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Season Comes to Close in ECAC Quarterfinals

By Robert S Samuels, Crimson Staff Writer

The first two times that the Dartmouth and Harvard men’s hockey teams met up this season, the Big Green dominated, clobbering the Crimson, 8-2 and 5-2.

This time around, Harvard kept things much more interesting, but in the end, the result was the same.

Despite its late-season resurgence, the Crimson couldn’t top No. 18 Dartmouth at Thompson Arena this weekend, falling, 2-1, in a best-of-three series in the ECAC quarterfinals.

Harvard started off strong, beating the Big Green on Friday, 3-2. But then the home team mounted a comeback, winning the following two nights to take the series and advance to the ECAC semifinals.

“We were disappointed in the results, but...as a team, [we] could not be more proud of each other for our effort,” said co-captain forward Michael Del Mauro. “We really played well, [but] the last two games just didn’t go our way…[that’s] the way hockey goes.”

DARTMOUTH 4, HARVARD 3

After an overtime loss on Saturday night, the Crimson rebounded quickly yesterday.

Just seven minutes into the contest, sophomore forward Marshall Everson found junior defenseman Ryan Grimshaw. After Grimshaw skated into Dartmouth’s zone, he took two shots, the second of which deflected right to sophomore forward Alex Fallstrom. Fallstrom beat the goaltender from the slot to put Harvard on top early.

Dartmouth evened the score at one apiece early in the second period, and the score remained knotted at one for the remainder of the frame.

With the start of the series’ final period, the game’s low-scoring nature seemed to vanish.

As Del Mauro came onto the ice early in the third frame, sophomore forward Conor Morrison skated down the right side. As Big Green defenders began to charge Morrison, the sophomore dished the puck off to Del Mauro, who found the back of the net to give the Crimson a short-lived 2-1 lead at the 4:54 mark.

“It was a really great effort by Morrison to keep control of the puck and stay on it,” Del Mauro said. “He made a couple really great moves on the defensemen.”

But then the tide began to turn.

Just over two minutes after Del Mauro put Harvard on top, Dartmouth began a goal-scoring onslaught, tallying three unanswered goals in less than a 10-minute period to give the home team a two-goal advantage.

As the game clock wound down, the Crimson earned a power play and pulled Carroll, giving the visitors a 6-on-4 advantage with two minutes left.

Harvard capitalized on the opportunity. With 20 seconds to play, sophomore defenseman Danny Biega found Fallstrom from the point. For the second time of the night, Fallstrom beat the Big Green goaltender, halving Dartmouth’s lead.

“If [Fallstrom] didn’t score that goal on the power play at the end, we wouldn’t have had a chance,” co-captain defenseman Chris Huxley said.

But that’s as close as the Crimson came, losing 4-3. Unable to score again in the remaining time, the buzzer signaled the end of Harvard’s season.

DARTMOUTH 2, HARVARD 1

While Sunday’s contest became an offensive showcase, on Saturday, it was all about the defense.

The Big Green took the lead midway through the first period after Dartmouth forward Adam Estoclet fired a shot from the left circle that found the back of the net. The Big Green retained the lead for the next 38 minutes.

The Crimson tied it up 11:12 into the third period. Huxley’s shot from the point hit the crossbar, and the puck deflected right to senior forward Michael Biega, who hit the equalizer past the Dartmouth netminder.

Regulation failed to settle the game. But just 1:37 into the sudden-death overtime, Big Green forward Andrew Owsiak gave the home team the victory after his shot from the right side of the ice hit a skate, which redirected the puck past Carroll and into the net.

“There was no huge mistake on the overtime goal,” Del Mauro said. “That’s the way you get a lot of goals in overtime...we transitioned very quickly to just proceed to [think], ‘Let’s win the next game.”

“[The goal] was tough because I believe we were the better team throughout the whole game,” Fallstrom added. “It was really unfortunate.”

HARVARD 3, DARTMOUTH 2

Coming into the series, Harvard had been in the midst of a season-long five-game winning streak.

That momentum paid dividends early.

The Crimson drew first blood. Capitalizing on an early Dartmouth power play, junior forward Alex Killorn scored just 5:39 into the contest.

“[Killorn’s goal] was a huge goal because one of the keys to our games was having a great start and really initiating the series with an intensity that caught them off guard,” Del Mauro said.

After the Big Green evened the score 10 minutes later, Harvard quickly regained the lead thanks to a Fallstrom score.

The Crimson added to the lead 21 minutes later. Michael Biega found Del Mauro in the left faceoff circle, and the captain found the back of the net to extend the visitors’ lead to two goals.

“It’s a lot easier [to score] when a guy on your team’s putting the puck on your stick in a dangerous area, and that’s really what happened,” Del Mauro said.

Dartmouth never retied the score. The Big Green scored with 1:26 left in the third period, but the goal proved to be too little too late, as Harvard grabbed a 3-2 victory.

But despite the strong start to the series, Friday’s win proved to be the Crimson’s only one.

“We were planning on coming to the rink the next day and having a repeat [of Friday’s performance],” Del Mauro said. “[The next two games], we did a lot of the same things we did [on Friday]...[but] sometimes your shots just aren’t in the back of the net.”

—Staff writer Robert S. Samuels can be reached at robertsamuels@college.harvard.edu.

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