Saturday, November 7, 2009

View From the Booth: Can the Crimson bounce back tonight against Cornell?

Harvard led Colgate 4-1 after two periods, but the Raiders roared back with four straight goals in the third frame to take the win 5-4 at Starr Rink. Now the Crimson skate into Lynah Rink, where last night Cornell dumped Dartmouth 5-1 with four power play goals. Get our five thoughts on this weekend thus far for the Crimson after the jump.

1. After 20 minutes Harvard led 3-0, and then they checked out of the game for the remaining two periods. The Crimson may have been caught looking ahead to Cornell, but regardless, Harvard gave Colgate the opportunity to climb back into it when they put just three shots on Charles Long in the second frame. Colgate took advantage of their repeated chances on the power play and Harvard skaters got stuck on the ice for extended shifts in their own zone and on the penalty kill.

2. Penalties were an issue for the Crimson in the second and third periods. Colgate didn’t take full advantage of Harvard’s undisciplined play, scoring just one power play goal on seven Harvard penalties. That said, the amount of time Harvard spent on the penalty kill in the second period took away their offensive momentum, and as a result the Crimson were flat in the third period as they tried to respond to Colgate’s outburst of goals.

3. Will this game be a valuable lesson for the Crimson? Watching a 4-1 lead evaporate in one period is a painful experience, but there is always a lesson in a loss. The lesson for this young squad (11 freshman and sophomores among 18 skaters) is that they need to find a way to finish games with focus and intensity. Harvard allowed two third-period goals to Dartmouth last week, and so they need to find a way to match their opponents in the closing minutes of games.

4. The Crimson could respond to last night’s debacle by coming out with a physical and aggressive style of play tonight at Lynah Rink. Cornell is coming off a chippy and penalty-filled win last night against Dartmouth, so if the Crimson come out skating strong, the banged-up Big Red may be hard-pressed to answer in kind.

5. It will be a tall order to bounce back from last night’s loss to Colgate by playing Cornell at Lynah. The rowdy Lynah faithful will be there in force, but it will be far more difficult to overcome Cornell’s physical and defensive style. Avoiding penalties, playing a high-tempo game, and tightening up their own zone will be keys for the Crimson as they look to salvage the weekend with a tie or win against the fifth-ranked Big Red.

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