Sean Malone is riding a five-game point streak heading into the weekend, the longest of the season for the Crimson (Gil Talbot).
In its final home weekend of the 2013-14 regular season, the Harvard men’s hockey team hosts a pair of Ivy League rivals, facing off against No. 14/14 Yale Friday and Brown Saturday. Harvard is riding a two-game home winning streak heading into Friday’s contest.
• The Crimson had a successful trip to North Country last weekend, taking three of four points with a 1-0 (OT) win over No. 14/15 Clarkson and a 2-2 (OT) tie against St. Lawrence. Jimmy Vesey collected his fifth game-winning goal of the season against the Knights, scoring with 14 seconds left in overtime.
• Harvard is still in a position where it can secure home ice for the first round of the ECAC playoffs with some good results down the stretch. The Crimson currently stands in ninth in the ECAC standings, just one point behind Brown and five behind Yale.
• Harvard’s current four-game unbeaten streak (3-0-1) is tied for the fifth-longest active streak in the nation, and is the second-best active stretch in the ECAC, behind only Union (4-0-1 in last five games).
• The Crimson penalty kill continues to rank among the best in the nation, as it stands seventh in the country and second among ECAC teams. In league play, Harvard is one of only two teams to have a penalty kill over .900, leading the league at .910 (71/78). Since the start of the New Year, Harvard has conceded just three power play goals to ECAC opponents, killing 38 of 41 penalties in that span.
• 49 of Harvard’s last 52 goals have been scored by either freshmen or sophomores, including the last 31 strikes. Underclassmen are responsible for 134 of Harvard’s 163 total points (82%) through 25 games this season.
• The Crimson will put on a pair of on-ice ceremonies this weekend. Friday against Yale, the Crimson will honor the members of the 1989 NCAA Championship team following the first period of play, in celebration of the 25th anniversary of the NCAA title. In Saturday's home finale, Harvard will recognize the members of its senior class in a senior day ceremony following the completion of the game.
Harvard played its first hockey game against Brown Jan. 19, 1898 at Boston’s Franklin Field, 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 242 meetings.
About The Bulldogs
Despite playing with a target on its back the entire season, Yale has done well to remain ranked within the top 15 teams and brings a 13-8-4 overall record into the Harvard-Dartmouth weekend. Consistency had been a bit tough for Yale this season, as its longest win streak stands at two games, which it has accomplished on three separate occasions. Last weekend, The Bulldogs hosted Quinnipiac Friday and couldn’t find the back of the net in a 4-0 defeat to the nation’s fifth-ranked squad. A night later, Yale came out on top of a slugfest with Ivy rival Princeton, scoring three third-period goals in a 7-5 win.
While the Bulldogs boast a fairly balanced attack, boasting 12 players with double-digit points, senior forwards Jesse Root and Kenny Agostino have distanced themselves from the pack as the team point leaders. Root leads all players with 26 points and 17 assists on the year, and holds or shares the team lead in power-play goals (3) , short-handed goals (2) and game-winning goals (2). Agostino has the nose for the net, pacing the team with 13 markers and 130 shots on goal, and is the highest rated player in the squad at +15. Three defensemen, Tommy Fallen (7-7-14), Ryan Obuchowski (3-11-14) and Gus Young (6-8-14), are tied for the team lead in scoring from the blue line.
Rookie Alex Lyon has cemented his place as the starting goalie for the Bulldogs, starting 22 of Yale’s 25 contests. He holds a 2.49 goals-against average and .924 save percentage, along with a 10-8-4 record on the season.
Versus Yale in 2013-14
The Crimson has already faced the Bulldogs twice this season, skating to a 2-2 tie at Ingalls Rink Dec. 7 and dropping a 5-1 contest to Yale in the first ever Rivalry On Ice matchup at Madison Square Garden Jan. 11.
The freshman class took care of the scoring in the first meeting of the year, as Alexander Kerfoot and Luke Esposito netted second-period goals to give the Crimson a 2-0 edge after two periods of play. A Matt Killian goal just 2:08 into the third got the hosts on the board and Kenny Agostino tied it with 14:19 gone to force the game to overtime. Harvard outshot Yale, 4-3, in the extra period, but the game ended in a 2-2 draw. Raphael Girard set a career-high in saves on the day, stopping 52 shots to help the Crimson collect a point.
