But the Crimson came up short, falling to No. 2 Hofstra (14-1), 13-6, Saturday night at Shuart Stadium.
The Pride (14-1) had a 13-game winning streak going into the match, and it was clear from the very beginning that they were not ready to let that end.
Jumping out to an early 3-0 lead, Hofstra dominated on offense, with the Crimson (6-5) failing to have an offensive possession until about midway through the first quarter.
“We really didn’t even have the ball at all in the first couple of minutes,” co-captain Jake Samuelson said. “We didn’t have the sort of composure we needed. Against a team like that you can’t make mistakes against them and expect them not to score. We put ourselves in a hole pretty early.”
Junior Evan Calvert finally put Harvard on the board with 5:03 left in the period on an assist by junior Greg Cohen, but the Pride responded with three unanswered goals in the second quarter to lead 6-1.
Cohen scored twice—unassisted on both—in the second for a total of three points on the day, but five goals from Hofstra sent the game into the break with a score of 10-3.
Sophomore goalie Evan O’Donnell played as solidly as possible in the half, making nine saves on 29 Pride shots.
The Crimson, on the other hand, posted just 14 shots.
“We kind of left him to the wolves a little bit,” Samuelson said. “They were really peppering him in the first half.He did a good job considering the circumstances.
“[Both goalies] did well—it would have been a lot worse if they hadn’t made the saves they did.”
The second half fared better for Harvard.
The third period remained scoreless until sophomore Brooks Scholl notched an unassisted goal with 8:51 left.
The Crimson held the Pride to two goals for the quarter, both coming in the last minute and a half of play to make it 12-4.
Freshman goalie Joe Pike made four saves in the period, and Harvard stayed on pace with Hofstra, taking seven shots on goal to the Pride’s eight.
“The thing that was most rewarding about the game was that the first half was very one-sided and the second half we played them even,” Crimson coach Scott Anderson said. “We went in and regrouped and figured out what we hadn’t done well that we had wanted to.”
But the lead was too much to overcome.
Despite a first quarter with fewer turnovers and more shots than the Pride, the Crimson continued to experience shooting woes as a result of the extended Hofstra defense.
Harvard allowed the final Pride goal just 58 seconds into the fourth period and was able to respond with scores of its own.
Calvert notched his second score of the game assisted by senior Steve Cohen with 13:09 left in the quarter. Cohen had a goal of his own—the final tally of the game—with 2:51 left to account for the final score.
“It was a matter of pride in the fourth quarter and late in the third because the lead was so large,” Samuelson said. “I think it was about playing with more intensity and having nothing to lose.”
The Crimson will look to redeem itself next Saturday at home against Dartmouth in its final regular-season and Ivy League game.
“I think the goal all year has been to play each game one at a time,” Anderson said. “This [could be] a big win—this is a team we haven’t beaten in a few years.The kind of effort and the kind of success we had against Yale, that’s what we want to have. We want something to demonstrate the improvement we had in the season.”
—Staff writer Madeleine I. Shapiro can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.