Harvard logged a season-high six goals Tuesday night in Durham (Gil Talbot).
DURHAM, N.H. – A trio of second-period goals and another three in the third saw the Harvard men's hockey team knock off No. 20 New Hampshire, 6-3, Tuesday night in a non-conference contest. The win pushes Harvard's record to 4-5-1 on the season while UNH dips to .500 at 7-7-1.
The Wildcats gained palpable momentum on the heels of their game-tying goal, but the Crimson offense exploded for a crushing pair to put the game out of reach. Off a good rush into the UNH zone, Pat McNally got the puck down low to Kyle Criscuolo and the sophomore banked a shot of UNH keeper Jeff Wyer and into the net to grab a 4-3 lead at 6:52. Just 41 seconds later, a great passing sequence saw Tommy O'Regan bury a Luke Esposito feed to stretch the Crimson lead to 5-3. Raphael Girard withstood a late onslaught from the Wildcats, and Patrick McNally netted an empty-net goal to cap the scoring on the night.
The Olympic-size ice surface allowed for plenty of space for both teams early, as both the Crimson and Wildcats moved the puck through the neutral zone easily. The Wildcats had a few chances on the Harvard net early, but Raphael Girard looked sharp, turning away a handful of threatening pucks. Just before the midway point of the period, the Crimson got caught pressing the UNH zone and the Wildcats jumped on a loose puck and charged past the Harvard blue line on a five-on-one. Patrick McNally kept his cool as the lone defender, sweeping aside a centering pass to quell the opportunity for the hosts.
A UNH penalty shortly past the 10-minute mark put Harvard on the game's first power play, but The Crimson was unable to maintain possession in the offensive zone, leading to a convincing kill for the Wildcats. Girard continued to smother loose pucks around his net through the end of the frame, keeping the game scoreless heading into the first break.
The guests made a point of getting shots on UNH goalie Jeff Wyer early in the second, and the Crimson succeeded in making the senior come up with a few saves early. The pressure allowed the Crimson to draw first blood 3:36 into the second, when Tommy O'Regan fed Luke Esposito near Wyer's glove side, and the freshman backhanded a shot that ricocheted off a UNH defender and in. It marks Esposito's second straight game with a goal.
An interference penalty on the Wildcats minutes later proved to be costly, as Harvard jumped out to a 2-0 lead on the man advantage. After struggling a bit to establish possession in the UNH zone, Tyler Moy dished a pass to McNally outside of the zone and the junior looked to reset the offense. However, a quick move into the UNH zone created a three-on-two for Harvard, and McNally dished a pass towards the middle that Kyle Criscuolo tipped home with 10:37 on the board. It marks Harvard's sixth straight contest with a power-play tally.
UNH got a power play of its own later in the frame in a slashing call, but only one shot got through to Girard and the nation's top penalty kill snuffed out the man-up stretch. Back at even strength and following a media timeout, the Wildcats pressed hard and did not allow the puck to escape the Harvard zone, eventually resulting in Dan Correale breaking free behind the defense and lifting a backhand past Girard top shelf.
Play opened up even more shortly thereafter when matching minors resulted in two minutes of four-on-four play. The Wildcats looked poised once again and leveled the score less than a minute after the penalties were called. Kevon Goumas threw a puck on Girard and Grayson Downing was there to clean up the rebound, knotting the score with 2:32 to play.
Harvard would have the last laugh in the second, however, potting a goal of its own at the tail end of the four-on-four. Criscuolo took a feed from Clay Anderson and charged into the zone, dishing at the last second to Alexander Kerfoot who snuck the puck home between the goalie's blockers with 1:20 to play.
New Hampshire was finally able to figure out the Harvard penalty kill, knotting the score at three 7:03 into the final period. Girard made a save on a shot through traffic, but Dalton Speelman was relentless down low, poking home a free puck before Girard could cover.
Harvard returns to ECAC and Ivy League play in its next contest, traveling to Hanover, N.H., to square off against Dartmouth in a 7 p.m., showdown.