BOSTON, Mass. – If you were fortunate enough to attend the two ECAC Hockey Quarterfinal contests at The Bright-Landry Center this weekend, you saw a classic, emotional, high-scoring battle between bitter rivals. However, you didn't see any surprises. Yale, which had a pair of leads both nights, eventually fell to No. 2 Harvard 4-3 in tonight's second game.
The Bulldogs played some of their best up-tempo hockey, which netted seven goals and thoroughly tested a heavily favored Crimson squad that was looking for its 14th straight game without a loss and a 12th consecutive win. They were also hoping to remain perfect at home, so there really were no surprises in this series sweep.
Harvard (24-5-2) outshot Yale 36-32 and scored twice on its power play to end the Bulldogs' season at 13-15-5.
The Bulldogs scored first, but the Crimson converted both of its power plays to take a 2-1 lead to the first break.
The Blue drew first blood by winning a race. Sophomore forward Ted Hart beat the Harvard defense to a puck thrown down the right boards. Mike Doherty, looking for his fifth goal of this post season, hustled down the ice to the slot hoping his linemate might win the biscuit. Hart grabbed it and looked quickly before send a crisp pass that led Doherty closer to the cage. The senior from nearby Reading held for a moment and then deposited a wrist shot past Merrick Madsen's stick.
Yale had a great opportunity to grab another lead in the first with 1:46 of 5-on-3 hockey. The Elis moved the puck well and fired shots from all angles but could not get a lamp lit. However, there was another advantage opportunity that carried into the second that produced an early middle frame equalizer by John Hayden.
There were two obvious reasons why the Elis did not give up a goal in the second period and were able to walk down the long hallway to their locker room with a 3-2 lead. Sophomore goalie Sam Tucker (30 saves overall), who stopped eight shots in the first, made 12 saves in the middle frame while blanking the Cantabs on one power play. He made four saves in about a three-minute span that were of the grade-A variety. The other reason the home team score didn't change in the period was Yale pelting Madsen with rubber (18 shots) at the other end of the rink.
One of the last Eli shots on target in the second was the sixth goal of the year by sophomore Andrew Gaus. The scoring play began with Joe Snively rushing up the ice and then dishing for Doherty on the left side. Doherty feathered a feed across to Gaus after crossing the blueline and the second-year winger did the rest. Gaus, with the puck on his backhand and approaching the low slot, flipped a backhander over Madsen's shoulder with 1:33 left for the visitor's second lead of the night.
You figured the nation's top scoring team was not done finding the net, and they proceeded to tie it up at 3-3 in the first five minutes of the third. Shortly after, the Crimson added a power-play tally to take the lead back for the second time.
The Blue still had its chances to get even again, including consecutive power plays late in the game, but it just wasn't in the cards.