Through eight games, the Harvard men’s ice hockey team has shown that it likes to score early and score fast. On Friday night at the Bright-Landry Hockey Center, the hosts had a lot to like.
The Crimson (6-1-2, 3-1-2 ECAC) scored four goals in the first 11 minutes to beat Bentley, (5-6-1, 3-2-1 Atlantic), at the Bright-Landry Hockey Center on Friday night.
Harvard has outscored opponents, 16-1, in the first period this year.
“I think good teams start the game on time,” Crimson coach Ted Donato ’91 said. “It’s easy to play with the lead and pull teams out of what they want to do.”
Freshman defenseman Jake Horton started the early scoring for the Crimson at 1:47 with his first collegiate goal, beating senior Bentley goaltender Blake Dougherty at the crease off a feed from classmate Seb Lloyd. Junior co-captain Kyle Criscuolo followed a minute later with a strike from the top of the left face-off circle.
“[Getting off to a fast start] is something that we’ve really tried to make part of our identity this whole year,” Horton said. “We want to get that first shot on net and kind of set the tone, and I think we’ve been doing a great job of that.”
After missing all of last season with post-concussion syndrome, junior forward Colin Blackwell returned to Harvard’s line-up on the second line. The San Jose Sharks draft pick registered two shots on goal and is poised to add depth to a scoring attack that has found success in the first month of the season.
The Crimson’s offensive depth was on display early. The team’s top three lines were on the ice for the first five strikes of the game.
Junior forward Jimmy Vesey stickhandled the puck at the side of the net and over Dougherty’s right shoulder to convert on Harvard’s only power play opportunity of the night at 7:08 in the first.
Junior defenseman Patrick McNally put the team up four less than three minutes later with a coast-to-coast effort, skating past the Crimson’s second line and around Bentley defenders to force a shot past the pads of backup Gabe Antoni, who relieved Dougherty for the remainder of the first period after Vesey’s strike.
Third-line sophomore center Tyler Moy put in a wrap-around attempt at 12:27 to give the Crimson its biggest lead of the game.
“We’re developing some scoring depth, and our power play did their job today.” Donato said.
Overall, it was a big night for the Crimson’s third line as Horton received the third star of the game while Lloyd received the second star for his first two career points.
“I think we play off of each other very well,” Horton said of the line. “We’re all really hard-working guys and we like to grind down low, but we also have the skill that we can make plays with. Moy arguably has the top skill set on the team.”
The game was billed as a battle of special teams. Bentley entered the game with the top power play in the country, boasting a 36.4 percent rate. The Crimson, meanwhile, started the night a perfect 26-for-26 on the power play.
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