CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – The fourth-ranked Harvard men's hockey team (9-2-1, 5-1-1 ECAC) went 2-for-4 on the power play, the penalty kill unit was 5-for-5 and goaltender Merrick Madsen stopped 30 shots, leading the Crimson past Rensselaer (3-17-1, 1-10-0 ECAC), 5-1, Friday evening at the Bright-Landry Hockey Center.
Harvard is now converting a 32.1 percent clip (17-of-53) on the power play, continuing to lead the nation in that category. Luke Esposito and Sean Malone had the power play goals Friday and each finished with two points in the winning effort.
The Crimson was in almost complete control through the first 20 minutes, leading to a 2-0 lead. The first goal came from the stick of Ty Pelton-Byce, his first career tally at 5:27. Linemate Seb Lloyd recovered the puck off a rebound and hit Pelton-Byce between the two face-off dots for the stick-side wrister.
Luke Esposito tacked on the Crimson's second goal at 13:05. Coming in with the nation's top power play unit, Harvard went on the man advantage due to a Meirs Moore interference call. Sean Malone carried the puck behind the net before passing to Esposito at the top of the right face-off circle where he rifled the puck past Rensselaer netminder Cam Hackett for his fifth of the season.
Rensselaer began to generate sore offense in the second frame, getting on the board with a Jacob Hayhurst goal, but it was sandwiched between two more Harvard goals. Junior Eddie Ellis notched his first of the season, swiping the puck over the goal line at 7:06. The tally was set up when a charging Devin Tringale forced a turnover deep in the Rensselaer defensive zone and knocked the puck towards the Engineers' cage. Hayhurst's goal followed 40 seconds later.
Ryan Donato pushed the Harvard lead back out to three at 13:31, when he registered his eighth of the season on a quick wraparound. Alexander Kerfoot earned the primary assist on the play to push his point streak to 10 games and give him 20 points on the year.
Harvard's power play struck for a second time at 1:55 of the third. Malone found the top of the mesh over Hackett's shoulder on a spinning wrister from the bottom of the left face-off circle for his team-leading ninth of the year.
The remainder of the clock would expire without any more scoring, but nine penalties would be called down the stretch as tempers flared after the whistle on a number of occasions.
Harvard continues its three-game homestand against No. 14/13 Quinnipiac and Princeton next weekend. The Quinnipiac game Friday, Jan. 6 will be shown live on ESPN3.