With the Harvard hockey season now officially underway, we'll be bringing you expanded coverage of the Crimson here on the WHRB Sports Blog. We'll have a preview of every weekend posted by Friday afternoon, as well as a recap and analysis of the weekend's results for Harvard on Sunday evening.
Click through to see my five thoughts on the Crimson's winning performance against the Big Green up in Hanover, N.H.
1. Last season coach Ted Donato endlessly tinkered with the forward line combinations as he tried to create some kind of offensive spark. Friday night, however, there was chemistry from the drop of the puck onwards, most notably on the Crimson's all-Quebec second line - Louis Leblanc centering Alex Killorn on the right and Mike Biega on the left. Killorn had two goals and an assist, Leblanc had a goal and an assist, and Michael Biega notched two helpers. Putting the lefty shot Killorn on the right side sets him up to come across the net with his stick and that move paid off with Killorn's first goal - he skated in on the rush and fired a hard wrister from the faceoff dot that beat Dartmouth goaltender Jody O'Neill. This is a line I'd expect to see skating together for the rest of the season, barring injuries.
2. Harvard will be able to score on the rush this season. It's very early, but it looks like the Crimson are more comfortable skating hard up and down the ice, and the freshman have injected speed into the lineup. Luke Greiner, Louis Leblanc, Alex Fallstrom, and Conor Morrison all generated quality chances on the rush for the Crimson, and they did well to exploit Dartmouth's occasionally-loose defensive zone. This will be a fun, exciting bunch of forwards that will generate good rushes.
3. Kyle Richter looks to be back in 2007-08 form. Dartmouth generated some very good chances throughout the game, and the Richter turned away pucks from all over the ice. The Big Green seemed intent on testing Richter in his first regular-season game back by firing pucks on him from all angles, but the junior netminder turned in an excellent performance in all three frames. Not to take away anything from Richter's performance at Thompson Arena, but the shot totals for the Big Green were wildly inflated, especially in the second and third periods. Statistical quibbles aside, Richter's return to the Crimson net still stands as a superb effort.
4. The Crimson need to tighten things up defensively, as Dartmouth found space in the zone early in the first period and then in the middle part of the third period. There's a lot of experience on the blue line for Harvard, but there are some new pairings that may still be working to get in sync. There were gaps on the rush, and missed passes between defensive partners. One bad turnover led to the first Dartmouth goal, and Dartmouth created several opportunities because Harvard's passing in the defensive zone was a little off at times.
5. Last but certainly not least, Harvard finally got a road win after going all last season without one. The Crimson have a long ways to go before they are where they want to be, but Friday night's convincing victory was a fantastic start. Now a difficult weekend jaunt to Colgate and Cornell looms, and this early-season streak of five straight road games will tell us a lot about this year's team.