Seniors Drive No. 13/13 Men’s Hockey Past Colgate in 7-4 Thriller

Kyle Criscuolo scored the game-winner Saturday (Elan Kawesch).

CAMBRIDGE, Mass.  – On a night in which the No. 13/13 Harvard men's hockey team was set to honor its seniors post game, the Crimson engaged in a thrilling back-and-forth affair with the visiting Colgate Raiders before scoring three goals in the final three minutes to pull away for the 7-4 victory.

Harvard (15-8-4, 10-5-4 ECAC) relied heavily on its seniors as they accounted for eight points on the night. Jimmy Vesey led the way with three (2G, 1A), while Kyle Criscuolo and Colin Blackwell each had a goal and assist and Brayden Jaw chipped in a helper.

The victory gives Harvard 26 points in the ECAC standings, still good for third and a three-point cushion over fourth-place St. Lawrence. Harvard needs just one point next weekend on its road trip to North Country to face the Saints and Clarkson to secure a bye in the first round of the ECAC playoffs.

Harvard looked to be in complete control early Saturday, getting goals from Vesey and Esposito in the first 11 minutes to take a 2-0 lead. Vesey's 19th of the year came on the power play at 7:57, set up by nice passing from Criscuolo and Blackwell. Esposito's tally at 10:38 came off his wrister from the top of the right face-off circle.

Colgate battled back though and scored the period's next two goals. Tylor Spink notched the first at 12:37 and Darcy Murphy had the first equalizer at 17:48.

The Crimson regained the lead 1:37 in the second period when Seb Lloyd scored his second goal in as many games. For the second time, the Raiders responded, this time at 9:33 when Adam Dauda found the back of the net.

The 3-3 score held until 9:43 of the third period when Tyler Moy drove home his seventh of the season as he was crashing the Colgate net. Michael Floodstrand fed a pass across the crease and Moy finished it on the other side. Colgate needed just 38 seconds to tie the game once again when Tylor Spink tallied his second of the night.

The final three minutes belonged to Harvard though. Criscuolo gave Harvard the lead for good at 17:13, scoring off an impressive feed from Vesey in front of the net. Blackwell made it a 6-4 game with 40 seconds to play, scoring with an empty net and Vesey brought the game to its 7-4 final when he made Colgate pay for a turnover in its zone with 23 seconds remaining.

Harvard begins the last weekend of the regular season at Clarkson Friday, Feb. 26 and closes it out at St. Lawrence the next night.