CAMBRIDGE, MASS. — With only one point to show for its season-opening road trip, Harvard returned to its winning ways with a pair of wins at home.
The Crimson (3-2-1, 3-2-1 ECAC), who posted a thrilling 4-3 overtime victory over perennial Ivy League foe Cornell Friday night, coasted to an effortless 6-1 win over Colgate (3-6-0, 2-2-0 ECAC) Saturday night to close out the homestand sweep.
Despite the outpouring of goals, the Crimson needed only a pair of tallies to ensure its victory. Posting its first shorthanded goal of the season, Harvard continued its tradition of offensive-minded penalty-killing. With Scooter Smith sidelined by a hooking call, the duo of Brett Nowak and Dennis Packard combined to put the Crimson up 2-0 at 9:51. Nowak capitalized on Colgate’s defense lapse and slid a pass to Packard, who one-timed it home on the doorstep.
The victory, the most offensively productive game the Crimson has had since its heartbreaking 8-7 loss to Northeastern last year in the Beanpot consolation game, gave the Crimson seven points and sole possession of first place in the ECAC.
“Tonight’s game was not a work of art,” Harvard head coach Mark Mazzoleni said. “But not every game is going to be a work of art. With the start we got off to, these wins help us a lot in our league and put us in a better position to strike.”
The Red Raiders have had very little luck against the Crimson in recent years, failing to take a victory from Harvard since its 5-4 win on its home ice in 1999. The Crimson’s victory, ironically its first successful bid against unranked opponents, increased its series streak to four games over the Red Raiders.
The Crimson wasted little time breaking into the scoring column, notching a quick tally in the opening minutes of the first period. Jeff Stonehouse perfectly deflected a hard slap from Kenny Smith in the high slot at 1:35.
The Red Raiders squandered a handful of choice opportunities to exploit Dov Grumet-Morris in the early going, including a two-on-one rush at 13:30. Colgate’s Kyle Doyle, flanked by linemate Brad D’Arco, launched a wrist shot just wide of the net.
Just off the power play, Smith had a hand in the Crimson’s third tally of the night at 18:55 in the first period. Andrew Lederman dished to Smith at the point, who deftly slipped a one-timer past Jason LeFevre.
The character of the game changed markedly in the second period, as Colgate took the ice with a little more spring in its step. Both teams succumbed to sloppy and undisciplined play and the Red Raiders’ frustration gave way to seven penalties.
The rougher play allowed Colgate to capitalize on a temporary momentum shift and made Grumet-Morris’ bid for his first collegiate shutout short-lived. With both sides down a man from matching penalties, Ben Bryce gained control of the puck in the low slot at 7:25 and fired the puck in front of Grumet-Morris. Doyle slammed home the puck five-hole to put the Red Raiders on the board 3-1.
Doyle’s goal was the only blemish on an otherwise fantastic night for the rookie netminder.
“The team played really, really well in front of me this weekend,” Grumet-Morris said. “It made my job a whole lot easier. This weekend was a huge turning point for our team.”
The Crimson regained its three-goal advantage with an unassisted tally from Nowak at 5:23 in the second stanza. Just back at even strength, Nowak smoothly cycled around the net and shoved the puck through the scrum in front of the crease to make it 4-1.
After almost two periods of play, Colgate head coach Don Vaugahn opted for a fresh goaltender in David Cann after Harvard’s fourth goal. LeFevre departed with 5:23 left in the second period after facing 19 shots and stopping 15 of them.
Harvard attempted to put up a pair of short-handed tallies with just under a minute to go in the middle frame. Tim Pettit gained control of the puck in the neutral zone and rushed in alone, but Cann was able to pull off a spectacular save to keep Colgate within three.
Halfway through the final frame, Noah Welch tallied the Crimson’s fifth goal off a pass from linemate Tom Cavanaugh. Dave McCulloch capped off Harvard’s scoring with a soft shot off from the point at 18:52 off a pass from Lederman on the power play to make it 6-1.