No. 2 Harvard (26-5-2, 16-4-2 ECAC)
The Opening Faceoff
The No. 2/2 Harvard men's hockey team is headed to its 24th NCAA Tournament this weekend, serving as the No. 1 seed in the East Region, and third-overall seed in the tournament. The Crimson will face the fourth-seed Providence Friars at the Dunkin' Donuts Center in Providence at 4 p.m. The game will be broadcast live on ESPNU with John Buccigross and Barry Melrose on the call.
The First Line
• Also selected to the East Regional were second-seed Western Michigan and third-seed Air Force. They will play at 7:30 p.m. on ESPN3 and the winner will advance to play the winner of the Harvard vs. Providence matchup at 8:30 p.m. Saturday on ESPNU.
• Harvard is a No. 1 seed for the first time since 1983 when it was the top seed of the East Region. During that time, only eight teams made the NCAA Tournament, four in the east and four in the west. Harvard beat Michigan State and Minnesota to reach the title game, but fell to Wisconsin.
• Harvard holds the all-time series edge against Providence, 17-9-1, but the teams have not met since Jan. 12, 1984, a 2-0 Crimson victory.
• Harvard is making its third-consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance and 24th overall. Harvard is playing in its fifth NCAA Tournament under head coach Ted Donato.
• Harvard has only played two tournament games ever in Providence, the semifinals and finals of the 1986 tournament. Harvard beat Denver, 5-2, in the semis, but fell, 6-5, to Michigan State in the title game.
Last Time Out
Harvard completed its run to its 10th ECAC Hockey Tournament title last weekend, downing No. 19/- Quinnipiac and No. 9/10 Cornell by 4-1 scores in Lake Placid.
The Friars will enter the NCAA Tournament having had nearly two weeks off from competition after they were eliminated from the Hockey East Tournament in the quarterfinals by Notre Dame. The Irish swept the Friars, 5-0, 5-2, in South Bend, March 10-11. Providence is 22-11-5 overall and went 12-7-3 in Hockey East. They are 0-1-0 in neutral site games.
Providence averages 3.06 goals per game, 22nd-best in the nation. Erik Foley is the top goal scorer with 15, five of which were game-winners. Brian Pinho leads the team in points (40) and assists (28).
The Friars hold opponents to 2.34 goals per game, the 12th-lowest in the country. Sophomore goaltender Hayden Hawkey ranks 30th nationally with a .913 save mark and 17th with a 2.20 GAA.
Series Record vs. Providence: 17-9-1
Last Five Meetings: 4-1-0
Jan. 12, 1984 - W, 2-0
March 12, 1983 - W, 4-1
Feb. 9, 1983 - W, 8-5
Dec. 13, 1981 - W, 6-5 (ot)
Jan. 14, 1981 - L, 1-3
ECAC Hockey Tourney Recap
• Harvard won its 10th ECAC Hockey Tournament title and second in the last three years (2015, 2017).
• The title was the third under head coach Ted Donato '91 (2006, 2015, 2017).
• Harvard swept Yale in the quarterfinals, 6-4, 4-3. It went on to beat Quinnipiac in the semis, 4-1, and then Cornell by an identical score in the finals.
• Merrick Madsen was named Tournament MOP, stopping 50-of-52 shots he faced championship weekend.
• Harvard's power play was 7-for-20 during the ECAC playoffs.
• The Malone-Esposito-Tyler Moy line had 24 points during the four games of the ECAC playoffs.
Harvard is a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1983. It finished as the national runner-up to Wisconsin that year. Each of the last two seasons, Harvard was a No. 3 seed.
Junior goaltender Merrick Madsen has etched his name in the Harvard record books. With 26 wins this season, he now has the most wins by a Harvard goaltender in a single season, passing Grant Blair '86, who had 24 in 1985-86. Madsen's current 14-game win streak is also a program record.
His GAA of 2.18 this year would be the sixth-best in program lore and his .918 save percentage would be eighth-best. Those figures rank him 16th and 20th, respectively, in the nation. His 1,924 minutes played ranks fourth in program history, nine shy of third.
The ECAC Hockey Tournament MOP, Madsen was also a finalist for the Ken Dryden ECAC Hockey Goaltender of the Year Award. He was previously named to the All-Ivy League first team and was chosen as a semifinalist for the Mike Richter Award, honoring college hockey's top netminder. The ECAC Hockey Goaltender of the Month for February is 26-5-2, giving him the nation's best win percentage at .818.
Power Play Power
Harvard's power play was fantastic in the ECAC playoffs, going 7-for-20 over the four games. The Crimson has converted on 26.5 percent of its power play opportunities this season. Its 39-for-147 success rate is the fourth-best in the nation.
With its win over Brown Feb. 18, Harvard went over the 20-win plateau for a season for the 17th time in program history. It is only the second 20-win season in the last 10 years for Harvard as it had 21 in 2014-15. Harvard's 26 wins this season is its most since it won a program-best 31 games in 1988-89 on its way to the program's lone national title.
Harvard's series sweep against Yale in the ECAC Hockey quarterfinals gave head coach Ted Donato '91 the two wins he needed to reach 200 for his career. Donato is just the third Harvard coach to reach 200 wins during their career, joining Bill Cleary, Jr. (324) and Ralph "Cooney" Weiland (315). Donato has a 202-185-48 record during his 13 years at the helm of the Crimson.
The Crimson was unbeaten at the Bright-Landry Hockey Center this season, going 13-0-2. The last time Harvard finished a season unbeaten at home was 1993-94 when it went 10-0-3. Harvard was a perfect 16-0-0 at home in 1988-89.
