The Harvard University Crimson went on a magical ride last season. They won their first Beanpot since 1993, their first NCAA Tournament game since 1994, and made their first Frozen Four since 1994. They went to Chicago looking for their first National Championship since 1989. Unfortunately, they walked out of the United Center after a painful defeat to Minnesota-Duluth. Seven seniors played their last game after leading the Crimson renaissance. The rest of the team regrouped, reloaded, and got ready for another push for a championship.
This season, the Crimson are ranked third in the nation and are a favorite to reach the Frozen Four. They opened the year on Sunday night, hosting the Dartmouth Big Green. Dartmouth gave Harvard their last regular season loss, when they thrashed the Crimson 8-4 in Hanover, NH, on January 17th. The Crimson had that loss on their mind and washed that bad taste out of their mouth, flexing their muscles at Dartmouth’s expense.
Harvard started the first period slowly. They looked rusty and had a hard time moving the puck through the neutral zone. After the first five minutes, Harvard clicked.
The Crimson outshot Dartmouth 13-3, controlled the pace, and jumped to a lead. Freshman Henry Bowlby tipped home a Wiley Sherman slap shot near the halfway mark of the period for his first collegiate goal. Five minutes later, Lewis Zerter-Gossage fired a wraparound shot, controlled the rebound, and beat Dartmouth goalie Devin Buffalo for a 2-0 lead.
The Big Green did get a power play in the last minute of the period on an Adam Fox interference penalty. But it turned sour when the Crimson forced a turnover, Ryan Donato drove the puck to Dartmouth’s end, and the junior scored a short-handed goal for a 3-0 lead.
The second period did not go much better for Dartmouth. They had parts of three power plays in the first eight minutes of the period and got no goals. Instead, Harvard extended their lead. The Crimson’s second line moved the puck beautifully and got Jake Horton open on Buffalo’s doorstep for a score.
The Crimson also flaunted their power play. Brendan Demier took a hooking penalty. Nine seconds into the power play, Ryan Donato scored his second of the game and put the Crimson ahead 5-0. That goal chased Devin Buffalo from the Dartmouth net. Adrian Clark replaced him.
Harvard did not score in the rest of the second period and the entire third period. They put chances on Clark, but he made 13 saves and kept Harvard off the board the rest of the way. Crimson senior goalie Merrick Madsen made 19 saves, including on seven grade A scoring chances. He recorded the eighth shutout of his decorated career and started his time as a Captain of the Crimson successfully.
After the 5-0 victory, Crimson coach Ted Donato was happy with the game, but not blown away.
“It was a good team effort. It wasn’t a spectacular game in terms of pace or energy. But there were a lot of good things. It’s a good start for us.”
Ryan Donato was pleased with the offensive efforts and his new role as a center.
“It’s a different challenge, but one I think I’m up to. The more I have the puck with speed, the better I’ll feel for the game. It’s an adjustment, but I’m happy with the start.”
Dartmouth opens their home schedule hosting Brown University on Friday at Thompson Arena in Hanover, NH. Puck drops at 7 pm.
Harvard continues their season-opening homestand on Friday with a visit from their ancient rivals, the Yale Bulldogs. Puck drops at 7 pm at the Bright-Landry Hockey Center.