Men's Hockey Closes Regular Season, Seeks First-Round Home Ice
Luke Greiner scored Saturday and helped the Crimson go 7 for 7 on the penalty kill for the weekend (photo courtesy Patrick Shanahan).
Looking to clinch home ice in the opening round of the ECAC Hockey playoffs, the Harvard men's hockey team concludes the regular season with a road trip to the North Country to face Clarkson Friday at 7:30 p.m. and St. Lawrence Saturday at 7 p.m.
Follow From Home
Live video of the games will be available from B2 Networks on a pay-per-view pasis. WHRB-FM 95.3 and WHRB.org offer live audio, while both hosts provide live statistics.
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 89-85-20 record, three ECAC title-game appearances and two NCAA tournament bids.
Coach Donato Previews the Weekend
Scroll down for a YouTube clip of Ted Donato's preview of this weekend with WHRB's Tom Brennan.
Harvard (7-17-3, 7-9-3 ECAC Hockey) stands eighth in the league and could finish as high as sixth with two wins this weekend. The scenarios in which Harvard can clinch first-round home ice include:
- Harvard goes 2-0-0
- Harvard goes 1-0-1; Brown and Princeton go 1-0-1 or worse
- Harvard goes 1-0-1; Brown or Princeton goes 1-0-1 or worse; Quinnipiac goes 0-1-1 or worse
- Harvard goes 1-1-0; Brown goes 1-0-1 or worse; Princeton goes 1-1-0 or worse
- Harvard goes 1-1-0; Brown goes 1-0-1 or worse or Princeton goes 1-1-0 or worse; Quinnipiac goes 0-2-0
- Harvard goes 0-1-1; Brown and Princeton go 0-1-1
The Crimson can clinch as early as Friday night with a win, a Quinnipiac victory against Brown and a Yale win against Princeton.
Of the teams against which Harvard has completed its season series, the Crimson holds head-to-head playoff-positioning tiebreaker advantages against Dartmouth and Union, while Cornell, Colgate, Princeton and Rensselaer own head-to-head edges on Harvard. The Crimson split its season series with Brown, Quinnipiac and Yale. The secondary tiebreaking criterion is wins, followed by record against top-four teams, record against top-eight teams, head-to-head goal differential, goal differential against top-four teams and goal differential against top-eight teams.
Harvard suffered losses to No. 10 Cornell and Colgate in front of sellout crowds on its final regular-season home weekend. The rival Big Red scored two goals 25 seconds apart in the second period and got 14 saves from Ben Scrivens in the third before adding an empty-net goal in a 3-0 win Friday night. Kyle Richter (Calgary, Alta.) made 19 of his 23 saves in the first two periods.
Luke Greiner (Faribault, Minn.) and Danny Biega (Montreal, Que.) scored goals to cut Colgate's lead to one goal, but Alex Evin made 15 third-period saves to lead the Raiders to a 4-2 win after an empty-net goal Saturday on Senior Night. Richter made 27 saves and logged an assist in two periods of action after John Riley (Lake Forest, Ill.) started Senior Night with a strong, 11-save first period.
Harvard has scored one or more power-play goals in six of its last seven ECAC Hockey games. The Crimson is 8 for 30 with the man advantage (26.7 percent) in those seven contests.
On the Board
Friday's shutout loss to Cornell was Harvard's first in regular-season league play since falling to the Big Red, 2-0, Nov. 5, 2004 in Ted Donato's second game behind the Crimson bench. Harvard had scored a goal in 127 straight ECAC games.
With the switch to a new academic calendar this year, Harvard's exam break moved from January to December, but the Crimson's success following exams is nothing new. Under Ted Donato, Harvard is 37-13-8 in post-exam league games (6-5-1 so far this season) and 18-6-5 in post-Beanpot ECAC contests. The Crimson is 20-3-0 in February home games under Donato.
Climbing the Charts
Alex Biega (Montreal, Que.) played in the 125th game of his Harvard career Saturday against Colgate. Playing in both games this weekend would tie him for 18th on the Crimson's all-time games-played list, alongside Tim Barakett '87, Tod Hartje '90, John Murphy '90 and Harry Schwefel '01.
