Philadelphia, PA Ė The Harvard Crimson traveled to Philadelphia for their Ivy League Opener. The Quakers used 2 goals and an assist from attackman Will Phillips, along with Zandy Reich and DJ Andrzejewski both adding a goal and an assist each. Will Phillips extended his scoring streak to 25 games with his three point day. For Harvard, senior Jake McKenna added 11 saves, while nearly being matched by Pennís Ryan Kelly who had 10 saves.
The game started with Harvard controlling the ball for the better part of the first two minutes. Ryan Kelly came up with a save for Penn and shortly thereafter junior midfielder Zandy Reich opened the scoring on the day. Reich, despite his man still keeping in solid contact, was able to get a shot that while not the fastest was well placed to beat McKenna to give Penn the 1-0 lead. A minute and twenty four seconds later, Pat Rogers was leading Penn into the transition. Rogers was able to get his man to turn his back to him as he changed directions, and found Will Phillips who ripped a low-to-high shot right under the crossbar.
The Crimson managed to slow the ball down considerably on offense in order to play a very controlled game and to run through their looks. Pennís defense was up for the challenge, however. The Crimson ran through their plays consistently all day, but Pennís defense continuously refused to break, eventually causing Harvard to either force a long pass or take a misguided shot that Ryan Kelly easily stopped.
With a little under 2 minutes left in the first quarter, DJ Andrzejewski tried to beat the Harvard shortstick defender. He was unable to beat him despite working many angles and trying for upwards of 15 seconds. As he finally started to pull it out, the Harvard defense had seemingly lost track of Phillips, Andrzejewski found him and Phillips put the Red and Blue up 3-0. Harvard would notch their first goal with six seconds remaining in the first quarter as Evan Calvert found Mike McBride on a man-up opportunity to make the game 3-1 in favor of Penn after the 1st.
Three and a half minutes into the second period, Zandy Reich drove hard down the box-side wing causing Harvard to slide. He banged the ball to a wide-open Luke Dixson at X (whoís man had slid) who then pushed hard around the cage for Pennís 4th goal. Harvard freshman Greg Cohen added to his team-leading point total about four minutes later. Cohen attempted to beat Penn captain Pat Connelly and in the process drew the holding call when he started to inside roll. As he came off of the inside roll, he put the ball past Kelly, giving Harvard their second goal and wiping off the penalty.
Harvard would move to within one of Penn at the 3:47 mark as senior Anders Johnson drove hard from X beating his man top-side at the tail-end of a lengthy Harvard possession. Both defenses seemed to be playing so strongly that it seemed the best place to attack was from X in the hopes of beating their man top-side.
In a nice coaching move, the Quakers called a timeout with the ball and 30 seconds remaining in the half in order to get the right personnel on the field and set up their best possible look at the net. 13 seconds later Zandy Reich fed James Riordan for Pennís 5th goal. Ryan Kelly would help send the game into the half at 5-3 as he made a point blank save with 2 seconds remaining in the half.
Neither team was able to put a dent in the scoreboard during the third period as both teams traded long possessions. Jake McKenna came up big for Harvard in the third as he contributed 5 saves. It wouldnít take long into the fourth before Penn would put the game out of reach. Ethan Haire won the opening faceoff of the fourth period and was able to draw an unnecessary roughness penalty 13 seconds in. On the ensuing man-up, Will Phillips found PJ Gilbert for the sophomoreís 7th goal of the season. 9 seconds after that goal, Penn again drew a penalty off of the faceoff, this time a slashing on Alex Vap. Penn again capitalized on the man advantage. At the 13:35 mark, DJ Andrzejewski took a Alex Salihi pass and put the Quakers up 7-3 after the Quakers had patiently worked the ball around waiting for the opening.
The game got a little ugly as there were numerous penalties called in the 4th quarter. Harvard freshman Greg Cohen was able to draw 4 penalties on one touch of the ball as he displayed a nice arsenal of moves. Harvard was able to take advantage of one of the man-up opportunities as Evan Calvert pulled the Crimson to within three off of a Jeff Gotschall pass with 12:23 to play. Ryan Kelly and the Penn defense continued to hold off the Harvard attack until Harvardís Sean Kane added the Crimsonís 5th and final goal of the day.
Both teams were evenly matched with Harvard outshooting Penn 32-26, an 8-8 tie on faceoffs, 11-10 save advantage for Harvard, a slightly better clearing and extra-man percentage for Harvard. What seemed to be the difference on the day was the Quaker defense. They played tough the entire game and when they did bend Ryan Kelly was there to bail them out. There was no clear standout on defense from my perspective, but as a unit they looked very poised and Ryan Kelly seemed to be the force behind it. For Harvard, their defense played a poised game as well, not giving up many good looks. Take away the early fourth quarter penalties and this story may have been about an overtime game. Instead, Penn took advantage of the opportunities Harvard gave them and as this proved, the difference between well-disciplined solid teams is often taking advantage of the chances the other team gives you. It was enjoyable to see two senior goalies lead the way for two programs which, as far as I can tell, are on the verge of great things, as their recent recruiting classes and rumored future classes are a testament to.
Penn stays in Philadelphia to play Cornell next Saturday at Franklin Field, where the Quakers are undefeated in 2004. For the Crimson, they head home to take on Quinnippiac on Wednesday.
|Will Phillips||(2, 1)|
|David Andrzejewski||(1, 1)|
|Zandy Reich||(1, 1)|
|Alex Salihi||(0, 1)|
|Patrick Rogers||(0, 1)|
|James Riordan||(1, 0)|
|Patrick Gilbert||(1, 0)|
|Luke Dixson||(1, 0)|
|Ryan Kelly||10 (0.667)|