Men's Hockey Sweeps Into Break
With wins over Union, RPI, Harvard inches toward a .500 record before the holidays
The Harvard men’s hockey team started off the New Year with a pair of wins in the Capital District, beating conference foes Rensselaer and Union by a combined 8-3 count.
“It was a great weekend for us,” said senior center Kevin Du, who said his team was “where we can, where we should be at. It was especially great to get the four points on the road.”
The Crimson (7-10-0, 5-7-0 ECAC) has won its last three games and is climbing back toward an even record in league play. Prior to this stretch, Harvard had not strung two wins together all season.
The Crimson now has another two-and-a-half week break for reading period and finals before the longest bus trip of the year, to St. Lawrence and Clarkson.
HARVARD 3, UNION 2
The Crimson took a 1-0 lead just 32 seconds into Saturday’s game at Achilles Center, when freshman Doug Rogers beat Union goaltender Justin Mrazek.
But the Dutchmen (9-9-2, 2-7-0) notched two second-period tallies to take a 2-1 lead, and so the Crimson entered another third period on the wrong side of the score sheet.
“A month ago, in that situation, we wouldn’t have been able to rally,” Du said.
“But since we have been playing well, we had that confidence, and we knew that we were able to come back,” he added.
Junior forward Alex Meintel scored in his third straight game, tying the contest with less than eight minutes remaining.
Junior forward Jon Pelle then scored in his second straight game to give Harvard a 3-2 lead, which proved to be enough for the win.
Freshman netminder Kyle Richter earned his second win of the weekend, stopping 30 Dutchmen shots.
HARVARD 5, RPI 1
A Meintel goal with just over two minutes remaining in the first period gave the Crimson an advantage entering Friday’s first intermission at Houston Field House.
Two more second-frame scores gave Harvard a comfortable advantage against RPI (5-8-2, 1-3-3), one which the Crimson hasn’t often seen this season.
“It’s always easier to play with the lead, and the majority of this year, we’ve been behind and trying to catch up,” said Du, who had three assists on the night.
Rather than playing with “the mindset that you have when you’re behind,” he added, Harvard had a nice “confidence booster.”
The Crimson scored twice more in the third before the Engineers ruined Richter’s shutout with under five minutes remaining to play.
The netminder ended the game with 16 saves, seven of which came on the power play.
“Kyle had a great weekend for us,” Du said after the team had returned to Cambridge.
“It was great for him getting the experience, especially in hostile [road] environments,” he added.
—Staff writer Rebecca A. Seesel can be reached at email@example.com.