No. 3/3 Harvard (18-5-2, 12-4-2 ECAC)
No. 3/3 Harvard (18-5-2, 12-4-2 ECAC)
The Opening Faceoff
The No. 3/3 Harvard men's hockey team heads into the second-to-last weekend of the regular season with an Ivy League title in its sights, as well as clinching a first-round bye in the ECAC Hockey playoffs. The Crimson will face Yale and Brown on the road, Friday and Saturday, respectively. Both games can be seen live on the Ivy League Digital Network at 7 p.m. each night.
The First Line
• With a win or a tie Friday evening at Yale, the Crimson will secure the outright Ivy League title for the first time since 2005-06. Harvard split the title last year with Yale. A loss Friday and the Crimson can still capture the Ancient Eight crown with a victory Saturday against the Bears. The title will mark the 23rd in program history for the Crimson and the first time Harvard has won back-to-back Ivy crowns since 1993-94.
• Five teams remain the probable favorites for a top-four seed in the ECAC playoffs. Union has a one-point advantage on the Crimson with 27 points, while Cornell and St. Lawrence each have 25. Quinnipiac is four points back in fifth. Harvard can control its own fate, as two wins would give it 30 points and clinch a first-round bye.
• Six skaters in Harvard's lineup are averaging at least 1.00 point per game. Senior Alexander Kerfoot leads the way at 1.24, while classmate Sean Malone ranks second at 1.20. Also averaging at least 1.0 ppg are Adam Fox (1.17), Tyler Moy (1.12), Ryan Donato (1.04) and Luke Esposito (1.00).
• Harvard snapped a 24-year Beanpot drought (1993) with its 6-3 victory over Boston University Monday, Feb. 13 at TD Garden.
• The championship marked the 11th in the storied history of the tournament for Harvard.
• Nathan Krusko earned tournament MVP honors, scoring twice and dishing out an assist in the championship game. He is the 11th MVP in Harvard history and first since Ted Drury in 1993.
• Only one player on Harvard's team was alive for its last Beanpot title: Phil Zielonka, he was 11 days old.
• Head coach Ted Donato won the Beanpot as a player back in 1989. Harvard went on to win the national title that year.
• Wade Lau '82 became Harvard's 12th inductee into the Beanpot Hall of Fame this year. Lau was the netminder for Harvard's 1981 Beanpot championship squad.
• Harvard and Northeastern had not both won on the second Beanpot Monday since 1993 when Harvard last won the title and Northeastern beat Boston College in the consolation game.
65 Moments of the 65th Beanpot
February has not been kind to the Bulldogs, as Yale is winless at 0-3-1. Yale has dropped league games to Princeton, Quinnipiac and Colgate, while tying Cornell. With 16 points in the ECAC standings, Yale is in seventh place, just one point ahead of Princeton and two above Dartmouth and Colgate. Seeds 5-8 for the ECAC playoffs earn the right to host a first round series.
Yale's 10-10-5 overall record is also indicative of its scoring. The Bulldogs have 74 goals this season and have allowed 74. Senior John Hayden leads the team with 16 tallies, while his 28 points ranks second to sophomore Joe Snively's 30 (10g, 20a). Senior Patrick Spano has played more than two-thirds of the minutes in goal, holding a 2.54 GAA and a .909 save percentage. Yale's power play is converting at a 20.4 percent clip, while its penalty kill has been successful 82.1 percent of the time.
Series Record vs. Yale: 142-89-21
Last Five Meetings: 1-2-2
Jan. 21, 2017 - T 1-1 (ot)
Feb. 6, 2016 - L, 1-2
Nov. 6, 2015 - T, 2-2 (ot)
March 15, 2015 - W, 3-2 (2ot)
March 14, 2015 - L, 0-2
The Bears have struggled to find the win column most of the season and are 1-9-1 since the New Year. Most recently, Brown dropped road games at Colgate and Cornell. It will host Dartmouth, the lone team it has beat in 2017 (4-3, ot, Jan. 21) Friday.
Brown's special teams have been among the worst in the nation this season. Its power play is converting at just over nine percent, while its penalty kill has been successful on 72.3 percent of its attempts.
The junior class has been a bright spot for Brown, as its top-four scorers come from the class of 2018. Sam Lafferty leads the way with 30 points. Three goaltenders have seen action for Brown this year, but freshman Gavin Nieto has seen the bulk of the work. He has a .883 save mark and 3.73 GAA in 22 games.
