2, Cornell 1
•  The Big Red's 24-second two-man advantage didn't result in a goal, but it set off a flurry of shots — several that were blocked, and several that got through to Madsen. With the first penalized out of the box, the Big Red kept the pressure on with Malott circling behind the net and having a shot to Madsen's left blocked by a defender. The puck popped straight to the center point, where Kaldis bombed a shot past Madsen's glove to get the home side on the board and ignite the crowd.
 
Cornell's 2nd Goal
2nd period, 1:15 •  Cornell 2, Harvard 2
•  Under the pressure of Smith's forecheck, a Harvard defender chipped the puck into the neutral zone that was tipped by the stretch of a Harvard forward and a 6-foot-5 Starrett near the red line. It ended up on Malott's stick and he got up a head of steam on a two-on-two, driving wide to blow past his defender before cutting back to the middle. On his off wing, he pulled it back to his forehand and stuffed it in by the right pad of Madsen and inside the far post.
 
Cornell's 3rd Goal
3rd period, 19:58.6 •  Cornell 3, Harvard 2
•  The Big Red won a faceoff in the Crimson zone to keep possession, and then won a board battle behind the net with Malott sending the puck into space in the left circle. That's where Barron collected, and circled back along the end wall and shedding his defender before picking out McCrea near the right faceoff dot. He leaned on a one-timer that zipped past Madsen's blocker for the winner.