NOTEBOOK: Men's Hockey Falls in Battle of Underachieving Teams
As the men’s ice hockey season got into full swing in early November, no one would have thought both Harvard and St. Lawrence—then ranked No. 14 and 13, respectively—would hold losing records in the ECAC come January.
The Crimson began the season ranked No. 17 in the nation after recruiting what was considered to be the top freshman class in the country. Opening the season on a three-game win streak, Harvard had moved up to No. 13 by late October.
St. Lawrence began the season unranked but quickly picked up national attention after sweeping six of seven games to open the season. Both teams were ranked for three straight weeks, but after poor performances in November, they quickly fell out of contention.
Battling into overtime on Saturday, the Crimson and the Saints were locked in a 3-3 tie after Harvard fought back from a 2-0 deficit. But St. Lawrence took control in the overtime period and netted a sudden death goal to end the contest.
St. Lawrence now sits in seventh place in the ECAC, while Harvard rests at the bottom of the 12-team conference.
IT’S EASY FOR VESEY
While the return of freshman forward Jimmy Vesey has been unable to snap the team’s six-game losing streak, Vesey has reasserted himself as an offensive powerhouse.
After missing three games in late December and early January representing the United States at the world junior hockey championship, Vesey’s presence has been crucial in putting pucks in the net.
“Well, I think he’s been excellent,” Crimson coach Ted Donato said. “I thought tonight he was tremendous. He was a threat every time he was on the ice, and I think he gave us a big lift.”
Vesey has netted four goals in the last three games—including two against the Saints—and leads Harvard with ten goals on the season. On Saturday, Vesey singlehandedly brought the Crimson back into contention with two consecutive goals to tie up the score early in the second period.
“The second one was a beautiful play by both Blackwell and Hart,” Donato said. “We had a lot of guys step up, and certainly Jimmy was on the top of that list.”
Vesey’s first goal came on a power play in the first period and was the only man-up opportunity that Harvard was able to convert. He tacked on his second goal eleven seconds into the next period.
“We scored a power play goal tonight, and we struggled on power play in the past, and I think that’s good for us going forward,” Vesey said. “Also, we showed a lot of resilience coming back from 2-0 and 3-2, and I think that’s a positive going forward as well.”
While the Crimson matched the Saints with 14 shots apiece in the third period, it struggled in the first and second.