NEW YORK — The first time Ted Donato ’91 squared off against Yale away from the Bright-Landry Hockey Center as head coach of the Harvard men’s ice hockey team, he led the Crimson past its conference rival.
But nearly a decade removed from that 2005 result, Harvard (10-2-2, 6-1-2 ECAC) has yet to reproduce the same feat.
With a chance to end an 11-game winless streak away from home against the No. 19/- Bulldogs (9-4-2, 4-3-1) under the bright lights of Madison Square Garden Saturday, the No. 3/3 Crimson fell short, 4-1.
“We just looked like a team that wasn’t in sync, didn’t put [forth] a lot of energy, [and] didn’t execute very well,” Donato said. “I thought [Yale] outcompeted us, outskated us, outcoached us—you name it.”
The second edition of the Rivalry on Ice looked a lot like the inaugural game last January, when the Bulldogs emerged from the Big Apple with a 5-1 win. But unlike last season, instead of coming in with just five wins in 16 games, Harvard entered the game atop the Pairwise rankings having won its last seven contests.
But after surrendering multiple first-period goals for just the second time all season and then a third minutes into the second, the Crimson dug itself a hole it could not get out of.
“We got outplayed in the first period pretty badly, and that’s going to happen over time,” Donato said. “We were on the verge there [of coming back], but we never really got the game turned in our direction.”
Yale broke open the scoring 13:22 into the game. A foot from the boards, Bulldog defenseman Adam Larkin fired a shot at Harvard goaltender Steve Michalek, which ricocheted to sophomore forward Chris Izmirlian in the slot. From there, Izmirlian rocketed the puck on net, beating Michalek to put the Bulldogs on top.
Three minutes later, Yale struck again.
Streaking up the ice, junior center Carson Cooper launched a shot to Michalek’s left, pulling the netminder out of position. The puck sailed wide of the net, but one bounce later, it was on the stick of junior forward Cody Learned on the doorstep.
Nonetheless, Learned would be denied, as Michalek dove to his right, extending his left arm across the crease to stop the junior—one of his 38 saves on the night.
But with Michalek sprawled out on all fours, the puck squirted out to junior forward Charles Orzetti, who cleaned up the mess.
However, the goal would not come without controversy. After a brief conversation, the officials waved off the goal, determining that Cooper had beat the puck past the blue line when entering the zone. But after going to the replay booth, the officials overturned the offsides call, extending the Crimson deficit to two.
“Personally, I thought they got it wrong,” said Donato in reference to the call. “But for us, we have to be able to stop the bleeding and get back to doing the things we need to do to get the game turned around in our direction.”
Harvard had been in a similar hole before, having surrendered multiple goals in the first period and trailing at the break—both season firsts—in what proved to be a win over Rensselaer two weeks prior. But this time, the Crimson could not climb out.