Sometimes, in sports, it seems that one team will always have another team’s number.
For example, coming into Saturday night’s matchup, the Harvard men’s hockey team was 29-5-3 all-time against No. 16 Union, including a 4-1 win in Schenectady on Jan. 22. That’s why it was not an enormous surprise that the inconsistent Crimson was able to pull out a victory at the Bright Hockey Center Saturday night, despite the Dutchmen’s position atop the ECAC hockey standings and their national ranking.
The key now will be building on the win. Harvard only has one winning streak the entire season, which came in mid-January. Since that streak, the Crimson has only come away with two wins in the past eight games.
The season has been especially up-and-down in ECAC play, in which Harvard holds a 7-8-3 record.
“At this point we have four games left, [with] a pretty emotional weekend next weekend with Cornell and Colgate coming in, so this was a huge win,” said Harvard coach Ted Donato ’91. “We’re obviously looking up and this gives us a chance for next weekend to really have a lot of opportunities to move up [because] this is a place we want to play in the playoffs.”
Future success all starts in net, where juniors Ryan Carroll and Kyle Richter have rotated throughout the season. Both have shown flashes of brilliance, but neither has been consistent enough to hold down the starting job.
Richter, for example, was phenomenal for over two and a half periods Saturday night, before allowing three goals in a six-minute stretch at the end of the game. The previous night against Rensselaer, he got the loss after allowing two goals, but that was only after he was subbed in for Carroll, who allowed three in just 14 minutes of playing time.
Continued strong play from Richter would be an enormous boost if the Crimson is going to make any sort of postseason run.
Regulation hockey games are played for exactly 60 minutes—no shorter, and, barring overtime, no longer.
For Harvard, taking that message to heart has been something that the team has been working on all season and that it still needs to make a reality.
That couldn’t have been more true Saturday night against Union. The Crimson took a 4-0 lead into the final six minutes of play against the Dutchmen, but almost let the advantage slip away. Union scored three times in that time span, two of those coming in a six-on-four situation with under a minute to go.
“We’ve definitely got to work on [finishing],” Richter said. “I thought it was a great game overall, but we have to look into playing a full game next weekend against some tough teams.”
YOUTH IS SERVED
Killorn scored two goals Saturday night, giving him nine on the year. That mark makes him good for third on the team behind a pair of freshmen forwards, Louis Leblanc and Conor Morrison, who both have 10 on the season. The fact that Harvard’s top three goal-scorers are all first- or second-year players bodes well for the future of any hockey team.