Hard-Fought Battle Goes To No. 16/15 Clarkson, 2-1, Over Men’s Hockey

Hard-Fought Battle Goes To No. 16/15 Clarkson, 2-1, Over Men’s Hockey

Jimmy Vesey scored for the second straight night Saturday (Gil Talbot).

Game Highlights: Clarkson Skates Past Harvard, 2-1

The Harvard men's hockey team was locked in a physical battle with No. 16/15 Clarkson for all 60 minutes Saturday, but the Golden Knights netted the game-winner with two minutes remaining to escape Bright-Landry Hockey Center with a 2-1 win. The loss is Harvard's (2-3-1, 1-3-1 ECAC) third straight while Clarkson (9-2-1, 3-1-0 ECAC) continues its hot start to the season.

A sharper Harvard team took the ice against the Knights, and the penalty-killing unit put on a clinic in the game, killing a pair of penalties in the first period that put Clarkson on a five-on-three form more than a minute. The first goal of the game at even-strength, however, as James de Haas blasted a shot past goalie Steve Michalek at 13:11 to give the guests a 1-0 lead. Harvard went empty-handed on a pair of power plays in the first, and was outshot by Clarkson, 10-6, in the frame.

A power play that had carried over from the first period allowed the Crimson to start the second with a man advantage for over a minute. After finding its first extra-man tally last night against St. Lawrence, Harvard repeated the feat against Clarkson, as Jimmy Vesey stuffed home a short-range rebound just 1:16 into the second, knotting the game at 1-1.  Kyle Criscuolo and Brian Hart picked up helpers on the goal by Vesey. Harvard upped it shots total to 10 in the period, and ended the frame knotted at one with Clarkson.

The physicality ramped up in the final stanza as the teams combined for five more penalties. Harvard was once again called upon to kill a five-on-three, and between Michalek standing tall and the Crimson skaters unabashedly blocking shots, both penalties expired with the game still knotted at 1-1. The dagger came with just two minutes to play in the contest, when Allan McPherson caught a glimpse of the puck in a scrum in front of the net and shoved it past Michalek for the game-winning score. Harvard pulled Michalek for the final 1:40, and Harvard had a sin-on-four skater advantage when Clarkson was booked with a slashing call at 19:18, but the equalizer evaded the hosts and the game ended with a 2-1 score.

Michalek was strong for the Crimson in net, recording 31 saves on the evening, while Clarkson's Greg Lewis made 22 stops. Harvard once again showed a knack for blocking shots, with the hosts holding a 25-17 edge in blocks on the evening. Freshman Kevin Guiltinan recorded a team-high eight blocked shots for Harvard in the loss.

Harvard hits the road for its next game, traveling to Hamden, Conn., Friday to take on defending national runner-up Quinnipiac in a 7 p.m., contest. The Crimson will see its first Ivy game of the year a night later in a matchup with Princeton at Hobey Baker rink.