LOWELL, Mass. -- A pair of power-play goals helped No. 18 Harvard extend its win streak to four games Saturday night, as it downed No. 4 UMass Lowell 4-2 at the Tsongas Center. The win improves Harvard to 7-1-2 overall and 3-0-1 against top-10 teams this season.
Luke Esposito scored a pair of goals for the Crimson, while Tyler Moy and Clay Anderson also lit the lamp in the winning performance. Harvard's defense did a splendid job limiting the River Hawks' scoring chances, as Steve Michalek needed to make just 15 saves to pick up the win.
The Crimson took advantage of the River Hawks' first penalty of the game, scoring its ninth power play goal of the year. With Michael Louria serving two minutes for interference, Harvard's attack put the pressure on, forcing UMass Lowell goaltender Jeff Smith to make a pair of saves before Tyler Moy jammed in a rebound at 9:11 for the first power play goal of his career. The score was set up when Kyle Criscuolo found Jimmy Vesey at the right face-off dot for a blast that ricocheted off the back boards, bouncing out in front of the net where Moy stuffed it home. The assists extend Criscuolo and Vesey's point streaks to 10 games.
UMass Lowell bounced back less than two minutes later when C.J. Smith registered his fourth goal of the year on a top-shelf wrister. Chris Forney and Joe Gambardella assisted on the goal, counting as Fourney's first career point.
Back-to-back hooking penalties on UMass Lowell's Tyler Mueller and Harvard's Patrick McNally created a 4-on-4 situation at 17:20 that the Crimson used to recapture the lead. The open ice allowed Brian Hart to find a streaking Luke Esposito in front of River Hawks goal, with Esposito finding the top right corner for his second of the year. Max Everson also picked up an assist, his second of the year, on the goal.
Penalties, and the success of each power play unit, led to each team adding one goal to its tally in the second frame. UMass Lowell found the back of the net first on the man advantage, evening the score, 2-2, at 3:28 when C.J. Smith tallied his second of the game.
The dangerous Crimson power play unit was able to push the lead back in its favor at 11:50, converting its second man-up opportunity of the night. UMass Lowell was able to fend off the Crimson during a 5-on-3 for 45 seconds, but Clay Anderson made sure Harvard was successful on the 5-on-4. The River Hawks attempted to clear the puck, but Anderson blocked it down at the blue line, made a quick stride towards the goal and fired a rocket that beat Jeff Smith, making it a 3-2 Crimson lead.
Harvard's defense buckled in for the final 20 minutes, allowing just five shots to reach Michalek in goal. Esposito would add the last score on an empty-net effort at 17:55 to bring the final score to 4-2.