Leading the Crimson
Freshman Louis Leblanc (Kirkland, Que.) leads Harvard with 20 points and shares the team goals lead at 10 with Conor Morrison (London, Ont.). Michael Biega (Montreal, Que.) has a team high 13 assists. He and Alex Killorn (Montreal, Que.) (nine goals, 10 assists) have 19 points each.
Nov. 21 at Bright Hockey Center
Clarkson's Brian Rufenach and Matt Beca scored 32 seconds apart late in the third period to overcome 56 minutes of Crimson dominance and tie Harvard, 2-2. Louis Leblanc and Marshall Everson (Edina, Minn.) scored for the Crimson, and Ryan Caroll (Hackensack, N.J.) made 18 saves. Harvard held a 43-20 shots advantage, including a 29-7 edge during the first two periods, but Paul Karpowich made 41 saves. The Crimson killed all seven Clarkson power plays and limited the Golden Knights to 14 even-strength shots on goal.
Harvard vs. Clarkson Series History
The Golden Knights hold a 48-45-11 series lead since the teams' first meeting, a 2-1 Clarkson win in 1935, and are one of just two ECAC teams with a winning all-time record against the Crimson. Harvard is 1-0-2 in the teams' last three meetings after Clarkson had won six straight. Harvard had lost just twice in the previous 12 matchups before the Golden Knights' six-game streak. Clarkson is unbeaten (5-0-1) in the last six meetings in Potsdam, N.Y., including an ECAC quarterfinal sweep in 2007.
Harvard beat Clarkson in the 1971 and 2004 ECAC championship games, and the Golden Knights downed the Crimson in the 1957 and '58 NCAA consolation games. Clarkson swept a pair of close games from Harvard in the 2007 ECAC quarterfinals.
Scouting the Golden Knights
Clarkson (7-22-3, 3-15-2) won three of its first five games but has struggled with injury and won just four times since and twice in its last 13 contests. The Golden Knights, however, swept Princeton and Quinnipiac on their last home weekend Feb. 12???13 and took first-place Yale to overtime in a 5-4 road loss Saturday.
Matt Beca has driven the Clarkson offense, posting team-best totals of 19 goals and 33 points. Louke Oakley leads the squad with 18 assists. Paul Karpowich made 51 saves against Yale and has seen the bulk of the goaltending action for the Golden Knights. He owns a save percentage of .891 and goals-against average of 3.72.
Nov. 20 at Bright Hockey Center
St. Lawrence scored twice on the power play and got 42 saves from Alex Petizian to hang on, 3-2, in front of a sellout crowd in the Crimson's home opener. Harvard held a 44-28 edge in shots and got power-play goals from Michael Biega and Alex Killorn. Kyle Richter made 25 saves. George Hughes and Travis Vermeulen each had a goal and an assist for the Saints.
Harvard vs. St. Lawrence Series History
Ted Donato-coached Crimson teams have faced St. Lawrence more than any other opponent, with a 9-6-1 record against the Saints, including playoff-series wins in 2005 and '06. Harvard is 3-1-1 in its last five trips to Appleton Arena. The Crimson tied the Saints there last season and posted a 6-1 win on the opening weekend of the 2007-08 campaign.
The Crimson holds a 50-37-6 all-time edge in the series. The teams first met Dec. 27, 1954, a 3-2 overtime win by Harvard. The Crimson defeated the Saints again later that season, 6-3, in the consolation game of Harvard's first NCAA tournament. The Crimson also posted a 6-3 win against the Saints in the championship game of the 1987 ECAC tournament.
Scouting the Saints
St. Lawrence (14-12-7, 8-7-5 ECAC) put together a 7-3-3 record in December and January to climb into the national rankings but is winless (0-3-3) in its last six games.
With a .913 save percentage and 2.51 goals-against average, Kain Tisi has anchored a defense that ranks fourth in ECAC scoring defense with 2.75 goals allowed per league game. It was fellow senior Alex Petizian who got the start in Saturday's 2-2 tie at Brown, stopping 32 shots. Travis Vermeulen leads the attack with 17 goals and 34 points, and Mike McKenzie has a team-high 19 assists.