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Men’s Hockey Holds Off Princeton, 3-2, In Ivy League Battle

Vesey tallied his 11th goal of the season (Gil Talbot).

Game Highlights: Harvard Tops Princeton, 3-2

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. –
Three first-period goals powered the Crimson out to an early lead as the Harvard men's hockey team completed the season series sweep of Princeton, posting a 3-2 win over the Tigers Friday at Bright-Landry Hockey Center. With the win, Harvard (6-11-3, 3-9-3 ECAC) snaps a four-game losing skid while Princeton (4-16-0, 3-9-0 ECAC) absorbs its 16th loss of the season.

The hosts exploded out of the gate, putting together one of its best periods of the season and powering out to a 3-0 lead. The first goal came just 2:01 into the contest when Tyler Moy fired a puck on Princeton goalie Colton Phinney and Greg Gozzo buried the rebound from the back door for his third tally of the season. Just over two minutes later, Harvard extended its lead thanks to a heads up play on the forecheck. Kyle Criscuolo powered into the Princeton zone in pursuit of the puck, managed to wrestle it off a Princeton defender and pass to a streaking Alexander Kerfoot, who shoved the puck home for his sixth of the season. Kerfoot has now logged a point in seven of his last eight games.

The hosts lit the lamp one more time before the halfway point of the period, stringing together touch passes to open space in the Princeton zone. Jimmy Vesey winged the puck back to Desmond Bergin at the blue line and Bergin executed the give-and-go, setting up Vesey for his team-leading 11th tally of the season. Harvard held a 14-8 shots advantage in the first and closed the frame with a commanding 3-0 lead.

While the offense wasn't able to extend the lead in the second period, the Crimson defense stayed sure, buoyed by a handful of strong saves from Raphael Girard. Harvard had a number of good looks on Phinney on a pair of power play chances, but the rookie goalie stood tall to keep Harvard from extending its lead. The Crimson smothered a Princeton power play for its 21st straight kill in the second, and a 27-16 shots advantage helped the hosts to a three-goal lead after two.  

Penalties committed by the home team proved costly in the third, as Harvard was unable to preserve the shutout on a late goal from the Tigers. A pair of penalties gave Princeton over 1:30 of five-on-three action and Alec Rush slapped a lengthy shot past Girard to cut the deficit to 3-1 with 6:40 to play. The Tigers inched even closer in the final minutes as it was Rush back at it, potting his second of the game with 3:11 left to cut the hole to one. Girard stood his ground in the closing minutes however, and secured the 3-2 win for the Crimson.

Harvard's next action comes in the 62nd annual Beanpot when the Crimson takes on No. 10/10 Northeastern in the first round of the annual Boston tradition. Game time is slated for 5 p.m.