The Takeaway: Harvard Struggles, Loses to Union 6-2

Posted by: Josh Seguin

Cambridge, Mass. — Union got off to a quick start against Harvard taking a quick 2-0 lead in the first three minutes of the game, on goals by Charlie Vasaturo and a power-play tally by Greg Coburn. The Dutchmen never looked back as they would go on to defeat the Crimson going away 6-2. Union improves to 6-1-1 on the season and 3-0-0 in ECAC, while Harvard falls to 2-2-0, 1-2-0.

For Union all eyes will turn on the status of their star goalie, Troy Grosenick, who went down early in the second period.  This marks the second weekend in a row that a star has gone down for Union, as defenseman Mat Bodie went down last week and will miss at least a month. The response by Union was fantastic and they went on to outscore Harvard 4-1 after the injury. Harvard was unable to put any sustained pressure on Colin Stevens until late in the third period.

What I Saw

For the second straight game, Harvard struggled to stop the top scoring line of the team that they were playing. On this night, the top scoring line of Union, Daniel Ciampini, Kyle Bodie and Wayne Simpson ran laps around the Harvard defenders, especially late in the second period. The Crimson seemed overpowered at times by the line and were unable to come up with an answer.

Union did a great job in front of the Harvard net and their goals could attest to it. Their first two goals were scored by defensemen on point shots, while Girard was screened in front.  At least two others were chip shots off rebounds right in front of the Harvard net. It seemed as though Union got breaks, but they created their own breaks in the game.

Much can be said of Union, a frozen four participant last year, but they look like they haven’t missed a beat coming into this season. Three minutes into the game they had a 2-0 lead and they carried play for much of the first two periods on the road.  Their stick work is phenomenal, the power-play is lethal and their work in their own zone is one that few teams can match.

What I Thought

Harvard has struggled in their last two games, first to Yale and tonight against the Dutchmen. In the first two periods, the Crimson allowed 23 shots and allowed 50 shot attempts. Overall they allowed 38 Dutchmen shots, marking the second straight game that their opponents sent 35+ shots at their goalie.  Raphael Girard stopped the ones he should have but he still saw a lot of rubber head his way. After allowing 49 shots to Yale, the Crimson need to get better defending in the neutral zone and breaking up passes of their competition.

With the loss of Jeremy Welsh over the offseason, many believed that the Union offense would struggle to find a rhythm, but nothing could have been further from the case on this night as Union at times had their will in the Crimson zone. Union employed a high powered, fast pace to seemingly keep their Harvard on their heels.

What They Said

Union Coach Rick Bennett said,

“We are happy with the win tonight and the two points. We are going to band together and go after it tomorrow night. To be honest we haven’t played our best hockey yet, right now we are more worried about getting healthy.”

“It’s nice to get the depth from Hatch and Ciampini because we need that right now. Some of our guys are kind of struggling right now. The first goal was a play we have that we were working on in practice, and very few times things we work on in practice actually works.”

Union forward Daniel Ciampini said, “I felt that we played well and we got the win but there is a lot of work still to be done. Tomorrow should be an interesting video session as coach wasn’t too happy with the performance tonight.”

Harvard Coach, Ted Donato said, “Give Union a lot of credit, I thought they played the game that they do. We gave too many pucks away without anyone on us, too many errors, and at this point we were just very sloppy. We need to establish what we want to do and create an identity as a team.”

What They Didn’t Say

Harvard coach, Ted Donato did not comment on the scratches of certain players, like Blackwell and Michalek. It seems as though they were late healthy scratches.

What Else You Should Know

Harvard will play a game at home on Saturday night against RPI. The Engineers have struggled so far on the year and the Crimson will be looking for a huge response in light of two struggles.

Union will play at undefeated Dartmouth on Saturday, which figures to be one of the best games in the country as both teams look strong so far on the season.

Union sophomore defenseman, Charlie Vasaturo, scored his first collegiate goal 41 seconds into the game.

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