Men's Hockey Begins Playoff Push With Best-Of-Three Series at Dartmouth
Harvard played two tightly contested games against the Big Green during the 2012-13 regular season (Gil Talbot).
Complete Game Notes (pdf)
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The Harvard men's hockey team begins its 2013 playoff run with a best-of-three series at Ivy League rival Dartmouth this weekend. The Crimson enters the tournament as the No. 12 seed, while Dartmouth holds the No. 5 seed.
Harvard vs. Dartmouth Series History
As its third-most frequent opponent, the Crimson has seen plenty of the Big Green through the years. The two teams first faced off Feb. 7, 1907 when Harvard skated to a 12-3 victory. In fact, the Crimson captured the first eight meetings between the two teams, and 13 of the first 14, to help claim a 126-61-12 edge in the all-time series. The tide has started to turn recently, however, as Dartmouth has picked up six wins in the last 11 meetings and is unbeaten in the last six matchups.
This Season Against The Big Green
Harvard and Dartmouth met twice within the span of a month and played two tightly-contested games.
The Crimson traveled to Hanover to kick off the season series Jan. 9 and gave the then-No. 12/12 Big Green a scare on its home ice. Jimmy Vesey gave the Crimson a 1-0 lead after one period with a highlight-reel goal, but strikes from Matt Lindblad and Nick Bligh in the second put the hosts up 2-1 after 40 minutes. Petr Placek knotted the score just past the four-minute mark of the third, but Jesse Beamish's shot through traffic stood as the game-winner in a 3-2 Dartmouth victory.
In a game delayed by a powerful Nor'easter, Harvard stayed right with the Big Green in the rematch in Cambridge Feb. 10. Andy Simpson gave the guests a 1-0 lead that stood until the midway point of the second when Marshall Everson netted a power-play tally to tie it at 1-1. Neither team was able to net the go-ahead score, although Dartmouth did have a goal disallowed for having a player in the crease, and the game ended in a 1-1 tie, just the second of the season for the Crimson.
Scouting The Big Green
Dartmouth has had the epitome of an up-and-down season in 2012-13. The Big Green got off to a stellar start, winning eight of its first 11 contests and climbing into the national rankings. A drop off saw it win just two of its next five games, and the Big Green hasn't recorded the same result in back to back games since Jan. 26. A 4-1 loss to No. 1 Quinnipiac in its regular season finale pegged the Big Green for fifth in the final league standings.
Tyler Sikura ended the regular season with the team lead in points, posting 10 goals and a team-best 18 assists. He was also one of just three Dartmouth players (Mike Keenan, Geoff Ferguson) to skate in all 29 games for the Big Green this season. Keenan is the points leader among defensemen on the squad, posting 14 points on four goals and 10 helpers through the regular season.
Junior Cab Morris enters the Harvard series with the edge in overall playing time in net, but rookie Charles Grant has been the go-to goalie as of late, earning the start in the last three games. Morris boasts a .917 save percentage and 2.10 goals-against average to Grant's .912 save percentage and 2.72 GAA.
Crimson vs. Dartmouth: Playoffs
Harvard and Dartmouth have faced each other seven times in the playoffs prior to the 2013 ECAC Hockey Championship. The Crimson holds a 5-2 record in those games but has never faced the Big Green earlier than the quarterfinal round.
Harvard last saw Dartmouth in the playoffs in 2011, when the 10th-seeded Crimson dropped a quarterfinal series to the Big Green, 2-1, in Hanover. Harvard holds a 3-0 all-time record against Dartmouth in ECAC Championship semifinal matchups.
Last Time Out
Posed with the task of taking down the top-ranked team in the nation Friday, the Crimson defended its home turf against ECAC foe Quinnipiac in a dramatic 2-1 overtime victory.
The hosts were un-phased by a first-period tally by Ben Arnt and kept firing shots on one of the nation's top goaltenders, Eric Hartzell. The persistence paid off early in the second when Marshall Everson picked off a clearing pass near the Bobcat bench and fed a streaking Kyle Criscuolo who wristed a shot into the upper netting past Hartzell's glove to level the score in the second. The game stayed deadlocked through regulation, and with just 18 seconds to play in the game, Harvard found the winning combination. Greg Gozzo disrupted an outlet pass in the Quinnipiac zone and Jimmy Vesey controlled the puck back towards the visiting goal. He fired a low pass to the back door where Alex Fallstrom was waiting to tip in the drive, securing the 2-1 upset for the Crimson.
The following night, it was Princeton that had the good fortune in overtime, pulling its goalie with the score tied and manufacturing the game-winning tally. Fallstrom scored again for Harvard, this time on a short-handed effort, but Princeton's Andrew Calof beat Raphael Girard with 37 seconds left in the extra frame.
Trimming The Top
Harvard's 2-1 overtime win over No. 1 Quinnipiac Friday marked the first time since 2004 the Crimson has knocked off the top-ranked team in the land. Harvard's last victory over the country's No. 1 team came Dec. 17, 2004 in a 3-1 win over Boston College at Bright Hockey Center.
