Two road challenges await the Harvard men's hockey team in Central New York, as the Crimson tries to finish a season sweep of No. 18 Colgate and avenge an earlier loss against Ivy League rival Cornell, ranked ninth nationally. Harvard visits the Raiders Friday at 7 p.m. in Hamilton, N.Y., and takes on the Big Red Saturday at 7 in Ithaca, N.Y.
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NESN.com: Road to Frozen Fenway
• Harvard (4-6-6, 3-4-4 ECAC Hockey, 1-2-1 Ivy League) looks to bounce back from its first consecutive losses of the season, last weekend against No. 14 Union, 2-0 outdoors at Fenway Park, and No. 6 Boston University, 4-3 in overtime.
• The Crimson leads the NCAA in power-play efficiency at 34.3 percent (24 for 70). The Crimson has multiple power-play goals in half of its 16 games this season and has converted its first power play in five of the last six contests.
• Harvard is tied for 16th nationally in scoring offense at 3.12 goals per game.
• Alex Killorn (Montreal, Que.) leads Harvard with 20 points and 10 goals. He is tied for 17th nationally with 1.25 points per game and 13th with 0.64 goals per game.
• Harvard boasts two of the highest-scoring defensemen in the nation. Danny Biega (Montreal, Que.) ranks second nationally in defenseman scoring at 1.19 points per game (4-15-19) and ninth in assists per game with 0.94 per contest. Patrick McNally (Glen Head, N.Y.) ranks eighth among defensemen and seventh among freshmen at any position with 0.94 points per game (4‑11‑15).
The Crimson fell to a pair of nationally ranked teams. In an outdoor game at Fenway Park as part of the Sun Life Frozen Fenway 2012 event, an ECAC Hockey conference-game-record crowd saw No. 14 Union shut out Harvard, 2-0. The Crimson had a would-be Peter Starrett (Bellingham, Mass.) goal disallowed early in the second period and fell victim to a riccocheting point-shot goal with 3.6 seconds left in the frame. Union's Troy Grosenick made 18 saves, and Steve Michalek (Glastonbury, Conn.) logged 30.
No. 6 Boston University rallied from a two‑goal third-period deficit and topped Harvard in overtime, 4-3, Saturday at Bright Hockey Center. Alex Fallstrom (Stockholm, Sweden) scored Harvard's first two goals, while Alex Killorn added a goal and an assist. Their linemate, Marshall Everson (Edina, Minn.), notched two helpers, as did Danny Biega. Michalek recorded his second straight 30-save game.
Time and a Half?
Nearly half of Harvard's games, seven of 16, have gone to overtime.
The Drawing Board
Harvard has tied six games, matching the program record set in 1991-92 and 2008-09. Minnesota State set an NCAA record with 10 ties in 2002‑03. Thirty-three Division I teams have tied seven or more games in a season.
Colgate and Cornell are Harvard's six and seventh ranked opponents in eight games. Harvard is 0-3‑2 against the last five ranked opponents and 1-3-3 against ranked foes this season. Dating back to last season, Harvard is 3-5-4 against its last 12 ranked opponents. Harvard has received votes in 11 of the 15 weeks of the USCHO.com national poll.
A New Streak?
Harvard had scored a power-play goal in 18 straight games, dating back to last season, before being shut out by Union Friday. The Crimson man-advantage unit bounced back with two goals Saturday against BU.
Dating back to last season, Harvard has netted 28 man‑advantage goals in its last 17 ECAC games.
The Crimson is on pace to post the 11th-highest power-play percentage in NCAA history. The last team convert at least 35 percent of its power plays over a full season was the 1986-87 Harvard squad at 35.9. The last school to break 30 percent was Colorado College in 2002-03 at 30.8. The NCAA record for power-play efficiency is 40.2 percent, recorded by Boston University in 1970-71.
