Up North, the Crimson Will Be Seeing Red

The Harvard men’s hockey team has not swept the weekend trip to Colgate and Cornell since the 1992-1993 season, but this is hardly the time to focus on history. The Crimson travels to New York this weekend in desperate search of a pair of wins in what junior defenseman Noah Welch deemed “our biggest road trip of the year.”

The Crimson (4-3-1, 3-3-1 ECAC) faces off against Colgate tonight at Starr Rink before spending Saturday night inside the electrifying confines of Cornell’s Lynah Rink. Two Harvard victories would lessen the pain of last weekend’s home 3-0 loss to Clarkson and give its rather inconsistent record a much-needed shot in the arm.

The Crimson meets Colgate (5-5-2, 2-2-0 ECAC) with memories of last season, during which Harvard drubbed the Red Raiders on three separate occasions (7-1, 8-1, and 7-0).

There is a good chance that Colgate has not forgotten.

“I’d like to think their memories are long,” Raiders coach Stan Moore said of his players. “People may be quite motivated at a 22-2 deficit in goals scored, not that my memory is short or long.

“Some people may not look at [the score] … and others may look at it as motivation. In either case, I certainly hope that our team is prepared.”

For its part, the Crimson is not underestimating Colgate.

“Our focus has been on Colgate, and it has to be, because they present the…style of play that can give you fits if you’re not ready to play against them,” Harvard coach Mark Mazzoleni said. “They’re going to attack you.”

“Colgate’s going to be a tough team,” said senior forward Tyler Kolarik. “Everyone’s gunning for us now. They know that we’re down.”

A week ago, Harvard was anything but “down.” In a decisive 5-2 win over BU, a team the Crimson hadn’t beaten in three years, the Crimson seemed to have finally clicked. But four days later, the Crimson suffered a home shutout at the hands of the Golden Knights, in which it capitalized on none of its six power plays.

“The Clarkson game was tough,” Welch said. “[Special teams] would have won that game.”

Mazzoleni agreed, citing that the upper hand in special teams often leads to the upper hand on the scoreboard.

“We [won the special teams battle] against Yale, we did against BU, we did against St. Lawrence—we didn’t against Clarkson,” he said.

His players are more than aware of the problem, and they are working to correct it. And if ever there was a time for Harvard’s power play to take charge, tonight would be it. Last season, special teams were particularly productive against the Raiders, as the Crimson exploited nine of its 21 opportunities.

This season, the Harvard power play is 5-for-28 (17.9 percent), sixth-best in the league.

“It’s not like we’re not getting our chances out there, because we certainly are,” Kolarik said. “It’s just a matter of executing, just getting the pucks on net, getting screens, knowing where the open guy is going to be, adjusting our formation to compensate for their pressure throughout the game.”