Vesey’s Overtime Tally Seals Thrilling 1-0 Win Over No. 14/15 Clarkson for Men’s Hockey

Jimmy Vesey notched the game-winning tally in the 1-0 victory over the Knights Friday (Gil Talbot).

Video: Vesey's Overtime Goal

Knee-deep in a stalemate with the nation's No. 14/15 team, the Harvard men's hockey team was powered to victory by Jimmy Vesey's strike with just 14 seconds to play in overtime, taking down Clarkson, 1-0, Friday at Cheel Arena. The win is Harvard's (9-12-3, 5-9-3 ECAC) third in a row and Clarkson (17-12-2, 10-7-0 ECAC) represents Harvard's third ranked opponent to fall to the Crimson this season.

Goalie Steve Michalek put forth one the best efforts of his career, turning aside 31 Clarkson chances for his second shutout in the last three games. The last time Harvard shut out an opponent on the road was March 6, 2010, a 3-0 blanking of Princeton. It also marked the first overtime victory for Harvard since a 2-1 defeat of then-No. 1 Quinnipiac March 1, 2013 at Bright Hockey Center.

Tied at 0-0 through two, the Knights increased their already ample pressure on offense, firing pucks at will on Michalek. The junior netminder made five saves in the early part of the period and helped the Crimson kill off a penalty just 2:51 in. The real trouble came with 4:47 showing on the clock, as Clarkson took a minor for slashing but Harvard was booked for a contact-to-the-head major, putting the hosts on a three-minute power play to finish out regulation. Michalek was up to the task, however, recording seven saves on promising chances from Clarkson, pushing the game to overtime still tied at 0-0.

Clarkson held the slight edge in possession through the extra frame, but Michalek's glove stayed hot and kept the game level. It was on the final breakout of the game that Harvard found the winning combination, when Brian Hart took a pass near the boards at his own blue line and found a streaking Sean Malone at mid-ice on a two-on-one with Jimmy Vesey. Malone took the puck towards the Clarkson net and snapped the pass to Vesey at the last second, with Vesey sweeping the puck home with 14.1 seconds showing on the clock.

Possession was the name of the game early for the Crimson with Harvard keeping the puck in the Clarkson zone for the first few minutes, but unable to challenge Clarkson goalie Steve Perry. It appeared that the guests would have their first power-play chance at the 16:28 minute mark, but a minor on the Crimson just five seconds in negated the man-up chance. When Harvard finally did gain a power play later in the frame, the puck stayed in the Clarkson zone nearly the entire time, but the final pass wasn't there and Clarkson managed to kill off the chance.

The Knights had a chance of their own in the first, but some gutsy shot-blocking from the Crimson kept the puck from reaching Steve Michalek, despite heavy pressure from the hosts. The Knights were knocking on the door late in the first, sustaining an offensive zone presence for more than three minutes, and not allowing the Harvard skaters to change, despite multiple attempts to clear the puck. Harvard held a slim, 6-5, shots edge after one with five of those coming on the man advantage.

It was more of the same back-and-forth play through the second period, with both teams gaining good looks on net but not being able to convert. Both teams got a full look at a power play in the frame, with Clarkson posting two shots on net on man-advantage and Harvard managing one on the power play. The Knights were a bit more trigger-happy in the middle stanza, ending two periods with a 15-13 lead in the shots column.  

Harvard wraps up its North Country road trip tomorrow night when it takes on St. Lawrence in a 7 p.m., game at Appleton Arena.