The Harvard men's hockey team wraps up 2011 with its first visit to North Dakota in six years Friday and Saturday nights at Engelstad Arena in Grand Forks, N.D. The Crimson (4-3-3) plays a pair of games against No. 18 UND (9-8-1) that will be televised on Fox College Sports Central.
On the Air
Both games will be televised on Fox College Sports Central, which is available with a sports subscription from most U.S. cable providers. Friday's game is scheduled to air on DirecTV channel 617, and Saturday's is set for DirecTV channel 623. Click here for a listing of when the show runs on Fox College Sports.
WHRB-FM 95.3 and WHRB.org will broadcast the action as called by Brendan Roche and Raafi Alidina. Live video will be available for a fee on UNDSports.com.
• Harvard is unbeaten in its last four games (2-0-2) and has lost just once (4-1-2) in its last seven games.
• The Crimson owns the top power play in the nation at 32.1 percent (17 for 53). Harvard has scored at least one power-play goal in each of its 10 games and multiple power-play goals in six games. In the last three games, Harvard is 7 for 14 with the man advantage.
• Harvard ranks seventh nationally in scoring offense at 3.5 goals per game and is averaging 4.5 goals per contest during its current four-game unbeaten streak.
• The Crimson has not played since defeating Princeton, 4-3, Dec. 10.
• These are Harvard's first games against North Dakota since suffering a home sweep Dec. 5-6, 2008, when the current seniors were freshmen. The Crimson's only previous visit to Engelstad Arena came when Harvard and UND split a pair of games Dec. 29-30, 2005. UND leads the all-time series, 8-2-1.
• Danny Biega (Montreal, Que.) paces Harvard with 14 points (3-11-14), leads the nation with 1.1 assists per game and ranks second nationally in defenseman scoring at 1.4 points per game. Patrick McNally (Glen Head, N.Y.) ranks third in scoring among defensemen with 1.2 points per game (3‑9‑12) and is tied for the national freshman scoring lead. and Alex Killorn (Montreal, Que.) (6-6‑12) leads Harvard in goals. Biega, Killorn and McNally all rank among the nation's top 25 in scoring.
Last Time Out
The Crimson closed the first semester with a 4-3 win at Princeton, securing a split in the season series. Patrick McNally, Marshall Everson (Edina, Minn.) and Eric Kroshus (Calgary, Alta.) scored power-play goals, and Kroshus assisted on Danny Biega's even-strength tally that held up as the game-winner. Steve Michalek (Glastonbury, Conn.) made several key saves and totaled 31 stops. McNally added two assists, while Biega had one and Kroshus registered a multi-point game while playing against his younger brother, Tom, a freshman defenseman for the Tigers.
Dating back to last season, Harvard has scored at least one power‑play goal in 14 straight games and has netted 25 man‑advantage goals in its last 14 ECAC games.
Harvard has trailed 15 times this season and has come back to tie the score 12 times. The Crimson trailed twice each in its win against No. 18 Colgate and its ties against No. 19 Quinnipiac and Dartmouth. Harvard scored seven goals over the final two periods to come back from a four‑goal deficit and defeat New Hampshire, 7-6, Nov. 22 and erased four separate one-goal deficits in a 4-4 tie at Massachusetts Dec. 2.
Harvard is playing the fourth and fifth of seven straight road games and eight straight away from Bright Hockey Center. The Crimson returns to Boston to host Union Jan. 13 at Fenway Park and comes back to Bright a night later to take on Boston University.
On a Roll
The Crimson's four-game unbeaten streak is tied as the nation's eighth-longest, alongside Air Force.
Harvard has received votes in eight of the 12 weeks of the U.S. College Hockey Online poll. The Crimson is 1-0-1 against ranked competition this season, having tied No. 19 Quinnipiac, 2-2, and defeated No. 19 Colgate, 4-2. Dating back to 2010-11, the Crimson is 3-2-2 against its last seven ranked foes.
Out of its Conference, Not Out of its League
Harvard is 1-0-1 against teams from outside ECAC Hockey, having defeated New Hampshire and tied Massachusetts. Both are Hockey East teams.
