As league playoffs approach and teams jockey for positions, Harvard had a golden opportunity to solidify its chances for first-round home-ice advantage with a win over Yale, which had gone 1-8 and been outscored 35-20 in its last nine games.
And though Jimmy Fraser gave the Crimson (10-15-1, 8-10-1 ECAC) a 1-0 lead six minutes into the game and Donato thought his team was “doing some good things,” he was far from convinced that Harvard had the upper hand.
“And then we took a step in the wrong direction,” the coach said of the second period, when Yale (10-13-3, 7-11-1) tallied four unanswered goals. “We took a couple of lazy-type penalties and gave them a couple of power plays.”
The Bulldogs attacked goaltender Kyle Richter with 14 shots in the second frame, sending the puck high and shaking the rookie. Nearly 10 minutes in, Yale tied the score when Chris Cahill roofed a rebound off of Richter’s right pad on the power play. Then, five minutes later, Mark Arcobello picked up the puck after a faceoff and found the top of the net.
Less than two minutes later, when the wheels officially fell off the Harvard wagon, the Bulldogs managed another man-advantage strike for a 3-1 lead. Will Engasser skated past defenders in the left circle and snuck the puck high between Richter and the left post.
A timeout called by Donato did little to settle the Crimson, as Jean-Francois Boucher took the puck in the right circle and roofed it with 65 seconds remaining for the 4-1 lead.
Senior backup goalie Justin Tobe opened the third period in Richter’s stead.
“It was a team-wide disappointing game,” Donato later said of the switch, “but [Richter] was certainly part of it.”
Yale’s fifth and final goal was an empty-netter, the result of an attempted 6-on-4 power play by the Crimson with five minutes remaining. Cahill, who scored the Bulldogs’ first goal of the night, found the open goalmouth for his third point of the night.
And though Harvard launched 12 shots in the final frame, Bulldog netminder Alec Richards never yielded, saving 28 shots on the night.
NOTES: The Crimson ended Friday 0-for-9 on the power play, bringing the team’s four-game total—dating back to the Beanpot opener against Boston College—to a painful 1-for-26…Dating back to the 2004-2005 season, Harvard had been 19-0-1 after ending the first period in the lead…A total of 74 penalty minutes were assessed, 54 of which went against Yale. The Bulldogs were whistled for 15 infractions, including a trio of 10-minute game misconducts. The Crimson, meanwhile, had an even 10 minors for 20 minutes…Tobe had eight saves in the third period.
—Staff writer Rebecca A. Seesel can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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