Jimmy Vesey had a goal and three helpers in Harvard's season-opening win (Jane Hill).
HANOVER, N.H. – It had been almost 20 years since the Crimson scored seven goals in a season-opener, but behind a four-point performance from senior captain Jimmy Vesey and seven individual goal scorers, the Crimson dispatched Dartmouth in Saturday night's season-opener, 7-0, at Thompson Arena in Hanover, New Hampshire.
The Crimson last scored seven goals to begin a season on Nov. 4, 1995 at Brown. In addition to Vesey's four points (1G, 3A), Alexander Kerfoot registered three points (1G, 2A), while Victor Newell, Sean Malone and Ryan Donato all recorded two assists. In total 11 skaters earned a point for the Crimson.
In net, it was sophomore Merrick Madsen making his first career start, making 25 saves to earn the clean sheet. The 7-0 shutout is the largest margin of victory for the Crimson since March 14, 2008 when it blanked Quinnipiac, 11-0 in the first game of the ECAC quarterfinals.
The first period was all Harvard, as the Crimson potted a trio of goals and outshot the Big Green, 12-7. Harvard also made Dartmouth pay for two penalties, scoring on both its man-advantage opportunities. Despite all the veterans on the roster, it was a rookie that notched Harvard's first goal of the season. Saint Paul, Minnesota native Jacob Olson was able to keep the puck in the zone on an attempted Dartmouth clear, took a stride in and ripped a shot that cleared Dartmouth goalkeeper, Charles Grant's left shoulder for his first career goal.
Harvard's next strike came 46 seconds later on the power play with Ryan Bullock in the box for a slash. Working the puck around the perimeter in the offensive zone, Harvard began closing in on the net with Jimmy Vesey feeding Tyler Moy out front for the snipe. Alexander Kerfoot also earned an assist on Moy's goal. Dartmouth's second penalty of the period, a hitting from behind charge on Brett Patterson, ended with a similar fate, as Luke Esposito drove home his first tally of the season on the break with Sean Malone feeding him the puck directly in from of Grant.
It was more of the same in the second frame, with the Crimson tacking on three more goals to take a 6-0 lead after 40 minutes. For the third time in as many tries, Harvard converted on the power play. Weaving through the defense, Vesey worked his way into an area of open ice to the right of grant, before he wristed one past him into the mesh. Ryan Donato collected his first collegiate point on the play with an assist, while Kerfoot tallied his second helper of the game. Harvard finished the game 3-for-3 on the power play.
Just past the midpoint of the period Vesey's co-captain, Kyle Criscuolo got in the score sheet with a similarly impressive wrister that prompted Dartmouth to change goalies. A new mask in front of the net did little to halt the dominating Crimson offense, as Colin Blackwell extended the Harvard advantage to six goals with a laser that beat the new netminder, Devin Buffalo. Donato and Malone were in on the helpers.
Harvard notched its final goal of the contest 49 seconds into the third period when Kerfoot, driving hard to the net, buried a feed from Vesey. Madsen would hold strong the rest of the way, preserving the shutout and giving Harvard a 4-0-1 record in its last five season-openers.
Dartmouth and Harvard are back at it tomorrow night at Bright-Landry Hockey Center at 7 p.m.