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No. 10 Harvard Men's Ice Hockey Beats Cornell 6-2, Stages Late Comeback to Defeat Colgate in Overtime

Sophomore forward Matthew Coronato makes a move against Cornell on January 28th. Coronato tallied three goals on the weekend, including Friday's OT winner against Colgate
Sophomore forward Matthew Coronato makes a move against Cornell on January 28th. Coronato tallied three goals on the weekend, including Friday's OT winner against Colgate By Dylan J. Goodman
By Bridget T. Sands and Aaron B. Shuchman, Crimson Staff Writers

The No. 10 Harvard men’s ice hockey team has battled inconsistency throughout its 2022-2023 campaign, with periods of brilliance and resilience late in games occasionally overshadowed by sloppy play and penalties that force the team to chase the game. However, after an up-and-down Friday night overtime victory over the Colgate Raiders, the Crimson responded with their most complete victory of the season on Saturday in a 6-2 domination of the archrival Cornell Big Red, a critical stepping stone as Harvard enters the most challenging stretch of its campaign.

“I think we've played well in spurts. Unfortunately, for the most part, those spurts have been at the end of the game as we've been chasing it,” head coach Ted Donato said on Saturday night. “I thought we started the game on time, and they had their moments where they pinned us in our zone…but I thought it was a really good effort all the way across the board.”

For the team’s senior leadership, the achievement of a season sweep and a 4-1-1 career record over a bitter rival was especially meaningful.

“They're obviously a huge rival of ours and someone that whenever they're on our calendar, it's kind of a marquee matchup,” senior defenseman and captain Henry Thrun said. “We go 2-0 against them this year, 2-0 last year, and then freshman year we had a loss and a tie, so for us to wrap up the regular season against them 4-1-1, I think that’s pretty solid and something that’s a big momentum swing for our group.”


Right from the opening puck drop, both teams sought to set the tone defensively, only combining for four shots on goal in the first eight minutes of play. However, after Cornell forward Ben Berard narrowly missed a goal with a rocket off the crossbar, the teams began to generate offense at lightning speed. Just seconds after Berard’s near miss, junior forward Sean Farrell broke out of the defensive zone on a breakaway, but Cornell goaltender Ian Shane stuck with him and shut the play down. The Big Red pushed back immediately, however, with several strong shifts in the offensive zone, and with seven minutes remaining in the first period, Cornell forward Ondrej Psenicka deflected a shot from the point past senior goaltender Mitchell Gibson, giving the visitors a 1-0 lead.

However, the Crimson answered Cornell’s opening tally just over two minutes later, as Farrell’s shot from the point pinballed around the front of the net until it found sophomore forward Matthew Coronato, who deflected the puck past Shane to tie the game at 1-1. Berard’s line continued to drive play late in the period, but Gibson made a series of saves under duress to keep the game tied entering the first intermission.

“I think it was probably our resilience tonight,” said senior forward and captain John Farinacci when asked about a key to the victory. “I think they had a lot of moments in the game where they were pushing…I think just pushing through those tough moments when they have the puck for a while and they're keeping possession and getting the pucks out when we needed to and flipping the ends of the ice was a key part.”

The game’s offensive fervor continued early in the second period, as Thrun put the Crimson in front 2-1 only 36 seconds into the period, shifting to his left along the blue line to shake free of his defender before firing a wrist shot through Shane. Harvard kept the pressure on after Thrun’s tally, and less than three minutes later, Coronato lit the lamp for a second time when he finished off a well-executed 2-on-1 with Farrell, giving the Crimson a 3-1 lead. Harvard tacked on its third goal of the period three and a half minutes later on the power play, as Farinacci poked home a loose puck in the crease for his first goal of the campaign, extending the advantage to 4-1.

Junior forward Sean Farrell surges up the ice against Cornell on January 28th. Farrell recorded four assists in the game.
Junior forward Sean Farrell surges up the ice against Cornell on January 28th. Farrell recorded four assists in the game. By Dylan J. Goodman

However, with just under seven minutes remaining in the second frame, the Big Red got back into the contest thanks to a great individual effort from defenseman Sam Malinski. The Cornell captain scored on a wrist shot from the circle while being slashed by Farrell, cutting the Cornell deficit to 4-2 and giving the Big Red a power play immediately afterwards. Despite Cornell capturing some momentum, the Harvard penalty kill was rock solid, shutting down the Big Red power play unit, and the bitter rivals ended the second period with the Crimson in front 4-2.

“​​Once we were able to get the lead, we were able to play the game that we wanted, which was more up and down the ice and use our speed to possess the puck down low,” Donato said.

