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Crimson Unable To Upset the Bulldogs

Senior Ryan Carroll, shown above in previous play, had 34 saves in the Crimson’s 1-0 loss to Yale on Friday. The goaltender nearly shut out the Bulldogs, but as the game neared to a close, Yale captain Jimmy Martin scored the game-winner to let the home team breathe a sigh of relief.
Senior Ryan Carroll, shown above in previous play, had 34 saves in the Crimson’s 1-0 loss to Yale on Friday. The goaltender nearly shut out the Bulldogs, but as the game neared to a close, Yale captain Jimmy Martin scored the game-winner to let the home team breathe a sigh of relief.
By E. Benjamin Samuels, Crimson Staff Writer

When Harvard men’s hockey played Yale earlier this year, the Bulldogs were ranked first in the nation. Currently sitting at second in the USA Today poll, they have not weakened much since then.

The Crimson (4-17, 3-13 ECAC) managed to keep the most recent matchup between the rivals close but could not hold on, dropping Friday’s game to Yale (19-4, 13-3) on the road, 1-0. Harvard has not beaten the Bulldogs in New Haven since 2005.

With the win, Yale stays on top of the ECAC and improves to 14-0 at home, while Harvard sits at 11th in the conference.

“When you know that you’re playing a team like that, you’ve got to simplify your play and limit the amount of mistakes that you make,” co-captain Chris Huxley said. “They can capitalize on those opportunities, even more so than other teams.”

Despite the significant difference in teams’ records, a sold-out crowd of 3,500 at Yale’s Ingalls Rink saw a close and competitive game. The contest remained tied for more than 44 minutes, but the home team broke through in the third period to all but put the game away, when Bulldog captain Jimmy Martin dealt the final blow 5:36 into the final period.

“We came out hard—that’s what we were planning on doing,” Huxley said. “We knew it was going to be an energetic game, and we knew that we had to come out hard with a lot of energy, and I thought we did that.”

The Crimson nearly matched the ECAC leaders shot-for-shot—Harvard had 34 such offensive chances to the Bulldog’s 35.

On the other end, Harvard’s goalie—senior Ryan Carroll—made 34 saves in 35 opportunities, while the Bulldog netminder blocked all of the shots that came at him.

“It looked like he really never lost track of the puck,” sophomore David Valek said. “They were always trying to get bodies in front of him...but he did a really good job of looking around him and never lost sight of the puck. He controlled his rebounds.”

Carroll’s play of late has allowed the Crimson to stay close in its games. In the team’s last four games, opponents have taken 126 shots, and he has allowed just seven goals in that time.

But in a game where defense shined, the power play remained a struggle for Harvard. The team had three chances, one in each period, but failed to convert.

The team has scored just once in its last nine chances on the power play, dating back three games.

Defense has been central in allowing the Crimson to keep its games close of late, but the team has struggled to generate much in the way of offense.

Since the Sheraton/TD Bank Catamount Cup at the beginning of 2011, Harvard has scored more than two goals in a game only twice. The Crimson netted three in a loss to Brown and six in an offense onslaught against ECAC cellar-dwellers Colgate. Moving forward, the team knows that its work around the net needs to be a focus.

“We just need to bear down when we get those opportunities,” Valek said. “We had a break-away [Friday], and we had a couple back-court plays…In terms of going forward, we need to focus more on those little plays that result in a win or a loss. We proved that yesterday.”

Harvard’s offense had its fair share of opportunities. Four players—Huxley, junior Alex Killorn, sophomore Marshall Everson, and freshman Dan Ford—each took four shots. Ten different players took at least two shots on the evening.

“Offensively, we tried to put a lot of pressure on their D and get turnovers and I thought we did a pretty good job with that,” Huxley said. “Sometimes, goalies make big saves, or sometimes it’s just not there. We had a lot of chances and a lot of opportunities, so it shows that we were in their zone a lot and getting a lot of pressure on them.”

—Staff writer E. Benjamin Samuels can be reached at samuels@college.harvard.edu.

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