HAMILTON, N.Y. — Colgate erased a dubious streak while Harvard extended one of its own, as the Raiders knocked off the Crimson 4-1 at Starr Rink on Saturday afternoon.
Colgate (7-2-0, 2-0-0 ECACHL), the loser of its last five games against Harvard and eight of the last nine contests between the two clubs, had been outscored by the Crimson 45-14 over the past four years.
“I wasn’t even aware of it,” said Colgate coach Don Vaughan on the historical mismatch between his team and the Crimson. “I looked at the numbers before the game, and I was surprised to see that we had only beaten Harvard 14 times in the history of this matchup. In the big picture, I guess, it’s not any more important than any other win in the league, but the fact that we hadn’t beaten them much made it a nice win.”
Harvard (0-2-1, 0-2-1) appeared on the way to downing Colgate once again when Dylan Reese pinched in from his defensive position and buried a one-timer two minutes into the third period to knot the score at 1-1 and steal momentum away from the home club.
“We knew that they were going to come at us,” said Vaughan. “They had to try to get themselves back in the game. We were prepared to weather it, but we just had a breakdown in coverage.”
“We had a breakdown,” agreed Colgate tri-captain Darryl McKinnon. “We needed to regain our composure and say, ‘OK … let’s not let it happen again.’ No one took any more shifts off for the rest of the night.”
McKinnon made good on his promise to himself, and found himself on an odd-man rush just 90 seconds after Harvard’s tying goal. The senior forward corralled a pass from teammate Kyle Wilson and chipped it up over the outstretched goalie Dov Grumet-Morris for the game-winning goal.
“We responded,” said Vaughan. “Darryl went down and scored a big goal. I thought we had a great period after we went up 2-1.”
Rather than falling into a shell, Colgate continued to pepper Grumet-Morris throughout the final period. The senior netminder turned aside 16 shots in the third period and 36 overall in a losing effort. After surrendering a goal on a weak backhand shot by Raider Ryan Smyth, however, Grumet-Morris could only watch as Colgate coasted to its second league victory of the season.
“It felt real good,” said McKinnon on defeating his team’s recent nemesis. “Two classes have now played them for two years without beating them. Both the junior and sophomore classes haven’t won against those guys. So it was a very big thing for all of us to finally beat them.”
Harvard, meanwhile, extended its winless streak under new head coach Ted Donato. The Crimson mustered only 22 shots against Colgate goaltender Steve Silverthorn, and are averaging less than a goal per game early this season.
“We can’t seem to get over the hump,” said Donato. “We’re not generating enough offensive chances. We’re trying to get everyone on the same page and get all the young and old guys into the new coaching system. It will come with time.”
Colgate’s Jon Smyth, who scored the team’s game-winning overtime tally the night before against Brown, picked up where he left off, notching a power-play goal midway through the second period. Marc Fulton completed the evening’s scoring with an empty-netter, his first regular-strength goal as a Raider.
With the weekend sweep, Colgate, picked by coaches to finish second in the ECAC, began its defense of the Cleary Cup in fine fashion.
“It’s nice to finally be favored,” said McKinnon, who has watched his team advance further into the playoffs in each of his three previous years. “Coaches always say it’s harder to win when you’re favored to win. So it really does feel good when you win.”
The Raiders take a short break from league action next week with a non-conference matchup at Massachusetts-Lowell. Meanwhile, Harvard looks to find its groove by hosting Yale and Princeton next weekend.
Donato doesn’t believe his team is too far from finally breaking through on the scoreboard and in the win column.
“We gave it a solid effort,” he said. “I was pleased with the way that we battled and stayed through it. We made a few mistakes and they capitalized on them. I thought we were in pretty good shape for most of the day, but it got away from us at the end.”