Harvard vs. Denver
April 1, 2006
The Game Story:
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - Sophomore attackman Greg Cohen dove across the crease and scored with 1:15 left in the third overtime period to lift 20th-ranked Harvard to a thrilling 8-7 win against No. 14 Denver Saturday at Jordan Field.

Cohen's overtime goal -- his second score of the game -- put an end to what is believed to be the longest game in Harvard's 128-year history of men's lacrosse, and it gave the Crimson its second straight win against a top-20 opponent.

The Crimson contingent thought it had the game won on two previous occasions, most notably at the end of regulation when a wild sequence of events left Cohen to race in alone in the closing seconds. Cohen's shot from 20 yards out beat Denver goalie Jeb Hollingsworth high, but the shot was ruled to have taken place after the buzzer to end regulation.

Harvard also thought it won it midway through the second overtime period, when sophomore attackman Brooks Scholl picked up the rebound following a Hollingsworth save and fired a shot that bounced past the Pioneer goalie, but didn't cross the plane before Hollingsworth swept it off the line.

The Pioneers used an aggressive defense and transition offense to build a 3-1 halftime lead after Harvard had scored the first goal of the game. Shortstick defensive midfielder Andrew McCuiston scored his first goal of the year on a fast break to tie the game at 1-1 for Denver, which outshot the Crimson, 14-8, in the first 15 minutes.

Sophomore goalie Evan O'Donnell made seven first-quarter saves to keep Harvard in it early, but Denver took a 2-1 lead when defenseman David Hahn scored in transition, beating O'Donnell from 15 yards out midway through the second quarter. Pioneer attackman Brandon Barcus finished another fast break when he buried a feed from Billy McKinney with 1:45 left before halftime, giving Denver a two-goal lead at the break.

Harvard got the first two goals of the third quarter, however, and tied it at 3-3 on Evan Calvert's rip from the high slot. But the Pioneers scored three of the next four goals to build a 6-4 lead early in the fourth period following Todd Ruport's unassisted goal with 12:45 left.

The lead was short-lived as Harvard reeled off three straight goals to build its first lead since the first quarter. Cohen started the run with 10:24 left, while freshman middie Max Motschwiller completed a hat trick with 9:36 to play to make it 6-6. Junior middie Carle Stenmark put Harvard ahead with his blast from outside with 4:57 to play, giving the Crimson a 7-6 advantage.

Denver -- which scored the tying and winning goals in the last 35 seconds of regulation to steal last year's meeting between the schools -- had an answer again as Ryan Zordani fed a diagonal pass at the doorstep to Geoff Snider, who stuffed a shot past goalie Joe Pike with 2:38 left in the fourth quarter, tying the game at 7-7.

Harvard had the best chances to win it in the last minute of regulation as the Crimson gained possession with 1:22 left. Hollingsworth came up with two big saves down the stretch, including a stop on Motschwiller with 12 seconds remaining that started a fast break for the Pioneers. Longstick David Hahn picked up the ground ball and raced into Denver's offensive zone , but was met by Crimson longstick Eric Posner, who checked the ball loose. The ball came all the way back to Harvard's offensive end, where Cohen gathered it and fired it into the cage, just after the buzzer sounded.

Snider won the faceoff for Denver to start the first overtime, and the Pioneers controlled possession for nearly the entire period, getting three shots off before Harvard could get possession. The Crimson had a chance in the last 30 seconds of the first OT period, but Hollingsworth turned aside Cohen's bid for the game-winner with 15 seconds left.

Denver again gained possession to start the second OT period, but Pike came up with two big saves for Harvard in the early minutes of the period. Harvard was able to work the ball to Calvert on its first possession of the period, and Calvert's blast from outside was denied by Hollingsworth. But the rebound came to Scholl, who nearly ended it with his bouncing shot that the Denver goalie took off the line before it broke the plane.

Pike again came up with two big stops early in the third overtime after Denver won the faceoff, and the Crimson caught a break when Zordani's blast hit the post with 2:01 left in the period. The Crimson finally gained possession when Max Gottschall picked up a ground ball off a blocked shot, getting Harvard into the offensive zone. Harvard worked the ball to Zach Widbin in the high slot, and the Crimson was there on the chase after Widbin's shot sailed high. Cohen then took the restart and darted across the crease and stuffed the game-winner past Hollingsworth to end it.

Motschhwiller finished with a game- and career-high three goals for Harvard, while Cohen had two and Calvert had a goal and an assist. O'Donnell finished with eight saves in the first half, while Pike came on to make 10 stops the rest of the way. Harvard improved to 4-2 with the win.

Barcus had two goals while Zordani had two assists for the Pioneers, who fell to 5-3 on the year. Hollingsworth finished with 16 saves, while Sinder had a game-high 12 ground balls while winning 11 faceoffs.

Harvard is back at Jordan Field next Saturday, when the Crimson takes on No. 2 Cornell in what shapes up as a pivotal Ivy League game.