Criscuolo, Girard Lift Men’s Hockey Past Bentley, 3-0, In Season Opener

Raphael Girard recorded his third career shutout Saturday against Bentley (Photo: Zack Williamson)

The Harvard men's hockey team started the season off strong with a 3-0 shutout against the Bentley Falcons in its home opener Saturday at the Bright-Landry Hockey Center. Senior goaltender Raphael Girard had a flawless performance to record his third career shutout for the Crimson, blocking all 43 shots that came his way.  Kyle Criscuolo had a pair of goals in the game to propel the Crimson to victory.

The first period of the Crimson's season opener was full of hard hitting back and forth physical play. Harvard had the first three power play opportunities on the evening, with the first coming just 20 seconds into the game. While Harvard was unable to capitalize on the man-advantages, the Falcons earned two power plays of their own which Harvard killed handily. The Falcons went into the locker room leading 11-8 in shots on goal.

The Crimson came out strong in the second period scoring two goals only 13 seconds apart. The first goal was started by freshman Sean Malone who brought the puck into the zone and dished it off to junior Tommy O'Regan who put it past the goalie with 7:08 left in the period. It marked O'Regan's sixth goal of his career at Harvard and Malone's first collegiate point. Just eight seconds later, sophomore Kyle Criscuolo intercepted a pass at the blue line, drove to the net, and took a shot that hit the post. Criscuolo then got his own rebound and put the puck past Branden Komm's left hip, putting the Crimson up 2-0 and collecting the seventh goal of his career. Harvard concluded the second period up two goals and leading 27-26 in shots on goal.

The final period was as physical and exciting as the previous two. Immediately after two matching roughing penalties, freshman Alexander Kerfoot won a faceoff in his won zone, collected the puck and sprung Criscuolo down the left side of the ice. The sophomore showed he could finish once again, netting his second tally with only 3:08 left in the third period.  Girard made a handful of key saves down the stretch to preserve the shutout for the Crimson.

The men are back in action Tuesday when they hit the road for a league contest at Rensselaer. The contest is set to begin at 7:00 p.m. at Houston Field House.