Lewis Zerter-Gossage had a goal and assist for his first three-point game of his collegiate career (Gil Talbot).
MINNEAPLOIS – Matching its season-high of seven goals, the No. 7/7 Harvard men's hockey team kicked off the New Year with a 7-3 triumph in its first-ever meeting against Ferris State in the opening round of the 25th Annual Mariucci Classic at Minnesota.
With the win, Harvard advances to the championship of the Mariucci Classic and will play the winner of the Minnesota-UConn contest. If Minnesota wins, the Crimson will play the Gophers at 8 p.m. EST Saturday, while a UConn victory will make the championship game a 5 p.m. start.
Similar to the Harvard's season-opening 7-0 win at Dartmouth, seven different skaters accounted for the Crimson's goals Friday, while six players recorded at least two points. Freshman Lewis Zerter-Gossage led the way for the Crimson with three points on a goal and two helpers, his first multi-point game of his career. Jimmy Vesey, Seb Lloyd, Jake Horton and Devin Tringale each had a goal and assist, while Clay Anderson had two assists. Sophomore goaltender Merrick Madsen made 34 stops in 55:25 of action before being relieved late to improve to 6-0-2 as a starter.
Playing in its first game since Dec. 5, the Crimson offense came out aggressive, reeling off a season-best 21 shots in a single period in the opening 20 minutes, with three of those attempts finding the back of the net. Harvard's offensive depth showed on the first goal of the game with the fourth line putting the Crimson up 1-0 at 8:38. Following a battle in the corner to the left of Ferris goalie Charles Williams, Anderson ended up with the puck at the point where he teed up a blast that Zerter-Gossage deflected in front past the Bulldogs' netminder for his second this season.
Harvard doubled up on its lead four minutes later, this time with top linemates Alexander Kerfoot and Vesey working a smooth give-and-go play that ended with Vesey going top shelf over William's shoulder. Desmond Bergin earned the second assist on the play, his second of the year. The Crimson's momentum continued to build with sophomore Horton putting Harvard up 3-0 at 14:55 with his first of the season. Zerter-Gossage was able to intercept a pass in the offensive zone as Ferris attempted to clear, setting up Horton to Williams' right for a quick wrister. Ferris was able to get on the board two minutes later as freshman Jacob Hetz scored the first of his career, making it a 3-1 contest.
In the second period, Ferris closed the shots on goal difference, outshooting Harvard, 14-5, but the Crimson potted two more goals on its limited chances, while the Bulldogs scored just one to trail 5-2 after 40 minutes. Harvard took advantage of its first power play of the game just shy of the midway point of the period when Kyle Criscuolo won a tussle in front of the Ferris goal to score his eighth of the season. Great passing by the Crimson power play led to Vesey and Anderson setting up Criscuolo for the tally.
Ferris got back within two goals at 10:24 with Trevor Recktenwald scoring his second of the year to make it 4-2. The Crimson pushed the lead back out to three goals at 17:30 when Devin Tringale netted his first of the year, converting an odd-man rush opportunity with Zerter-Gossage and Horton providing the helpers.
The first 10 minutes of the third period proved to be exciting for the Crimson on both ends of the ice. Sixty-four seconds into the period, Madsen was called upon to stop a penalty shot. The sophomore did as asked, turning away Chad McDonald's attempt with his blocker, marking his second penalty shot save of the year. On the other end at 1:45, Lloyd scored his first goal of the season, converting on a wrap-around off Sean Malone's initial shot.
Harvard's scoring continued at 9:35 when Colin Blackwell one-timed a power play goal past Williams. Lloyd made a great play beside the net to spin a pass in front of the crease to Blackwell who found the inside of the near post for his second of the season and first since opening night. Blackwell was skating in his first game since Nov. 7 since returning from injury.
Ferris scored the game's final goal, a power play attempt by Ryan Lowney that made it a 7-3 game at 17:43, a score that would hold until the final horn.