Late Goal Secures 4-4 Tie at Union for No. 8/8 Men’s Hockey

Wiley Sherman scored with 2:29 left to tie the game Friday (Gil Talbot).

SCHENEDECTY, N.Y. – Sophomore Wiley Sherman scored on a powerful slap shot with 2:29 left to play, tying Friday night's game against Union (4-6-4, 1-5-1) at 4-4, a score that would hold until the final horn of overtime. The goal was part of a two-goal third period for Harvard men's hockey (6-1-2, 4-1-2) that also saw freshman Michael Floodstrand score his first collegiate goal.

The Crimson, trailing 3-2 entering the third, out-shot Union 22-11 through the final period and overtime, to come-from-behind and tie the game twice in the last period. In addition to Harvard's late goals, co-captains Jimmy Vesey and Kyle Criscuolo score in the first period.  Merrick Madsen made 25 saves in net to remain unbeaten at 5-0-1.

Harvard came out of the gate firing Friday and it resulted in Vesey netting his eighth of the season just 10 seconds into the action. Harvard's top line of Criscuolo, Alexander Kerfoot and Vesey quickly moved the puck into the zone with Vesey providing the finisher two seconds shy of the Harvard record for quickest goal ever to start a game. That record is held by George Harding, Jr. '43, set Jan. 16, 1943 against Williams. Harvard's fastest goal last season was scored in 16 seconds by Criscuolo in a 5-2 win at Quinnipiac Dec. 6.

The teams settled in for the better part of the rest of the period, but each scored once more in the latter minutes. Harvard went ahead 2-0 when Criscuolo and Ryan Donato connected to score off a Union turnover. Strong pressure from Brayden Jaw at the Harvard blue line led to Union turning the puck over and Criscuolo heading the other way with it. Upon entering the offensive zone, he set Donato up for an attempt that was stopped, but the rookie recovered behind the net and returned the favor to Criscuolo who converted his seventh of the year. Union notched its first tally with just 14.9 left in the period, when Spencer Foo poked a puck into the net in a scrum to the side of Harvard goaltended Merrick Madsen. The goal snapped a streak of 234:08 minutes without allowing an even strength goal for Madsen.

The goal seemed to shift the momentum into Union's favor, as it scored twice in the 2nd period. The Dutchmen's first opportunity came at 4:01 when Matt Wilkins was given a penalty shot after being taken down on a breakaway by Wiley Sherman. Madsen was up for the challenge though and used his blocker to turn away Wilkins' attempt. The save was the first on a penalty shot for a Harvard netminder since Nov. 16, 2004 when Dov Grumet-Morris '05 stopped Boston College's Dave Spina's attempt in a 3-1 win.

Despite the stop on Wilkins, Union kept coming and evened the score on the power play at 11:07 when Ryan Scarfo scored with just two ticks left on the man advantage. Sixty-three seconds later, the Dutchmen took the lead when Sebastian Vidmar scored his first of the season from Foo and Vecchione.

Harvard looked to retake control of the game in the final period when Floodstrand jammed home his first goal in a Crimson jersey on the doorstep to the right of Union goaltender Alex Sakellaropoulos at the 1:25 mark. Donato earned his second assist of the night on the play, with Luke Esposito providing the second helper. The tie at 3-3 was short-lived as Union re-took the lead two minutes later on Ryan Scarfo's second power play goal of the game.

The Crimson continued to battle down the stretch and its persistence paid off in the final three minutes with Sherman lining up a blast from just inside the blue line that found the inside of the left post. The goal was his second of the year and was assisted by Criscuolo and Vesey.

In overtime, Harvard held a slight 5-4 edge in shots on goal, but neither team gave up the game-winner. Harvard is back in at it Saturday night at Rensselaer, one week removed from its 4-0 win over the Engineers at the Shillelagh Tournament. Game time is 7 p.m.