BOSTON The Clarkson University mens hockey team was just 20 minutes away from having next weekend off.
But Harvard (10-8-11 overall, 8-5-9 ECAC Hockey) scored twice in the third period and knocked the Golden Knights out of a top-four finish with a 3-2 win Saturday night at the Bright Hockey Center.
Its just one of those nights, Clarkson coach Casey Jones said. I thought we got a lucky goal there, one that sneaked through them. Their second goal had eyes. For the most part there, I thought we played well. I certainly thought we had opportunities there to tie that game late.
Clarkson (15-15-6, 9-9-4) will be the No. 7 seed in the conference tournament, which starts this weekend, and will host No. 10 Rensselaer (10-21-3, 7-12-3) in a best-of-three series beginning at 7 p.m. Friday.
The Golden Knights beat RPI 4-1 at home on Nov. 4 and won 3-2 in Troy on Jan. 28.
Im very comfortable with where were at as a team heading into the playoffs, Jones said. We have to refocus here and take the long road through the playoffs.
Clarkson was up 2-0 in Saturdays game and appeared in position to get a top-four finish.
Kevin Tansey scored the first goal for the Golden Knights during a scrum in front of Harvards net, putting a shot just under the crossbar with 47.1 seconds left in the first period.
Louke Oakley, who leads Clarkson in scoring, made it 2-0 with a power-play goal at 5:20 of the second period while the Golden Knights had a two-man advantage. Ben Sexton and Sam Labrecque assisted on Oakleys 16th goal of the season.
Harvard began its comeback with a power-play goal from Alex Fallstrom at 12:46 of the second period.
The Crimson tied the game when David Valek scored the first of his two goals in the final period at 2:07. Valek added another goal at 7:42 to complete the Crimson win.
Jones pulled goalie Paul Karpowich with 2:04 left in the game in an attempt to tie the score, but Harvard held off a late flurry for its fifth straight win over the Golden Knights.