A Rare Occurrence
With a win and a loss in overtime last weekend, it marked the first time since the 1968-69 season that Harvard had played back-to-back, non-tournament overtime games that didn't end in ties. Harvard topped Brown, 8-7, in overtime Dec. 14, 1968, and fell to Boston College three nights later, 6-5, in extra time.
Fallstrom's On Fire
Senior Alex Fallstrom is playing his best hockey of the season at the right time, as he enters the Dartmouth series riding a career-long eight-game point streak. The stretch began with an assist Feb. 10 against Dartmouth, and Fallstrom has amassed eight points (4g, 4a) in the eight-game span.
Harvard is 4-2-2 during Fallstrom's point streak, which is the longest such stretch on the team this season.
Postseason Against The Ivies
The Crimson has fared well when facing Ivy League opponents in the postseason, holding a 33-21-1 all-time record in playoff matchups against Ancient Eight foes. In fact, Harvard holds winning playoff records against every Ivy school except Cornell.
Head coach Ted Donato has carried on the winning tradition of Harvard coaches in the playoffs. Since the inception of the ECAC Championship in 1962, every Harvard coach has held a winning overall record in postseason action, and has claimed at least one league title. Donato enters the 2013 playoffs with a 20-14 career postseason record and one ECAC title to his credit (2006).
Dialing Up The D
The 2-1 overtime win against No. 1 Quinnipiac marked the first time this season the Crimson was victorious in a game in which it scored two or fewer goals.
Former Harvard great Alex Killorn '12 was recalled to the Tampa Bay Lightning from the Syracuse Crunch Feb. 10 and has made an immediate impact with the team. Killorn has skated in 13 games (through Tuesday) and collected eight points on four goals and four assists. He also has a power-play tally to his credit and is tied for the team lead with two game-winning strikes.
Killorn skated in 44 games with the Crunch this season, recording 16 goals and 38 points to go along with 32 penalty minutes. He ranked third in the AHL for rookie scoring with 38 points. He was also tied for second on the Crunch in assists with 22 and was tied for the team lead with seven power play goals. He ranked first on the Crunch and third in the AHL with 166 shots on goal this season.
Reset The Rankings
With the win over No. 1 Quinnipiac, the Crimson earned its first victory over a ranked team at home this season. Harvard improves to 4-6-1 against ranked teams this season and 1-1-1 against teams in the national polls at Bright Hockey Center.
Harvard has faced 11 ranked opponents this season, which included a stretch of four straight ranked foes from Jan. 5-18. The Crimson has squared off against six top 10 teams this year, posting a 3-3-0 record in those games.
Firsts For The Freshmen
Rookies Brayden Jaw and Greg Gozzo picked up the first goals of their collegiate careers in the 6-2 win over Clarkson. Gozzo had a pair of scores in the game, including the game-winning tally, and Jaw's goal also represented his first collegiate point. Their goals mean every position player from the class of 2016 has recorded a goal this season.
They Come In Pairs
For the second time this season, Harvard produced two, two-goal scorers in a single game. Rookies Greg Gozzo and Kyle Criscuolo each tallied a pair of scores in the 6-2 win over Clarkson. Marshall Everson teamed with Luke Greiner (Faribault, Minn.) against BU Feb. 11 to give Harvard two, two-goal scorers in a single game for the first time this season.
Must Be McGregor
Harvard is 3-0-0 when sophomore Ryan McGregor scores a point. He logged an assist in a 4-0 shutout of Rensselaer Nov. 10, and collected a pair of helpers in Harvard's 6-5 comeback win over Boston University Jan. 9. He picked up his fourth assist of the season in the 6-2 victory at Clarkson.
The defensive unit for the Crimson has recorded 122 more blocks than its opponents through the regular season with a 524-402 edge in the category. Harvard has had more blocks than its opponent in 21 of 29 games this season including 12 of its last 13 contests. The Crimson recorded a season-high 27 blocks against Boston University Jan. 9, and matched that total in its regular-season finale against Princeton Saturday. Harvard has posted two games with a block differential of +16 (23-7), and has eclipsed the 20-block benchmark in 12 games this season, including eight of its last 13 contests.
Harvard is 7-0-0 in games where it scores at least four goals this season and 8-1-0 in games where it scores at least three goals. Four was the magic number for the Crimson last season, as Harvard was unbeaten (9-0-2) when scoring four or more goals in a game.
Five members of the class of 2013 have eclipsed the 100-games played mark in their careers. Danny Biega leads the way with 129, followed by Luke Greiner with 120 and Marshall Everson with 116. Alex Fallstrom has played in 110 games in his collegiate career, and Conor Morrison is the most recent member of the group, playing in his 100th game in the 6-2 win over Clarkson.
The last time Harvard had five seniors eclipse the 100-game mark was during the 2007-08 season, led by Jon Pelle '08 with 135 for his career.