HANOVER- Being the 12th seed means little when the playoff start, as Harvard proved in its hard fought 2-1 victory over 5th seeded Dartmouth on Friday night. Freshman forward Brian Hart stole the show with a fantastic game winning goal late in the third.
Dartmouth seemingly was the stronger and more active team, but could not solve goaltender Raphael Girard. The senior goaltender had one of his best performances of the season for Harvard, saving 39 of 40 shots.
What I Saw:
– Harvard really took the chances that presented themselves. Desmond Bergin’s second period goal was really against the run of play and deflated Dartmouth for the rest of the period. Hart’s game winner was earned by a great forecheck late in the game. The Crimson only got 24 shots on net all night, but certainly made them count.
– The Big Green actually played a very good game. There was a constant movement of the puck and lots of possession. It seemed that Harvard really did a good job of pushing play to outside within their own zone. This prevented Dartmouth from getting the best possible shots on goal. Defensively the team only had five defensemen, due to an illness to Andy Simpson.
What I Thought:
-Playing a defensive game was certainly Harvard’s mindset going into this game. From the drop of the puck they clogged the middle and stayed very low to block shots. Girard was certainly also a big reason they won the first game of the series.
– Dartmouth may have been frustrated, but they never showed it. Coming out in the third they completely controlled the puck in the Harvard zone. Forward Jesse Beamish scored yet another big goal to tie it up in the third period. The first line of Tyler Sikura, Dustin Walsh, and Matt Lindblad was also threatening all game. Look for them to shine tomorrow night.
– I still think Dartmouth will win this series if they don’t let Friday’s result get to them. Harvard has to be exhausted and will have a very hard time trying to prevent Dartmouth from scoring in the same way on Saturday night.
What They Said:
” Both teams played very hard and both goaltenders looked on their game,” said Harvard coach Ted Donato. ” Big time goal by Brian Hart, a very skilled play. It looked like a playoff game and both teams played very well.”
“For us we are excited about the win, but realize this is one and you need two,” said Donato.” So we expect the intensity that was in the third period to be there all three periods tomorrow night.”
” That’s one of the better game I thing we’ve played,” stated Dartmouth coach Bob Gaudet. ” they are a hard working and skilled team. We weren’t able to bury it, but we had great chances I thought.”
-There is a slight chance that Dartmouth defensemen Andy Simpson returns for the second game of the series on Saturday night. He was out due to illness.
-Freshmen forward Brett Patterson filled in on the Dartmouth defense for the first game of the series. He was paired with captain Mike Keenan.
– In the 2011 season, both teams met in a quarterfinal series, Harvard won the first game before dropping the next two to the Big Green.