Facing a two-goal deficit, Cornell attempted to push the pace on offense at the outset of the third period. Berard’s line had a series of good chances on their early shifts of the period, and Berard himself snuck past the Harvard defense at the blue line to create a partial breakaway, but the forward was unable to capitalize. Gibson later denied an excellent netfront deflection by Berard, and sophomore defenseman Jack Bar made an excellent play on the backcheck to break up a developing Cornell odd-man rush. After withstanding the Big Red’s surge, Harvard went on the counter-attack in the middle stages of the third period. After surging through the neutral zone on the rush, first-year forward Joe Miller sent a perfect pass to junior forward Alex Laferriere in the high slot, who fired a rocket over Shane’s shoulder to push the Crimson lead to 5-2. Senior defenseman Ryan Siedem added an empty-net goal in the final minute of action, giving Harvard a 6-2 victory and earning the Crimson a season sweep of Cornell.


Harvard opened the weekend with an overtime thriller against ECAC opponent Colgate. The nationally unranked Raiders came to Bright-Landry following their win last week against No. 3 Quinnipiac, and brought the same aggression to their match up with the Crimson.

“I thought Colgate played a really smart, hard road game and we chased the game most of the night: down two to nothing, come back and then down again for two,” Coach Donato reflected. “I give our guys a lot of credit for staying with it. Ultimately, the win is a real team builder.”

In an action-packed first period, each team generated a plethora of offensive chances. Colgate struck first seven minutes into the period, as Raiders forward Alex Young created space along the right wing off the rush and got the puck past junior goaltender Derek Mullahy Colgate tacked on another goal five minutes later, as they won a defensive zone faceoff and created a rush opportunity, which forward Ross Mitton finished off to give the Raiders a 2-0 lead. However, Harvard responded less than 30 seconds later, as Laferriere fired a hard wrist shot from the right-wing circle off the post and past Colgate goaltender Carter Gylander, cutting the Crimson deficit to 2-1.

The teams continued to raise the intensity level in the remainder of the first period with a number of after-the-whistle battles, and after Mullahy stopped a scoring chance from point blank range with about four minutes left in the first, the teams gathered again in a netfront scrum. Harvard soon responded to the intensity, and with just over a minute remaining in the period, Laferriere tallied his second goal of the night when he cleaned up a rebound from Miller during a chaotic scramble in front of the net.

Despite the Crimson’s strong finish to the first period, the second period belonged to Colgate, as the Raiders outshot Harvard 14-10. After just under five minutes of action, Raiders forward Ryan McGuire put Colgate in front when Mullahy failed to control a rebound, allowing the Raiders to pounce on the loose puck and take a 3-2 lead. Less than a minute later, the Raiders recorded another. Forward Colton Young fought through traffic in the right-wing corner before feeding a wide-open Alex Young, who made no mistake on his rocket from the right faceoff circle, extending the Colgate advantage to 4-2. The Crimson failed to generate much offense for the rest of the period, save for their final two shifts, and Harvard headed to the locker room facing a two goal deficit for the second time in the game.

Despite the poor second period showing, the Crimson came to life quickly to start the third frame. On an early power play, Harvard was unable to find the net despite putting six shots on Gylander, but the Crimson cut the deficit to 4-3 only 14 seconds later. After a pass by the Colgate defense deflected off of Miller’s skate and into the slot, sophomore forward Zakary Karpa fired a perfectly placed wrist shot past Gylander to trim the deficit to one.

After killing off a tripping penalty to senior forward Austin Wong shortly after Karpa’s goal, the Crimson continued to dominate puck possession until an interference penalty to first-year defenseman Mason Langenbrunner halfway through the period. Harvard’s top-10 ranked penalty kill unit was up to the task, keeping Colgate out of the net and maintaining the Crimson’s chance at a comeback win.

With 2:14 remaining in regulation, Donato called a timeout and brought Mullahy to the bench in favor of a sixth attacker. After the Crimson failed to generate any chances for the first minute of 6-on-5 play, Coronato found Thrun stationed at the point, and the captain ripped a one-timer through traffic and into the net, tying the game at 4-4 with 40 seconds to play. Neither side created any chances in the remainder of regulation, sending the game to overtime.

“We know we got a lot of great players in our room and on our team,” commented Coronato on the momentum shift coming into the third. “We always have a lot of confidence that we can come back and make some plays and score some goals. Coach does a great job motivating us and we did a good job sticking with it.”

In the extra session, Thrun and Coronato combined again to produce the game-winning goal. After Thrun broke up a Colgate rush at the defensive blue line, Coronato sprung loose down the right wing and fired a laser off the crossbar and past Gylander, securing a 5-4 victory for Harvard.

“I think it's just a benefit of playing with great players,” said Coronato of the game-winning goal. “You get put in good spots and just try to do what I can when I get my chance to score.”

The Crimson will be at home at Bright-Landry Hockey Center again next weekend, taking on the No. 3 Quinnipiac Bobcats on Friday at 7:00pm, before facing off with the Boston College Eagles in the first round of the Beanpot Tournament at 5:00pm at T.D. Garden on Monday, February 6th.

-Staff writer Bridget T. Sands can be reached at

-Staff writer Aaron B. Shuchman can be reached at

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