The Harvard men’s ice hockey team fell seconds short of a long-overdue sweep yet provided a strong statement in the season’s first weekend double.
In upstate New York, the Crimson shut out RPI, 4-0, on Friday before tying defending national champion Union, 2-2, on Saturday. A last-minute goal from freshman Dutchman forward Spencer Foo prevented Harvard (1-0-2, 1-0-2 ECAC) from securing its first pair of road wins on consecutive nights since January 2007.
“I think the takeaway overall is that it’s a pretty solid weekend,” Crimson coach Ted Donato ’91 said. “I think we improved as a team over the weekend.”
Junior forwards Jimmy Vesey and Brian Hart combined for five of the Crimson’s goals while junior netminder Steve Michalek made 56 stops over 125 minutes of play.
HARVARD 2, UNION 2
Foo scored with 45 seconds left in regulation to complete a two-goal comeback for No. 8 Union (5-4-1, 0-3-1) and force overtime in Schenectady, N.Y. Both teams had strong chances to clinch the game in the extra frame but settled for one point apiece in the conference standings.
Michalek finished with 42 saves, one short of his career high. His 42nd save was a web gem that denied Union sophomore forward Mike Vecchione on a point-blank opportunity with 11 seconds left in overtime.
“Steve had an unbelievable weekend,” Vesey said. “For us to be a good team, we’re going to have to rely on him a lot, and it’s good to see him playing well already.”
Harvard outshot the hosts, 14-3, in the first period and commanded the opening minutes of play. Vesey put back a rebound off a deflected shot from sophomore line mate Alex Kerfoot to put the Crimson up one just over three minutes into the game. Hart added to the lead at 10:44 in the period with a deflection of an outside shot from junior defenseman Desmond Bergin.
Union, which entered the night on a four-game losing streak, regained national champion-form after the first break. Dutchman senior Max Novak halved the Crimson lead just over a minute into the second period with a doorstep marker.
“I think they probably got chewed out a little bit by their coach in between periods and just came out with a lot more speed and tenacity,” Vesey said.
Union proceeded to outshoot Harvard, 34-14, over the final two frames of regulation.
In overtime, Kerfoot nearly capitalized on a shorthanded breakaway. A boarding penalty by sophomore Luke Esposito forced Harvard to skate a man down for the final 1:56 of the game.
“[This game] is a learning moment for us,” Donato said. “Taking three out of four points against two pretty good teams is something to build upon.”
HARVARD 4, RPI 0
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