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Early Goals Sink Men’s Hockey, 3-1, In ECAC Matchup Against St. Lawrence

Jimmy Vesey picked up his second goal of the season against St. Lawrence Friday (Gil Talbot).

Game Highlights: Harvard Falls to St. Lawrence, 3-1

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. –
A pair of first-period goals proved to be the difference Friday, as the Harvard men's hockey team was unable to muster multiple scores, falling to league foe St. Lawrence, 3-1, at the Bright Landry Hockey Center. Harvard (2-2-1, 1-2-1 ECAC) drops its second straight game while St. Lawrence (5-2-2, 1-0-2 ECAC) picks up its first league win of the season.

A sluggish start by the home team cost the Crimson within the first two minutes when Chris Martin tipped home a Riley Austin shot just 1:20 into the contest. The goal broke goalie Raphael Girard's shutout streak, which lasted 121:20 from the start of the 2012-13 campaign. Harvard showed a bit of a response to the early tally, firing nine shots on net in the first stanza, but St. Lawrence still maintained the edge in offensive pressure.

The St. Lawrence lead doubled with 13:07 gone in the first on a Greg Carey strike. Chris Martin flung a back-handed pass to Carey below the left faceoff circle, and Carey found a sliver of daylight over Girard's left shoulder, burying the puck from an improbably angle. The teams played penalty-free hockey in the opening frame, and the Crimson faced a 2-0 deficit after one.

The shots came pouring in for the Saints in the second, as Girard made 15 saves, compared to just four by counterpart Matt Weninger. It was the Crimson, however, that would take advantage on its second power-play of the game, cutting the deficit to 2-1 with 6:29 to play in the frame. Luke Esposito collected the puck inside the left faceoff circle and winged it across the middle where Brian Hart caught it with his stick. Jimmy Vesey jumped on the floating puck and swept it past Weninger for his second score of the season. The goal also marked Harvard's first power-play strike of the season.

After a stellar kill on a relentless St. Lawrence power play, the Crimson looked like it would head into the locker room down just the one score. However, the Saints jumped on a brief defense lapse by the hosts and struck for the third time with 49 seconds to play in the period. Alex Hagen was the goal-scorer for Saint Lawrence, putting home an Eric Sweetman feed.

Shots were scarce in the third period as each team totaled six apiece, but the Crimson penalty kill was one point, denying St. Lawrence on two opportunities. Harvard pulled Girard for the final 1:49 of play, but could not find the second goal despite the extra attacker.

Girard recorded 27 stops in his first loss on the season, while Weninger made 18 saves in the win for the Saints. Brian Hart tallied his first assist of the season, and Esposito recorded his second straight game with a helper.

Harvard wraps up its four-game homestand tomorrow when it welcomes No. 16/15 Clarkson to the Bright-Landry Center for a 7 p.m., showdown.