Whether they play in Cambridge, New Haven, or New York City, Harvard cannot seem to beat Yale.
Four different players scored for the Bulldogs as they beat the Crimson, 4-1, in the Rivalry on Ice match at Madison Square Garden Saturday night. The win gave Yale (9-4-2) its eighth win in its last nine tries, with one tie, over Harvard (10-2-2) since 2012.
Harvard coach Ted Donato was quick to credit Yale for a strong effort across the board, though he also seemed unhappy with his team’s preparation.
“Obviously, we’re frustrated with the game,” Donato said. “I thought we got outplayed pretty much in every aspect. I give Yale a lot of credit. I thought they won the races to the pucks, they made us play in our zone a lot, trapped us in our zone quite a bit. It just looked like we were having a difficult time executing some simple plays. Looking at ourselves, I thought that we just looked like a team that wasn’t in sync, didn’t put a lot of energy, didn’t execute very well. I’m not so sure we were prepared to start the game mentally the way we needed to be and the way we have been.”
Chris Izmirlian opened the scoring for the Bulldogs at 13:22 of the first period after Adam Larkin’s shot off a failed clearing attempt was blocked at the top of the slot. Izmirlian beat Steve Michalak to his stick side for his second goal of the season.
“It was a pretty cool feeling (scoring the first goal),” Izmirlian said. “It was a great shot by Larkin getting the rebound, and I just tried to whack it home. Coach talks about getting pucks to the net, getting rebounds, and getting the greaser goal. I’m just happy I was in the right spot at the right time.”
Yale coach Keith Allain was happy to see his team get off on the right foot, especially with the game being played at MSG and televised nationally.
“I thought we had a really great start, and as a coach you hope that you always have a good start,” Allain said. “We had four lines jumping tonight and they were excited to play. One of the things for me playing college hockey is that it’s about experiences and about moments. The game itself was another game, but having the opportunity to play in a venue like this and having them get the attention like this is a special moment, so I wanted them to enjoy it.”
The Bulldogs doubled the Crimson in shots on goal, 42-21, a statistic Allain attributed to his team’s strong defense.
“I thought we played stifling defense, great defense to recover the puck,” he said. “Then I thought we did a good job in transition (which led to) a fair amount of offensive possession time.”
Yale went ahead 2-0 at 16:59 of the first when Carson Cooper shot from the top of the right circle deflected off a Harvard defender, went behind the net and bounced of the boards to Cody Learned, whose one-timer was saved by Michalak. The rebound came out to Charles Orzetti, who lifted the puck over a sprawling Michalak.
At 2:32 of the second period, Matt Killian gave the Bulldogs a 3-0 lead when he fired from the high slot off a feed from Ryan Obuchowski. The shot went wide left and rebounded off the end boards back to Killian, who backhanded the puck home from the left side of the crease.
Harvard got on the board at 4:42 of the second when Jimmy Vesey took a crossing pass from Kyle Criscuolo, faked Alex Lyon to his left, and finished with a backhand shot into the open side of the net.
Yale’s Mitch Witek closed out the scoring at 3:00 of the third period when he drove a slap shot from the left point which appeared to hit a Harvard defenseman and change direction to fool Michalak.
The Bulldogs beat the Crimson for the second straight year in the Rivalry on Ice matchup, having won last year’s game, 5-1.