NOTEBOOK: Penalty Kill Can't Save Men's Hockey Against Yale

The Harvard men’s ice hockey team entered Ingalls Rink on Saturday night with one mission in mind – extending its season to a tiebreaking game on Sunday. With less than ten minutes to go in the third period, it looked as if Harvard might be able to hold on to a one-goal lead.

But less than a minute later, the Crimson found itself behind and quickly in desperation mode in a hostile environment.

Yale mustered two third period goals – both of which came on the man advantage - en route to downing Harvard for the fourth and final time of the season.

“I think we could have done some things better,” Crimson coach Ted Donato ’91 said. “But the effort was outstanding.”

As senior goaltender Raphael Girard was pulled with less than a minute remaining for the extra attacker in an effort to capture an equalizer, it would prove to be the last time he would ever don the Harvard sweater on college ice.

“It’s been great playing for Harvard,” Girard said. “It’s been a great honor.”

A FAILED FINAL PENALTY KILL

Boasting one of the conference’s better penalty kills over the course of the season, the Crimson was ultimately done in by one final power play.

A boarding call on sophomore forward Brian Hart in the middle of the third period allowed for the Bulldogs to pull their goalie, as the team retained possession and tested the ECAC’s third-best penalty kill.

Harvard managed to kill off the first two Yale power plays on the night. But the third proved to be the breakthrough, as freshman forward Stu Wilson drove home a rebound to knot the game at one goal apiece.

“There were a lot of sticks out front,” Girard said. “One guy made a good shot top left.”

The Bulldogs then officially went on a power play as Hart went to the penalty box. After Yale won a faceoff in its zone, sophomore forward Kenny Agostino sent a puck off Girard’s shin guard and into the back of the net as the Crimson watched its lead evaporate.

“When you put traffic out front, that’s what happens,” Girard said.” [It was a] good bounce for them, but it was unlucky for us. It’s a part of the game…. It’s tough to beat the defending national champions.”

RAPH’S FINAL STAND

By all appearances, Girard seemed determined not to let Saturday night be his final collegiate appearance. The senior had turned away 35 shots entering the middle of the third period in order to preserve Harvard’s tenuous lead before two snuck by on Yale’s man advantage.

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