Power Plays Key Success, Struggles

SAINT PAUL
Rebecca A. Seesel

Sophomore center Paul Dufault had a goal and two assists on the weekend. He now has 10 points this season.

Despite entering the weekend with the top-ranked power play unit in the nation, the No. 19 Harvard men’s hockey team managed only mixed results with the extra skater this weekend at the Bright Hockey Center.

The Crimson’s man-advantage squads were shut out against Yale on Friday night, going 0-for-4, before regaining their rhythm against Brown yesterday afternoon.

Though Harvard (6-2-0, 5-2-0 ECAC) seemed to get its chances on net against the Bulldogs (0-6-0, 0-6-0), firing eight shots in four extra-strength opportunities, the Crimson skaters were unable to find the back of the net.

This stood in stark contrast to last Tuesday night’s contest against Boston College, when Harvard tallied three goals on the same number of shots.

The Crimson also allowed its first shorthanded goal of the season against Yale, when Bulldog captain Christian Jensen took a feed from linemate Jeff Hristovski on a 2-on-1 and beat Harvard netminder John Daigneau stick-side with a shot off the post.

But the Crimson’s power play recovered somewhat against the Bears, with senior forward Dan Murphy notching a man-advantage tally and sophomore winger Dave Watters scoring Harvard’s first goal just seconds after a Brown penalty expired.

“[The power play] got us the win tonight,” said Crimson coach Ted Donato ’91 after yesterday’s matchup. “I thought there were a lot of chances we didn’t take advantage of...but it gives us something to work on.”

DAIGN-ED WORTHY

Daigneau earned his first career shutout against the Bears, posting 35 saves in 60 full minutes of play.

The netminder had come close to a whitewash back in 2003, blanking St. Lawrence for 52:32 in a 5-0 win his freshman year.

But Daigneau was replaced with just over seven minutes remaining by fourth-year goaltender Ben Weiss on the Crimson’s senior night, making his shutout unofficial.

Even this season, a whitewash was long due for Daigneau, who has been solid for Harvard but has suffered from the Crimson’s propensity to allow late goals.

“John’s a guy that seems to be getting a little more comfortable and a little more confident each night out,” Donato said. “It’s nice to see him really be rewarded for all the hard work.”

SHUT DOWN

Harvard’s penalty kill had an impressive weekend, holding Yale to a 0-for-4 effort before blanking Brown in six opportunities.

The Crimson even held strong during a 5-on-3 power play by the Bears midway through the first period, using a tight triangle defense in front of Daigneau to prevent Brown from scoring.

“[I told] the guys, don’t get too spread out,” Daigneau said, “because that’s what Brown [does]—they move the puck around, hoping we get spread out, and then they can find seams.”

Harvard used the successful kill to shift the momentum, doubling its lead on Murphy’s power-play goal just minutes later at 16:17.

“[The penalty kill] was really big because we had pretty much controlled the play in the first period,” Donato said. “We didn’t want to allow them, with one opportunity, to [equalize].”

FINAL TICKS

Friday’s game against Yale was Harvard’s first overtime contest of the season…Yesterday’s matchup against Brown was broadcast on ESPNU…With goals in both of this weekend’s contests, Murphy increased his team-leading goal-scoring streak to four games…After Friday’s two-point effort against the Bulldogs, junior pivot Kevin Du leads the team with four multiple-point games…Sophomore center Paul Dufault had a goal and two assists on the weekend, pushing his season point total to 10…Freshman blueliner J.D. McCabe made his first and second career starts for the Crimson, taking over against Yale and Brown for the injured Dylan Reese. McCabe skated with senior defenseman Tom Walsh…Boston University, Harvard’s opponent tomorrow night, is the reigning Beanpot champion.

—Staff writer Karan Lodha can be reached at klodha@fas.harvard.edu.

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