For the second time in four days, the Harvard men’s hockey team found itself making a late upset bid against a ranked opponent on the road.
But unlike on Wednesday against Boston University, the Crimson’s comeback attempt fell short against No. 12 Dartmouth Saturday night, as a Jesse Blemish goal with under eight minutes remaining gave the Big Green a 3-2 win at Thompson Arena.
The defeat marks Harvard’s sixth in its last eight games and fourth straight against an ECAC opponent. The free-falling Crimson (5-8-1, 3-6-0 ECAC) now finds itself tied for second-to-last place in its conference midway through the season.
“It was a back-and-forth game,” junior defenseman Dan Ford said. “We didn’t play poorly.... It was just a tough Ivy League road game, a one-goal game, [and] Dartmouth made the plays that they needed to [make] to get the win.”
After Harvard rallied to tie the game at two, Beamish scored the go-ahead goal—the first of his career—with 7:29 remaining, tipping a Ryan Bullock shot past Crimson junior goaltender Raphael Girard to send the home crowd of over 4,000 into a frenzy.
Despite a late push, Harvard could not find an answer before the final horn.
“Dartmouth’s a good team,” Girard said. “We sure could have gotten the win out there, but hockey is a game of mistakes.... We can definitely skate with those guys.”
After denying an abundance of early pressure on Girard, the Crimson got on the board first—something it had not done in its last three contests.
At the 13:22 mark of the first period, forward Jimmy Vesey weaved his way through a trio of Big Green (9-5-2, 5-3-1) defenders before scoring from just outside the crease while moving right-to-left.
It was the team-high sixth goal of the season for the rookie, who missed two games last week while playing for the United States at the World Junior Championships in Ufa, Russia.
“Even though [Vesey is] a great player, we can’t just rely on him because he’s only a freshman,” Girard said. “But it was really nice to have him back to create some offense.”
The Harvard defense kept the Big Green off the board for the remainder of the opening period, but Dartmouth’s Matt Lindblad tied things up just over four minutes into the second. During a four-on-four set up by a Vesey facemasking penalty, Lindblad put away a rebound to tie the game.
“They’re a really good transition team,” Girard said. “They want to have some four-on-fours on power plays.... [It gives them] more room on the ice, so it allows their power play to work better, which gives them more chances and more momentum.”
Four minutes later, with 29 seconds still remaining in the major penalty, Nick Bligh put the Big Green ahead, 2-1, with a power-play goal.
After a shot by the hero of Wednesday’s game, senior forward Conor Morrison, hit the post at the period’s end, Dartmouth took that lead into the final period.