Men's Hockey Faces Old Rivals; Harvard-Yale to Air on NBC Sports Network
CAMBRIDGE, Mass.—The Harvard men's hockey team faces off against its oldest rivals, meeting Yale for the 234th time Friday in a game televised nationally on NBC Sports Network and renewing college hockey's oldest rivalry Saturday against Brown. The Harvard-Yale matchup is slated for 7:30 p.m. Friday. Harvard and Brown will play Saturday at 7.
On the Air
NBC Sports Network, formerly known as Versus, reaches more than 75 million homes across the United States. John Walton, radio play‑by‑play voice of the National Hockey League's Washington Capitals, and former NHL player, coach and general manager Mike Milbury will call the action Friday. The network's 16 college hockey broadcasts are produced by the same Emmy Award-winning team that oversees all of the NHL games for the NBC Sports Group.
Follow From Home
Live, pay-per-view video and free live statistics from all home games will be on GoCrimson.com. WHRB-FM 95.3 and WHRB.org offer live audio with Brendan Roche and Raafi Alidina on the call.
Make a Difference
There will be representatives on hand Friday to accept donations to Friends of Jaclyn, which is the Harvard hockey teams' charity in the Goals for Good campaign. Goals for Good is an ECAC Hockey initiative to help hockey teams give back to their communities and raise money for a charity of their choice. Through the organization, Nathan Potvin was made an honorary member of the Crimson men's hockey team last season. Donations can be made on a per-goal or per-win basis at goalsforgood.org, and a video about Nathan is available here.
• Harvard (4-6-8, 3-4-6 ECAC Hockey, 1-2-3 Ivy League) looks to step up from a string of ties—four in its last five league games and seven in its last 11 overall contests—to winning as it plays its first league games at Bright Hockey Center since Nov. 12.
• The Crimson leads the NCAA in power-play efficiency at 33.8 percent (26 for 77). The Crimson has scored at least one power-play goal in 17 of its 18 games, netted multiple power-play goals in eight games and converted its first power play in eight of the last nine contests.
• Alex Killorn (Montreal, Que.) leads Harvard with 23 points and 11 goals. He ranks 15th nationally with 1.28 points per game and 0.61 goals per game. Linemate Marshall Everson (Edina, Minn.) has scored or assisted six of the Crimson's last seven goals. He has seven goals and nine assists this season.
• Harvard boasts two of the highest-scoring defensemen in the nation. Danny Biega (Montreal, Que.) ranks second nationally in defenseman scoring at 1.11 points per game (4-16-20) and is tied for 14th among all players with 0.89 assists per game. Patrick McNally (Glen Head, N.Y.) ranks sixth among defensemen and seventh among freshmen at any position with 0.94 points per game (4‑13‑17).
Inspiration for Innovation
The Harvard-Yale rivalry was the impetus for one of the great innovations in hockey history. In their March 7, 1923 game against Yale, Harvard coach William H. Claflin '15 and captain George Owen '23 implemented the practice of changing entire lines of three forwards at a time. The tactic, which became known as the line change, helped the Crimson defeat the Bulldogs in overtime, 2-1.
Harvard and Yale rank first and third, respectively, in the 2012 U.S. News & World Report national university rankings. On the ice, the Crimson has won a conference-high 13 regular-season ECAC titles, while the Bulldogs have won two of the last three. Harvard has won 21 Ivy League crowns, the most of any school, while Yale ranks third with 10 Ivy championships, including the last three.
Harvard played its first hockey game against Brown Jan. 19, 1898 at Boston's Franklin Park, the first installment in college hockey's oldest rivalry. Brown won, 6-0. Harvard and Yale first faced off Feb. 26, 1900, a 5-4 Yale victory in New York. The series is college hockey's third‑longest‑running and 12th-most-contested at 233 meetings.
Harvard, Yale and Brown enter the weekend among eight teams separated by three points and occupying the third through 10th places in the ECAC Hockey standings. The second through sixth teams in the Ivy League standings are separated by two points. Yale and Brown also play ECAC and Ivy games at Dartmouth this weekend.
Harvard became the first ECAC team this season to take points in both games of the Central New York road trip with a pair of 2-2 ties. In Friday's game at No. 18 Colgate, Steve Michalek (Glastonbury, Conn.) matched a career high with 34 saves, including 15 in the third period. Marshall Everson tied the score at 1-1 in the final minute of the first period and set up Peter Starrett (Bellingham, Mass.) to give the Crimson the lead in the second. Alex Killorn assisted on both goals to help Harvard clinch the regular-season series against the Raiders, 1-0-1.
Killorn scored the tying goal with less than eight minutes remaining as Harvard rallied to tie No. 9 Cornell in front of a fish-throwing, sellout crowd. Everson again scored a tying, power-play goal late in the first period and assisted on the Crimson's second tally. Michalek made 17 saves ,and Cornell's Andy Iles logged 31 stops to combat Harvard's 33-19 shots advantage.
The Drawing Board
Harvard has tied eight games, breaking the previous program record of six set in 1991-92 and 2008-09. Minnesota State set an NCAA record with 10 ties in 2002‑03. Colorado College matched that mark in 2008-09, as did Western Michigan last season.
