HANOVER, N.H. – The Dartmouth men’s hockey team dropped a conference match up Friday night to visiting Harvard, 4-1, at Thompson Arena.
A closer game than the score would indicate, the two teams went into the third period with the Crimson (10-8-4, 9-5-1 ECAC Hockey) holding onto a one-goal lead. Unfortunately for the Big Green (9-12-2, 7-8-1 ECAC), they were unable to get the equalizer in the final frame, while the visitors scored late and added a 190-foot empty netter to seal the win.
“They (Harvard) did a good job of defending their net and protecting their goalie,” head coach Bob Gaudet ’81 said. “It was just one of those nights that we couldn’t find a way to deposit one into the goal when we needed it most.
“The guys worked hard tonight, so it wasn’t for a lack of effort,” Gaudet continued. “We just have to find a way to get those timely goals against a good team like that. We have shown this year that we are capable of doing it, so we have to find it again.”
The lone goal of the first period came on a redirect by Harvard’s Benjamin Solin at the top of the circles from a point shot just 3:58 into the contest.
Sophomore Shane Sellar’s sixth goal of the year at 13:02 of the second period tied things up at 1-1. Sellar knocked in a loose puck in the crease after a shot from linemate Quin Foreman. Will Graber also got an assist on the tally, starting the play in the neutral zone.
However, the Crimson wasted little time in regaining the lead as Frederic Gregoire’s wrist shot hit he back of the net on an odd-man rush just three and a half minutes later.
Despite a late push, Dartmouth was unable to tie the game. Ryan Donato’s 21st goal of the season pushed his national lead to two as he finished a breakaway with 2:19 remaining in the third. Donato will head to South Korea next week to represent the United States in the Olympics, leaving his teammates in Cambridge during the tournament for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
The Big Green pulled goaltender Devin Buffalo for the extra attacker in the final minutes, but a long shot from Wiley Shepard from the defensive zone hit the empty net to ice it.
Buffalo put together a solid night with several spectacular saves, finishing with 36 stops on the night as Harvard outshot Dartmouth, 40-23. Harvard goalie Merrick Madsen had 22 saves in the win.
“Devin did a great job keeping us in the game all night,” Gaudet said. “He was making a lot of big stops that can give the entire team confidence, we just have to build on that and score goals at the other end.”
The penalty kill continue to shine, weathering a strong Crimson attack on three different man-advantages. Harvard had 11 shots on the power play, but failed to score as Dartmouth’s PK is now operating at 92.3% since the start of the second half, the second-best figure in the nation.
Dartmouth is on the road next weekend to take on Rensselaer and Union Friday and Saturday.