The Crimson dropped a 5-2 contest to Yale on Saturday night at the Bright Hockey Center, falling to last place in the league standings and running its record to 2-6-0 (1-6-0 ECAC)—its worst start to the season since the mid-1960s.
Rookie winger Chris Cahill scored the game-winner for the Bulldogs at 10:47 of the second period, putting away a bouncing puck at the right post into a half-empty net.
Though five of the seven goals scored on a penalty-filled night came on powerplays—including both of Harvard’s goals—Crimson coach Ted Donato ’91 was more concerned about the team’s even-strength play.
“We haven’t scored enough even-strength goals for the type of team we want to be,” Donato said. “That’s something that we have to continue to improve on if we want to be a good team by the end of the season.”
Yale (6-1, 5-1), on the other hand, tallied two even-strength scores in the first frame, including one in the opening minute of the game. After Harvard freshman netminder Kyle Richter made an initial save, Bulldogs forward Michael Karwoski slotted the rebound at 0:53 to give Yale the quick 1-0 lead.
Later in the period, the Crimson took advantage of 1:28 worth of 5-on-3 play to notch the equalizer. Senior center Kevin Du, getting pressured in the left playoff circle, spun to his right to escape his defender and skated in on goal. Though his shot was saved by Bulldogs goaltender Alec Richards, the rebound slid out to captain Dylan Reese at the right post for an easy score, tying the game 1-1 at 10:09.
But Yale managed to regain the lead by the first intermission, as winger Sean Backman beat Richter with a shot into the right-side netting to put the Bulldogs ahead 2-1 at 15:44.
“Even though we carried the play in spurts,” Donato said, “Yale played a smarter game, waited for us to make some mistakes, scored some goals.”
Harvard caught a break just 22 seconds into the first frame, when the Bulldogs’ top-line center Jean-Francois Boucher was whistled for hitting from behind and ejected from the game, giving the Crimson the potential of five minutes on the power play.
Although freshman center Doug Rogers did score the equalizer before the major penalty expired, two penalties of its own prevented Harvard from taking full advantage of the opportunity.
“We got chances—we just didn’t score,” Reese said. “It cost us the game in the end.”
The Crimson’s lack of discipline hurt it again in the final frame. Needing to recover from a 3-2 deficit, Harvard instead committed four penalties—including a major penalty awarded to junior center Paul Dufault at 12:46 for hitting from behind—that limited its offensive chances.
Yale made the most of Dufault’s penalty, tallying two man-advantage goals—including a 5-on-3 score with Crimson sophomore forward Jimmy Fraser also in the sin bin—in the ensuing five minutes to put the game out of reach.
“Even going into the third, we’re down one goal,” Donato said. “We just couldn’t get out of the box.”
Dufault was in the lineup for the first time this season after missing Harvard’s first seven games with a leg injury....Reese’s goal gave him four on the season, tying forward Ryan Maki for first on the team....Boucher’s ejection marked the second time in three games for the Crimson that an opposing player was awarded a game misconduct....The Crimson was proficient on faceoffs, winning 50 out of 79.
—Staff writer Karan Lodha can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.