Harvard is on pace for its highest-scoring season since 2002-03, when the Crimson averaged 3.91 goals per game and ranked sixth nationally in scoring offense. The Crimson's offensive success this season comes after finishing 2010-11 ranked 54th nationally with 2.26 goals per game.
Outside the Box
Harvard has allowed its opponents only 35 power plays this season, the nation's lowest total and an average of just 3.5 per game. That is 11 fewer than Dartmouth, which has surrendered the nation's second-fewest power plays at 46. Only 13 other teams have allowed their opponents fewer than 70 power plays.
Harvard has outscored its opponents, 19-11, in second periods this season, including 4-1 against New Hampshire. The Crimson owns a 12-8 edge in third-period goals.
None of Harvard's games has been decided by more than two goals. Seven of the 10 games, including each of the last six, have been tied in the third period. At a point in every third period, the score has been tied or the teams have been separated by one goal.
Patrick McNally has registered three points in each of the last two games, totaling a goal and five assists in that span. Danny Biega has registered multiple points in each of the last five games and at least one point in each of the last six, totaling three goals and eight helpers in that stretch.
Alex Killorn has 3-4-7 totals during a five‑game point streak. Alex Fallstrom (Stockholm, Sweden) and Colin Blackwell (North Andover, Mass.) have each been on the scoresheet in four straight games, totaling two goals and three assists each during their runs. Marshall Everson has scored three goals in the last two contests.
Defensemen have assisted on 16 of Harvard's last 18 goals and have scored or assisted on 28 of the Crimson's last 30 tallies. Harvard's defensemen totaled six assists at UMass and two goals and three assists at Princeton.
The Crimson put a season-high 44 shots on goal at UMass, including a combined 27 from the line of Marshall Everson, Alex Killorn and Alex Fallstrom. Killorn logged 11 shots, while Everson had nine and Fallstrom added seven. Harvard has allowed fewer than 27 total shots to three of its 10 opponents. Killorn has notched 50 shots this season, an average of five per game.
Harvard celebrated New Year's Day 1951 with a 5-2 win at North Dakota but waited nearly 55 years for its next series win. That came when John Daigneau '06 logged 29 saves to make a Mike Taylor '08 goal hold up in a 1-0 win Dec. 29, 2005 at Engelstad Arena. A night later, UND held on for a 3-2 win and series split despite 15 third‑period shots by Harvard.
The schools met three years later at Bright Hockey Center. North Dakota won the first game by a 10-1 margin but had to come from behind for a 4-3 win the next night. Then-freshman Daniel Moriarty gave Harvard a 3-2 edge just eight seconds into the third period, but UND later took control with two goals in 90 seconds. Moriarty also had an assist, and classmate Alex Killorn was also among the scorers.
A Sort of Homecoming
Harvard does not have any North Dakotans on its roster, but five players come from a neighboring state or province: Daniel Moriarty (Bienfait, Sask.), Marshall and Max Everson (Edina, Minn.), Luke Greiner (Faribault, Minn.) and Danny Fick (Marine on St. Croix, Minn.).
Harvard is seeking its first win against a WCHA team since Dec. 30, 2006, when it beat Michigan Tech, 3-2, at the Great Lakes Invitational.
Scouting North Dakota
UND, which has won seven national championships and played in four of the last six Frozen Fours, got off to a 3-6-1 start that included a stretch of five losses in six gmes. It has righted the ship of late, however, winning five of its last six games with the lone loss in that span coming in overtime to Nebraska-Omaha.
The high-scoring trio of Brock Nelson (14‑8‑22), Corban Knight (6-15-21) and Danny Kristo (9-11-20) has paced the UND offense. With Knight sitting out with an injury, Kristo scored the lone goal in the team's last game, a 1-0 shutout of Nebraska-Omaha. Nelson leads the nation with nine power-play goals. North Dakota is currently without defenseman Derek Forbort, who is skating with Team USA in the International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championship.
Aaron Dell, an All-America selection last season, made 26 saves in the win against the Mavericks. He has a 2.80 goals‑against average and .895 save percentage in 15 starts, while Brad Eidsness owns a 2.43 goals‑against average and .918 save percentage in three starts.