Following its upset over No. 10 Cornell, the Harvard men’s hockey (4-3-0, 3-3-0 ECAC) team suffered a letdown the next evening, falling to Colgate, 1-0, Saturday night at Starr Arena in Hamilton, N.Y.
The Raiders struck early and neither team was able to generate much offensive momentum thereafter, as Colgate (6-6-1, 2-3-1 ECAC) improved to .500 on the season after defeating Dartmouth the previous night.
“We didn’t really show up, to be honest,” junior goalie Raphael Girard said. “It was a tough game; we had a couple of guys playing well, but to win, we have to have all 20 guys on the team pulling in the same direction. What we brought to Cornell, we didn’t bring to Colgate.”
The lone goal of the contest was scored by Raider junior defenseman Jeremy Price, who put it past Girard with 6:45 remaining in the first period.
“[Colgate] had some good defensemen that could shoot the puck pretty well, and all night long they were looking for that,” Girard said. “I can’t stop what I can’t see, and they had a couple screens in front of me, and they scored top glove.”
Overall in the first period, the Crimson recorded nine shots on goal to Colgate’s seven. Freshman goaltender Spencer Finney was solid in net, stopping all 25 shots he ultimately faced.
Each team was called for a five-minute major penalty in the second period, though no goals were produced from the man-advantage opportunities.
“We are short bodies right now—we have at least three injuries...so some of the guys that normally would have killed penalties aren’t in the lineup,” sophomore forward Mike Seward said. “We’re basically using everyone we can killing penalties, so it just sort of disrupts our rhythm a bit.... It kind of tires out some of the guys who have to kill the penalties.”
Harvard junior defenseman Dan Fick was assessed the penalty just 2:14 into the second, but the strong Crimson penalty kill was able to keep the Raiders at bay. Near the end of the period, junior forward Mike McCann was penalized for contact to the head against sophomore Tommy O’Regan of Harvard.
Colgate has been highly penalized all season, entering the weekend with the ninth most penalties minutes per game in the nation with 15.9. On Saturday, the Raiders racked up 19 penalty minutes on four infractions.
But the Crimson was unable to capitalize on its chances during the extended power play, which continued into the third period. Throughout the game Harvard was zero for three on the man-advantage.
“We just [were] maybe looking to make some dangles at the blue line which we are not supposed to instead of getting the puck deep,” Girard said. “A good fore-check would give us some momentum which we had sometimes but not that [much] against Colgate.”
With another power play in the third period and an extra man in the final minute with Girard taken off the ice, the Crimson failed to make the most of man-up opportunities, which the team relied on heavily last season.
“As of right now, [the power play] may be our Achilles heel,” Girard said. “But we have been working on it, and I know the guys are really talented and we are going to figure it out.”
Overall this season Harvard is 2 for 26 on the power play for a conversion rate of 7.7 percent, much lower than the nation-leading 27.3 percent of last year.
“We have four of the five back this year from last year’s power play,” Seward said. “So it’s kind of a mystery why we’re struggling with the power play so much this year. [It’s] something we’re working on and looking to improve.”
With several near-misses during the night, the Crimson outshot Colgate, 25-22, despite losing the faceoff battle, 33-23. Girard finished with 21 saves, and captain Danny Biega led the team with four shots against the Raiders.
Girard attributes the loss to the team’s straying away from the original game plan for the contest.
“Every game we go in there and we know what we have to do,” he said. “If we follow our game plan, we know it’s going to pay off at the end of the game and I don’t think we were committed enough at Colgate.”
—Staff writer David Mazza can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.