Ryan Donato got the Harvard Crimson offense going and he stopped the Union College Dutchmen’s comeback attempt Friday night at the Bright-Landry Hockey Center in a 6-2 victory.
He had four goals, including two empty-net goals as the Dutchmen made a furious comeback in the third period, scoring both their goals in the final 20 minutes. He also had 13 shots on goal.
“I had no idea,” Ryan Donato said. “If that’s case, I should have passed it a couple of more times. No, it’s awesome to see we are getting chances and obviously it speaks to my linemates, who are pretty good playmakers as well.”
After the Dutchmen had controlled the play in the first two minutes, the Crimson took advantage of a turnover in front of Union goalie Jake Kupsky. Defensemen Jeff Taylor looked to make a pass right in front of Kupsky’s crease, but Donato, who was on the forecheck, put his stick flat on the ice to deflect the pass or steal it. The puck deflected off Donato’s stick past Kupsky at the 3:02 mark. It was Donato’s 12th goal of the season.
Harvard squandered a chance 9:17 into the first period as Taylor and Sebastian Vidmar went to the box and the Crimson had a full two minutes of a five-on-three power play. They worked the puck around looking for that perfect shot but couldn’t capitalized.
“I thought we made poor decisions with the puck the first three or four minutes,” Harvard coach Ted Donato said. “After that I thought we settled in and I thought it was back and forth in the first period. I thought we got a bounce on the first goal. The five-on-three was a little frustrating because we had some good chances and good looks. The puck bounced a little bit when we had some chances.”
The power play couldn’t convert a chance that carried over into the second period. While the power play was struggling to light the lamp though, Harvard opened the game up even strength with three goals in a 4:17 span.
Donato notched his second goal of the game with a snipe from the right circle. The goal was set up by Lewis Zerter-Gossage and Adam Fox. John Marino set up the next goal, along with Ty Pelton-Byce, as Viktor Dombrovskiy notched his third goal of the year at the 11:38 mark.
Just 17 seconds later, Sean Malone was left alone near the crease where Luke Esposito and Tyler Moy found him for his 14th goal of the year.
Union used its timeout after the goal and lifted Kupsky for Joe Young. Kupsky made 13 saves while Young also stopped 13 shots.
Merrick Madsen made 32 saves in the victory.
Union coach Rick Bennett declined to speak to the media after the game.
Mike Vecchione put the Dutchmen on the board early in the third period as he setup in the slot, where Vidmar found him for his 23rd goal of the season. Brett Supinski picked up the secondary assist.
The trio sparked the Dutchmen’s offense for their second goal. Vidmar, who was to the right of the crease, looked like he was getting ready for spring training as he batted the puck into the goal at the 8:59 mark. Vecchione and Supinski were credited with the assists.
“They have some unbelievable players on their team,” Ryan Donato said. “Obviously, they have two third-period leading scorers in the country. They have some great players and I think it’s good for us to play a game (to) shutdown (them). Obviously it’s nice to be up a couple of goals. It was key to get that first goal. The fact we can shutdown some guys when they have some (of the) top players in the country, it speaks a lot for a team. It also speaks well for the goaltender we have.”
Donato’s first empty-net goal came with 2:16 remaining and his second came with 14 seconds left.
Clarkson 4, at No. 19 Quinnipiac 2
Sam Vigneault had a goal and two assists to lead the Clarkson Golden Knights to a 4-2 victory over Quinnipiac. Aaron Thow had a goal and assist while James de Haas and Greg Moro also had goals. Chase Priskie and Kevin McKernan scored for the Bobcats.
Dartmouth 2, Rensselaer 1
Josh Hartley had both Dartmouth goals in a 2-1 victory over Rensselaer Friday night. Devin Buffalo made 29 saves in the win. Brady Wiffen scored for RPI and Chase Perry made 28 saves.
Princeton 3, No. 18 St. Lawrence 1
The Princeton Tigers scored three unanswered goals in a 3-1 victory over St. Lawrence. Alex Riche, Josh Teves, and Max Becker were the goal scorers. Jackson Cressey had two assists. Jacob Pritchard scored for the Saints.