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No. 2/2 Harvard Shuts Out No. 13/13 Providence, 3-0, in NCAA Opener

No. 2/2 Harvard Shuts Out No. 13/13 Providence, 3-0, in NCAA Opener

Courtesy of Harvard Athletic Communications

PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- Behind a career-high 41 saves from junior Merrick Madsen, first-seeded Harvard downed the fourth-seeded Providence Friars, 3-0, in the East Regional semifinal at the Dunkin' Donuts Center in Providence, Rhode Island on Friday evening. The Crimson extended its win streak to 15–straight games, matching the longest streak in program history from the 1988-89 season. 

Harvard (27-5-2) used stellar defense all game and a two-goal second period to pull away from Providence (22-12-5), earning its first NCAA tournament win since 1994 and first NCAA tournament shutout since 1987. Senior Tyler Moy registered the first tally for the Crimson early in the second frame, and freshman Adam Fox added another late in the frame to give Harvard all the offense it needed against the Friars. Moy made it 3-0 on an empty-netter with 1:51 remaining in the contest to cap off the victory. 

Providence opened the contest with an edge on the offensive end, but Madsen shut down multiple opportunities from the Friars in the early going to keep the contest scoreless. Madsen racked up seven saves in the opening 3:31 of the game as he set the tone for the Crimson and finished the period with 17 stops.

Neither team managed to break the scoreless tie after the first period of action, while the Friars out-shot Harvard 17-11. A Providence penalty with 34 seconds remaining in the period, however, set up a late power play opportunity and some momentum for the Crimson at the first intermission.

Harvard wasted no time on the man-up opportunity, taking advantage of the tripping penalty with a power play score 1:09 in to the second frame. Senior Moy notched his 19th tally of the season with a snipe from the left circle that beat Providence goaltender Hayden Hawkey. Senior Alexander Kerfoot and freshman Fox were credited with assists on the Moy goal.

The Crimson extended its lead to 2-0 near the end of the period, as sophomore Ryan Donato was able to tap a loose puck to a waiting Fox near the crease, and the freshman defender put the moves on Hawkey for the backhanded goal. Madsen continued to hold down the Crimson defense with 13 more saves in the frame.

Harvard's defense carried the Crimson in the final frame, holding the Friars scoreless through two power play chances in the period to cap off a perfect night for the penalty kill unit. Madsen was zoned in the entire contest, finishing with a career-high 41 saves and his third shutout of the season.   

Harvard returns to action for the East Regional final at 8:30 p.m on Saturday, March 25. The Crimson will face the third-seeded Air Force who beat second-seeded Western Michigan, 5-4, in its first round matchup.