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Opportunistic Crimson complete ECAC sweep of Dartmouth

Harvard logged just 18 shots on goal, but made them count in a 5-2 win over rival Dartmouth on Sunday night at Bright-Landry Hockey Center.

Matt Dewkett

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- Harvard had to wait longer than nearly every other team in college hockey to begin to prove its lofty expectations, but things are off to a great start after a weekend of play.

The Crimson scored twice in each of the first two periods en route to a 5-2 win over Ivy League rival Dartmouth on Sunday night at Bright-Landry Hockey Center, a night after pitching a 7-0 road shutout.

In this one, however, the Crimson recorded just 18 shots on goal.

Just two shots came in the second period, but junior defenseman Victor Newell and senior co-captain Jimmy Vesey each scored found the back of the net.

That probably isn't exactly how Harvard head coach Ted Donato would have drawn it up. But he had to be pleased with the end result, especially since both came on power plays.

"I think it was good," Donato said of his team's 2-for-6 power play effort. "Last night, it was really clicking. I think Dartmouth made some adjustments, but we were able to score some goals."

The Big Green responded to last night's shutout with a strong response to an early Harvard flurry, scoring for the first time this year at 6:35. Junior captain Brad Schierhorn fed a pass to senior linemate Nick Bligh for a wrist shot goal from the middle of the right circle.

Harvard's potent attack was quick to counter and finished the first period ahead by a 2-1 count after goals beat Dartmouth senior Charles Grant at both the 12:59 and 16:29 marks.

Junior captain Kyle Criscuolo's second goal in as many nights got the Crimson on the board. Off an assist from classmate Luke Esposito, the puck bounced home after a fortunate bounce off a defenseman's stick just outside Grant's left crease.

Tyler Moy got in on the scoring act for the second straight night, scoring the 17th minute goal on a beautiful wraparound. Junior defenseman Clay Anderson was credited with the primary assist, setting up Moy to circle the goal and tuck the puck past Grant's left post.

Newell scored on the first of the pair of second period shots, ripping a shot off the pipe from the high slot at the 4:10 mark. Senior Colin Blackwell, who missed much of last season with post-concussion issues, set up the play to notch a point for the second straight night.

"In the second period, we seemed to have the puck around the net but we didn't get a lot of shots to the net," Donato said. "I guess if I had the choice, I'd rather 2-for-2 than 0-for-15. They did a good job of blocking shots and keeping us to the outside."

Dartmouth answered the goal and moved within one 69 seconds later as sophomore Corey Kalk beat Harvard goaltender Merrick Madsen from an impossible angle after rushing down the right wing.

Kalk, who was Dartmouth's leading scorer during the preseason with three goals in two games, took senior Brett Patterson's assist and found a sliver of net at which to shoot between Merrick's shoulder and the post.

"That was pretty special," Dartmouth head coach Bob Gaudet said of the Ontario native. "It was a nice dish and really good wide speed. I liked the fact he got around the bend and really put it in probably a five-inch spot, it looked like to me. He's playing good hockey for us. He's a young kid who's coming around."

Vesey cushioned the Harvard lead again at 11:02 with, yes, another power play goal. The North Reading, Mass., native and Predators prospect batted a puck out of mid-air at the crease and found daylight behind Madsen.

"It's really nice having No. 19 (Vesey) out there when he came make some stuff out of nothing," Donato said. "He made a nice hand-eye play on his goal down there."

The third period went along at a very similar pace to the second with the Crimson scoring once on just three more shots. Harvard's fifth and final goal of the night was extra special for Donato as son Ryan took a feed from Blackwell and wristed one home from the high slot at 12:14.

"Originally, I was just relieved that we were able to get that three-goal lead, but I'm happy for him," Ted said. "He's working hard and I'm sure he's having a lot of fun. ... It was a big goal, and I'm happy for him."

Malone did some dirty work along the boards to feed Blackwell, but Ryan finished the play with a pretty shot on net that eluded Grant to his left side. The Sabres' prospect's grittiness and Blackwell's beautiful pass to the slot proved to be support Ryan appreciated.

"I was pumped up because last night I gave him one," Ryan said with a smile. "I think overall, over time, we wore (Dartmouth) down. Our hard work and skill kind of beat them."