Jimmy Vesey scored his sixth goal of the season on the power play Friday (Jeff Myers).
SOUTH BEND, Ind. – Two power play goals, separated by 43 seconds from senior co-captain Kyle Criscuolo at the end of the second period, broke up a 1-1 tie and were the driving force in No. 8/8 Harvard men's hockey (5-1-1) defeat of No. 18/- Notre Dame (5-4-4), 4-1, in the first round of the Shillelagh Tournament at Compton Family Ice Arena Friday. With the win, Harvard will move on to face Rensselaer in the title game at 4 p.m. Saturday.
The Crimson converted on 3-of-8 power play chances, with fellow co-captain Jimmy Vesey netting Harvard's third in the final period. Junior Alexander Kerfoot assisted on all three man-up goals for the first three-assist game of his career. He is the only active Crimson skater with a hat trick (Boston College, Nov. 11, 2014) and a three-assist game in his career. Vesey also had an assist on Criscuolo's second goal, while Victor Newell recorded two helpers.
In net, Merrick Madsen remained undefeated, moving to 4-0-0 with 29 saves. Madsen's only goal allowed came on a Notre Dame power play in the first period. The goal was his first allowed in 105:02 minutes and he has an active streak of 154:32 without allowing an even strength score.
Harvard opened the contest with a strong possession in the Notre Dame zone, but was unable to put a shot on net and the Fighting Irish shifted play primarily to its offensive zone for the next five minutes, placing six shots on Madsen. The sophomore goaltender held strong and kept the game scoreless until a Harvard penalty gave Notre Dame a power play at the period's midpoint. Senior Mario Lucia ripped a one-timer from the top of the left face-off dot that found the corner of the net to put the Irish up 1-0 at 10:30.
The Crimson found its response as the period entered the final five minutes, when a strong forecheck from freshman Lewis Zerter-Gossage led to the rookie netting his first collegiate goal. Zerter-Gossage gave chase to a puck dumped in behind the Notre Dame goal and the pressure forced a turnover directly in front of Irish goalie Cal Peterson. Zerter-Gossage gathered the puck and beat the golden-domed netminder from just a few feet away.
The second period was shaping up to be a scoreless, defensive battle, but changed drastically at the 18:17 mark when Notre Dame's Dennis Gilbert and Andrew Oglevie were both issued penalties after taking down Kerfoot who was charging towards the net on a breakaway.
Harvard took full advantage of its extra-skaters opportunity, as Criscuolo potted a pair of goals to put Harvard up 3-1 at the second intermission. Less than 30 seconds into the 5-on-3, Criscuolo put home a rebound off the end boards from a Newell shot just to the right of Peterson to break the 1-1 tie. Forty-three seconds later on the 5-on-4 advantage, Criscuolo fielded a pass from Kerfoot head-on in front of the Notre Dame net and beat Peterson stick side. Friday's game marked the eighth two-goal performance of Criscuolo's career and first since Jan. 24, 2015 at Colgate.
The power play continued to click for Harvard in the third period, as Vesey scored his sixth of the season at 5:03. From the point, Newell swiftly moved the puck down low to Kerfoot in the corner. Kerfoot hit Vesey streaking down the center of the zone with a sharp pass and the senior co-captain beat Peterson to the glove side.
Fans can watch Saturday's title game versus Rensselaer on WatchND.tv at 4:05 p.m.