Alex Killorn and Danny Biega are among the nominees in fan balloting for the 2012 Hobey Baker Memorial Award, which opened Jan. 9 at hobeybakeraward.com. The first phase of voting will run through March 4. The fans' vote accounts for one percent of the total ballot in each phase
Three Harvard players have won the Hobey Baker Memorial Award: Mark Fusco '83 in 1982‑83, Scott Fusco '85-86 in 1985-86 and Lane MacDonald '88-89 in 1988-89. Only Minnesota and Minnesota Duluth have captured more Hobey trophies, with four each.
Harvard has entered the final period trailing in 11 games but has rallied to win or tie on six of those occasions. Harvard has trailed 22 times during play this season and has come back to tie the score 17 times. The Crimson trailed twice each in its win against No. 18 Colgate and its ties against No. 19 Quinnipiac, Dartmouth, No. 18 North Dakota and No. 14 Union. 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 on pace for its highest-scoring season since its league-championship campaign of 2005‑06, when the Crimson averaged 3.17 goals per game. The Crimson's offensive success this season comes after finishing 2010-11 ranked 54th nationally with 2.26 goals per game.
Harvard has played just 16 of its 29 regular-season games and already has six double-digit scorers, one fewer than it had all of last season. Twenty‑one players have recorded points for Harvard.
Outside the Box
The Crimson has allowed its opponents only 62 power plays this season, the nation's lowest total and an average of just 3.88 per game. That is eight fewer than Cornell, which has surrendered the nation's second-fewest power plays. Only 12 other teams have allowed their opponents fewer than 90 power plays.
Only two of Harvard's games have been decided by more than two goals. Eleven of the 16 games, including 10 of the last 12, have been tied in the third period. At a point in every third period but one, the score has been tied or the teams have been separated by one goal.
The Crimson is unbeaten when scoring four goals or more (3-0-2) and has lost just once when allowing three goals or fewer (3-1-4).
Alex Killorn's two-point game against BU gave him 20 points for the third straight season.
On the Scoresheet
Alex Killorn has registered at least one point in 12 of Harvard's 16 games.
Reunited, and It Feels So Good
Linemates Marshall Everson, Alex Killorn and Alex Fallstrom accounted for all three goals and three assists against BU. They led the Crimson's late charge last season and have been back together for the last 10 games, helping Harvard win or tie seven of those contests by combining for for 17 goals and 16 assists in that span. For the season, the trio has totaled 46 points on 22 goals and 24 assists in 46 individual games played.
Danny Biega has registered eight, two-point games this season, including a stretch of five straight games with two points each Nov. 19-Dec. 10. Alex Killorn ranks second on the Crimson with six multi-point games.
Steve Michalek, 18, is the youngest goaltender in the nation to lead his team in starts. He is one of five freshmen to lead his squad in starts.
Steve Michalek has recorded 30 or more saves in nine of his 13 starts. He logged a career‑high 34 stops in a season-opening 4-3 loss to Princeton.
Nov. 12 at Bright Hockey Center
Steve Michalek made 30 saves for the first win of his collegiate career and Harvard nabbed its first of the season against No. 18 Colgate. Rence Coassin (Hamden, Conn.), Patrick McNally, Alex Killorn and Colin Blackwell (North Andover, Mass.) scored, with Killorn and McNally adding assists. Dan Ford (Skaneateles, N.Y.) and David Valek (Zagreb, Croatia) each logged two helpers, as Harvard came back from a goal down in the second period to win, 4-2.
Last Season: Harvard vs. Colgate
The teams split their 2010-11 series. Backed by a Danny Biega hat trick, the first by a Crimson defenseman in nearly four years, Harvard posted a 6-2 home win. The Crimson scored twice in each period and once in the final minute of each frame. Biega scored again to give Harvard a first-period lead at Colgate, but Chris Wagner and Robbie Bourdon each later found the net to give the Raiders a 2-1 victory.
