January 31, 2014

College Wraparound: Harvard holds on to tame Tigers

By Joshua Kummins

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- The records in the front of a program may not have been the most glamorous on Friday night at Bright-Landry Hockey Center, but that sure did not diminish the meaning of yet another historic ECAC clash between bitter Ivy rivals Princeton (4-16-0, 3-10-0) and Harvard (6-11-3, 3-9-3).

In a game that celebrated the 100-year anniversary of the legendary Hobey Baker’s presence in the Tiger line-up, the Crimson poured on an impressive start and held on for a 3-2 win to sweep the season series.

Harvard wasted no time finding the scoreboard on its home ice, scoring twice in less than five minutes. Sophomore Greg Gozzo knocked home a rebound on the doorstep for his third goal of the season at 2:01, before freshman Alexander Kerfoot took a feed from second-year linemate Kyle Criscuolo for a backhand goal at 4:24.

The Crimson extended their lead to three just shy of the halfway mark of the first period when stellar sophomore Jimmy Vesey (North Reading, Mass.) redirected classmate Desmond Bergin’s (Natick, Mass.) centering pass by Princeton rookie goaltender and former Middlesex Islander Colton Phinney.

“We’re happy to get the win,” Crimson head coach Ted Donato said. “Overall, I thought we played a good game. … For most of the first two periods, we had a chance to put the game out of reach. We had plenty of chances. Their goalie came up with some big saves after we did get the 3-0 lead.”

As Donato mentioned, Phinney was very strong in the game and finished with 30 saves. The ECAC Rookie of the Week for Jan. 12 - after a 45-save effort against Union - has been strong all year long in his first collegiate season.

"He played OK, I thought," Princeton coach Bob Prier said. "He's had a strong second half. His start wasn't great on the season, but nobody's on the team was. He's just gotten better every day. He comes out, he's coachable, he's attentive and listens to details."

Since Harvard took a quick lead in the first period, it did not look like Vesey’s marker would stand to be the game-winner but it ended up playing out that way. The Crimson are 4-6-0 this season when Vesey scores a goal and he now has the deciding goal in each of those four wins.

Princeton dominated much of the offense in the second period, but could not find the scoreboard against Crimson senior stopper Raphael Girard who made another eight saves.

Senior Minnesotan defenseman Alec Rush scored a pair of goals in the final seven minutes of the third period to bring the Tigers within one, scoring through a screen from the right side at 13:20 and sneaking a point shot through the zone at 16:49.

“It’s just another thing we’ll have to go through to close out games and not beat ourselves,” Donato said. “I give them credit. They played hard and kept coming.”

Also of note, Harvard dominated the faceoff circle in the game, winning 41 of 56 draws, including 16 of 20 in the opening period.

With the victory, the Crimson snap a five-game winless skid dating back to a Jan. 4 triumph over Boston University and now turn their attention to the 62nd Beanpot Tournament which begins with a Monday night contest against Northeastern.

“We needed the win tonight not only for the ECAC but also for the Beanpot,” Vesey said. “We’ve definitely been playing better as of late. … Winning tonight was huge and I think it’s going to give us a lot of confidence going into Monday.”

Boston College 2, Providence 0

Junior Johnny Gaudreau upped his point-scoring streak to 21 games with an unassisted goal in the middle of the third period as the No. 2 Eagles (19-4-3, 12-1-1 Hockey East) held on for a 2-0 shutout victory over the host and No. 7 Friars (15-7-5, 7-6-1) at a sold-out Schneider Arena. Freshman Thatcher Demko improved to 8-1-2 in goal with 30 saves in his first shutout for BC. Despite the loss, PC has held opponents to two or fewer goals 17 times this season.

UMass Lowell 4, Merrimack 2

Senior Derek Arnold (Foxboro, Mass.) scored a goal and an assist to lead the No. 8 River Hawks (17-7-2, 7-4-1 Hockey East) to a Tsongas Center victory over the Warriors (7-14-3, 2-8-2) in the opener of a Merrimack Valley rivalry series. Sophomore Connor Hellebuyck’s ninth win of the season came in the form of a 22-save effort.

