Kyle Criscuolo has a team-high six game-winners this season (Gil Talbot).
PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Tied at 2-2 with less than four minutes to play, senior forward Kyle Criscuolo scored the Crimson's 23rd power play goal of the season to clinch a road ECAC and Ivy League victory Friday at Brown (4-15-4, 2-11-3 ECAC).
After jumping out to a 2-0 lead early in the second period, Harvard allowed Brown to rally back with the next two goals creating the tie game as the final minutes were ticking off the clock. A tripping penalty by Brown's Max Willman gave Harvard its second power play of the third period. The man advantage proved crucial, as Harvard's lethal power play that is converting on nearly one-third of its opportunities came through with the winning goal. Colin Blackwell made a good play at the blue line to keep the puck in the zone and forced it down low after some battling the puck pop loose behind the net. Alexander Kerfoot collected it there, attempted a wrap-around to the left side, but the puck escaped his stick and trickled over to Criscoulo staring at an open net.
Criscuolo's sixth game-winner of the season pushes the seventh-ranked Crimson's record to 13-5-3 and 9-3-3 in the ECAC. In addition, Harvard also improves to 7-0-1 in the Ivy League, giving it 15 points, three more than second-place Yale. The Crimson and Bulldogs go head-to-head Saturday night in New Haven, Connecticut. A Harvard victory would ensure the 22nd Ancient Eight title in program history for the Crimson.
First period gameplay heavily favored the Crimson, as the visiting team doubled up the host, 14-7, in shots on goal, with one of those crossing the goal line to give Harvard a 1-0 lead. Jimmy Vesey carried the puck into the offensive zone, working with Alexander Kerfoot to get it into the corner. Harvard's senior winger then controlled it back out, feeding sophomore Wiley Sherman at the blue line for a blast that Brown netminder Tim Ernst got a piece of, but the force of the shot pushed it into the goal. The goal was Sherman's fourth of the season.
The opening seconds of the second period saw much of the same offensive prowess from the Crimson, with Vesey burying a breakaway tally for his 17th of the year. In the defensive zone, Kerfoot stopped a Brown shot attempt on his stick and immediately hit Vesey racing through the neutral zone past the Brown defense. A few strides later he was beating Ernst over the shoulder to make it a 2-0 Harvard lead.
The pace of the game increased as the period wore on with the Brown offense finally generating multiple opportunities, but with 2:05 left in the frame, it looked as if Vesey had given Harvard a 3-0 lead. After skating through the zone and wristing a shot past Ernst with Kerfoot screening the goaltender, the referees reviewed the goal and waved it off. Brown capitalized on the momentum swing just over a minute later when Tommy Marchin flung a shot towards the net from the goal line that deflected off Madsen and rolled into the cage. The goal sent the game to the second intermission with the Harvard lead reduced to 2-1.
Brown fed off the energy of the first goal heading into the third and tied it up five minutes in, as Zack Pryzbek scored from Alex Brink. The even score held firm until the Criscuolo goal with 3:45 remaining shifted the game back in favor of the Crimson.
Harvard and Yale drop the puck Saturday night at Ingalls Rink at 7 p.m. The game will be shown live on the Ivy League Digital Network.