Luke Esposito netted his first collegiate goal Wednesday against BC (Gil Talbot).
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - The Harvard men's hockey team fell victim to the No. 7 Boston College counter-attack Wednesday night, as the Eagles skated away from Bright-Landry Hockey Center with a 5-1 victory in a non-conference bout. Harvard dips to 3-5-1 with the loss while the Eagles improve to 8-2-2.
The Eagles set the pace early in the first period in terms of putting pucks on net, tallying two shots within the first minute and keeping up good pressure on the Harvard goalie Steve Michalek. The persistence paid off early, however, when Johnny Gaudreau slid a pass to Austin Cangelosi from the back boards and Cangelosi one-timed the puck home for a 1-0 lead at 4:49.
The hits were minimal through most of the opening period, but one of the bigger ones in the frame went against BC's Patrick Brown, giving Harvard a power play at 10:06. While Harvard was able to keep the puck in the BC zone for a good portion of the man advantage, the Eagles did a good job of shutting down shooting lanes, and held the Crimson to just one shot on net. Harvard returned the favor with 4:27 to play, showing off its highly-touted penalty kill and keeping the deficit at one at the first buzzer.
Harvard picked up the energy at the start of the second period, pressing to keep the puck in the BC zone and put a few pucks on goalie Brian Billett. BC's best looks came on the counter-attack, including the rush that resulted in its second goal of the game. One-touch passing between Danny Linell and Kevin Hayes directed the puck to Destry Straight, who one-timed a backdoor look past Michalek at 8:34. Gaudreau stretched the guests' lead to 3-0 with 5:50 showing on the clock, receiving an outlet pass from Arnold and beating Michalek on a one-on-one breakaway. Harvard had two looks on the power play in the period, narrowly missed getting on the board despite putting three pucks on net.
Gaudreau struck again just two minutes into the third frame to give BC a 4-0 lead, with the junior converting passes from Teddy Doherty and Ryan Fitzgerald. The rookie Fitzgerald got his own score two minutes later, putting home a Kevin Hayes feed to give BC a commanding 5-0 lead.
A bit of frustration showed in the form of matching game misconducts in the final five minutes, but a penalty surrounding the scuffle put Harvard on its fifth power play of the night. The shots were abundant on the man advantage and the pressure paid off with 3:57 to play as the Crimson finally got on the board. Dan Ford winged a pass to Clay Anderson along the blue line and the rookie fired a shot through traffic that bounced off Billett's blocker. The puck hung out in front of the net for a few precious seconds, and Luke Esposito slapped it home before the defense could recover. The goal is Esposito's first of his collegiate career, as is the assist from Anderson.
Michalek finished the game with 29 saves while Billett needed 34 stops to record the win. It is Harvard's fifth straight game with a power play goal and just the third time Harvard has recorded more shots than its opponent.
Harvard now begins a tough four-game road stretch, beginning with a non-conference showdown with New Hampshire Tuesday in Durham, N.H. The game is slated for a 7 p.m., start.