The Crimson icemen returned to their home rink on Friday evening for a chance to push around an old postseason foe. They didn’t know that they would have to push around their Zamboni first.
After a stalled ice resurfacer delayed the opening puck drop by 109 minutes, the Harvard men’s hockey team (7-12-3, 4-11-1 ECAC) skated to a 3-0 win over Dartmouth (4-16-3, 3-12-1) at the Bright-Landry Hockey Center. Junior goaltender Steve Michalek posted his first shutout of the season while freshmen forwards Sean Malone, Tyler Moy, and Devin Tringale scored in the Crimson’s first win over the Big Green since game one of the first round of the 2013 ECAC Tournament.
“It’s not often you have half your team out there pushing the Zamboni across the ice,” Harvard coach Ted Donato ’91 said. “I thought our guys played a solid game…. I thought we played a smart game for the most part.”
Ten minutes before the scheduled 7 p.m. puck drop, Harvard’s only Zamboni came to a halt near the press box-side crease. After the rink’s ice crew emptied the mechanized ice resurfacer of snow, an army of Harvard players pushed the vehicle off the rink. At 8 p.m., a Zamboni technician arrived at the rink and determined that the vehicle had a broken battery, and the vehicle was fully operational by 8:30 p.m. The puck finally dropped at 8:49 p.m.
The Crimson responded to its first shutout loss of the season—a 6-0 defeat to No. 11 Northeastern in the first round of the Beanpot on Monday—by handing the Big Green its own first shutout loss of the season. Few heroics were required of Michalek as Harvard limited Dartmouth to a season-best 21 shots on goal. The team will head into the consolation game of the Beanpot versus Boston University this Monday with a four-point lead over Dartmouth for 10th place in the ECAC standings.
“I thought we handled [the delay] really well,” Malone said. “We kept [ourselves] occupied in the locker room, had a pretty good time, played a few games…and were able to stay focused and get the W.”
The delay foreshadowed a bizarre game filled with big hits and altercations. Officials doled out 58 penalty minutes in the second period, 36 of which came directly after Harvard freshman forward Kevin Guiltinan laid a high open-ice hit on junior Charlie Mosey as the Dartmouth center carried the puck into the Crimson zone. The collision prompted Big Green junior forward Jesse Beamish to drop the gloves with Guiltinan while Malone wrestled with sophomore defender Geoff Ferguson.
“I saw three guys on [Guiltinan]. He’s usually a pretty physical presence out there, and I just felt obligated as his teammate to step in and help out,” Malone said.
Officials ruled that Guiltinan’s play on Mosey involved contact to the head and ejected the freshman with a game disqualification, which would result in an extra one-match suspension. Beamish received a game misconduct.
“I think any time there’s a major penalty, the league will look at it in the next couple of days,” Donato said. “After watching it [on video], I thought [Guiltinan’s hit] live looked and sounded a lot worse than it did.”
The scoreless middle frame was bookended by a power play marker from Malone in the first and two even-strength strikes from Moy and Tringale.
With freshman center Alex Kerfoot out of the lineup after being shaken up in the Beanpot, Malone took first-line power play duties. The West Seneca, N.Y., native delivered on the game’s first man-advantage situation, burying his fifth goal of the season with under four minutes to play in the opening frame. After a slap shot through the slot from freshman defenseman Victor Newell was redirected in front of the net by sophomore forward Kyle Criscuolo, Malone found an opening on the right side.
In the third period, Moy found the back of the net at 7:58 after coming to the aid of senior line-mate David Valek in a battle along the right wing boards with junior Dartmouth defenseman Rick Pinkston. The freshman Harvard forward picked up the puck behind the goal line and wrapped goaltender James Kruger.
While Dartmouth had been struggling to generate opportunities on the opposite end, the insurance marker put the Crimson firmly in the driver’s seat. Tringale pushed the game out of reach less than eight game minutes later. The fourth-line forward put back a rebound under the left wing face-off circle after a close-range slapper from junior defenseman Max Everson bounced off Kruger’s chest.
—Staff writer Michael D. Ledecky can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @MDLedecky.