Sean Malone had six points in the quarterfinals sweep of Rensselaer (Gil Talbot).
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – The No. 12/12 Harvard men's hockey team scored seven-straight goals to dispatch of Rensselaer in the second game of their ECAC Quarterfinal series, 8-2. The eight-goal outing marks Harvard's highest offensive output since March 11, 2012 against Yale and completes a sweep of the Engineers to clinch a spot in Lake Placid for the Crimson in the ECAC semifinals Friday, March 18.
Harvard's opponent will be determined by the winner of the Quinnipiac vs. Cornell matchup Sunday night. The only quarterfinal series to go three games, a win for Quinnipiac would see the Crimson play St. Lawrence, but a Cornell victory would pit the Big Red against the Crimson in the semifinals.
Sean Malone continued his phenomenal play Saturday night, registering three points on a goal and two assists to give him six total points for the series. Jimmy Vesey also had three points in Saturday's victory with an assist in the first period and two goals in the third. Merrick Madsen was outstanding in goal for the second consecutive night, stopping 37 shots in between the pipes.
After a calm first 15 minutes of action to start the game, a 2:41 span beginning at 15:02 of the first saw four goals and two penalties called, leading to a 2-2 game. The barrage of scoring began with Jake Horton netting his third of the season when he wristed a shot from a near impossible angle that cleared Hackett's shoulder and hit the mesh. Luke Esposito and Sean Malone were in on the assists.
Rensselear responded with two goals of its own, separated by 23 seconds. Riley Bourbonnais scored his 15th of the season, placing a loose puck into the back of the net to the right of Madsen. Jesper Ohrvall potted the second Rensselear goal when the puck landed at his stick after a shot hit teammate Lou Nanne in front. The 2-1 lead was the only time Rensselaer led in the series and it last a mere 59 seconds.
The scoring stretch was capped at 17:43 when Harvard's Viktor Dombrovskiy finished off a terrific play by the Crimson in the offensive zone for his first collegiate goal. Kyle Criscuolo dug the puck out from the corner to the right of Hackett, found Jimmy Vesey in the slot who then saucered a soft pass to Dombrovskiy on the opposite side as he was getting pushed off the puck. Dombrovskiy took one stride towards the Rensselaer goal and buried the puck to tie the game at 2-2.
Harvard regained the lead 1:35 into the 2nd when Malone scored his third of the series. Desmond Bergin made a good play behind the Harvard net to clear the puck up the boards to Brayden Jaw. Jaw carried it into the zone, feeding Malone for his 10th of the season. Harvard continued to put the pressure on and was able to make it a 4-2 game at 9:26 when Clay Anderson used a pinpoint wrist shot to beat Hackett from the left face-off dot. Malone picked up his third point of the game with an assist, while Blackwell earned the primary assist with a pass from the other side of the zone that hit Anderson on the tape.
Harvard stormed away in the final frame, potting four goals, including a pair from Vesey to seal the series. Vesey started the onslaught just 15 ticks in, roping a shot into the top shelf before following with another unassisted strike, deking the keeper on a breakaway 13 minutes into the period to further Harvard's lead to 6-0. Jaw potted his second of the season with four minutes to go and Ryan Donato capped the scoring fury with his 12th tally of the year with just under three minutes remaining, icing the 8-2 victory for the Crimson.