Jimmy Vesey cut the Union lead to 2-1 with a third-period goal Tuesday night (Gil Talbot).
SCHENECTADY, N.Y. – A late goal by freshman forward Jimmy Vesey gave Harvard a chance in the waning minutes of the third, but Union netted a pair of insurance goals minutes later to push the Dutchmen past the Crimson, 4-1, Tuesday night at Messa Rink. Union (12-8-4, 6-4-3 ECAC) represented Harvard's (5-11-1, 3-9-0 ECAC) seventh ranked opponent this season, as Harvard dips to 2-5-0 against ranked foes.
Both teams' penalty kill units were put to the test in the first, with the Crimson gaining a pair of power plays in the frame. Union look sharp on the kill, however, and Harvard managed three shots over the two man-up chances. With 2:05 to play in the period, Harvard was called for a cross-check, giving the Dutchman offense a good chance to grab the game's first lead. The Crimson stood tall, limiting the shots that reached Raphael Girard to one, and keeping the game scoreless at the first horn.
The hosts let loose a barrage of shots through the midway point of the second period, but the Crimson defense blocked a number of them and Girard turned aside a number of threatening pucks. With 8:04 gone in the second, Harvard was booked for its second penalty of the evening, but once again absorbed the infraction, limiting the Dutchmen to one shot and blocking another. It was the third Crimson penalty that proved too much for the guests, as Union got on the board with 2:23 left in the frame. Slick power-play passing between Mat Bodie and Sebastian Gingras saw the puck end up on Max Novak's stick, and the sophomore shot through traffic, past Girard's stick. The period closed with Union holding a 25-14 shots advantage and a 1-0 lead.
The bend-but-don't-break mentality for the Crimson defense held strong into the third period, with the hosts continuing to stymie the Union offense, despite a heavy shots advantage. An unfortunate turn of events resulted in Union's second goal, when Marshall Everson and Luke Greiner were book for simultaneous separate penalties with 12:24 to play, giving Union two full minutes of 5-on-3 play. The Dutchmen snapped short passes near the Harvard net and Wayne Simpson put home a short-range effort for a 2-0 lead.
Needing a spark on the offensive side, rookie Jimmy Vesey produced just that barely past the midway point of the third. Colin Blackwell crouched to take a faceoff just to the left of Union goalie Troy Grosenick, and Blackwell won the faceoff to Vesey, who snapped home a quick shot to get the Crimson on the board.
The joy was short-lived, however, and Union answered back swiftly when Matt Wilkins scored less than three minutes later, pushing the Union lead back to two at 3-1. Girard made a handful of saves down the stretch to keep the Crimson within reach, but after he was pulled in favor of an extra attacker, Union collected an empty net score to clinch the 4-1 final. Girard finished the game with 34 saves.
Harvard returns home after a lengthy road swing to host Clarkson Friday and St. Lawrence Saturday at Bright Hockey Center. Both games will be televised on WBIN-TV and will begin at 7 p.m.