Crimson Streaks Into Capital District
McCollem netted his first career goal in a Feb. 8, 2008 win at Union (photo courtesy Jim Rosvold).
The Harvard men's hockey team, winner of three straight league games, looks to stay hot as it visits first-place, No. 13 Union Friday at 7 p.m. and Rensselaer Saturday at 4 pm.
Follow From Home
Live video of Friday's game will be available via subscription on UnionAthletics.com. Saturday's contest will be televised on Time Warner Albany and streamed live on B2 Networks (pay-perâ€‘view). WHRBâ€‘FM 95.3 and WHRB.org offer live audio. Links to all the broadcasts and live stats are available at the top of this pag e and on the Crimson's schedule page.
Behind the Bench
Former Crimson captain, NCAA Frozen Four Most Outstanding Player and 13-year National Hockey League veteran Ted Donato '91 is in his sixth season as The Robert D. Ziff '88 Head Coach for Harvard Men's Ice Hockey. He owns an 86â€‘78â€‘19 record, three ECAC title-game appearances and two NCAA tournament bids.
Last Time Out
Louis Leblanc (Kirkland, Que.) logged his second straight two-goal game and Ryan Carroll (Hackensack, N.J.) made 37 saves as Harvard won its third consecutive league game, 4-1 against Dartmouth, Monday afternoon at Bright Hockey Center. Matt McCollem (Westford, Mass.) scored his first goal of the season in the second period, and Michael Biega (Montreal, Que.) had a goal and an assist. Alex Killorn (Montreal, Que.) recorded a pair of assists.
Leblanc, who also scored twice in the 3-2 win against No. 5 Yale Jan. 12, became the first Harvard player since Dominic Moore '03 in Feb. 10 and 14, 2003 to record back-to-back multipleâ€‘goal games. Moore scored twice against Northeastern in a Beanpot consolation win and then had three goals and two assists against Colgate.
Harvard (4-10-2, 4-5-2 ECAC Hockey) has won each of its three league games since its break for first semester exams. The Crimson defeated No. 8 Quinnipiac, 3-1, Dec. 29, No. 5 Yale, 3-2, Jan. 12 and Dartmouth, 4-1, Jan. 18, all at home.
With the switch to a new academic calendar, the Crimson's exam break moved from January to December, but Harvard's success following exams is nothing new. Under Ted Donato, Harvard is 34â€‘8-7 in league games after the exam break, including a 5-1-3 mark last season.
Louis Leblanc was named ECAC Hockey Rookie of the Week Monday in recognition of his two-goal game in the Harvard men's hockey team's 3-2 win against No. 5 Yale last week and before his two-goal game Monday against Dartmouth. For his performance in both games, Leblanc was also named Harvard COOP Athlete of the Week.
He's On Fire
After totaling three goals in the first nine games of his career, Louis Leblanc has scored five goals in the last three league games (five games overall). The hot streak has given Leblanc sole possession of the ECAC freshman lead in goals (eight) and points (13) in league games. He is the nation's second-leading freshman goal-scorer.
Making Them Count
Louis Leblanc has scored the game-winning goal in each of Harvard's three straight league wins. The three game-winners are good for the league lead in ECAC play and a tie for 11th nationally.
Ryan Carroll started in goal in the wins against Yale and Dartmouth. He totaled 72 saves while allowing just three goals in the two wins.
In a Logjam
Harvard stands seventh in ECAC Hockey, four points out of third place and three points ahead of ninth. The Crimson could finish the weekend in any position from third through ninth.
Union is Harvard's third ranked opponent in the last four league games and its fourth in the last seven games overall.
Harvard vs. Union Series History
Harvard holds a 28-5-3 all-time edge against Union and had lost just once in the previous 14 meetings until the Dutchmen's win in the team's matchup last season at Messa Rink. Ted Donato is 7-2-1 against the Dutchmen, and the Crimson is 13-3-2 at Union.
