Valek, Harvard Men’s Hockey Rally Past Clarkson, 3-2, to Claim Bye

Valek scored four of Harvard's seven goals in its weekend sweep (photo courtesy Gil Talbot). Buy Now
Valek scored four of Harvard's seven goals in its weekend sweep (photo courtesy Gil Talbot).

CAMBRIDGE, Mass.—David Valek scored his third and fourth goals of the weekend in the third period as the Harvard men's hockey team rallied from a two-goal deficit to defeat Clarkson, 3-2, in the regular-season finale Saturday night at Bright Hockey Center and clinch a bye in the first round of the ECAC Hockey Championship.

Tommy O'Regan assisted on both Valek goals after Alex Fallstrom started the comeback with a power-play tally in the second period. The win gave Harvard (10-8-11, 8-5-9 ECAC Hockey) sole possession of third place in the final league standings. The Crimson will host a quarterfinal series March 9-11 against the second-lowest seed to advance from the first round.

The win also sent off Harvard's seven-player senior class with a win on Senior Night, their final regular-season home game, and completed a weekend sweep. The Crimson topped St. Lawrence, 4-1, Friday at Bright.

The Crimson stormed into third place with a dominant third period. Harvard entered trailing by a single goal, but Valek tied the game at 2-2 barely two minutes into the frame. After goaltender Raphael Girard moved the puck up the wall to O'Regan, the rookie found Valek moving up the left side. Valek's high shot sent Clarkson netminder Paul Karpowich's water bottle flying.

The winning tally came less than six minutes later, at the 7:42 mark. It again started with O'Regan on the left side of his defensive zone. This time he carried the puck into the offensive end, dangled it around a lunging defender and passed across the ice to Valek for the finish from the left circle.

Clarkson (15-15-6, 9-9-4) came to life with Karpowich pulled in the final minutes, but Girard totaled six saves in the last five minutes, while Danny Biega and Eric Kroshus blocked shots as the final horn approached. Girard finished with 27 saves, and Karpowich had 31 as the Crimson outshot the Golden Knights, 31-27. Harvard nearly doubled Clarkson's faceoff win total, 40-22.

Much of the first period passed without any scoring, and the Golden Knights weathered an offensive surge by Harvard before Kevin Tansey put them ahead 48 seconds before the intermission. He collected the puck and roofed a shot over a crowded crease.

Louke Oakley doubled the Clarkson lead at 5:20 of the second period, scoring from low on the left side on a power play. It was the Golden Knights' only conversion in four man advantages.

Harvard finished 1 for 5 on the power play. Fallstrom cut the deficit to 2-1 at 12:46 of the second. He buried a one-timer off a cross-ice feed from Alex Killorn after Marshall Everson played the puck from the goal line to Killorn on the right half wall.