Steve Michalek became just the third Harvard goaltender to record 20 wins in a season Friday (Gil Talbot).
LAKE PLACID, N.Y. – No. 17/15 Harvard men's hockey jumped all over No. 7/7 Quinnipiac in the first period, taking a 3-0 lead en route to a 5-2 triumph in the ECAC Hockey semifinals Friday at 1980 Rink – Herb Brooks Arena in Lake Placid, New York.
Jimmy Vesey tallied a pair of goals to bring his season total to 29 and Alexander Kerfoot assisted on both to give him 20 helpers this season. Steve Michalek came away with 20 saves in net to earn his 20th victory. He is just the third Harvard goaltender to ever win 20 games in a single season.
The Crimson will be playing in the championship game for the eighth time since 2002. Harvard has three titles in that span, but last reached the finals in 2012 when it fell to Union, 3-1. Harvard will take on Colgate Saturday night, as the Raiders topped St. Lawrence, 4-3, in overtime. Game time of the championship game is 7:35 p.m. and it will be broadcast on Fox College Sports.
Similar to the first meeting between these two teams in early December, the Crimson got on the board quickly. Controlling the puck from the opening draw, Harvard worked the Quinnipiac zone with a strong shift before newly-minted ECAC Hockey Player of the Year Jimmy Vesey scored his 28th of the season 30 seconds in, with linemates Kyle Criscuolo and Kerfoot picking up the assists.
Harvard's first power play of the game resulted in its 24th man-advantage goal of the season at 14:55. Quinnipiac attempted to clear the puck from behind its own net, but Colin Blackwell reeled the puck in off the left boards, took a couple strides towards the net and lined up a blast that cleared Michael Garteig's right shoulder.
Thirty-three seconds later, Wiley Sherman and Clay Anderson battled in corner to the left of Michalek, springing the puck out to Tyler Moy who burst out on a breakaway that ended with him deking by Garteig with a slick forehand for his 12th this season. With the Crimson going up 3-0, Sean Lawrence came on and took over the goaltending duties for Quinnipiac.
The Bobcats used the intermission to regroup and starting netminder Garteig returned to the goal where he saw his teammates score a pair of goals to make it 3-2 Harvard after 40 minutes. Travis St. Denis scored a shorthanded goal at 9:05 when he pushed in a rebound off an Alex Barron shot attempt. Soren Jonzzon cut the Crimson lead to just one at 15:00, sending a shot on net that went by Michalek as he was returning to the crease after playing the puck behind the net. Quinnipiac had opportunities in the closing minutes, but Harvard was able to kill off a penalty and take a 3-2 lead into the intermission.
Harvard was in a prime position to extend its lead early in the third period when they went on a five-minute power play, but Quinnipiac was able to kill it off without suffering anymore damage. Tim Clifton was called for hitting to the head and received a game misconduct after elbowing Colin Blackwell along the boards.
Quinnipiac emptied its net with just over two minutes remaining, but Kerfoot pushed the puck up to Vesey in the neutral zone where he flipped it over the last Bobcats defender and into the net. Sean Malone added his own empty netter with 59 seconds remaining to bring the final score to 5-2.