Harvard vs. Union in 2008-09
The home team claimed victory in both games of the Harvard-Union series last season. Alex Killorn had Harvard's only goal, the first of his career, in a 3-1 loss Nov. 8. The Crimson scored first, on the power play, but the Dutchmen took the lead on two power-play tallies in the second period.
The Crimson won the rematch, 3-1, Jan. 30. Doug Rogers (Watertown, Mass.) recorded a goal and assist, while Alex Biega (Montreal, Que.) had two assists. Pier-Olivier Michaud (Mont-Joli, Que.) scored a second-period goal on the power play, and Steve Rolecek '09 added an empty-net tally. The win ended the Crimson's 13â€‘game winless streak (0-9-4).
Scouting the Dutchmen
Union (13-4-5, 7-0-3), coached by former Harvard assistant Nate Leaman, is looking to finish the first half of its league season unbeaten. The Dutchmen has suffered just one loss in their last 15 games (10â€‘1â€‘4). Union has won five straight since losing to Massachusetts, 4-3, at the UConn Hockey Classic. The most recent victory came by a 3-1 score Saturday against rival Rensselaer.
The Dutchmen rank third nationally in scoring offense (3.64 goals per game), led by seniors Mario Valery-Trabucco (12-15-27 in 21 games) and Jason Walters (12-14-26 in 21). Valery-Trabucco has scored a league-high 10 goals in ECAC games. Senior Corey Milan and freshman Keith Kinkaid have alternated in net, with Kinkaid making 22 saves in the win against the Engineers. Milan has better numbers with a .916 save percentage and 2.07 goals-against average, and Kinkiad has the better record at 6-2-2.
Harvard vs. Rensselaer Series History
Harvard has won five of the last seven matchups with Rensselaer and seven of the 10 meetings during the coaching tenure of Ted Donato. The Crimson owns a 45-33-2 lead in the series, which began with a 6-2 home win by the Engineers in 1951. The teams have combined for three national titles and have met twice to determine the ECAC champion (a 3-1 RPI win in 1985 and a 3-0 Harvard victory in 1994).
Harvard vs. Rensselaer in 2008-09
The Crimson and Engineers split consecutive games early last season. Defensive partners Ian Tallett (St. Louis, Mo.) and Alex Biega scored goals and helped the Crimson kill nine penalties to defeat Rensselaer, 3-1, Nov. 4 at Bright Hockey Center. Pier-Olivier Michaud had a goal and an assist. Both teams were 1 for 10 with the man advantage, and the Crimson owned a 36-28 edge in shots. RPI's Mathias Lange made 33 saves.
The teams met again three days later at Houston Field House. Seniors Steve Rolecek and Nick Coskren '09 each scored goals to cut into two-goal leads, but Rensselaer held on for a 3-2 win. All three RPI goals came on special teams, one shorthanded and two on the power play, and Harvard held a 28-26 shots advantage. Biega notched two assists for the Crimson and leads active Harvard players with seven career points (2-5-7) against the Engineers.
Scouting the Engineers
Saturday's loss to Union was just the second for Rensselaer (12-11-1, 5-5-0) in six games and came on the heels of a road sweep of Quinnipiac and Princeton. The Engineers' resume includes wins over notable names like Yale, Michigan, New Hampshire and Boston University, but the team also has had a stretch of seven games with only one win and has lost three of four games to the rival Dutchmen.
Chase Polacek (16-18-34 in 24 games) ranks eighth nationally in scoring with 1.42 points per game and leads ECAC Hockey in league points (19) and assists (11). Brandon Pirri has 26 points and a team-high 19 assists. He ranks second to Louis Leblanc in ECAC freshman scoring with 2-10-12 in league play. Allen York is 9-9-1 in 19 starts, with a .905 save percentage and 2.78 goals-against average. He made 43 saves in the Dec. 29 win against Michigan, allowing the Engineers to prevail, 4-3, despite a 46-13 shots deficit.
Click here for full Harvard men's hockey game notes in PDF format.