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Gaffney’s Pair of Power-Play Markers Lift Harvard Over #7 Cornell

  • / Updated:
  • Kyle Evans 

Harvard’s Alex Gaffney scored a pair of power-play goals to guide the visiting Crimson to a 3-2 victory over the No. 7-ranked Cornell men’s hockey team before a sold-out crowd of 4,361 at Lynah Rink on Saturday night.

Paired with Gaffney’s multi-goal performance, Derek Mullahy made 27 saves in the first victory of the season for Harvard (1-1-3, 1-1-3 ECAC Hockey).

Freshmen Luke Devlin and Jake Kraft scored for Cornell (4-1-1, 2-1-1 ECAC Hockey) in its first setback of the season.

“We chased it right from the start,” said Mike Schafer ’86, the Jay R. Bloom ’77 Head Coach of Cornell Men’s Ice Hockey. “We got down a goal and were never able to get the lead. Right off the bat, we gave up a goal, and at different points, we fought our way back into it throughout the night, but special teams let us down.”

Cornell’s penalty kill went 3-for-5 on the night, while its power play was unsuccessful on all five chances with a man advantage.

Joe Miller opened the scoring exactly one minute into the contest to give the visiting Crimson an early lead. Philip Tresca assisted the goal by chipping a pass across the point to Miller, who lasered a wrist shot over Shane’s glove from the middle of the right faceoff circle.

Cornell evened the game late in the first period when Devlin backhanded a shot from the bottom of the right faceoff circle that evaded traffic in front of Harvard’s net.

Not quite three minutes later, Harvard regained the lead when Gaffney sent a wrist shot from the bottom of the left faceoff circle to the far post to score his first power-play marker of the night.

Neither team converted on the combined 12 shots on goal in the second period despite numerous scoring chances.

Early in the middle frame, Cornell killed off a double minor penalty, which included a Harvard power play for 2:38. The Big Red only conceded one shot on goal while down a man. 

Later in the second period, Shane made a remarkable save on a 2-on-0 scoring chance for Harvard, nabbing a one-timed shot by Marek Hejduk on a feed from Gaffney.

Cornell tied the game for the second time when Kraft registered his first collegiate goal 1:45 into the final period. Following a backhanded shot by senior forward Gabriel Seger, Kraft pounced on a loose rebound to beat Mullahy.

The tie would last just over six minutes as Gaffney logged his second goal while the Crimson had the man advantage, jabbing a loose puck into the net during a goalmouth scramble.

Cornell had a chance to tie the game when it had a 5-on-3 power play for one minute and 45 seconds in the middle of the third period but could not convert on its three shots on goal.

• Saturday was the 163rd all-time meeting between the bitter ECAC Hockey and Ivy League rivals. Harvard trimmed Cornell’s lead in the series to 79-71-13, as the Crimson is unbeaten over its last seven games against the Big Red (5-0-2).

• With his third-period assist, Robertson has begun his collegiate career with points in his first six games, becoming just the second Big Red freshman player since 1975-76 — when first-year players were first eligible to play — to have at least a six-game point streak to begin his collegiate career, joining current NHLer Morgan Barron, who registered points in his first seven collegiate games in 2017-18.

Longest Season-Opening Point Streak by Cornell Freshman
Since 1975-76, First Year Freshmen Eligible to Play

Morgan Barron (2017-18) — 7 games (3-4—7)
Ben Robertson (2023-24) — 6 games (0-7—7)

• Cornell has allowed eight goals through its first six games, which is tied for the fourth-fewest in program history for its opening six contests.

Fewest Goals Allowed in First Six Games 
Program History

2008-09 — 5
1965-66 — 7
2004-05 — 7
1910-11 — 8
2017-18 — 8
2023-24 — 8


Cornell will play eight of its next nine games away from Lynah Rink, beginning with a trip to face No. 10-ranked Quinnipiac and Princeton. Puck drop for next weekend’s contests are both slated for 7 p.m. All games will air live on ESPN+, as well as over the airwaves on WHCU (870 AM, 97.7 FM,