BOSTON — No Vesey?
Without the contributions of national junior team star Jimmy Vesey, Harvard nonetheless shook off early jitters to knock off Colgate 4-1 and extend its first unbeaten streak of 2013 to three games (2-0-1).
Senior Marshall Everson scored twice for the Crimson (7-15-2, 4-12-1 ECAC), while classmate Alex Fallstrom and junior Dan Ford lit the lamp as well. Junior Raphael Girard made 27 saves in the Crimson’s second straight win and third game without a loss. The result gave Harvard consecutive victories for the first time since Nov. 10 and 16.
“Raph Girard made a couple big saves to make sure we left the first period 0-0,” mused Harvard coach Ted Donato. “I thought in the second period we came out, even from the very first shift, with some good energy, got the puck deep [and we benefited from] a couple nice plays by Marshall Everson going to the net [with] Kyle Criscuolo.”
Vesey missed his second game in a row with a knee injury and though it has cost him playing time, the severity is of a “day to day” variety by the staff.
“Obviously, Jimmy’s an important part of our team and one that we hope to have back, but we’ve had some guys step up,” said Donato. “Luke Greiner’s been immense over the past couple games. Fallstrom, Everson, Criscuolo, I think that we’re getting more guys involved and we’ve got more guys who are starting to hit their stride a little bit, so it’s a good time of year to do it.”
Rookie Mike Borkowski earned Colgate’s only goal, fellow freshman Spencer Finney allowed three goals on 21 shots and junior Eric Mihalik stepped in late with two saves on two shots for the Raiders (13-12-4, 5-9-3). The loss extends Colgate’s winless slide to four games (0-2-2).
Fallstrom broke the stalemate early in the second period, threading a rebound through a chaotic cluster of combatants and under a frustrated Finney. The Raiders didn’t take long to equalize, however. Borkowski scored his second career goal at 5:40 of the frame with a power-play pipe-pinger that required video review to validate.
Everson was more or less escorted to his first goal of the game, as an equivocally-directed shot by Criscuolo redirected off Finney and then off Everson’s body as he was being tied up while crashing the net. The puck caromed right past the baffled goalie for the game’s third goal – each requiring video confirmation.
“It was kind of in the breadbasket/stomach area,” Everson described. “I saw it come off the pad and I just hoped it would hit me somewhere in the body. I didn’t want to touch it with my hand, I didn’t want to kick it in. I just hoped my body momentum would carry it in.”
Everson executed his next strike in a bit more conventional fashion, flashing quickly from the forehand to backhand on Finney’s right post and flicking the puck over the ‘keeper’s glove for the 3-1 lead.
“[Criscuolo] made an incredible pass and I thought the goalie might be reading one-timer, so I wanted to hold it for a second and catch him out of position, and it worked, Everson said.
“I think we played a good first period, our jump was good, [but] I think we needed to score to get a little momentum rolling there,” said Colgate assistant coach Brad Dexter. “We came out a little sleepy in the second and they jumped on us. You need to score. One goal doesn’t leave you any room for bad bounces or tough breaks. We just got to keep pushing forward.”
The second stanza concluded in fisticuffs after a hard check at the buzzer and physicality was an influential undercurrent in the final 20 of the period. It featured a lot of close-but-not-quite for the visitors and despite four power plays, the Raiders could not cut the deficit. Ford put an end to the Raiders, and the scoring, with a 150-foot empty-net goal.