Pier-Olivier Michaud, Harvard's active playoff scoring leader, registered three points in last weekend's sweep to close the regular season (photo courtesy Steve Babineau).
The 10th-seeded Harvard men's hockey team begins its quest for a ninth ECAC Hockey Championship title by visiting seventh-seeded Clarkson for a first-round series. The action at Cheel Arena in Potsdam, N.Y., starts Friday at 7 p.m., with Game 2 Saturday at 7 and the deciding game, if necessary, Sunday at 4 p.m.
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In the News
Boston Herald: Crimson play a shade better
USCHO.com: Harvard finding its stride
The Harvard Crimson: Brothers On and Off the Ice
Danny Biega, Alex Killorn Named All-Ivy
Scott Fusco '85-86 Named Among ECAC Hockey's 50 Best
Alex Bieg '10 blog: Sidelined by injury, staying positive
Connecticut Whale Sign Dov Grumet-Morris '05 to AHL Contract
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 seventh season as The Robert D. Ziff '88 Head Coach for Harvard Men's Ice Hockey. He owns a 100-108-21 record, three ECAC title-game appearances and two NCAA tournament bids.
Harvard has an 85-46-4 all-time record in the ECAC playoffs and has won eight titles to trail only Cornell in wins (91) and championships (12). In the last 10 league tournaments, the Crimson is 30-12 with three league titles (2002, '04 and '06), three runner-up showings and seven total semifinal appearances. Harvard has reached the quarterfinals of 42 of the 49 ECAC tournaments.
Harvard (9-19-1, 7-14-1 ECAC Hockey) won five of its final six games in the regular season and was 4-1-1 in its last six ECAC Hockey contests.
The Crimson and Golden Knights (15-17-2, 9-12-1) met Friday in the penultimate game of the regular season, a 3-1 Harvard win to match the scoreline from Clarkson's Nov. 13 victory at Cheel Arena.
With the weekend sweep of Clarkson and St. Lawremce, Ted Donato became the fourth head coach to lead Harvard to 100 victories. He joined Harvard legend Bill Cleary '56 (324 wins), Hockey Hall of Famer Ralph "Cooney" Weiland (315) and Ronn Tomassoni (140) in that exclusive club.
Lucky No. 1,300
The Crimson needs two wins to reach 1,300 in program history.
Pacing the Crimson
Danny Biega (Montreal, Que.) leads Harvard with 25 points and 15 assists and ranks seventh nationally in defenseman scoring (0.86 points per game). He paced ECAC defensemen in league goals (nine) and points (21). Alex Killorn (Montreal, Que.) (13‑11‑24) is the team's top goal‑scorer. Ryan Carroll (Hackensack, N.J.) has a team‑high .917 save percentage, while Kyle Richter (Calgary, Alta.) leads in goals‑against average (2.72).
Ancient Eight Honors
Danny Biega has been named a first-team All-Ivy League defenseman and Alex Killorn has earned All-Ivy second-team honors at forward, the league announced Thursday. With four goals and seven assists in 10 Ivy games, Biega tied for the Ivy scoring lead. It is the sixth time in the last nine years that a Harvard defenseman has earned one of the two All-Ivy first-team spots. Killorn tied for sixth in Ivy scoring with 10 points (3-7-10).
Ryan Carroll was named ECAC Hockey MLX Skates Goaltender of the Week Tuesday. Carroll stopped 95 of the 100 shots that came his way in Harvard's wins at Brown and at home against Clarkson and St. Lawrence. The Crimson needed every save, as each game was decided by one goal or one plus an empty-net tally.
Carroll made 40 saves, including 19 in the third period, in a 2-1 win Feb. 22 at Brown. On the weekend, he logged 23 saves against Clarkson and 32 in a 4-3 win against St. Lawrence. Two of the Saints' goals came on power plays. Carroll made 41 of his 95 saves in third-period action.
Marshall Everson (Edina, Minn.) redirected a power-play point shot by Ryan Grimshaw (Rochester, N.Y.) to break a third-period tie with less than six minutes remaining, lifting Harvard to a 3-1 win Friday against Clarskon. Everson and Grimshaw assisted on a second-period power-play marker by Alex Fallstrom (Stockholm, Sweden), and Alex Killorn added a late empty-netter.
Jake Morley tied the game in the second period, just 34 seconds after Fallstrom put Harvard on top. Harvard, however, held a 36-24 shots edge and got 23 saves from Ryan Carroll.
Senior Night at Bright
Seniors Pier-Olivier Michaud (Mont-Joli, Que.), Michael Biega (Montreal, Que.) and Michael Del Mauro (Watchung, N.J.) celebrated their final collegiate home game with goals to help the Crimson close the regular season by downing St. Lawrence, 4-3, Saturday.
Ryan Carroll made 32 saves, and Chris Huxley (Weymouth, Mass.), Harvard's other senior skater, logged an assist. Conor Morrison (London, Ont.) notched two assists, and Marshall Everson scored the Crimson's other goal, his second of the weekend. Harvard scored four straight goals after the Saints opened the scoring in the first period. St. Lawrence scored twice in the final 10 minutes.
A Balanced Week
One of the keys to Harvard's 3-0-0 week was offensive balance. The Crimson's nine goals were scored by eight players, and 13 different players notched at least a point. Eight players had multiple points, led by three-point scorers Marshall Everson (2-1-3), Pier-Olivier Michaud (1-2-3), Conor Morrison (1-2-3) and Chris Huxley (0-3-3).
Goals, Goals, Goals
Harvard has scored 23 goals in its last seven games, matching its total from the previous 17 contests.
