Untimely Penalties Nullify Strong Offensive Effort

LIKE MIKE
Meghan T. Purdy

Freshman forward Michael Biega, shown here in earlier action, scored his ninth goal in 10 games, but Harvard otherwise wasted a strong offensive effort by failing to convert on its scoring opportunities and taking untimely penalties. St. Lawrence’s Zach

An inability to find consistent scoring and a tendency to commit untimely penalties—the same problems that have been apparent in its recent winless streak—plagued the Harvard men’s hockey team Friday night in its 3-1 loss to St. Lawrence at the Bright Hockey Center.

The Crimson dominated much of the play, but in the end, the outcome did not match the team’s performance. The loss marked Harvard’s eighth straight game without a win.

“We did enough to have a winning night,” coach Ted Donato ’91 said. “But you can’t take three or four penalties every period and expect the result you want, no matter how hard you work.”

The Crimson came out firing and outshot the Saints, 8-0, in the opening five minutes. But a few big saves from St. Lawrence sophomore goalie Alex Petizian kept Harvard at bay.

St. Lawrence, on the other hand, did not get its first shot for over seven minutes.

The first goal of the game came with Harvard on the power play, but it was the Saints who lit the lamp.

Attempting to keep the puck in the zone, Harvard sophomore defensemen Chad Morin failed to bat down a St. Lawrence clearance, allowing for a Saints 2-on-1. Junior Kevin DeVergilio picked up the puck on the right side before centering it to classmate Brock McBride, who beat Crimson sophomore goaltender Kyle Richter.

It was the first shorthanded goal given up by Harvard all season.

Despite a strong performance in the first period, Harvard went into the locker room down, 1-0.

The Crimson started the second period just like it had started the first, bombarding Petizian with shot after shot.

It took a power play for Harvard to finally break through. The Crimson evened the score with freshman Michael Biega’s ninth goal in 10 games, when his shot found the net from an extremely tight angle. Senior Jon Pelle and sophomore Doug Rogers picked up the assists on the play.

Harvard continued to build pressure but was unable to find the net again. With less than three minutes left in the period, and the Crimson already shorthanded, junior Jimmy Fraser got called for a cross-check with contact to the head. By the Harvard bench, away from the puck, Fraser got into a tussle with a St. Lawrence player; with his opponent already down, Fraser decided to give him a little extra.

The penalty put Harvard on the wrong end of a 5-on-3, and the Saints were quick to retake the lead with the two-man advantage.

After two periods, the Crimson had a 31-18 advantage in shots but found itself down, 2-1.

Donato was less than impressed with his team’s unnecessary aggressiveness.

“We took some selfish penalties—retaliatory penalties,” he said. “Unless we decide to put the team ahead of our individual grudges, we can’t win.”

St. Lawrence’s third goal of the game came 3:21 into the final period.

Down two goals, Harvard continued to apply pressure but never really threatened Petizian, who finished the game with 39 saves.

The frustration of the Crimson skaters was clear after the loss.

“It’s the same thing that’s been happening the last few games,” co-captain David MacDonald said, referring to the penalties and the team’s inability to score.

On a night when Harvard was perhaps the better team—the Crimson’s 40 shots were a season high and 16 more than St. Lawrence managed—it was mistakes familiar to the Harvard players and coaching staff that prevented them from picking up the win.

—Staff writer Jay M. Cohen can be reached at jaycohen@fas.harvard.edu.

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