CAMBRIDGE, Mass.—Kenny Agostino scored at 3:49 of overtime to overcome a career-high 42 saves from Raphael Girard and lift Yale to a 2-1 win against the Harvard men's hockey team in the opening game of the teams' ECAC Hockey Championship quarterfinal series Friday night at Bright Hockey Center.
The third-seeded Crimson (10-9-11) will look to rebound in Game 2 Saturday to force a deciding third game Sunday night.
Harvard logged three of the first four shots in overtime, but Agostino gave sixth-seeded Yale (16-14-3) a series lead by converting from all alone in front of Girard. After Kevin Peel blocked a Harvard shot in his own end, Agostino brought the puck out and moved it to Antoine Laganiere. He skated to the middle of the Crimson zone, got a pass back and picked out the top left corner.
The Bulldogs held a 44-33 shots edge and got 32 saves from Nick Maricic. Harvard got an even-strength goal from Luke Greiner and was scoreless on its two power plays, including one that lasted only 18 seconds. Yale was 0 for 3 with the man advantage.
Harvard came out hitting hard in the first period, with Eric Kroshus laying out one Yale player in front of the Bulldogs' bench and Marshall Everson flattening another at center ice. It was the Bulldogs, though, scoring first, as Trent Ruffolo got a couple whacks at the puck and put it in at the 15:50 mark.
Each team had an unsuccessful power play in the opening frame, and Girard logged 13 saves before the first intermission.
It seemed Yale might carry its one-goal advantage through the second period, but Greiner evened the score at 1-1 in the final minute of the frame. Kroshus made a great play to grab the puck and seal off a Yale defender on the right wall. He then passed back to Danny Biega at the point, and the junior fired a wrist shot. Greiner tipped the initial shot, sending it trickling past Maricic. The puck then found its way in with Greiner and Yale's Colin Dueck battling for it in the crease.
Girard turned in another strong period, with 14 more saves as the Bulldogs outshot the Crimson by a 14-8 count for the second straight stanza.
Neither team scored in the third period, but it was not for lack of chances, as each goaltender stopped 14 shots. The line of Kroshus, Greiner and Colin Blackwell created two of the best opportunities. Maricic got his pad on a Greiner backhand midway through the period, and Blackwell's shot from the slot went just wide with four minutes left. Girard was stellar on the other end and withstood a Yale push in the final minutes of regulation.
Each team won 35 faceofs in the game. Alex Killorn was 10-5 at the dot, while Blackwell led Harvard with six shots. Harvard blocked 21 Yale attempts at goal, with Patrick McNally, Kroshus and David Valek blocking three shots each.