The "V" Spot

Mazzoleni Era Burns Brightly As M. Hockey Blanks Bears in Providence

PROVIDENCE, R.I.--The Harvard men's hockey team celebrated the dawning of the Mark Mazzoleni era by scoring exactly one goal. And senior goaltender J.R. Prestifilippo made sure it was enough.

Harvard's 1-0 win over Brown Saturday was anything but pretty. The oldest rivalry in college hockey renewed with chippy play, pucks bouncing off skates, and the Crimson sending just 19 shots on net after scoring at 9:03 of the first period.

But interspersed between the bad penalties and the missed passes, the promise behind Mazzoleni's puck-pressure system started to shine through, and Prestifilippo converted the promise into a victory.


The Bears sent 26 shots towards him with increasing quality, and "Presto" turned them all aside. Along the way, he made one of the best saves I have ever seen.

With 3:35 remaining in the game, Brown freshman Chris Legg darted down the center of the ice on a breakaway. He deked left and cut right, switching the puck to his forehand completely around a falling Prestifilippo. Legg had a split second to set himself and put the puck into the net while the keeper lay vertical along the ice.

Legg's stick went into the air. The crowd of 2,317 rose to its feet. Eventually, Prestifilippo did too, and calmly dropped the puck from his glove. How it got there, I'm still not entirely sure.

"He was the difference," said Mazzoleni of Prestifilippo. "When the guy went in uncontested, he stole their goal. There was no doubt about it."

Prestifilippo had already stoned freshman winger Jason Wilson at 9:50 of the second period off a breakaway. That chest save would have sufficed for one night.

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