Down 12-11 with eight seconds left on the clock, Harvard had a prime opportunity to send the game into overtime. But the Crimson blew it. In a back-and-forth battle, the No. 12 Blue Devils edged Harvard 12-11 Saturday night at Harvard Stadium in Cambridge, Mass, marking their sixth consecutive win.
“I’m very proud of our guys,” Duke head coach John Danowski said.
At the eight-second mark, a flag went up as a penalty was called against the Blue Devils (8-4). The Crimson (4-5) had scored on its first three man-up opportunities, but this time they fell short. Freshman Devin Dwyer threw a pass from behind the net, only to have it intercepted by Duke sophomore goaltender Kyle Turri. Turri’s big play sealed the victory for the Blue Devils.
Neither team led by more than one goal until the 7:38 mark, when Harvard took a 10-8 lead after back-to-back tallies by sophomore Murphy Vandervelde and junior Peter Schwartz. Following Schwartz’s goal, four different Blue Devils scored, giving Duke a lead that it would not relinquish.
Duke junior Brendan Fowler posted a dominant performance at the faceoff X, winning 18-of-26 faceoffs against Crimson senior Rick Mole, Fowler’s former teammate at Chaminade High School in Mineola, N.Y. Fowler led the Blue Devils in ground balls with nine, and junior Luke Duprey and sophomore Will Haus picked up six and five, respectively. In an outstanding defensive effort, Duprey caused three turnovers.
“Luke Duprey was really, really good between the lines, and I thought was a presence on the field,” Danowski said. “Brendan Fowler continues to be tremendously consistent. Will Haus [was really good] between the lines, not only playing defense, but also scoring two goals tonight.”
Duke junior Jordan Wolf paced the Blue Devils’ attack with a hat trick, while Haus, junior Josh Dionne and freshman Case Matheis chipped in two goals apiece. Only three of Duke’s 12 tallies were assisted, with Matheis accounting for two of those assists.
The Blue Devils and the Crimson traded goals for the first three quarters, heading into the final frame tied at seven. Harvard opened the fourth period with a 3-1 run powered by two goals from Vandervelde, who led the Crimson in scoring with three goals. Facing its first two-goal deficit of the evening with 7:38 to play, Duke called a timeout.
“We just were somewhat emotional,” Danowski said of the timeout. “We had a great week of practice, but Harvard certainly played well. They played a great tempo. They really slowed the game down as much as you can, and so you have to tip your cap to the coaching staff. They had minute, minute-and-a-half, two-minute possessions, and the officials really weren’t calling the timer call. It was really smart and a really great game plan.”
Reenergized after the break, the Blue Devils built a 12-10 advantage with a four-goal rally. But Dwyer didn’t let time expire without putting up a fight. The freshman found the back of the net with 1:14 remaining to bring the Crimson within one. He followed that up by attempting to set up a teammate for the equalizing goal, but Turri’s interception eliminated the possibility of an upset by Harvard.
“We told [the guys] after the game that they need to be in games like this,” Danowski said. “In the growth of every team you need to figure out what you’re going to do when you’re down a couple of goals, and I thought our guys really responded well and were able to finish the game.”