When you take a young team on the road, you don’t really know what to expect but you had better be ready! I felt the team competed hard and responded well to adversity on the road. We didn’t get off to great start at Harvard but came back and played well. At Dartmouth we bounced back, played well most of the night and had the wildest finish I have ever experienced!
At “Lynah East”, we scored first on a power-play goal by Matt Stienburg at 16:06 of the first period. This was encouraging because Harvard made all eight shots-on-goal to start the game but Freshman goaltender Joe Howe was stalwart. We countered with the next eight shots at the other end. We were a bit antsy at first but I was happy with how we responded and got back into our game.
Just 47 seconds into the second period, Junior defenseman Sam Malinski made it 2-0. Harvard quickly responded with goals at 6:13 and 11:27 to send us into the third period tied at two-all. We made mistakes by allowing their forwards to get behind us and not picking up guys quickly.
Harvard scored the winning goal at 4:38 of the third period on their third power play over five minutes. Howe inadvertently kicked the net off its moorings and the Crimson converted a rebound that was initially waved off by the goal-side referee. After video review, the on-ice call was overturned and Harvard led for the first time in the game. The official explanation was even with the net off, the player would have scored anyway, so the goal counted.
We had another good chance to tie the game. With our goalie out and skating six players, Junior forward Ben Berard took a shot from the right circle that bounced off a defender’s leg, beat the Crimson goaltender on the far side but the puck hit the post squarely.
After the game we discussed that in hockey: it’s not about shots on goal, it’s not about carrying the play, it’s not about doing this or doing that; it’s about winning and we need to learn to win. It’s a hard skill to learn but you gain more experience with games like the one we had.
Howe made 19 saves in the game and the Harvard goaltender stopped 36 shots. We were 1-for-6 on the power play and the Crimson was 1-for-4.
Dartmouth is always tough after a battle at Harvard. We started fast with a goal by Junior forward Jack Malone at 14:45 of the first period and out-shot the home team, 17-2. Halfway through second period, the Big Green knotted the score 1-1. Ben Berard put us back on top with 3:27 left in the period with a shot from the slot. We stated the third period leading 2-1 but it didn’t take Dartmouth long to tie just 29 seconds into the period. Eight minutes later, due to some excellent forechecking, we set up Sophomore Kyle Penney for his first collegiate goal and Berard recorded his second goal of the game at 12:24 to make the score 4-2.
Before we knew it, Dartmouth tied the game 4-4 with goals at 16:40 and 18:37. Their fourth goal came after something I have never seen. Dartmouth had pulled their goaltender for an extra attacker with 2:02 left. Berard maneuvered his way around a defenseman in the neutral zone and skated towards the open net with the puck. He saw Freshman forward Kyler Kovich coming on and he slid a pass across the slot so Kovich could score his first collegiate goal. But, it didn’t happen because a Dartmouth defenseman caught Kovich, delivered a stick-check and turned a Cornell three-man-breakaway on an empty net into the puck going the other way! This is why coaches have stress! Wild! I’ve never experienced anything like that. I totally get Berard passing to Kovich for his first collegiate goal but when we loose the puck and make a couple of big mistakes at the end … it is just absolutely nuts.
We still had a one-goal lead but with 1:23 left, Dartmouth scored to make it 4-4. Two shifts later and with 33.6 seconds on the clock, we had a faceoff in the Dartmouth zone. Berard was not scheduled to be on the ice but he had responded to every challenge and the more he was challenged, the harder he plays. The Big Green won the faceoff and worked the puck into our zone and set up a shot. Stienburg slid out of the slot and blocked the shot, then poked the loose puck off the wall and into the path of Berard. As Berard sped up the right wing, Stienburg drove up the middle to create a 2-on-1 rush. Berard fired a shot over the goaltender’s glove to record his third goal of the night; the game-winner with 6.2 seconds remaining in regulation and his second collegiate hat trick.
I liked our bounce back from Friday night. We talked about not having a slow start and we played with poise. We were 0-for-4 on the power play and Dartmouth was 1-for-3. Senior Nate McDonald made his second collegiate start in the goal and made 13 saves, while the Dartmouth goalie had 29.
We are back home for the next two weekends. The first Friday night, Union comes to Lynah Rink and RPI plays on Saturday. The second weekend features Brown and Yale. We hope you can make it to some games. We need your support!
Video highlights: Cornell … @Harvard