Mark Mullen opened the Terriers' three-goal third-period attack with a goal just 45 seconds into the final period.
The Terrier hockey team broke open a 3-3 second-period tie with three unanswered goals in the third period en route to a 6-4 win over Harvard in the first game of the NCAA Northeast Region Hockey Tournament at the Worcester Centrum Center on Friday night (March 28th).
The victory sends the Terriers into the Region final against the University of New Hampshire, which skated to a 5-2 win over St. Cloud in the other Region quarterfinal game.
It marked the third time this year the Terriers have defeated the Crimson. The others came in a 3-0 shutout on November 26th and a 2-1 win in the opening game of the Beanpot on February 3rd.
"We had three great games with Harvard this year," Terrier head coach Jack Parker said after the game. "We have to consider ourselves very fortunate to win all three games against that hockey team. They are a great hockey team. They put a lot of pressure on you. They have a lot of talent and are well-coached."
"For us to grab three games from them is fabulous," Parker went on. "I give our guys a lot of credit, and I give their team a lot of credit. We put on three great hockey games this season."
"I would like to congratulate Boston University," said Harvard coach Mark Mazzoleni. "I have to credit them because they played with the defensive intensity that we needed to have. That was the greatest number of goals that we have given up all year. You are not going to win a lot of games when you give up six goals."
Three of the six goals were scored in the first two periods, while Harvard also scored three times as the two teams were knotted at 3-3 entering the final 20 minutes of regulation.
Brian McConnell assisted on the Terriers' first two goals of the third period
The tie lasted exactly 45 seconds as Mark Mullen took a pass from Brian McConnell at the left slot. Mullen wasted little time to put his shot past Crimson goalie Dov Grumet-Morris and the Terriers had a lead they would never relinquish.
Then, at the 2:03 mark, McConnell again figured in the scoring when he won a faceoff at the left circle and got the puck back to Bryan Miller. His slap shot from the point beat Grumet-Morris and the Terriers had a power play goal that lifted their lead to 5-3.
The three-goal onslaught ended at 3:34 when Frantisek Skladany knocked home the rebound of his own shot. It was an outstanding individual effort by Skladany, who took the puck out of the corner and skated to the middle of the crease. Grumet-Morris made the initial save but left the loose puck out front where Skladany picked it up and slipped it into an empty net.
The Crimson managed to get one of the three goals back when Dominic Moore's slap shot eluded Terrier goalie Sean Fields to the stick side. The power play goal came at 7:53 of the period, and it proved to be the last goal of the game.
Brad Zancanaro scored the biggest goal of the game, according to head coach Jack Parker..
While Mullen's goal got the Terriers off to their three-goal outburst, perhaps the biggest goal of the game was scored by Brad Zancanaro at 14:44 of the second period. At the time, the Terriers were trailing 3-2 when Skladany brought the up along the left side. He then passed it over to the right circle where Kenny Magowan slid it over to Zancanaro, who was camped in the slot. His wrist shot went over Grumet-Morris' left shoulder and under the crossbar for the equalizer.
"I don't think there's any question that the Zancanaro goal was the biggest of the game," confirmed Parker. "It's 3-2 Harvard. They have a couple of power play chances and we are really struggling to get the puck out of our zone. We're giving up shot after shot after the faceoff, and I was just hoping to get out of the period down 3-2."
The first period opened with each team scoring twice.
Brian Collins started the game for the Terriers with a power play goal just 3:39 into the game. David VanderGulik started the play when he passed the puck to Collins. Collins then got the puck back to Miller who gave it back to VanderGulik who passed it in front to Collins. The pinball passing resulted in Collins' third goal in four games. Harvard came back to tie the game just 28 seconds later when Brendan Bernakevitch's shot beat Fields at 4:07.
Matt Radoslovich's first collegiate playoff goal gave the Terriers a 2-1 lead in the first period.
Matt Radoslovich gave the Terriers the lead back when he scored at 14:57 with the assist to Ryan Priem. Priem took a shot from the point and Grumet-Morris made the save but left the rebound out front for Radoslovich. Harvard responded at 17:06 when Tyler Kolarik deflected a shot off his shoulder that went past Fields.
The Crimson took its first lead of the game at 8:33 of the second period when Brett Nowak put home the rebound of a shot that beat Fields to the right side.
That set the stage for Zancanaro's game-tying goal before the second period came to an end.
While it would seem most of the attention was focused on the offense, it was Fields' play that drew many accolades in the post-game comments. Playing in his 28th straight game, Fields had 34 saves, 12 of which came in the second period and 13 in the third period.
"I thought he was amazing the whole game," Collins said of Fields. "We were up 6-4 in the third period and made a turnover. He came up with a glove save, which I thought was one of the biggest saves of the game. He made a bunch of amazing saves, and he has been awesome all year. Tonight was no different."