The Crimson only picked up one point as they opened up ECAC and regular season play at the Bright Hockey Center this past weekend facing St. Lawrence and Clarkson. After the jump, we will have our five thoughts on the game.
1. The Crimson did not play a complete game in either contest this weekend. Against SLU, Harvard came out flat in the first period and took four penalties. The Crimson were down 1-0 and despite battling back in the second and third, they gave a good goaltender an opportunity to play well and keep them at bay, which he did. On Saturday against Clarkson, the Crimson allowed the Golden Knights to come alive in the third period, giving up 10 shots when they had only allowed 7 through the first two. Particularly disastrous were the two goals that Clarkson tallied about 30 secs. apart to tie the game.
2. Perhaps there was a turning point of sorts for the Crimson special teams. After going 0-for the weekend on the PP last weekend, the Crimson netted 3 PP goals this weekend of their 4 total goals. Their penalty kill, which entered Friday near the bottom of the nation in percentages of successful kills, did not play well Friday night, giving up 2 goals in 5 opportunities. Saturday night was much better as Clarkson went 0 for 7 on the man advantage, something the Crimson need to continue.
3. Possible new disturbing trend for the Crimson- giving up quick pairs of goals. In the Princeton game last weekend, the Tigers went up 2-0 by scoring a goal and then immediately following that with a goal off the face-off. This weekend, it was Clarkson doing that damage, scoring goals that made it 2-1 and then 2-2 within 32 seconds of one another. In both cases, Coach Donato needed to take a time out to settle his team down but the Crimson will need to do a better job of settling themselves down after the first goal.
4. Two players made their season starts this weekend and looked pretty good out on the ice. Sam Bozoian played both nights of the weekend while Peter Starrett was paired up on D with freshman Brendan Rempel. Both players played well on the weekend and definitely merited future looks as the season progresses. This depth can certainly help the Crimson if they have to deal with injuries or something of that nature as the season progresses.
5. More of a general thought, but the Crimson don't have much time to turn it around in league play. They only have two more league games in 2009, home games against Brown and Quinnipiac. Brown is a struggling team but are certainly in the minds of Harvard, who could not get a win in four tries against Bruno last year. Games against teams at the bottom of the ECAC are now must win games for the Crimson. Harvard will then be facing the red-hot Bobcats after the exam break, before a late January 2010 road trip to the Capital District. A change in venue did not help the Crimson figure things out yet, so if you're a Harvard fan, you have to hope a change of opponents, as the Crimson open their non-conference slate Tuesday, will do it.