Senior Jeff Lee (above) had three goals for Harvard on Friday (photo courtesy of Gil Talbot).
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – A five-goal first-half deficit was just too much for Harvard to climb back from Friday afternoon, as the Crimson was nipped, 7-6, by its cross-town rival MIT in the first round of the Eastern College Athletic Conference championship at Blodgett Pool.
After falling behind 5-0 at halftime, the Crimson outscored MIT, 6-2, in the second half, including tying it up at 6-6 in the fourth period. MIT would get one back to take a 7-6 lead. Senior Bret Voith had the ball for Harvard in the waning seconds of the game and took a shot as the buzzer rang, but the ball sailed high.
A defensive first period by both teams ended with the Engineers leading 1-0, but they opened up the game in the second period to take that 5-0 lead. Junior goalie Alexandre Popp made 14 saves and senior Alex Thompson had two of the Crimson's five steals to lead Harvard's defensive effort in the second half.
Despite a continuous strong effort by the Crimson on the defensive end, it just could not convert one more comeback goal in the fourth period. Senior Jeff Lee put three balls away to lead Harvard in scoring.
The Crimson will be back in the pool starting at 3:40 p.m. Saturday at Blodgett for the second round of the ECAC championship. It will face No. 11 Mercyhurst, who fell, 5-4, in double overtime Friday to No. 6 Fordham.