CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Despite pelting Colgate netminder Alex Evin with 40 shots, nearly double last night’s total against Cornell, Harvard suffered a weekend sweep on its Senior Night at the hands of the Red Raiders, 4-2. With the win, Colgate completed a season sweep of the Crimson, its first since 2004.
“We got a lot more shots, but we gave up a lot more opportunities,” Harvard coach Ted Donato said. “I thought our goaltending was excellent tonight. First, John Riley played very well and I thought Kyle Richter came in and played well.”
Raiders’ winger Jason Williams took advantage of a Crimson miscue at 10:40 in the third period to seal Harvard’s fate. Williams put Colgate up 3-1 when he derailed Harvard’s attempt to clear the puck from deep in the zone and beat Crimson goaltender Kyle Richter with a backhanded shot stick side.
“We had an unfortunate giveaway on the third goal,” Donato said. “It was one of those games where we felt like we were on the verge of coming and sure enough we get another goal. But the third one ended up being the difference.”
Colgate claimed a 1-0 lead early in the first frame when Red Raider winger Austin Smith snatched the puck on the crease and backhanded it past Harvard netminder John Riley, who played the first period for the Crimson, stick side at 4:40.
Smith’s goal followed a near-miss by Raiders’ winger Brian Day, who picked up the puck at the blue line and was stoned on a one-on-one attempt just four minutes into the game
Despite peppering Evin with 11 shots through the first period, three more than the Crimson tallied in the first two periods against the Big Red last night, Harvard could not get on the board.
Not for lack of trying however. Crimson winger Alex Killorn carried Harvard’s offense early, testing Evin three times in the first frame. At 9:20, Killorn rushed end-to-end on a four-on-four, but could not bury the puck from the low circle.
Killorn’s best chance came with seven minutes to play in the first period when he darted through the slot, danced around a defender, and just missed stuffing the puck past Evin.
The Raiders padded their lead with an insurance goal early in the middle stanza by capitalizing on a lucky bounce in the crease, putting Colgate up 2-0. Day, on a pass from winger Robbie Bourdon, rocketed a shot from low in the right circle that hit Richter and bounced over his head, off a Crimson skate, and across the line at 4:26.
Day was one of the bright spots in the Raiders’ lineup tonight with four shots on goal, including Colgate’s second tally, and bested the Crimson on 25 of 33 faceoffs.
“Defensively, the faceoff situation was exceptional tonight,” Colgate coach Don Vaughan said. “We did not lose many ‘D’-zone faceoffs. And Brian Day was unbelievable. He was the guy taking most of them.”
Harvard responded with its first goal in over 70 minutes of hockey this weekend, slicing the Raiders’ lead in half, 2-1, at 10:48 in the second period.
Rookie winger Luke Greiner picked up the puck in Harvard’s zone from Richter, traded it back and forth with linemate Michael Del Mauro in the neutral zone, and launched a wrister past Evin stick side. Greiner notched his second goal of the season on the play, while Richter picked up his first career assist.
Just as in last night’s final frame, the Crimson seemed to find its footing, but it was two periods too late.
“I think we got back a little bit on our heels,” Vaughan said. “They’re trying to win the game too. They came at us pretty good in the third. But again, we did a good job of plugging up the middle of the net and trying to limit second and third opportunities.”
Harvard answered Colgate’s eventual game-winner with an unassisted shot from just inside the blue line from Crimson defender Danny Biega at 12:57 on the man-advantage, but could not use this momentum to pull ahead of the Red Raiders.
Harvard also notched several quality attempts throughout the third period, but none could solve Evin. Center Pier-Olivier Michaud danced through the offensive zone at 11:10, skirted a Colgate defender, and left a rebound on the doorstep on which the Crimson could not capitalize.
Rookie center Louis Leblanc and Killorn combined for another chance with less than six minutes to play, where Leblanc snaked the puck through the left circle and Killorn picked it up in the slot but could not find the back of the net.
Colgate center Ethan Cox sealed the game by potting an empty-netter with three seconds remaining to ensure the 4-2 victory.