The Broadway lights proved to be a bit too bright for Harvard in the inaugural Rivalry On Ice meeting Jan. 11. Jimmy Vesey’s power-play tally allowed the Crimson to sit on a 1-1 tie after the first period, but a three-minute span in the second saw Yale pour in three goals to take a commanding 4-1 lead. Agostino potted a fifth goal in the final frame to cap the 5-1 victory for the Bulldogs.
About The Bears
The Bears have kept their opponents on their toes through the 2013-14 season, and find themselves close to .500 at 10-12-3 heading into the weekend. Brown made a statement right out of the gate, knocking off defending national champ Yale, 4-1, in its first game of the season and going on to win the Ivy Shootout at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J. A four-game November losing streak was followed by a six-game unbeaten streak, and the Bears went onto earn a split in a home-and-home with Yale Jan. 24-25. The Bears snapped a four-game losing skid in their most recent action, surprising Quinnipiac, 4-2, at Meehan Auditorium.
Sophomore forwards Mark Naclerio and Nick Lappin sit atop the team scoring chart with Naclerio holding team lead in points (32), goals (16) and game-winning scores (4). Lappin has collected 11-18-29 points on the year, and shares the team assists lead with junior forward Matt Lorito. Dennis Robertson lead all defensemen in scoring with 6-11-17 points to his credit in 24 games played. He is also the highest-rated player on the squad at +13.
Freshman Tyler Steel has seen the majority of time in goal this season for Brown, starting 17 of 25 contests. Senior Marco Del filippo has slightly better numbers in nine games played with a 2.61 goals-against average and .925 save percentage. Steel boasts a 7-7-3 record on the year.
Dec. 6, 2013 in Providence
The Bears were successful in quieting the Crimson offense in the teams’ first meeting of the season, needing just a pair of first period goals to secure a 2-1 final. Kyle Kramer and Dennis Robertson struck for the hosts and a scoreless second put Brown up 2-0 through 40 minutes of action. Jimmy Vesey converted a feed from Brian Hart just 1:19 into the third, but that is as close as Harvard would get in the one-goal loss. Raphael Girard made 30 saves for the Crimson in the game.
Rookies Alexander Kerfoot and Luke Esposito have played two games against Yale in their careers and logged a point in each of those games. Both had goals in the meeting in New Haven, and both provided assists on Jimmy Vesey’s goal at Madison Square Garden.
Against The Ivies
Harvard’s Ivy League opponents have proven to be tough challenges in 2013-14, with the Crimson holding a 3-3-1 record in Ivy games. Harvard’s three losses in Ancient Eight contests have all been one-goal defeats, two of which occurred on the road (Dartmouth, Brown). The Crimson skated to a 2-2 tie with Yale Dec. 7 to cap the 2013 portion of its schedule, and downed Princeton, 3-2, Jan. 31 to sweep the season series with the Tigers. The Crimson also held court against Dartmouth Feb. 7 in a 3-0 shutout.
The Hot Hand
After platooning with senior Raphael Girard through the early part of the season, junior Steve Michalek has been strong for the Crimson in recent action. He is unbeaten in his last four starts and has logged shutouts in two of them.
Michalek needed just 21 saves to record the third shutout of the season for Harvard in the 3-0 win over Dartmouth. It marked the first collegiate shutout for Michalek, who had previously only had one game where he allowed one goal or less. He then stopped 31 shots in a 1-0 overtime victory against No. 14/15 Clarkson Feb. 14.
Sophomore Jimmy Vesey’s goal with 14 seconds left in overtime against Clarkson marked his fifth game-winning goal of the season and fourth in conference play. He ranks tied for fourth in the nation in game-winning scores and tied for first among ECAC skaters in league action.
A Little Extra
With both contests going to overtime this past weekend, Harvard has now played in five overtime games this season, posting a 1-0-4 record. The 1-0 win over Clarkson marks the first overtime victory for the Crimson since knocking off then-No. 1 Quinnipiac, 2-1, in the final weekend of the 2012-13 regular season.
The sophomore trio of Brian Hart, Jimmy Vesey and Kyle Criscuolo has fared well against Brown in the past. All three are averaging a point per game against the Bears.