Sophomore forward Nathan Krusko scored for Harvard against Dartmouth in Game 1 of the ECAC Quarterfinals. (Gil Talbot)
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Sophomore forward Nathan Krusko scored, but Harvard men's ice hockey (13-13-4) fell to Dartmouth (16-15-2), 4-1, in Game 1 of an ECAC Hockey Quarterfinal series on Friday night at Bright-Landry Hockey Center.
Harvard outshot Dartmouth 35-21 for the night, with Big Green goaltender Devin Buffalo making the different with 34 saves on the night. Senior goaltender Merrick Madsen stopped 17 shots for the Crimson.
Harvard's penalty kill was excellent on the night, finishing 5-for-5 and allowing just three Dartmouth shots on the man advantage. The Crimson were held scoreless on four power play opportunities for the night.
Trailing 3-0 late in the third period, with an extra attacker on for the Crimson, junior forward Ryan Donato's shot from the right circle grazed off the glove of Jake Horton, and bounced to Krusko, who found the open net at 17:25 to cut the Dartmouth lead to two.
But the Big Green added an empty net goal from Corey Kalk just :31 later to seal the win.
Dartmouth jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first period on goals from Cam Strong (4:14) and Daniel Warpecha (8:58).
The Big Green added another goal from Matt Baker midway through the second period (10:35) to take a 3-0 lead before Harvard began to carry the play for long stretches.
The Crimson maintained possession in the Dartmouth zone for most of the final five minutes of the period, but could not solve Buffalo, who was at his best in the final frame (15 saves).
• Sophomore forward Nathan Krusko scored his first goal since Nov. 4 and matched his career high for points in a season with 17 (two goals, 15 assists) this year.
• Harvard finished the night a perfect 5-for-5 on the penalty kill, the 16th time this season Harvard has been perfect on the PK and the second straight game it has not allowed a power play goal.
• Harvard has outshot its opponent in 24 of 30 games this season.
• The last time Harvard was the No. 4 seed in the ECAC Hockey Tournament, the Crimson lost in Game 1 of the quarterfinals, then went on to win the Whitelaw Cup in 2006, defeating St. Lawrence in three games, Dartmouth in the semifinal, and Cornell in the championship game for head coach Ted Donato's first conference tournament title. In fact, two of Harvard's 10 ECAC Hockey Tournament titles (1971, 2006) have come as the No. 4 seed.