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Crimson Stumbles In Home Opener

Richter overwhelmed by bad chance, Golden Knights

Friday was a night of firsts for the No. 16 Harvard men’s hockey team, which played its home opener against No. 14 Clarkson in the Bright Hockey Center and welcomed freshman goaltender Kyle Richter to the crease. But strong play in the second and third periods helped the Golden Knights roar to a lopsided 5-2 victory over the Crimson, dropping Harvard to 0-2 on the young season.

In a matchup that pitted two teams tied for second in the ECAC Preseason Coaches Poll, competitive play was short-lived for the Crimson. Clarkson (5-1-1, 1-0-0 ECAC) got on the board first, and though Harvard responded to grab a 2-1 lead early in the second period, four unanswered goals helped the Golden Knights secure a 5-2 win on the road.

“In the first period, I thought we did some good things,” said Harvard coach Ted Donato ’91. “Ultimately, though, we got beat in almost every aspect of the game. Whether it was special teams or even five-on-five play, we weren’t able to establish a forecheck for ourselves and weren’t able to contain them in our own zone.”

Clarkson won the opening face-off but didn’t settle down until senior wing Brodie Rutherglen redirected a pass through heavy traffic to score against Richter nine minutes into the period.

The Golden Knights controlled the ice for the next few minutes but a penalty called for interference at the 12:14 mark gave the Crimson a chance to erase the 1-0 deficit. Senior Brian McCafferty wasted no time after the whistle blew, dishing the puck to Dylan Reese, who connected with freshman Doug Rogers. Rogers whipped a shot from the right side to record the first goal of his collegiate career.

Both teams returned from the first intermission eager to break the 1-1 tie. Harvard struck first as sophomore Steve Rolecek turned a pass at the top of the circle from junior Mike Taylor into the Crimson’s second goal of the night.

In the 10th minute, however, Clarkson’s Shawn Weller stripped the puck from his defender and took on Richter to even the score at two goals apiece. Captain Nick Dodge then put his team ahead for good with six minutes left in the middle frame, when he stripped the puck from Kevin Du during a Crimson power play and found the back of the net to score on Richter.

Said Clarkson coach George Roll of the shorthander: “I thought that was the game changer.”

The goal did indeed take the wind out of Harvard’s sails, as the team allowed two more goals in the third period despite outshooting Clarkson 14-10.

Richter finished his first outing with 29 saves and called it “just one of those games—they got some good chances and got off some good shots.”

Noted Donato, Richter “had a lot of traffic, so it wasn’t the ideal situation to throw a freshman goaltender into as far as the number of chances they were able to generate.”

The loss dropped the Crimson to 0-2 for the first time since 1994.

“I don’t question our effort, nor do I think we have to start from scratch,” Donato said. “We have to execute a lot better, we have to defend a lot better, and come together more as a team.”

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