One Win Away: No. 19 Harvard Men’s Hockey Smothers No. 13 Cornell, 6-1
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J.—Alex Killorn and Marshall Everson scored two goals as the No. 19 Harvard men's hockey team scored twice in each period in a 6-1 defeat of No. 13 Cornell in Friday night's ECAC Hockey Championship semifinals at Boardwalk Hall, bringing the Crimson within one win of its ninth league tournament title and a berth in the NCAA tournament.
Third-seeded Harvard (13-9-11) will face top-seeded Union, ranked sixth nationally, in the final Saturday at 7:30 p.m. It will be the Crimson's seventh title-game appearance in the last 11 years, as Harvard's win Friday was its seventh straight in the semifinals. The Dutchmen had a blowout win of their own Friday, 6-2 against fourth-seeded Colgate in the first semifinal.
The Crimson played suffocating defense, holding Cornell (17-8-7) to nine total shots over the first two periods and outshooting the Big Red, 30-19, for the game. Harvard blocked 24 of Cornell's 53 shot attempts. Danny Biega led the way with six blocked shots, while Ryan Grimshaw knocked down four. Raphael Girard made 18 saves and shut out the Big Red for nearly 59 minutes.
Harvard took control of the game on Patrick McNally's goal in the first five minutes. The rookie defenseman added two assists. Killorn also finished with three points and Colin Blackwell had four assists. Colin Moore scored a key goal early in the second period. Andy Iles made 24 saves and Joel Lowry scored for Cornell.
The Crimson took the lead just four minutes, 38 seconds into the game, after McNally picked the puck up at his own goal line after Eric Kroshus and Ryan Grimshaw knocked the puck away from Cornell. McNally carried the puck the length of the ice and through the middle of the Cornell zone, put a shot on Iles and then squeezed in his own rebound.
Killorn made it 2-0 before three more minutes had elapsed with another goal in transition. He had barely crossed the blue line when he rocketed a shot over the shoulder of Iles. The defense, meanwhile, limited the Big Red to five first-period shots. Girard's best save of the frame came when Sean Collins found an opening on the right side just after the Crimson had taken a 2-0 lead.
It took Harvard barely nine minutes in the second period to double its lead to 4-0. Moore struck first, almost exactly 20 minutes of play after McNally. After David Valek's shot was knocked down, the senior fired one of his own, going high on Iles from the slot. Next up was Everson, who finished off a pretty passing play from Blackwell and McNally on the power play.
The Crimson got a power play of more than three minutes when John McCarron was assessed a major penalty for charging Killorn. Harvard moved the puck well and nearly added to the lead, but Everson's shot hit the post and stayed out. The Crimson continued to play in the Cornell end after the expiration of the man advantage and outshot the Big Red, 11-4, in the period.
Like Harvard's first two goals, the last two came on rushes out of the Crimson's own end. Killorn finished off the fifth goal with a pretty move and top-shelf shot after Blackwell intercepted a Cornell pass. Everson made it 6-0 just 88 seconds later, at the 16:28 mark. The Big Red finally got on the board on Lowry's tally with 66 seconds remaining.