Bulldogs knock off No. 3 Harvard

By Jane Miller | Posted on, 10:40 p.m.
Forward Ryan Hitchcock ’18 (Steven Musco)

The Yale men’s hockey team upset No. 3 Harvard 5–2 in Cambridge, marking one of the biggest wins for the Eli team in recent years. After splitting their opening two contests with Brown last weekend, the Bulldogs returned to the ice Friday and took down the nationally-ranked Crimson for the first time in the two teams’ past five meetings.

Harvard outshot the Elis 35–26 in the contest, but Yale’s defense shut down the Crimson as goaltender Sam Tucker ’19 saved 33 of 35 shots, outplaying Harvard goaltender Merrick Madsen, the ECAC’s second-ranked goalie. The defense also limited Crimson star forwards Adam Fox and Ryan Donato to just a single assist each in the contest. Offensively, eight different Elis recorded points on the night with all five goals coming from a different player.

Forward Mitchell Smith ’20 lit the lamp just over seven minutes into the game, putting Yale on the scoreboard and igniting the offensive momentum that would carry the team throughout the next 53 minutes of play. Less than 30 seconds after Smith’s goal, fellow forward and sophomore Robbie Demontis ’20 notched his second career goal on an assist from forward Ted Hart ’19,  giving the Elis a two-goal lead eight minutes into the contest.

The Bulldogs maintained their lead throughout the opening period, but in the second frame it looked as if the Crimson would take control. Harvard forwards Jake Horton and Lewis Zerter-Gossage both tallied points to put the Crimson right back in the game early in the second period. However, at 7:55, DeMontis assisted to forward Luke Stevens ’20 who found the back of the net past Madsen to give the Elis the lead once again.

Yale’s formerly struggling penalty unit finally saw success late in the second period, when captain and forward Ryan Hitchcock ’18 scored on a power play to give the Elis their biggest lead of the night 17:52 into the middle frame. For the remaining minutes left in the second period and the majority of the third, the score remained stagnant at 4–2. The Crimson’s attempts to minimize the score deficit were all in vain. The final goal of the night came at the hands of Yale rookie forward Kevin O’Neil ’21, who tallied his first collegiate goal to secure the Eli victory and finalize the score at 5–2.

Next up, Yale travels to Hanover to take on Dartmouth on Saturday night.