Despite out-shooting its opponent 38-30, picking up 27 ground balls to its opponent’s 18, winning 17 of 21 face-offs and controlling possession for much of the game, the Crimson (4-7) lost 11-6 at home to the Minutemen (10-1).
“I’m pissed,” said captain Doug Logigian. “We played down to a team that we’re as good as if not better than.”
Although the Crimson was able to stay close to UMass for much of the game, it was eventually done in by five unanswered goals in under ten minutes which pushed the score from 6-5 to 11-5. Harvard was unable to rally as the deficit increased.
“We got ourselves into a hole that we could have dug ourselves out of, but didn’t,” said Logigian. “I think some guys packed it in a little early.”
Despite falling behind, Harvard quickly rallied from a 2-0 deficit. With a flag already thrown for a penalty on UMass, the Crimson pressed the advantage as sophomore attack Mike McBride went behind the net and fed freshman attack Steve Cohen, who slipped it past the goalie to make the score 2-1.
Soon after, Harvard added to its total as junior midfielder Jeff Gottschall beat his defender and ripped a shot that ricocheted off the post and into the net to tie the game at two.
The Crimson almost ended the period with the score tied, but caught an unlucky break when a Minuteman pass was deflected into the goal, making the score 3-2.
“They scored a couple of goals while we had our heads down,” said Logigian.
The two teams slowed the pace of the game at the start of the second period, a style which Harvard was able to dictate for much of the game until UMass made its late charge.
“UMass likes to run and gun,” said Cohen. “We needed to maintain possession. We did that early, but then we got out of our game and started playing theirs.”
The Minutemen pushed their advantage to 4-2 with a goal at the 7:18 mark, but the Crimson again pulled within one just minutes later. After freshman attack Sean Kane made a great hustle play to maintain possession of the ball, Logigian beat both his man and the UMass goaltender to create the halftime score of 4-3.
“Doug is always solid,” said Cohen.
Harvard out-shot the Minutemen 26-9 in the first half.
UMass pushed the score to 5-3 just 13 seconds into the second half, but the Crimson again had the answer. Captain Matt Primm came off a pick and passed the ball to Kane, who managed to fire the ball past the goaltender despite getting checked to the ground by his defenseman.
“Sean played great,” said Cohen. “He was Ivy League Rookie of the Week last week.”
After the Minutemen made the score 6-4, Harvard continued the see-saw battle as Kane took a pass from Gottschall and scored his second goal of the game to cut the deficit to 6-5. However, the Crimson would get no closer, as UMass proceeded to make its run and pull away.
Harvard’s late-game difficulties were surprising to both spectators and players.
“We pride ourselves on our ability to dominate the second half,” said Cohen. “We didn’t do that today.”
Overall, Harvard was clearly disappointed with the outcome of the game, especially given its recent history.
“We weren’t the same team today that we’ve been for the past two weeks,” said Logigian.
The Crimson is in action again on Saturday when it plays its last home game of the year, against Yale.