Wins on Wins
Harvard leads the nation in team winning percentage at .818 with a record of 26-5-2. Its five losses are the fewest in Division I hockey this season and fewest since 1993-94. Harvard is riding a 16-game unbeaten streak (15-0-1) dating back to a Jan. 20 win over Brown. It is the longest such streak in program history and the longest in the nation. Its last loss was Jan. 17 versus Dartmouth. Harvard has also won its last 14 games, the longest such streak since it won the first 15 games of the 1988-89 season.
Three times this season, Harvard has overcome a deficit heading into the third period, rallying past Cornell Jan. 27, and then in each game of the ECAC quarterfinals vs. Yale. In each of the comeback wins, sophomore Lewis Zerter-Gossage scored a goal in the third period. The last time Harvard won three games when trailing heading into the third frame was 2011-12.
The senior-laden line of Luke Esposito, Sean Malone and Tyler Moy has been tremendous all season for the Crimson, but stole the spotlight during the ECAC quarterfinals. The trio racked up 15 points during the two-game sweep, six from Malone (1g, 5a), five by Moy (2g, 3a) and four by Esposito (3g, 1a).
For the year, the Crimson is 22-5-2 when the three seniors skate on the same line. Collectively, they have a points line of 55-65-115.
Harvard took home all three major awards distributed by the Ivy League March 2. Sophomore Ryan Donato was named the Player of the Year, Adam Fox was selected Rookie of the Year and Ted Donato earned Coach of the Year honors.
Ryan Donato is the 12th Harvard skater to earn Player of the Year, with Harvard earning the honor each of the last three seasons (Jimmy Vesey '16 - 2015, 2016). Fox is the 14th skater to earn Rookie accolades and Ted Donato is the first Harvard leader to earn Coach of the Year honors.
Goaltender Merrick Madsen and forward Alexander Kerfoot joined Donato and Fox on the All-Ivy first team. Freshman defenseman John Marino was named to the second team and senior forward Tyler Moy was honorable mention.
One year after Jimmy Vesey '16 won the 2016 Hobey Baker Award as college hockey's best player, senior Alexander Kerfoot has been selected as a Hobey Baker Top-10 finalist. Kerfoot is a first team All-ECAC and All-Ivy selection, as well as a semifinalist for the Walter Brown Award and Senior CLASS Award.
Freshman Adam Fox has made a name for himself on the Harvard blue line. The Jericho, New York native, and Calgary Flames prospect leads the team with 33 assists. His 1.12 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.
He was honored as the ECAC Rookie of Year prior to the semifinal game vs. Quinnipiac. He is the sixth Harvard player to receive the award and first since J.R. Prestifilippo won it in 1997. His 22 points in conference games led all defensemen and was second among all freshmen.
Points in Bunches
Senior center Sean Malone has a knack for filling the stat sheet on any given night. The West Seneca, New York native and Buffalo Sabres prospect has 12 multi-point games this season, the most on the team. Against Yale in the ECAC quarterfinals, he put up six points over two games, including a career-best four-point showing (1g, 3a) in the 6-4 win March 10. He recorded his first career hat trick in the ECAC semifinals, leading Harvard past Quinnipiac.
Harvard's seniors have combined for the most points of any senior class in the nation.
Harvard - 185
Boston College - 146
Minnesota Duluth - 144
Harvard earned the Ivy League title for the second-straight season, racking up 17 points in 10 games against the Ancient Eight. Harvard earned consecutive titles for the first time since 1993-1994. It's 8-1-1 record was also its best since going 9-0-1 during the 93-94 campaign.
Six or More
For the third season in a row, Harvard has scored at least six goals in five games. Harvard has scored six or more goals eight times this season, its most since lighting up the scoreboard for at least six goals nine times in 2002-03.
Sophomore Ryan Donato became the first Harvard skater since Connor Morrison on Nov. 24, 2009 to score four goals in a game. Donato scored the first two goals and the last two goals of a 6-2 triumph over Union Feb. 10, 2017 at the Bright-Landry Hockey Center. It marked the second hat trick of his career, with both coming against Union (Feb. 13, 2016). Four times this season Donato has had four points in a single game.
Four times this season a Harvard skater has scored at least three times in a single game. Sean Malone is the most recent Crimson to net three goals, doing so against Quinnipiac March 17. Ryan Donato had a 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 quartet 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.
Head coach Ted Donato '91 is one of three coaches in the NCAA Tournament to have won a national title as a player. Donato was the Most Outstanding Player in Harvard 1989 title. Ohio State's Steve Rohlik won the 1990 title as a player at Wisconsin and Denver's Jim Montgomery won the 1993 championship with Maine. Montogomery also won the MOP that year.
Senior Alexander Kerfoot and freshman Colton Kerfoot are one of three sets of brothers in the NCAA Tournament. Colton and Tucker Poolman play for North Dakota and Beau Starrett plays for Cornell, while his brother Shane suits up for Air Force.
Leading the Way
Senior co-captain Alexander Kerfoot is setting the tone for the Harvard offense this season. His 41 points is tied for second on the team and he has recorded a point in 25 of Harvard's 33 games. He put together a 12-game point streak from November 4 - January 7. His 83 career assists in the third-most of any player in the NCAA Tournament and ranks 12th all-time in Harvard history.
Scoring Four or More
Four goals has been the magic number for the Crimson this season, as 24 of its wins have come when it has scored four or more times. The Crimson won for the first time when scoring less than four goals Jan. 20 when it blanked Brown, 3-0. Harvard has only lost once when scoring four goals - at Dartmouth Jan. 17. Harvard is also 19-1-2 when allowing two goals or less.
Harvard ranks No. 2 in the USCHO.com poll and No. 2 in the USA Today poll this week, matching its highest ranking in each poll ever. Harvard has been ranked in the USCHO.com poll for 70 weeks, while it has spent the last 52 weeks ranked in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine poll.