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Crimson Looks to Start Strong Friday in Hanover

Ian Tallett and Chris Huxley hope to provide plenty of big hits in 2009-10 (photo courtesy Steve Babineau).

Game Notes (PDF) | Live ECAC Hockey Scoreboard

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Game On
The Harvard men’s hockey team starts its 110th season of men’s hockey with a trip to Hanover, N.H., to take on ECAC Hockey and Ivy League rival Dartmouth. The puck drops Friday at 7 p.m. at Thompson Arena.

Follow From Home
Tom Brennan and Brendan Roche will have the call of the game on WHRB-FM 95.3 and WHRB.org. Dartmouth will provide live video of the game on a subscription basis.

Behind the Bench
Former Crimson captain, NCAA Frozen Four Most Outstanding Player and 13-year National Hockey League veteran Ted Donato ’91 begins in his sixth season as The Robert D. Ziff ’88 Head Coach for Harvard Men’s Ice Hockey. He owns an 82-68-17 record, three ECAC title-game appearances and two NCAA tournament bids.

Last Time Out
The 2009-10 Crimson had a solid competitive debut in Friday’s home exhibition against McGill. The visitors scored a pair of first-period goals and hung on for a 3-3 tie, but Harvard held a 49-18 edge in shots, including a 17-1 margin in a dominant third period. Doug Rogers (Watertown, Mass.) netted the third-period equalizer after brothers Michael Biega (Montreal, Que.) and Alex Biega (Montreal, Que.) scored earlier. Kyle Richter (Calgary, Alta.) played the entire game, making 15 saves in his first action since 2007-08.

Road Warriors
The first five games of Harvard’s season will be played on the road. It is the team’s longest season-opening road stretch since beginning 1958-59 with six straight on the road. The following six games will then be at home, beginning with the Nov. 20 home opener against St. Lawrence.

Let’s Get It Started
This is the first game of the ECAC Hockey and Ivy League regular seasons. Harvard (9-16-6, 9-7-6 ECAC) and Dartmouth (14-14-3, 11-9-2) tied for fifth place in ECAC Hockey last year. All of the Crimson’s wins came in home league contests. Dartmouth went 5-4-1 against the other five Ivy teams to finish second in the Ivy standings, while Harvard was fifth at 3-4-3. In their preseason polls, both the ECAC coaches and media picked Harvard fourth and Dartmouth fifth.

For Openers
The Crimson is 79-27-3 all-time in official season openers, including a team-record 18 straight opening wins from 1922-39. The Crimson beat the Big Green, 4-1, at home to start last season and has won five of its nine season openers against Dartmouth, dating back to a 4-3 Big Green win in 1941.

Harvard opens the season against an Ivy League opponent for the 28th time in the last 30 years. The Crimson’s only non-Ivy openers since 1979 came in 1991 at Union (a 7-5 win) and in 2007 at Clarkson (a 3-1 loss).

A Tradition of Excellence
Harvard has played in six of the last eight ECAC title games, winning league titles in 2002, ’04 and ’06. The Crimson has won a league-high 13 ECAC regular-season titles and eight league tournament championships. Harvard has won 21 Ivy League championships, has made 21 NCAA Championship appearances and won the 1989 NCAA national title.

Scouting the Big Green
Dartmouth, like Harvard, opened up with a home exhibition against McGill. The Big Green suffered a 7-4 loss but held a 2-1 lead when starting netminder Jody O’Neill left the game. Adam Estoclet, who scored twice against McGill, led Dartmouth with 32 points and 24 assists last season. The team’s top four scorers are back, including top goal-scorer Scott Fleming (13-12-25) and defenseman Evan Stephens (5-14-19). O’Neill earned selection as the ECAC Hockey and Ivy League Rookie of the Year with a .923 save percentage and 2.61 goals-against average.

Harvard vs. Dartmouth in 2008-09
The Crimson opened last season with a 4-1 Halloween-night home win against the Big Green, with Pier-Olivier Michaud (Mont-Joli, Que.) leading the way with a goal and two assists. Michael Biega had a goal and an assist, while Doug Rogers logged two helpers.

The rematch, Jan. 25 at Thompson Arena, was a wild, 5-5 tie. The Crimson trailed by two goals but rallied to take the lead twice in the third period, only to see the Big Green answer twice. Rogers registered his second career hat trick and added an assist. Ryan Grimshaw (Rochester, N.Y.) scored the first goal of his career to give Harvard a lead with about five minutes left, but Evan Stephens scored the equalizer for Dartmouth. John Riley (Lake Forest, Ill.) made 37 saves for the Crimson, while the Big Green’s Jody O’Neill made 18 of his 32 stops after the second intermission.

Series History
Harvard is unbeaten in its last five games against Dartmouth, and the teams had split three straight regular-season series before the Crimson’s sweep in 2007-08. Dartmouth won the 2006 season opener in Hanover, 5-2. Harvard lost just once (7-0 in 2000-01) to the Big Green in a 20-game span from 1996 to 2004 and owns a 123-55-9 all-time series edge. The teams first met Feb. 7, 1907, a 12-3 Crimson win at Harvard Stadium.

Click here for full Harvard men's hockey game notes in PDF format.