Saturday, October 22, 2011

Quick Hits: Harvard vs. Western Ontario

Some quick reactions to last night's game.

1. Raph Girard looked sharp in net for the Crimson, giving up 1 goal on 16 shots in 31 minutes of play. It was a slightly tougher day at the office for Steve Michalek who gave up 3 goals in quick succession on entering the second period. The first was a poorly directed rebound by him and the second was one that trickled through his five hole and got slammed home before he could reach back and find it. Tough to see, although ideally someone is tying up those forwards crashing the net. Third goal was a beauty by the Mustangs and it was impressive that Michalek almost got a glove on the one-timer. Harvard can't allow that pass through the slot, especially on the PK. Not too worried about Michalek though - it's always tough to come in halfway through a game and tougher still when it's your first collegiate action. He settled down nicely in the third period, though he had less to do.

2. Defensively, saw some good things all around. I was particularly impressed with the poise Patrick McNally showed on the point, especially on the power play. It's always good to see a freshman come in and play well and McNally was able to tally two assists from the point on the PP and get a few shots off, plus he looked comfortable defensively. That said, three goals from Harvard were on rebounds and another was a pass through the slot leading to a one-timer - Harvard needs the D-men to help out better there.

3. This offense certainly came alive last night. Obviously these types of comparisons are tough but Notre Dame scored only 4 on Western and Michigan State put up only 6 (though defensively, they gave up a goose egg and 1 respectively). Seven goals from the Crimson, 4 of which were PPGs. I think the ECAC has better goaltenders than Harvard faced last night but it was good to see a new emphasis on the cycle from Harvard and it was good to see them get shots on net and pucks in it. Tommy O'Regan grabbed a few assists tonight, again, something good to see from a freshman. Colin Blackwell dominated the face-off dot and also displayed a lot of wheels. He had a great chance on the breakaway that he just put wide on the backhand but he's going to score some goals for the Crimson.

4. Hopefully the Crimson were able to avoid the injury bug last night. Ryan Grimshaw got hit into the end boards pretty hard last night and looked slow to get up but after getting some helmet repairs was able to return to the game. There was also the CTH-elbowing major by Western on either McNally or O'Regan that shook the freshman up but he looked no worse for wear after it. The fact that both players returned after the big collisions, plus having two weeks until the first official game, hopefully means they'll be fine going into the start of the season.

Harvard travels to Brown tonight for a scrimmage. Any information we get (we usually don't get much) will get put up on Western plays Dartmouth today at 4pm.

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