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Crimson Heads West for Pair with Gophers

Donato and his players are looking to put together a post-exams winning streak (photo courtesy Gil Talbot).

Game Notes (PDF) | ECAC Hockey Live Scoreboard

In the News
Monarchs Ink Tom Cavanagh '05

Game On
The Harvard men’s hockey visits Minnesota Friday and Saturday in the first games against the Golden Gophers for Crimson head coach Ted Donato ’91 since he led the Crimson to a win against Minnesota to claim the 1989 NCAA title as a player. Both games begin at 7 p.m. Central (8 Eastern) at Mariucci Arena as Harvard looks to build on last week’s win against No. 8 Quinnipiac.

Follow From Home
Both games will be televised by Fox Sports North, with Friday’s game airing live and Saturday’s contest airing on tape delay. Friday’s game is also scheduled to re-air at 1 a.m. Eastern on Fox College Sports Atlantic as well as Jan. 11 and 13 on Fox College Sports Central. Both of those channels are available on cable sports packages throughout the United States.

WHRB-FM 95.3 and WHRB.org will provide live audio of both weekend games, while live statistics can be found here.

Behind the Bench
Former Crimson captain, NCAA Frozen Four Most Outstanding Player and 13-year National Hockey League veteran Ted Donato is in his sixth season as The Robert D. Ziff ’88 Head Coach for Harvard Men’s Ice Hockey. He owns an 84???76???19 record, three ECAC title-game appearances and two NCAA tournament bids.

Last Time Out
Three freshmen scored and Kyle Richter (Calgary, Alta.) made 36 saves as Harvard knocked off No. 8 Quinnipiac, 3-1, Dec. 29 at Bright Hockey Center. Luke Greiner (Faribault, Minn.) and Louis Leblanc (Kirkland, Que.) scored in the first and second periods, respectively, before Richter’s 16 third-period saves and an empty-net goal by David Valek (Zagreb, Croatia) sealed the win. The Crimson improved to 7-1 all-time at home against Quinnipiac.

Following Finals
Tuesday’s win marked the third straight season and fourth in the last five that Harvard has won its first game following the first-semester exam break.

History Lesson
Ted Donato’s last meeting with the Gophers came April 1, 1989, when as a sophomore forward he scored twice to lead the Crimson to a 4-3 overtime win in the final of the NCAA Championship in St. Paul, Minn. Donato totaled three goals and two assists in the tournament and was named its Most Outstanding Player.

Following a 13-season National Hockey League career, he took over behind the Harvard bench prior to the 2004-05 season. Donato coached two games, a 0-0 tie against Northern Michigan and a 6-4 loss to Merrimack, in the 2004 Dodge Holiday Classic at Mariucci Arena.

Series History
Minnesota holds a 20-6 all-time series edge and has won all four meetings since the Crimson’s title-clinching win in 1989. The Gophers swept a two-game series from Harvard, minus an injured Ted Donato, the next season and won meetings in the Mariucci Classic in 1995 and ’99.

Minnesota is 16-2 in series home games, with the Crimson’s only road wins coming in the form of back-to-back overtime victories Dec. 29-30, 1950. Harvard won the first clash between the programs, 7-6, Jan. 14, 1932 at Boston Garden.

Scouting the Golden Gophers
A 4-2 loss to Northern Michigan in Sunday’s championship game of the Dodge Holiday Classic snapped a four-game win streak that had gotten Minnesota to the .500 mark. The Golden Gophers own wins against highly ranked foes Bemidji State and Michigan State but have suffered a pair of four-game winless skids.

Mike Hoeffel and Tony Lucia share the team lead with 15 points each and pace the Gophers with 10 goals and 11 assists, respectively. Alex Kangas has an 8-7-1 record in goal with a .910 save percentage and 2.63 goals-against average. Minnesota has converted 14.5 percent of its power plays (12 for 83) and killed 81.2 percent of its opponents’ man-advantage chances (78 for 96).

To be the Best …
Harvard’s opponents have won a combined 17 NCAA titles, including four of the last eight. Minnesota has won five national titles, most recently back-to-back crowns in 2002 and ’03.
The last two NCAA champions were among the Crimson’s last five opponents. 2008 winner Boston College edged the Crimson, 3-2, Dec. 9, and Harvard lost to defending champ Boston University, 6-5 in overtime, Nov. 24. Harvard has played the eventual champ in each of the last three years and has played a team from the preceding Frozen Four every season since 1993-94.

Minnesota Connections
There are two Minnesota natives on the Harvard roster, Marshall Everson (Edina, Minn.) and Luke Greiner. Everson leads the Crimson with three power-play goals but has not played since suffering an injury in the Nov. 29 game against Dartmouth. He and Gophers freshman forward Zach Budish were teammates at Edina High School.

Greiner and Alex Fallstrom (Stockholm, Sweden) helped lead Shattuck-St. Mary’s School to a 2008 USA Hockey national title. Greiner also helped SSM win a 2007 national title, and Fallstrom was the team’s captain and top scorer last season. Fallstrom was selected by the Minnesota Wild in the 2009 National Hockey League Entry Draft but subsequently had his rights traded to the Boston Bruins.

Wild minority owner Philip Falcone ’74 played for Harvard, and general manager Chuck Fletcher ’90 skated for the Crimson junior varsity.

Fresh (and Balanced) Scoring
Two Harvard freshman forwards, Luke Greiner and David Valek, scored goals to account for the first points of their career in the win against Quinnipiac. Another rookie, defenseman Danny Biega (Montreal, Que.) recorded an assist for his first career point. Overall, nine players registered one point each in the victory.

Who’s Hot?
Daniel Moriarty (Bienfait, Sask.) had a four-game point streak snapped by Quinnipiac but has six points (3-3-6) in the last five games.

Power Source
The Crimson ranks 11th nationally with a 22.9-percent efficiency on the power play (11 for 48). Harvard has scored twice on the power play in four of its 12 games.

The Killers
Harvard has killed its opponents’ last seven power plays and is 13 for 14 on the penalty kill (92.9 percent) since allowing three power-play goals Nov. 24 against Boston University. Harvard is the nation’s 17th-least-penalized team, averaging just 12.5 penalty minutes per game.

Pacing the Crimson
Michael Biega (Montreal, Que.) is Harvard’s top scorer with 12 points, and he shares the team assists lead with Chris Huxley (Weymouth, Mass.). Conor Morrison (London, Ont.) leads Harvard with six goals, while Louis Leblanc owns a team-high +6 plus/minus rating. Alex Killorn (Montreal, Que.) has logged a team-leading 53 shots on goal, one more than Biega.

Alex Fallstrom paces the squad with a 57.1-percent faceoff win rate, while Doug Rogers (Watertown, Mass.) has won a team-high 131 draws.

Young Gun
Conor Morrison ranks second nationally among freshmen with 0.50 goals per game.

Click here to view full Harvard men's hockey game notes in PDF format.