Series Record vs. Brown: 112-46-13
Last Five Meetings: 5-0-0
Jan. 20, 2017 - W, 3-0
Feb. 5, 2016 - W, 3-2
Nov. 7, 2015 - W, 5-2
March 7, 2015 - W, 4-3
March 6, 2015 - W, 6-2
Freshman Adam Fox has made a name for himself on the Harvard blue line through 24 games of the season. The Jericho, New York native, and Calgary Flames prospect leads the team with 25 assists. His 1.17 points per game mark ranks first among all defensemen in the country and fourth among all rookies. It is also a statistic that places Fox among the top-20 all-time of U19 defensemen in Division-I history. His 18 points in conference games leads all defensemen and freshmen.
Opposing goaltenders can expect to see a lot of Ryan Donato on a nightly basis. The sophomore forward is second in the country with a 4.88 shots per game average. He ripped off a season-high 13 shots during his four-goal showing against Union Feb. 10. That number was the highest since Jimmy Vesey '16 had 13 against Rensselaer Feb. 12, 2016.
Harvard as a team ranks fifth in the nation in shots on goal per game at 34.72. That number ranks third in the ECAC behind Quinnipiac (36.3) and Princeton (34.76).
Three times this season a Harvard skater has scored at least three times in a single game. Ryan Donato became the most recent with his four-goal outburst Feb. 10 against Union. Back on Jan. 6, freshman Nathan Krusko potted three against Quinnipiac and sophomore Lewis Zerter-Gossage recorded his first career hat trick in Harvard's 4-3 win over Cornell Nov. 5.
The trio join senior Alexander Kerfoot as active skaters with hat tricks in their careers. Kerfoot earned his Nov. 11, 2014 at Boston College, when he also provided two assists. That five-point mark is the highest single-game point mark of current Crimson. Head coach Ted Donato recorded the lone hat trick of his career vs. Dartmouth in an 8-1 win Nov. 27, 1990.
Harvard has tallied nine short-handed goals this season, its most since it had 10 in 2000-01. Nine shorthanded goals is tied for the most in the nation this year with Omaha and Boston University. Harvard's most recent short-handed goal came from Ryan Donato in the third period of the 6-2 win over Union in which he scored four times. It was the second game in a row Harvard had a shorthanded tally, as Luke Esposito scored a man down against Northeastern in the Beanpot semifinals. Donato's three shorthanded tallies is tied for fourth-most in the country this season.
Twice this season, Harvard has netted two man-down goals in the same game. The first came in the season-opener at Arizona by Ryan Donato and John Marino. On Dec. 3, Donato and Sean Malone both scored short-handed goals on an empty net at Clarkson.
Prior to this season, the last time Harvard scored twice a man down in a single game was Jan. 4, 2014 in a 7-4 win versus Boston University. Malone accounted for both goals.
Stat Sheet Success
Harvard is yet to lose a game this season when either Ryan Donato or Jake Horton scores, dishes an assist or has a plus rating in a game.
When Donato Has a:
Goal: 10-0-0; Assist: 6-0-0; Plus: 10-0-0
When Horton Has a:
Goal: 5-0-0; Assist: 4-0-0; Plus: 7-0-0
For the first time this season, the Crimson overcame a deficit heading into the third period, rallying past Cornell Jan. 27, 4-1. The Crimson trailed 1-0 heading to the last 20 minutes, but Jake Horton, Clay Anderson, Ryan Donato and Lewis Zerter-Gossage all scored to propel the Crimson.
One year after Jimmy Vesey '16 won the 2016 Hobey Baker Award as college hockey's best player, the Crimson has three new candidates for the 2017 season. Seniors Alexander Kerfoot and Sean Malone, as well as freshman Adam Fox, have each been named a candidate this year. Fan voting is open on the Hobey Baker fan page through February.
Tim Taylor Cup
Junior goaltender Merrick Madsen became the first Harvard player to receive the Tim Taylor Cup as the MVP of the Harvard-Yale game played in Cambridge each season. The award is named in honor of the former Crimson player and coach, as well as Yale coach. Madsen shared the award with Yale goaltender, Patrick Spano, after the game ended in a 1-1 tie.
Power Play Power
The Crimson has converted on 26.2 percent of its power play opportunities this season. It's 28-for-107 success rate is the fifth-best in the nation.
Harvard's seniors have combined for the most points of any senior class in the nation.
Harvard - 133
Sacred Heart - 115
Boston College - 112
Harvard is boasting a 1.72 scoring margin through 25 games this season, the best mark in Division I. Harvard's offense is averaging 4.04 goals, while the defense has surrendered just 2.32, the 12th-lowest in the nation.