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Men’s ice hockey hangs on to beat Harvard at Madison Square Garden
Bobcats lose four-goal lead, win in overtime with Derek Smith's goal
Derek Smith entered his junior year with No. 1 Quinnipiac men’s ice hockey having recorded just two career goals. He finished the first half of the 2015-16 season scoreless, and it was not until a home-and-home series with Princeton that Smith found the net, scoring a goal in back-to-back games.
Yet, after Quinnipiac surrendered a four-goal lead to send the game into overtime against No. 4 Harvard at Madison Square Garden on Saturday night, it was Smith who sent the Bobcats home with a game-winning overtime goal. Smith registered his third goal of the season 2:55 into overtime to propel the Bobcats to a 5-4 win in New York City.
“It’s something you dream of on this big of a rink,” Smith said. “[Soren Jonzzon] did a good job in front, puck kind of squared off to me and I put it on net. It was awesome.”
It was all Quinnipiac through one period, as the Bobcats began the “Rivalry on Ice” by scoring four goals in 20 minutes.
Alex Miner-Barron got things started with 12:31 left in the opening period. He wristed a breakaway shot past Harvard goalie Michael Lackey for his second goal of the year.
K.J. Tiefenwerth came right back and put the Bobcats up 2-0 just 23 seconds later. Tommy Schutt put the initial shot on goal before Tiefenwerth put in the backhand rebound.
Before the pro-Quinnipiac crowd simmered down from the Tiefenwerth goal, Sam Anas made it a 3-0 game. He brought the puck up the right side and deked both a Harvard defender and Lackey to cap a 36-second stretch that saw three Quinnipiac goals.
Quinnipiac was not done for the period. The first line of Anas, Landon Smith and Travis St. Denis worked the puck in front of the Harvard net before St. Denis knocked it in.
The Bobcats entered the game with a 14-0-0 record on the season when they have scored four or more goals. Yet, Harvard, a team that had blown a two-goal lead with under four minutes left on Thursday night against Boston University, stormed back with a vengeance.
“We knew down 4-0 that we could either go two different ways. We could pack it in and call it a night or four goals, chip away one at a time,” Harvard senior Colin Blackwell said. “I think guys bought in, realized those 10-15 minutes were probably our worst of the season. There’s still 40 minutes left to play so we kind of have to believe in one another and chip away.”
Alexander Kerfoot started the rally with a wrist shot past Quinnipiac goalie Michael Garteig. Tyler Moy scored the Crimson’s second goal. He came speeding through on a power play, deked a Quinnipiac defender and got around Garteig midway through the period. Ryan Donato scored Harvard’s final goal of the period while slipping in front of the goal to bring the score to 4-3.
“The 4-3 goal, that could be goalie interference,” Quinnipiac head coach Rand Pecknold said. “I think it depends on the look you have. It’s part of life. You have to move on. It’s 4-3 and then we got rattled. I thought we got really outside our game there.”
Harvard came all the way back to tie midway through the third period. Blackwell wristed a shot past Garteig, who matched his season-high with four goals allowed, to match the score at 4-4.
The 4-4 score held into the overtime period. Both teams were able to create chances in the period, but it was Quinnipiac that sealed the game. Scott Davidson put the initial shot on net before it kicked out to Derek Smith. Smith then lined up a slap shot and launched it past Lackey for the team’s second overtime victory of the season.
“[Smith] has been awesome all season,” Pecknold said. “He’s a big reason why we are where we are.”
The win catapults the Bobcats to 19-1-3 on the season with a 10-0-2 record in ECAC play. Although it was not a conventional win, Smith is satisfied with the two points at “The World’s Most Famous Arena”.
“It’s not the way you write it up after you go up four,” Smith said. “We kind of laid back and they became pretty good. They’re a really good hockey team. We found a way to win. It’s what we’ve done all year.”Follow @MolesDontSki