CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – With its 6-3 win over St. Lawrence, coupled with Union's tie at Cornell, the No. 3/3 Harvard men's hockey team (22-5-2, 16-4-2 ECACH) earned a share of the ECAC Hockey regular season title, and the Cleary Cup, with the Dutchmen. The Crimson hold the tiebreaker and will be the top seed in the ECAC Hockey Playoffs. The title is the 11th in program history.
Harvard had already clinched a bye in through the first round of the ECAC Playoffs and will host a quarterfinal series at the Bright-Landry Hockey Center March 10-12. The opponent will be based on the results of the first round series. Harvard's 22 wins is its most since the 2002-03 season.
The Crimson honored its eight seniors after the game. They become the first class since 1993-94 to earn a regular season ECAC Hockey championship. Senior Alexander Kerfoot had three points on a goal and two assists. Sophomore Ryan Donato had his fourth four-point game of the year, scoring twice and dishing out two assists.
Harvard jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead on the Saints in the first frame. Freshman Nathan Krusko potted the game's first goal at 8:21 with a one-timer right in front of the St. Lawrence goal off a Phil Zielonka feed. The helper was one of two on the night for Zielonka on senior night, while Jake Horton earned the second assist. Kerfoot pushed the lead out to 2-0 at 11:16. Adam Fox made a strong play to keep the puck in the zone at the blue line, tipping it to Donato. Donato circled the edge of the zone before sending the puck towards the net. It deflected off a St. Lawrence defenseman and found the stick of Kerfoot to the left of Kyle Hayton for the quick tap in.
Horton closed out the opening period scoring for Harvard with his sixth of the season. John Marino made a high clear from deep in the Harvard zone, leading Zielonka out to center ice. Zielonka carried it into the St. Lawrence zone and after it was tipped off his stick, Horton gathered it and wristed it past Hayton.
The power play unit came to life in the second frame with Donato scoring his first of the period. Fox sent a shot towards the goal that was bounced from numerous sticks, including those of Zerter-Gossage and Kerfoot before Donato reeled it in and swung around backhand for the tally. His second of the frame came at 14:40 when his wrister cleared the goaltender's shoulder and hit the top corner. Starting St. Lawrence netminder Kyle Hayton was pulled after Donato's first goal with Arthur Brey taking over.
St. Lawrence got on the board at 3:22 of the third on a power play goal from Joe Sullivan and then closed the gap to 5-2 on Mike Marnell's shorthanded goal. Carson Gicewicz made it 5-3 at 16:32, but it was as close as St. Lawrence could get, as Zerter-Gossage scored an empty-netter with nine seconds remaining.