Boston University 3, Massachusetts 3 (OT)

At Mullins Center, rookie Ray Pigozzi scored the equalizing goal with 50 seconds remaining in regulation as the Minutemen (7-16-4, 3-8-3 Hockey East) denied the Terriers (8-14-3, 3-8-2) their first road win of the season once again in a 3-3 stalemate. Junior Cason Hohmann led the Terrier offense with a goal and an assist, while Matt O’Connor made 46 saves.

New Hampshire 4, Notre Dame 2

Senior Jeff Silengo (Madison, Conn.) scored a goal in the second and third periods to lift the Wildcats (15-13-1, 7-6-0 Hockey East) to victory over the No. 14 Fighting Irish (15-10-1, 4-7-1) in their first-ever visit to the Whittemore Center Arena in Durham, N.H.

Quinnipiac 8, Dartmouth 1

Senior Connor Jones scored eight seconds into the first period - the fastest goal to start a game in QU history - as the No. 3 Bobcats (19-4-5, 9-2-3 ECAC Hockey) rolled the host Big Green (3-15-3, 2-11-1) at Thompson Arena. In addition, fellow senior Jordan Samuels-Thomas (West Hartford, Conn.) joined the school’s 100-point club with a goal and two assists.

Brown 5, Colgate 2

Sophomore Mark Naclerio (Milford, Conn.) scored a pair of goals and dished an assist in the Bears' (9-8-3, 6-6-1 ECAC Hockey) upset of the 18th-ranked Raiders (13-10-3, 9-4-1) at Meehan Auditorium in Providence. The win for the host Bears, which also saw Nick Lappin register three points, snapped a seven-game unbeaten streak for Colgate.

Cornell 3, Yale 2 (OT)

In a match of highly-ranked ECAC programs at Ingalls Rink, Bruins prospect Brian Ferlin scored the game-winning goal with 17.1 seconds remaining to lift the No. 11 Big Red (11-4-5, 7-3-4) to a thrilling victory over the No. 13 Bulldogs (10-6-4, 5-5-3). Junior Anthony Day and senior Gus Young (Dedham, Mass.) scored goals for Yale, while freshman Alex Lyon was solid in defeat with 26 saves.

Bentley 2, Mercyhurst 2 (OT)

The top two teams in the Atlantic Hockey standings opened their weekend series at Mercyhurst University Ice Center with a 2-2 draw. Senior Brett Gensler and freshman Max French scored the Falcons' (13-8-4, 11-3-4) goals but Jordan Tibbett was too good in net for the first-place Lakers (14-10-5, 12-2-4) to allow the visitors to take two points.

Holy Cross 3, RIT 3 (OT)

The Crusaders (6-16-3, 5-10-3 Atlantic Hockey) improved to 2-1-1 in their last four games, but could not pull out two points in an even bout with the Tigers (8-13-4, 7-9-2) at Ritter Arena in Rochester, N.Y. Among Holy Cross' goal scorers were local sophomore Sean Gustin (Stoneham, Mass.) and senior assistant captain Shayne Stockton, who was skating in his hometown.

Sacred Heart 4, Niagara 3 (OT)

With 0.9 seconds remaining in regulation, freshman Mitch Nylen lifted the visiting Pioneers (7-18-0, 6-12-0 Atlantic Hockey) to an important league win over the Purple Eagles (7-15-3, 7-8-3) at Milford Ice Pavilion. SHU entered the night with an 0-10-0 all-time record against Niagara, which also allowed the first goal of the game. Junior Andrew Bodnarchuk made 34 saves in his fourth win this year for the Pios.

Canisius 4, AIC 1

The defending Atlantic Hockey Association champion Golden Griffins (10-13-2, 9-7-2) won their fourth straight game on the road, using two third-period goals to pull away from the host Yellow Jackets (6-18-1, 5-12-1) at the Olympia Ice Center. Freshman Mike Dietrich scored for AIC.

Connecticut 5, Air Force 3

Captain Brant Harris scored a goal and an assist and freshman Ryan Segalla (Boston, Mass.) notched a pair of points as the Huskies (13-7-4, 11-4-3 Atlantic Hockey) won their third game all-time at Cadet Ice Arena and opened a weekend set with their sixth win in nine January contests.

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