Harvard scores three first-period goals, beats Union men’s hockey 4-1

Harvard's Nick Abruzzese battles on a faceoff with Union's Owen Farris during Saturday's ECAC Hockey game at Bright-Landry Hockey Center. (Photo courtesy Edward Jacobs/Harvard Athletics)

Harvard's Nick Abruzzese battles on a faceoff with Union's Owen Farris during Saturday's ECAC Hockey game at Bright-Landry Hockey Center. (Photo courtesy Edward Jacobs/Harvard Athletics)

The Union College men’s hockey team hadn’t played in 28 games. Harvard was playing its second game in a week.

It showed in the first period on Saturday at Bright-Landry Hockey Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The 19th-ranked Crimson took advantage of the Dutchmen trying to find their skating legs and scored three times, including two with in a 51-second span, to cruise to a 4-1 ECAC Hockey win.

“I thought the first period, [Harvard] really came out and established the identity of the game,” Union head coach Rick Bennett said. “It took us a period to get our legs. By that time, the score was 3-zip. You’re just fighting an uphill battle.

“We were able to play with them for two periods. The first period really hurt us. We weren’t able to capitalize. We gave it a good effort. I don’t say it was a little too late because it’s only the first period knowing your down. But when you’re down 3-zip to a very good hockey team, that is really an uphill battle that you’re going to lose more times than you’re going to win.”

Union (3-5-1 ECACH, 8 points; 5-10-3 overall) is winless in its last four games. It was the Dutchmen’s first game since a 4-3 loss to Maine on Dec. 11. Union was scheduled to play a two-game series last weekend against UMass, but those games were postponed because of the Dutchmen being in health and safety protocols. The Dutchmen were scheduled to play Friday at Dartmouth, but that game was postponed because Dartmouth was in health and safety protocols.

The Crimson (6-2-1, 20 points; 8-4-1), who moved into first place with the win, took a 1-0 lead midway through the first period when Sean Farrell skated away from the right-wing boards to the right circle and then fired a shot past goalie Connor Murphy’s right side.

Nick Abruzzese scored a power-play goal with 2:24 left to make it 2-0. Then, with 1:33 remaining, Alex Gaffney scored.

At one time, the shots on goal were 7-6 in Harvard’s favor. After that, the Crimson had nine of the final 10 shots of the period.

The score remained that way until late in the second period when Josh Kosack, who was coming out of the penalty box after serving a charging penalty, took a Tyler Watkins pass and went in on a breakaway. Kosack deked goalie Mitchell Gibson and deposited a backhander into the net with 20 seconds remaining, giving Union some momentum heading into the third period.

“That’s the way they felt in the locker room,” Bennett said. “They were excited. You could see it.”

Henry Thrun sealed the win for the Crimson late in the third period when his shot from the right circle deflected off the stick of Union defenseman Ryan Sidorski and bounced past Murphy.

Murphy finished with 36 saves.

Union is slated to return to action next weekend when it visits St. Lawrence on Friday and Clarkson on Saturday.

Union 0 1 0 — 1
Harvard 3 0 1 — 4
First Period — 1, Harvard, Farrell 8 (Wong, Abruzzese), 9:43. 2, Harvard, Abruzzese 5 (Farrell, Thrun), 17:36 (pp). 3, Harvard, Gaffney 2 (Laferriere, Bar), 18:27. Penalties — Ferguson, Uni (holding), 17:12.

Second Period — 4, Union, Kosack 2 (Watkins), 19:40. Penalties — Kelly, Uni (holding), 4:55; Ferguson, Uni (cross-checking), 10:08; Gaffney, Har (slashing), 12:01; Kosack, Uni (charging), 17:34.

Third Period — 5, Harvard, Thrun 3 (Wong), 14:26. Penalties — Hodge, Uni, minor-misconduct (roughing), 19:40; Drkulec, Har (slashing), 19:40; Lyons, Har, minor-misconduct (roughing), 19:40.

Shots on Goal — Union 7-7-6 — 20. Harvard 16-11-13 — 40.

Power-play opportunities — Union 0 of 2; Harvard 1 of 4.

Goalies — Union, Murphy 5-9-2 (40 shots-36 saves). Harvard, Gibson 6-4-0 (20-19).

A — 250.

Referees — William Brennan III, Brad LeBlanc. Linesmen — Taylor Larson, Stephen Drain.

RPI WOMEN BEAT BROWN
At Meehan Auditorium in Providence, Rhode Island, Maddy Peterson scored twice to lead RPI to a 4-1 women’s ECAC Hockey victory over Brown.
The Engineers (4-8-0 ECACH, 13 points) earned a split of the two-game weekend series. Brown won Friday’s game 2-1.

Saturday’s game was originally scheduled to be played Feb. 5 at Houston Field House. But after RPI’s scheduled Saturday game at Yale was postponed because of health and safety protocols in the Yale program, the decision was made to have the Engineers play at Brown a second time.

Mika Jahnke and Marah Wagner also scored for RPI Engineers goalie Amanda Rampado made 31 saves.

RPI 1 1 2 — 4
Brown 0 0 1 — 1
First Period — 1, RPI, Peterson (Blitz), 7:56. Penalties — Papineau, RPI (boarding), 5:25.

Second Period — 2, RPI, Jahnke (Alexander, Severson), 2:27. Penalties — Price, RPI (slashing), 6:39; Severson, RPI (body checking), 11:17; Larsen, RPI (interference), 16:38.

Third Period — 3, RPI, Wagner (Dalby), :29. 4, Brown, Gross (Paoillo, Bjornson), 15:07. 5, RPI, Peterson (Erbenova), 19:28. Penalties — None.

Shots on Goal — RPI 8-8-5 — 21. Maine 15-8-9 — 32.

Power-play opportunities — RPI 0 of 0; Brown 0 of 4.

Goalies — RPI, Rampado (32 shots-31 saves). Brown, Kliczko (20-17).

A — 106.

Referees — Jason Galofaro, Alexander Bergeron. Linesmen — Chad Gouin, Matthew Berg.

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