The Harvard men’s ice hockey team faces a grueling schedule in the coming weeks, as home games against No. 16 Cornell and No. 1 Quinnipiac precede a first-round Beanpot against No. 18 Boston College. Although key players have returned to the lineup in the past few weeks, Including senior forward and captain John Farinacci, the Crimson are still looking for consistency as they look to get through the mixed winter break and step into a challenging schedule.
“I think we still form some different synergies and combinations,” coach Ted Donato said. “We have to be able to… find different ways to succeed when teams are trying to be very good defensively and block the no-man’s land. I think we have to find a way… to use our speed to get in the initial checks and be able to play and generate attacking chances with that.” way.”
In their first game back after the winter break on December 30, the Crimson No. 5 battled the Boston University Terriers at Walter Brown Arena in a top-10 showdown. Terriers forward Quinn Hutson scored on the power play just two minutes into the game, but senior guard Mitchell Gibson and goaltender Drew Commisso quickly took control. Despite allowing an early goal, Gibson put in an exceptional performance, and Commesso rewarded him by saving even a late equalizer from striker Matthew Coronato. Despite Harvard forcing overtime late in the third period, Terriers captain Dominic Vinsor scored a quick touchdown with less than a minute left in OT, sealing a narrow 2-1 win for BU.
“I felt like we fought, but I don’t think we were as strong as we could have been,” Donato said of the loss to the Terriers.
Despite suffering a narrow defeat less than 48 hours earlier, Harvard started 2023 strong, defeating the Northeastern Huskies 8-4 in front of a packed crowd on New Year’s Day. Six different Crimson players scored, including young forward Ryan Drkulik and first-year forward Filip Tresca, who each scored their first collegiate goals. Despite Harvard dominating the early play and maintaining a 3-0 advantage early in the second period, the Huskies quickly spring to life, tying the game up in the late stages of the period. However, late second-period goals from first-year forwards Casey Severo and Joe Miller restored the Crimson’s advantage, and Tresca and young forward Alex Laferrère put the finishing touches on the win in the third period.
Harvard got its first road trip of 2023 against the Princeton Tigers on January 6th. After a scoreless first period, the Tigers took control in the second half, scoring twice from captain Liam Gorman to take a 3-0 lead going into the final 20 minutes of the game. Action. However, the Crimson refused to go away quietly. Coronato cut the deficit on a power play midway through the third period, and goals by Miller and Coronato 16 seconds late in regulation sent the game into overtime tied at 3-3. In overtime, a stellar solo effort by Laferriere delivered the game-winner, completing Harvard’s comeback and sweep of the Crimson’s Tigers’ season.
Despite the thrilling win over Princeton, Harvard’s momentum stalled the next night against the Quinnipiac Bobcats. Currently ranked No. 1 in the NCAA, the Bobcats are second nationally in goals per game and first in goals per game. Quinnipiac put two goals on the board in the first half, causing an offense to break away and stopping a well-executed penalty. The Bobcats extended their lead in the second period by cleaning up a powerful rebound in front of the net, and while second baseman Alex Gaffney pulled the Crimson down with two goals early in the third period, it was Koennipiac goaltender Yaniv Peretz, who ranks fourth in the nation that scored. 1.75 goals-against average, the door to a potential comeback with a strong third period, handing Harvard its first defeat of 2023.
“I thought Quinnipiac played a very good game,” said Donato. “We couldn’t get enough going in the first few periods so we could not chase the game.”
Returning home on January 13, Harvard overcame an early deficit to defeat Clarkson University 4-1. Young goalkeeper Derek Mallay, who saw his first action since November, posted an excellent performance, saving 25 of 26 shots. Farinacci also returned to the lineup for his first action of the season, recording two power play assists in his comeback from injury.
“I feel good to be back, after two long months abroad. I feel so much better physically,” said Farinacci. “There’s no such thing as playing games.”
For the first six minutes of the game, Thrawn was forced into the box to step in and give the Golden Knights the power play, which they converted via a goal from Alex Campbell. Coronato responded immediately, taking advantage of Harvard’s first strong play to tie the game 1-1 after halftime. The Crimson dominated the second half with 19 shots on goal, but Clarkson goaltender Ethan Haider kept the offense at bay. Harvard continued their offensive attack in the third period, starting with a power-play advantage carried over from the end of the second half. Once again, the Crimson took advantage, as young forward Sean Farrell put Harvard up 2-1. Goals from Gaffney and Miller later in the third period provided important insurance, giving the Crimson a 4–1 win on their captain’s return to play.
“John is a really important part of our group…he’s been our leader and a real productive player all around in all positions; an older, more mature senior midfielder who’s had some big games, whether it’s in the league or even in the Championship,” Donato said. world for young people in the United States.
The next night, with Malay again between positions, the Crimson welcomed the St. Lawrence Saints to the Bright Landry Hockey Center. Harvard began with a dominant first period, scoring three goals on 13 shots, with Farrell scoring two and Miller scoring one. Miller and first-year defenseman Ryan Healy capped the scoring with second-half goals, and the Malays continued a solid weekend in the net, recording 23 saves in their first career shutout.
“I think we had some players in and out of the squad, which a lot of teams do, but I thought we took a step in the right direction last weekend,” said Donato.
In the Crimson’s second meeting of the season with Yale on January 20, Harvard defeated the Bulldogs in a 3-2 OT win. With Gibson back in the net after the weekend, the Bulldogs gave the Crimson everything they could handle, taking the lead midway through the first period. Harvard failed to respond the remainder of the first, but came out swinging in the second, with goals from Miller and first-year defenseman Mason Langenbrunner (the first of his career) putting the Crimson ahead. Yale tied the game four minutes later, and after a scoreless third period, the two arch rivals headed into overtime tied at 2-2. After an extra back-and-forth session, Coronato scored the winning goal with 19 seconds to play, using a series of moves at the crease to dislodge the game-winner and secure Harvard’s seasonal sweep for the Bulldogs.
Despite the thrilling victory on Friday, Harvard stumbled in a defeat Saturday night by the Brown Bears. Brown came out quickly, scoring within the first three minutes of the game. However, Farrell responded less than a minute later, scoring his fourteenth goal and twenty-ninth point of the season. The game remained tied until the second period, when the Bears scored twice to take a 3-1 advantage going into the third period. The Crimson increased the pressure on the Browns in the third period, outscoring the Bears 19-2, but despite a late score from Farrell, the Browns held on to win 3-2.
“I think we’re still trying to find the right recipe for continued success,” said Donato.
With players moving in and out of the lineup, Harvard’s lineups were often in a state of flux, but Farinacci believes strong team chemistry will make any adjustments smooth.
“We’re all very close with the team… You can kind of get anyone together and just kind of make things happen, which I think is a great part of our team,” Farinacci said. “Whatever comes our way, I think everyone is prepared for it.”
Harvard has a two-game home this coming weekend, with ECAC rivals Colgate and Cornell. Both will bring competitive hockey to Bright Landry, especially on Saturday against longtime rival and 16th-ranked Cornell.
“Our youngsters will be excited to play these intense, emotional and important matches,” said Donato.
—Staff writer Aaron B. Shuchman at firstname.lastname@example.org.
—Staff writer Bridget T. Sands can be reached at email@example.com.