In its last game of 2012, the No. 20 Harvard men’s hockey team looked like it was still on break.
In its first loss to Northeastern at Bright Hockey Center since 1978, the Crimson’s touted penalty kill, which ranked ninth nationally coming into Friday's contest, was nowhere to be found in the second period. After falling behind in the first, the Huskies (6-9-1, 3-8-1 Hockey East) came storming back in the opening minutes of the next period and didn’t stop, beating the Crimson (4-5-1, 3-3 ECAC), 5-1.
Northeastern gained a two-man advantage early in the second period and wasted no time in tying up the game at one when sophomore forward Cody Ferriero—who scored 4 goals in the contest—powered a shot past Crimson junior goaltender Raphael Girard.
Even with senior defensemen Danny Beiga back on the ice after serving time for slashing, Harvard was hard pressed to hold off a rejuvenated Huskies offense. Northeastern pounded the Crimson goal with seven consecutive shots before Ferriero found the back of the net three minutes into the period. Ferriero added his third goal of the period seven minutes later on the Huskies third power play.
While the team’s penalty kill performance was uncharacteristic, so was its starting lineup. Senior forward Alex Fallstrom, who has scored two goals for Harvard this season, was slated to start but saw no playing time.
The Crimson also went without freshman forward Jimmy Vesey, who leads the team with five goals and a .600 faceoff win percentage. Vesey was one of three ECAC players selected to represent the US in the IIHF World Junior Championship in Russia and will return to the squad when competition concludes on January 5th.
With those two absent, Harvard’s woes continued in the third quarter, as Northeastern’s leading scorer, freshman forward Kevin Roy, put the Huskies up by three, and Ferriero added his fourth goal of the night to cement the 5-1 victory.
Harvard’s only goal of the game came five minutes into the first period, when freshman forward Brian Hart snuck a shot past Northeastern goaltender Chris Rawlings on the Crimson’s first power play. Harvard saw five more power play opportunities and failed to capitalize on a single one. The Crimson’s 6.1 percent power play percentage has come as a shock this season after they led the nation with a 27.3 percent success rate last year.
With the loss the Crimson drops below .500 for the first time this season.