CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Ignited for the first time in a 5-2 win against Dartmouth Friday night, the Harvard Crimson offense showed no signs of cooling off Saturday, peppering Vermont (2-4-2, 0-2-0 ECAC) and goalie Travis Russell with 56 shots en route to a 4-2 win.
Harvard (2-1-0, 2-1-0) won its second straight game, sweeping its first home series. Similar to Friday night, the Crimson broke the game open with a strong second period. The Crimson’s first goal came six and a half minutes into the first period, and followed the modus operandi for the success it enjoyed against Dartmouth: attacking the net and rebounding loose pucks.
Setting up the first goal, forward Tyler Kolarik darted in front of Russell and fired a quick shot which the Catamount goalie stopped but couldn’t hold. Crashing the net, center Brett Nowak scooped up the loose puck and directed it towards the net, where it was tapped in by the onrushing Dan Murphy.
Despite some excellent scoring chances, Russell denied the Crimson any more first-period goals.
With the Crimson up 1-0 in the second, Dartmouth forward Bryson Busniuk was whistled off for boarding at 7:21. Harvard wasted little time exploiting the man-advantage. The power play set up in the Vermont zone, the puck was directed by Noah Welch from the blue line down low to forward Tim Pettit, who then whistled a cross-ice pass to captain Dominic Moore. Moore faked a slapshot, drawing the Vermont defender into a dive, then maneuvered around him to fire a shot past Russell’s left shoulder.
That goal was Moore’s 100th career point, but it wasn’t his last of the night.
He also assisted in the third Harvard goal of the second period, winning a faceoff in the Vermont zone back to forward Brendan Bernakevitch. Bernakevitch fired a shot that Russell saved, but the Catamount goalie could do nothing about the rebound, which forward Dennis Packard hammered home to give Harvard a 4-0 lead. Forward Aaron Kim had the Crimson’s second goal of the game at 14:22 of the second.
“They spent a lot of time in our zone,” Vermont coach Mike Gilligan said. “Their forwards were too strong for our forwards. They cycled it and we couldn’t pin them to the boards.”
Nowhere was the dominance of Harvard’s forwards more apparent than in the shot totals. Russell faced 56 shots while the Catamounts put only 26 shots on Harvard goaltender Dov Grumet-Morris. Vermont did manage to mount some late offense when center Ryan Miller scored a power-play goal at 18:22 of the second period. Winger Baron Becker notched Vermont’s second goal in the waning seconds of the third.
Vermont’s offense, despite notching the Miller power-play goal, failed to score on any of its six other chances and often looked more frustrated with the man advantage than without, a testament to Harvard’s defense.
“I thought we did a lot of things that we needed to do,” Harvard coach Mark Mazzoleni said. “I thought we did good things mixing it up on our forecheck. We pressured at times, we jammed the neutral zone at times so we weren’t predictable. We pressured the puck well, got into their shot lanes and really kept things to the perimeter.”