Harvard Havoc: Coronato’s OT goal beats Quinnipiac in ECAC Championship


Photo: Alex Bayer

Clever Streich

Even with gold within its grasp, the No. 6 Quinnipiac men’s ice hockey team came up short in its quest to capture the Whitelaw Cup against the No. 17 Harvard Crimson, falling 3-2 in overtime.

The 2022 ECAC Hockey Championship game was a rematch of the 2016 title game, where the Bobcats prevailed over the Crimson to capture their lone conference championship in program history. However, Saturday night told a story with a different ending in the Herb Brooks Arena.

“Congratulations to Harvard, they battled, they hung in,” Quinnipiac head coach Rand Pecknold said. “(Harvard goaltender) Mitchell Gibson was crazy good tonight, he was great. They found a way to win.”

Harvard fought with a chip on its shoulder as the third-seeded ECAC team against the top-seeded Bobcats. This approach was apparent as soon as the puck dropped in the first period, as Ryan Siedem found the back of the net 67 seconds into the game to give Harvard a 1-0 lead.

Quinnipiac was quick to respond, with senior forward TJ Friedmann picking up a long-range pass from Joey Cipollone to send the puck past Gibson’s catching glove to tie the game less than five minutes later.

Entering the second period, special teams became the name of the game as Harvard pulled ahead with the lead for the second time. First-year defenseman Ian Moore rocketed a shot beyond Yaniv Perets from the point, scoring on a Crimson power play to make the score 2-1.

From that point, Quinnipiac was held from scoring for the remainder of the period, as Gibson backed up Harvard with a series of stellar stops, despite Quinnipiac outshooting its opponent 24-11 by the end of the second. 

Gibson posted a career-high in saves with 47 on the night, proving himself as a Crimson brick wall in net.

“I knew if I could see it, I was going to stop it,” Gibson said. “Like coach (Ted Donato) said, Quinnipiac’s a great team, they’re going to hammer anything from anywhere. I kind of knew that… just be ready at all times, and never take a moment for granted.”

The Bobcats were finally able to tie the game back up with six minutes left in the third period. A power play marker from Jayden Lee just three seconds into the man advantage was the difference-maker, as he hammered a shot home immediately after Wyatt Bongiovanni’s faceoff win. 

“I’ve lined up against Baker (Shore) plenty of times in my career, throughout midget, all the way through junior and college, so I kind of know his habits,” Bongiovanni said. “I wanted (Lee) to be in a particular spot, and Rand had a play set up for us, and I was lucky enough to snap it back.”

Despite riding high off the momentum of the game-tying goal, the Bobcats’ Whitelaw Cup dreams were crushed halfway into the first overtime period.

A wrist shot taken by first-year forward Matthew Coronato from the top of the faceoff circle flew by Perets on the glove side, giving the Crimson a dramatic 3-2 overtime victory, and the program’s 11th ever ECAC title.

“Moore made a great little drop pass and honestly I just tried to get it on and off my stick as quick as I could, (the) puck kind of had eyes, and it found the back of the net,” Coronato said.

Having won the ECAC title, the Crimson will go on to compete in the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2019, keeping their season alive. Within the Bobcats locker room, feelings of frustration, pain, and dashed championship dreams started to set in. 

“It definitely hurts,” Bongiovanni said. “The passion in our locker room, the care factor is second to none. It hurts.”

The Bobcats will look to regroup and pick themselves back up for the NCAA Selection Show, where the team will hope to receive a bid to the field of 16 teams in the NCAA Tournament.