Cornell was Harvard's seventh ranked opponentsin eight games. The Crimson was 0-3‑4 against those seven ranked opponents and is 1-3-5 against ranked foes this season. Dating back to last season, Harvard is 3-5-6 against its last 14 ranked opponents.
Harvard has received votes in 12 of the 16 weeks of the USCHO.com national poll, including eight points this week.
Time and a Half?
Half of Harvard's games have gone to overtime, including the last three and eight of the last 11.
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 Jan. 13. The Crimson man-advantage unit has bounced back with four power-play goals in the three games since.
Dating back to last season, Harvard has netted 30 man‑advantage goals in its last 19 ECAC games. The Crimson has scored three power-play goals in three of those games and two in nine others.
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.
The Crimson is unbeaten when scoring four goals or more (3-0-2) and has lost just once when allowing three goals or fewer (3-1-6).
Harvard has entered the final period trailing in 12 games but has rallied to win or tie in seven of those, including Saturday's game Cornell.
Harvard has trailed 25 times during play this season and has come back to tie the score 20 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, No. 14 Union and No. 9 Cornell. Harvard scored seven goals over the final two periods to come back from a four‑goal deficit and defeat New Hampshire, 7-6, and erased four separate one‑goal deficits in a 4-4 tie at Massachusetts.
Outside the Box
The Crimson has allowed its opponents only 68 power plays this season, the nation's lowest total and an average of just 3.78 per game. That is seven fewer than New Hampshire, which has surrendered the nation's second-fewest power plays. Only six 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. Thirteen of the 18 games, including 12 of the last 14, 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.
Last Season: Harvard vs. Yale
The Bulldogs defeated the Crimson twice in 2010‑11. Top-ranked Yale scored twice on power plays to defeat Harvard, 4-2, in the teams' Jan. 8 meeting at sold-out Bright. Danny Biega scored both Crimson goals, cutting Yale leads to 2-1 in the second period and 4-2 in the third. Twelve different players recorded one point each for the Bulldogs.
Jimmy Martin scored at 4:36 of the third period, and Ryan Rondeau stopped all 34 Crimson shots as No. 3 Yale edged Harvard, 1-0, in another sellout Feb. 4 at Ingalls Rink.
Series History: Harvard vs. Yale
Harvard leads the all-time series, 137-77-19. In 1913, six weeks after voting to make hockey a "major sport," the Harvard Athletic Committee voted to award a varsity letter to any Harvard player who had ever skated against Yale. The Crimson is 6-0 all-time in playoff meetings against the Elis. Yale has ended three of Harvard's longest season-opening win streaks, including in 1988-89, when a Jan. 31 loss in New Haven, Conn., snapped a 15-game win streak and was one of two regular-season setbacks in the Crimson's national championship season.
Scouting the Bulldogs
Yale (8-9-2, 5-6-1 ECAC, 2-2-0 Ivy) has finished each of the last three seasons ranked among the top eight teams in the final USCHO.com national poll and got this campaign off to a strong start at 5-1-1. The Bulldogs' momentum turned with a 7-6 loss at Sacred Heart, and Yale's record has fallen below .500 with a record of 0-3-1 over the last two weekends. The Elis have shutout wins against nationally ranked Colgate and Union to their credit.
The Bulldogs boast strong special-teams play, with the nation's seventh-rated power play (23.6 percent) and sixth-rated penalty kill (87.5 percent). Returning all-league selections Brian O'Neill and Andrew Miller pace the Eli offense with 22 points each. O'Neill has netted 12 goals, and Miller has assisted on 18. Jeff Malcolm has started 18 games in goal, with a 2.60 goals-against average and .913 save percentage.
Last Season: Harvard vs. Brown
The teams split a pair of one-goal games. Michael Biega '11 recorded a natural hat trick to rally Harvard from a two-goal deficit, but Brown scored twice in the third period to defeat the Crimson, 4-3, Jan. 7 at Bright. Alex Killorn and Danny Biega assisted on Harvard's first two goals.
Ryan Carroll '11 recorded 40 saves to make two first‑period goals stand up for a 2-1 win Feb. 22 in Providence, R.I. Conor Morrison (London, Ont.) and Danny Biega scored power‑play goals, while Biega added an assist.
Series History: Harvard vs. Brown
Harvard owns a 104‑42-12 lead in a series that has seen the road team win each of the last six games. The only consecutive shutout losses in Harvard history came to Brown in a 2009 ECAC first‑round playoff series.
Scouting the Bears
Brown (8-8-3, 5-5-2 ECAC, 2-2-0 Ivy) has evened its record by going 5-2-2 in its last nine games. The Bears completed a season sweep of Union last weekend and own wins against Yale and Cornell, but their other game against the Bulldogs was a loss that was part of five-game winless stretch (0-4-1).
Senior Jack Maclellan leads Brown with nine goals and 19 points. Rookie Ryan Jacobson has scored eight times and defenseman Matt Wahl has a team-high 11 assists. Mike Clemente has posted a .914 save percentage and 2.40 goals‑against average in 15 games, while Marco DiFilippo has a .946 and 1.93 goals-against average in four starts. The goalies have alternated starts in the last six games.