Alex Fallstrom had a goal for Harvard against Quinnipiac Saturday night (Photo: Justine Agaloos).
HAMDEN, Conn. – A three-goal second period proved to be the difference in the contest as the Harvard men's hockey team dropped a 6-2 decision to No. 5/9 Quinnipiac Saturday night at the TD Bank Sports Center. The Bobcats remain perfect in ECAC play at 10-0-0 and 16-3-2 overall while Harvard moves to 4-7-1 and 3-5-0 in league action with the loss.
The hosts got off to a fast start with its first shot on net resulting in the first goal of the game just 1:51 into the game. Bryce Van Brabant teed up a shot from the left faceoff circle that beat Raphael Girard and stuck in the side netting for a quick 1-0 lead. A pair of Quinnipiac penalties gave Harvard two man-up chances, but the Bobcat penalty kill showed why it ranks tops in the ECAC, stifling the Harvard offense on both chances.
The hosts struck again at the 12:33 mark of the opening frame, this time it was Travis St. Denis, who one-timed a centering pass past Girard for a 2-0 edge. Minutes later it was Harvard's turn to show its penalty kill prowess, and the Crimson did just that, keeping the Bobcats off the board for the two-minute stretch.
With just over five minutes to play, the Crimson got on the board, thanks to the heads up play of a trio of forwards. Alex Fallstrom and Marshall Everson crashed the back boards in the Quinnipiac offensive zone and froze the puck as the other three Crimson skaters got in place. Everson picked the puck from the scrum and quickly winged it back to Luke Greiner, who one-timed a blast past goalie Eric Hartzell for his second goal of the season with 14:51 gone in the period.
Quinnipiac's power play wouldn't stay dormant for long and special teams unit stretched the lead back to two goals at 16:39 when Matthew Peca put home a hanging rebound that had trickled off to Girard's glove side. Harvard looked to have an answer minutes later when Fallstrom collected a puck on the doorstep and backhanded it home, but the goal was disallowed when Fallstrom was whistled for a penalty on the play. The ensuing Bobcats power play resulted in another goal when Loren Barron scored from the opposite side of the net that Peca's goal came from. A third Quinnipiac goal in the frame at 11:17 by Cory Hibbeler, prompted a goalie change by the Crimson as rookie Peter Traber relieved Girard.
The goalie changed served to spark the Crimson and some Quinnipiac penalty trouble late in the period resulted in Harvard's second goal of the game. With two Bobcats in the box, Blackwell won an offensive zone faceoff and controlled the puck along the back boards. The sophomore slid a pass out to Danny Biega and the senior fired a shot that was tipped by Fallstrom past Hartzell for the second Crimson score. It marked Harvard's second straight game with a power-play goal.
The fast pace of the first two periods slowed in the third as Traber did well to neutralize the Quinnipiac scoring attempts t hrough the bulk of the stanza. The hosts added one final tally with just seconds remaining in the game to seal the 6-2 final.
It will be a quick turnaround for the Crimson as its next context comes Wednesday, Jan. 9 against local rival No. 6/9 Boston University. The teams will face off at 7 p.m. at Agganis Arena.