Series History: Harvard vs. Colgate
The Crimson owns a 46-21-6 series lead against the Raiders since the teams' first meeting Jan. 7, 1961, a 4-1 Harvard win. Harvard is 8-0 in playoff meetings against Colgate, including double‑overtime win in the 2005 ECAC semifinals. Harvard has not won at Starr Rink since Nov. 11, 2006 and is 0-2-2 there since.
Scouting the Raiders
Colgate (12-8-2, 6-4-0 ECAC) entered 2012 riding a seven-game unbeaten streak (6-0-1) but has suffered road sweeps each of the last two weekends, dropping two non-league games at Ferris State and losing a pair of lopsided matches last weekend at Princeton, 6-2, and Quinnipiac, 7-1. The Raiders still own a stellaer home record of 6-2-1.
Austin Smith is the nation's top goal-scorer with 22 goals in 22 games and paces the Colgate offense with 35 points. Chris Wagner centers Smith's line and has totaled 26 points and a team‑high 18 assists. Eric Mihalik has started 16 games in goal, with a 3.02 goals-against average and .896 save percentage.
Nov. 11 at Bright Hockey Center
A bad start and a host of penalties left the Crimson with a three‑goal deficit midway through the first period. Harvard battled back on power-play goals by Alex Fallstrom and Marshall Everson, but Cornell sealed a 4-2 win with a goal in the final minutes. Danny Biega and Luke Greiner (Faribault, Minn.) assisted on both Harvard goals.
Last Season: Harvard vs. Cornell
Harvard and Cornell won one-goal games on each other's home ice in 2010-11. Andy Iles made 33 saves to allow the Big Red to survive with a 2-1 win at Bright despite being outshot by a 34-20 margin. Alex Fallstrom scored for the Crimson, but Locke Jillson later netted the game-winning goal. In Harvard's 4-3 win at Lynah Rink, Alex Killorn scored twice and netted the tie‑breaking goal with 7:21 left.
Series History: Harvard vs. Cornell
Cornell holds a 71-59-7 all-time lead in a series noted for the quality of the teams, intensity of the games and passion of the fans. The teams first met Jan. 8, 1910, a 5-0 Harvard win in New York City. The games have been closer in recent years, with 18 of the last 23 being decided by two goals or fewer. The Crimson and Big Red have faced off in eight of the last 12 ECAC tournaments. The road team has won each of the last three overall and four regular-season meetings.
Scouting the Big Red
Cornell (10-4-3, 7-1-2 ECAC, 4-1-1 Ivy) has built leads in the ECAC Hockey and Ivy League standings by losing just twice in its last 14 games (9-2-3). The Big Red heads into its Friday-night matchup with Dartmouth unbeaten in its last five contests, including a win and tie at then‑No. 6 Colorado College Jan. 6-7.
Cornell owns the nation's No. 3 scoring defense, allowing 2.06 goals per game. Andy Iles boasts a 1.97 goals-against average, a .922 save percentage and five shutouts. Defenseman Nick D'Agostino leads Cornell with eight goals. Greg Miller has team highs of 16 points and 10 assists.
The ECAC Hockey standings are tightly packed, with eight teams within three points of one another. Harvard has a chance to move up the ladder, as two teams it trails (Princeton and Quinnipiac) are off this weekend and another (Clarkson) plays just once.
A win Saturday would bring Harvard into a tie for second place in the Ivy League standings. The Crimson could trail the first-place Big Red by as few as three points, with three games in hand.
The Crimson and Big Red have combined for three NCAA titles, with Cornell capturing two and Harvard one. They rank first and third in ECAC regular-season championships (Harvard 13, Cornell 9) and first and second in league tournament crowns (Cornell 12, Harvard 8). The rivals have accounted for nine of the 20 ECAC regular-season and tournament titles awarded over the last 10 seasons. For six of those nine championships, the other rival was the runner-up.
Either Harvard or Cornell has won or shared the Ivy League crown in 37 of the league's 54 seasons, with Harvard totaling 21 titles and Cornell 18. The teams shared the honor in 1983‑84 and 1984-85.