Facing its fourth consecutive ranked opponent and playing on national television for the second time in three games, the Harvard men’s hockey team failed to generate anything offensively and fell to No. 12 Yale, 4-0.
Friday night's shutout at Ingalls Rink marked the third straight win for the Bulldogs (10-4-1, 6-3-1 ECAC), while the Crimson (5-9-1, 3-7-0 ECAC) lost for the sixth time in its last seven contests.
“By and large Yale was quicker, faster, had much more poise and executed offensively a lot better than we did,” Harvard coach Ted Donato ’91 said.
Yale maintained consistent pressure throughout the night on Crimson junior goaltender Raphael Girard—outshooting Harvard 39-21—while the Bulldog defense shut down the Crimson power play, denying five Harvard man-up chances.
That statistic marked a continuation of a season’s worth of struggles for the Crimson power play, which was second best in the nation a year ago but has been successful just 10.9 percent of the time this season—dead last in the ECAC by a wide margin.
On Friday, the teams combined for three penalties in the game’s first five minutes, but it was in five-on-five play that Yale was able to get on the board midway through the opening period.
Junior Kenny Agostino—who had two goals in the Bulldogs’ 5-1 win over Harvard on Nov. 3—fired a shot from the middle slot that deflected off of Girard’s pad to the left of the crease. Yale captain Andrew Miller collected the rebound and sent the puck into an open net for the game’s first score.
“We just weren’t ready out of the gate, right off the bat to get it going,” freshman forward Brian Hart said.
Later in the frame, the Bulldogs were able to augment their pressure on Girard. After the junior made saves on shots by Jesse Root and Trent Ruffolo, the third time proved to be the charm for Yale when senior Antoine Langiere pushed the puck out of a crowd and to the far post for his 11th goal of the year.
At the 6:53 mark of the second period, the Bulldogs extended their lead to 3-0 when Ruffolo put home a goal from the low slot following a Girard save of a Ryan Obuchowski attempt.
“We established a physical play from the beginning and wore their defense down,” Ruffolo said. “It forced them to create turnovers, and that’s what led to our scoring chances.”
As the frame went on, freshman Jimmy Vesey could not finish on a good look off a pass from Hart and two Yale shots deflected off the pipe. In the final two minutes of the period, the Bulldogs denied a Crimson five-on-three opportunity by clearing the puck thrice.
“They could have [scored] two [goals] there, and then [it would have been] a different game,” Yale coach Keith Allain said.
The Bulldogs were able to get on the board once again just fifty seconds into the final frame when Ruffolo put home a one-timer off a pass from Root for his second score of the contest.
“Yale’s a fast team,” Hart said. “They play with a lot of speed in their transition game. They were all over us.”