The Harvard men's hockey team plays its second and third games in four nights on its annual trip to New York's Capital District to take on No. 14 Rensselaer Friday night and No. 12 Union Saturday night.
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Behind the Bench
Former Crimson captain, NCAA Frozen Four Most Outstanding Player and 13-year National Hockey League veteran Ted Donato '91 is in his seventh season as The Robert D. Ziff '88 Head Coach for Harvard Men's Ice Hockey. He owns a 94-102-20 record, three ECAC title-game appearances and two NCAA tournament bids.
Last Time Out
Northeastern scored once in each period and got 34 saves from Chris Rawlings to shut out the Crimson, 3-0, Wednesday night at Matthews Arena.
The Huskies (7-10-4) withstood a strong start by Harvard (3-13-0, 2-9-0 ECAC Hockey) and claimed the lead for good in the final minute of the first period. Raphael Girard (Saint-Hyacinthe, Que.) made 34 saves in his first collegiate start. It was the Crimson's first game since 1997 at the 100-year-old Matthews, formerly known as Boston Arena and once a home rink for Harvard. The Crimson and Huskies will meet again Feb. 7 in the first round of the 59th Beanpot tournament.
These are the second and third of eight games in 20 days for the Crimson. Only two of the eight are home games.
These are Harvard's third and fourth straight road games.
Seeking a Repeat Performance
Harvard last visited the Capital District almost exactly one year ago, Jan. 22-23, 2010. The Crimson entered as the underdog against a 13th-ranked Union team that was unbeaten in league play and an RPI side that had won four of its previous six games. Harvard, however, knocked off the Dutchmen, 3-2, and rallied for a 3-3 tie against the Engineers.
Nov. 6 at Bright Hockey Center
Alex Killorn scored the game's only goal with 8.2 seconds remaining in regulation, as Harvard defeated then-No. 18 Rensselaer, 1-0. Kyle Richter made 19 saves for his sixth career shutout, as the Crimson outshot the Engineers, 23-19. The winning tally came on a late power play. Conor Morrison (London, Ont.) held in an RPI clear at the point, and Michael Biega (Montreal, Que.) backhanded a pass through his legs and those of a defender to assist Killorn.
Harvard vs. Rensselaer Series History
Harvard owns a 46-34-3 lead in the all-time series, which began with a RPI home win in 1951. Ted Donato is 8-4-1 against the Engineers. Last season's meeting in Troy, N.Y., was a 3-3 tie, with Louis Leblanc '13 scoring with 2.3 seconds remaining to force overtime. Alex Killorn and Doug Rogers '10 also had third-period tallies. Killorn and Michael Biega lead Harvard with two goals and two assists each against the RPI in their careers.
The Crimson and Engineers have combined for three national titles and have met twice to determine the ECAC champion, a 3-1 RPI win in 1985 and a 3-0 Harvard victory in 1994.
Scouting the Engineers
Rensselaer is just 2-2 in its last four games but won each of the previous four. A 3-2 loss to Clarkson Jan. 7 was the Engineers' first home defeat this season, but they bounced back a night later with a 5-3 win against St. Lawrence to improve to 8-1 at home. RPI started last weekend with 5-1 loss at Cornell but again rebounded, with a 2-1, overtime victory at Colgate.
Chase Polacek is RPI's top scorer and set-up man with 30 points and 19 assists. He and Tyler Helfrich share the team goal-scoring lead with 11 apiece, while Nick Bailen has chipped in with 24 points (8-16-24) from the blue line. Allen York ranks in the top 15 nationally with both his 1.94 goals-against average and .928 save percentage.
Nov. 5 at Bright Hockey Center
The 111th season of Harvard men's hockey got underway with a visit from then-No. 15 Union. The Dutchmen needed a third-period, power-play tally from Greg Coburn to hold off the Crimson, 2-1. Kyle Richter (Calgary, Alta.) made 33 saves to keep Harvard close, and Danny Biega (Montreal, Que.) scored to tie the game earlier in the third, assisted by Daniel Moriarty (Bienfait, Sask.).
Harvard vs. Union Series History
Harvard holds a 30-6-3 all-time edge against Union and has lost just three times in the last 19 meetings. Ted Donato is 9-3-1 against the Dutchmen, and the Crimson is 14-3-2 in Schenectady, N.Y. Alex Fallstrom (Stockholm, Sweden) has a team-high four points on two goals and two assists in three career games against the Dutchmen.
In last year's game at Union, Ryan Carroll (Hackensack, N.J.) made 47 saves to lead Harvard to a 4-1 win over No. 13 Union. Eric Kroshus (Calgary, Alta.) set up Conor Morrison for the tying goal and scored the go-ahead marker himself in the second period. Fallstrom also registered a goal and an assist, as he and Danny Biega capped the win with late, empty-net tallies.
Nate Leaman is in his eighth season as head coach of the Dutchmen. He was previously an assistant coach at Harvard for four seasons (1999-2003) helping the Crimson win the 2002 ECAC title.
Scouting the Dutchmen
Union has won four straight games, holding its opponents to one goal in each and totaling 18 scores of its own. Three of the team's previous four games were losses, with the lone win coming at Minnesota. The Dutchmen are 9-0-1 at home. They are tied for second in ECAC Hockey but have two games in hand on Princeton.
Union is limiting opponents to two goals per game but also boasts a potent offense and the nation's top power-play, operating at 32.4-percent efficiency. Jeremy Welsh leads the Union attack with 28 points on 12 goals and 16 assists. Daniel Carr is the team's top goal-scorer with 14, and Mat Bodie has a team-high 18 assists. Keith Kinkaid ranks fourth nationally with a 1.91 goals-against average and has a .921 save percentage.
Leading the Crimson
Alex Killorn leads Harvard with six goals and 14 points. He and Michael Biega (5-8-13) are tied for the team assists lead. Defenseman Danny Biega has logged 10 points, including seven assists. Kyle Richter owns a .913 save percentage and 2.73 goals-against average.
Alex Killorn had a 10-game point streak snapped at Northeastern and has notched a point in 13 of the team's 16 overall games. He had four goals and seven assists during his 10-game scoring run.
Michael Biega has recorded multiple points in three of the last six games, totaling four goals and four assists in that span. Brother Danny Biega has five points (2-3-5) in the last five games.