Girard Earns First Clean Sheet in Men’s Hockey’s 5-0 Season-Opening Win Over Bentley
Raphael Girard made 31 stops in his first collegiate shutout (Gil Talbot).
Highlights: Harvard vs. Bentley
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – In the first start of his junior season, goalie Raphael Girard recorded his first collegiate shutout as the Harvard men's hockey team downed Bentley, 5-0, Saturday in its season opener at Bright Hockey Center. The result drops Bentley to 2-2-0 on the year while Harvard earned a win in its season opener for the first time since 2009 and its home opener since 2008. It is also the first time since 2000 that the Crimson recorded a shutout victory in its first game of the season.
After looking poised in a 5-1 victory over McGill in an exhibition last week, the Harvard offense picked up right where it left off as senior Luke Greiner gave Harvard a 1-0 lead just 4:09 into the game. Greiner camped out at the top of the left faceoff circle, and after corralling a pass from rookie Jimmy Vesey, fired to the opposite post to beat Bentley goalie Branden Komm for the early edge. Nearing the end of the period, linemate Alex Fallstrom netted the second Crimson goal on a near carbon copy of Greiner's strike. Brothers Max and Marshall Everson assisted on the play, marking the second time in their careers the two have recorded assists on the same goal.
The Falcons kept the pressure on Girard through the frame, and nearly found the scoresheet when a puck was lodged under Girard's left pad and the Harvard net came loose. The play was reviewed but the referees agreed that it was not a goal. Harvard ended the frame with a 16-7 advantage in shots.
The Crimson had a scare in the second period as well, when the puck was lifted in the air on a Bentley charge and bounced off the upper post before the net was dislodged. The play was reviewed, but it was once again determined to be no goal. Late in the second, the heralded Harvard power play came to life, generating the home team's third score of the game. Patrick McNally slid a pass to Danny Biega along the blue line and Biega found the rookie Vesey on an aggressive line into the Bentley zone. The freshman took over from there, making a few weaves before tucking the puck past Komm for his first collegiate score at 17:42.
Vesey struck again, collecting his third point and second goal of the evening, 9:13 into the final frame. Biega was once again in on the play, feeding the puck down low where Colin Blackwell nudged the puck over to Vesey who stuffed it home for a 4-0 edge.
Frustration was mounting on the Bentley bench, but it was Harvard that started to amass penalties in the final frame. In the final 20 minutes, the Crimson was booked for six penalties, resulting in five power-play chances for the guests. Despite all the time with a man down, the penalty kill was on point, as it held Bentley to six shots and no goals on the five chances. Marshall Everson put the icing on the cake for Harvard when Fallstrom picked off a Bentley pass and fed Everson for Harvard's fifth goal of the evening with just 35 seconds to play.
The Crimson ended with a 44-31 edge in shots, with Girard stopping all 31 shots he faced on the night. Vesey (2g, 1a) and Fallstrom (1g, 2a) led all players with three points on the game, while Biega (2a) and Marshall Everson (1g, 1a) collected two apiece. Harvard was 1 for 2 on the power play and 5 for 5 on the penalty kill.
The Crimson continues its season-opening home stretch with its ECAC and Ivy League opener Friday against Brown. Game time is slated for 7 p.m.