Patrick McNally scored twice in the season-opener for the Crimson (Gil Talbot).
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – The Bright-Landry Hockey Center officially opened Saturday night with 2,732 fans in attendance taking in a well-played game that saw the Harvard men's hockey team (0-0-1, 0-0-1 ECAC) tie the visiting Dartmouth Big Green (0-0-1, 0-0-1 ECAC), 3-3. Patrick McNally led the offensive charge for the Crimson, netting a pair of goals, while Steve Michalek tallied 29 saves in goal.
The Crimson and Big Green were the last two teams to drop the puck on the 2014-15 season and they made sure it was a good one. Harvard edged Dartmouth in shots on goal, 37-32, while each team committed just two penalties.
Following pregame festivities that included a ceremonial puck drop honoring the donors that made the renovation of the Bright-Landry Hockey Center possible, the teams got down to business. Dartmouth controlled the tempo early on, recording seven shots before Jake Horton ripped Harvard's first shot wide. The early pressure paid off at the 10:53 mark when Rick Pinkston put Dartmouth up 1-0 with his first of the season.
The Big Green's lead did not last long, as 14 seconds elapsed before Alexander Kerfoot cleaned up a bouncing puck in front of the net and beat James Kruger for the goal. Kyle Criscuolo and Jimmy Vesey picked up the assists on the goal.
The 1-1 tie remained intact until six minutes into the second period when McNally scored his first of the game to give Harvard the advantage. Collecting the puck behind the Crimson goal, McNally skated through multiple Dartmouth defenders heading towards the Big Green goal before ripping a wrist shot over Kruger's right shoulder. Dartmouth responded with its own equalizer 97 seconds later, as Eric Robinson picked up credit for Dartmouth's second tally.
Dartmouth regained the lead just before the second intermission, as Brandon McNally found the back of the net on a one-timer from Tim O'Brien that was set up by a long pass from Brandon Kirk.
Harvard picked up the intensity and physical play for the final 20 minutes of regulation, eventually culminating in McNally's second strike of the game at the 9:50 mark. After having his first shot attempt blocked, Tommy O'Regan set McNally up for another blast from just inside the blue line that found the top right corner of the net. Luke Esposito also garnered credit for an assist, his first of the year.
Michalek came up with four saves down the stretch for the Crimson, sending the game to the extra frame. The overtime period saw Harvard and Dartmouth trade scoring chances, with the Crimson sending three shots on net to Dartmouth's two, but neither netminder was willing to give up the winning goal.
Harvard heads out on the road for its next two games, visiting Rensselaer on Friday, Nov. 7 and No. 2 Union on Saturday, Nov. 8. Both games will face off at 7 p.m.