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CANTON, N.Y. – Eighth-ranked Harvard graduated two of the ECAC’s top scorers from a season ago, Jimmy Vesey and Kyle Criscuolo, but their offense, at least on paper, appears to have not lost a beat.
Crimson head coach Ted Donato has looked to the line of Alex Kerfoot, Ryan Donato, and Lewis Zerter-Gossage to replace the production formerly provided by the Vesey-Criscuolo-Kerfoot line, and it paid off against No. 19 St. Lawrence Friday night — a contest in which Kerfoot netted a pair of goals and a pair of assists en route to a 4-2 win over the now 8-5-4 Saints.
Donato and Zerter-Gossage each picked up an assist, while Adam Fox collected a helper on each of Harvard’s first three goals to help the Crimson improve to 7-2-1.
“Obviously it’s different, I played with them the last two years,” said Kerfoot, of his season with Vesey and Criscuolo. “Coming into the season I knew there was going to be an adjustment period, and we got off to a bit of a slow start, but that’s to be expected when you’re playing with two new guys.”
While he continues to distribute the puck to his two linemates, Kerfoot also said that he’s been trying to incorporate shooting the puck more into his game, and that was on full display Friday night.
Kerfoot’s first goal of the night came on the power play, evening the score at a goal apiece after Joe Sullivan put the Saints up 1-0 early in the first. The Saints turned the puck over in deep to Adam Fox, who fed Ryan Donato. Donato connected with Kerfoot in the high slot, and he buried a wrist shot high glove on Kyle Hayton at the 15:37 mark of the opening frame.
The senior center, drafted in the 5th round of the 2012 NHL draft by New Jersey, netted his second goal 5:42 into the second period when he and Zerter-Gossage combined on a 2-on-1 rush while the Saints were caught in a line change. Zerter-Gossage fed the puck through the slot and under a diving Mike Graham to Kerfoot, who tapped the pass in.
The fact that each of his linemates had a primary assist on one of his two goals would not be a surprise to Kerfoot, who emphasized that he was still playing with high-level hockey players in Ryan Donato and Lewis Zerter-Gossage.
“I think as the games have gone on we’ve figured things out as a line, and I’m still playing with two really good hockey players.”
“It’s no secret to the coaching staff that Alexander Kerfoot is a hell of a player,” said Harvard head coach Ted Donato. “It’s a different role for him obviously this year, in that he had two established guys, and now he’s got two guys who are learning to be top players at this level, and I think he’s been great, he’s been patient, and he’s been there for us every night.”
The Saints pulled to within two goals late on Mike Marnell’s eighth of the season, which came off a rebound from Gavin Bayreuther shot, but the comeback fell short. After the loss, St. Lawrence coach Mark Morris was frank about the performance of his team.
“I thought we got beat by a really good hockey team. We’re not there yet,” said Morris. “They were quicker, they’ve got two dynamic lines, and they made the most of our blunders. We looked like a tired team tonight, and they looked like a nationally ranked team. You learn the most when you come up short. It’s how you react to adversity that ultimately determines your fate. I wasn’t crazy about our effort tonight, and hopefully tomorrow they’ll be lots to be happy about.”
Clarkson 4, Dartmouth 2
Two goals from Troy Josephs, including one on the power play, propelled Clarkson to a 4-2 victory over Dartmouth. Jake Kielly made 26 saves in the win.
Union 7, Princeton 3
Max Veronneau scored a pair of power-play goals for Princeton, but Union dominated at 5-on-5 to send the Tigers packing. Mike Vecchione’s stellar season continued, as he picked up three points.
Quinnipiac 4, Rensselaer 1
Three straight power play goals from the Bobcats broke a 1-1 stalemate midway through the third period. Tim Clifton’s tenth of the season got Quinnipiac started, while Bo Pieper collected a goal and an assist on the second two.
Cornell 4, Miami 3
Two goals in a 1:13 stretch tied Cornell with Miami and then gave them a 3-2 lead. The Big Red made it 4-2 on Trevor Yates’ power-play goal, but Karch Bachman brought Miami to 4-3 with 3:04 left, but the Redhawks couldn’t find the equalizer.
Arizona State 5, Colgate 4
The Raiders’ struggles continue as they were unable to find a tying goal in the third against second-year Arizona State. The Sun Devils scored early with the first of two goals by Louie Rowe and then BU transfer Robbie Baillargeon scored his seventh of the season on the power play to break a 1-1 tie.