“Girard was outstanding,” Donato said. “He gave us a chance to have a lead with ten minutes to go.”
Girard was not the only one who wanted to play on Sunday.
The entire squad gave all that it could so that the puck never saw the back of the Crimson net. Defensemen and forwards alike were dropping to the ice, interfering with the puck’s path to the crease. That determination helped Harvard keep its lead for much of the game.
But it wasn’t long enough.
“With all of the guys being juggled around, we probably didn’t have the ability to sustain enough offensive zone time,” Donato said. “Because of that, you certainly get a little more tired playing defense.”
“They put a lot of shots on net,” he added. “But I thought in general our guys really battled and did a lot of good things. I though the effort and energy were excellent. But it was a frustrating result.”
Girard finished the year third in the conference in save percentage, turning away 92.4 percent of the shots he saw on net. Despite maintaining that high performance during Saturday’s game, turning away nearly 95 percent of the Yale shots on net, the Crimson was unable to capitalize.
“For them to get two goals with extra guys on the ice, it’s a tough pill to swallow,” Donato said.
Such quality performance has been the norm over Girard’s career. After taking on a bigger role sophomore year, he stood atop of the ECAC in save percentage with a rate of .947, putting him at fifth in the nation.
Although Girard’s collegiate career came to a close on Saturday, his hockey career has not.
“[That was] definitely not [my last game],” Girard said. “Right now, I don’t know where it’s going to be. I’m opening to play anywhere else to keep my career going.”
—Staff writer Kurt T. Bullard can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.