Danny Biega has led Harvard's 5-1-1 surge in its last seven games with 10 points on four goals and six assists. Alex Killorn has logged six goals and two assists in those seven contests, and Chris Huxley has notched eight assists.
Beating the Odds
Only once has a team begun the ECAC tournament with a first-round series and gone on to claim the Whitelaw Cup as league champion—sixth-seeded Harvard in 2004. The 1998 Princeton team, seeded seventh, is the lowest seed to win the tournament. One No. 10 seed, Rensselaer in 1992, has made it to the league semifinals, and 11th-seeded Brown reached the semis last year.
In the First Round
This is the Crimson's fifth appearance in the first round of the ECAC Hockey tournament. Harvard has won three of the previous four series and owns a 6-2 record in first-round games. Prior to last season's trip to Princeton, all three previous series came at Bright Hockey Center. No. 6 seed Harvard swept Vermont, 3-0 and 5-3, to start its run to the 2004 league title. The seventh-seeded Crimson downed Yale, 5-2 and 2-1, in 2007. In 2009, 12th-seeed Brown knocked off the No. 5 seed Crimson, 1-0 and 2-0.
On the Road in the Playoffs
Harvard is taking to the road in the ECAC playoffs for the 10th time and is 8-13 in those games. The Crimson won quarterfinal series at St. Lawrence in 1996 and at Brown in 2004 and swept Princeton on the road in last season's first round. Harvard was 1-2 in single road games before the series format was adopted.
Ninth-seeded Harvard used a 7-0 edge in third‑period goals to pull off a road sweep of No. 8 seed Princeton, 4-2 and 3-0, in the first round of the 2010 ECAC Hockey tournament. Danny Biega recorded two goals, an assist and a +4 rating in the series, while Michael Del Mauro and Luke Greiner (Faribault, Minn.) had a goal and two assists each. Kyle Richter registered a 37‑save shutout in Game 2, as Daniel Moriarty (Bienfait, Sask.) broke a scoreless tie in the third period.
Cornell, seeded second in the tournament and ranked ninth nationally, defeated the Crimson in a quarterfinal series on the way to the league title. In Game 1, Pier-Olivier Michaud tied the game in the opening period, but the Big Red scored the final four goals for a 5-1 win. Cornell clinched the series with a 3-0 win in the second game.
Harvard won its first ECAC tournament title in 1963, the second year of the event. The Crimson later claimed championships in 1971, '83, '87, '94, 2002, '04 and '06.
Donato in the Playoffs
Harvard has reached the championship game in three of Ted Donato's six previous ECAC tournaments behind the Crimson bench and won the league title in 2006. Donato's Harvard teams are 14-10 in the conference playoffs.
Career Playoff Leaders
Pier-Olivier Michaud leads active Crimson players in career postseason goals (three), assists (three), points (six) and plus/minus (+5). Ryan Carroll owns a 1.42 goals-against average and .942 save percentage in three playoff appearances.
Positive in Postseason
Of Harvard's 16 skaters with playoff experience, 13 have a plus or even plus/minus rating.
Eight for the Ancient Eight
Ivy League teams have won eight of the last nine ECAC tournaments. After Harvard and Cornell alternated titles for five years, Clarkson claimed the 2007 event. Princeton and Yale won in 2008 and '09, respectively, before Cornell won last year. Ivy teams have won 11 of the last 14 tournaments and 23 of the 49 overall, with the Crimson and Big Red accounting for 20 of those championships.
Nov. 13 at Cheel Arena
Clarkson took advantage of Harvard's missed opportunities in the first period and a quick pair of goals by Allan MacPherson and Nick Pokulok in the second for a 3-1 win. Kyle Richter made 32 saves, while Michael Biega scored the Crimson's goal. Scott Freeman also tallied for Clarkson, which got 35 saves from Paul Karpowich.
The Golden Knights hold a 50-46-11 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. Clarkson is unbeaten (7-0-1) in the last eight meetings at Cheel, while Harvard is 4-2‑1 in the last seven at Bright.
Playoff Series History
The Crimson is 9-9-1 in playoff games against the Golden Knights. The squads have never previously met in the first round. Harvard beat Clarkson in the 1971 and 2004 ECAC championship games. Clarkson swept a pair of close games from Harvard in the 2007 quarterfinals.
Scouting the Golden Knights
Clarkson's loss at Harvard was its eighth in 10 games, but the Golden Knights closed the regular season with a 4-1 win Saturday at Dartmouth. Paul Karpowich made 43 saves, and four different players scored after Dartmouth took a 1-0 lead.
Brandon DeFazio is Clarkson's top producer in points (24) and goals (13). Jake Morley has 22 points and a team-high 15 assists. Karpowich has started 33 of the squad's 34 games and owns a .914 save percentage and 2.98 goals-against average.
In its final 10 league games, Harvard held its opponent to two goals or fewer seven times. The Crimson limited No. 3 Yale to one goal, the lowest scoring output of the season for the nation's top offense, Feb. 4 and held No. 12 Union, which ranks third nationally in scoring offense, without a goal for more than 46 minutes.
In ECAC games this season, only Yale got more from its special teams than Harvard. The Crimson scored eight more goals than it allowed in special‑teams play. The Bulldogs were +14 in special-teams net goals, while Dartmouth matched Harvard's +8 mark.
Harvard scored on 11 of its last 26 power plays in ECAC Hockey games, climbing to second in power-play efficiency in league games (20 for 88, 22.7 percent). The Crimson had scored at least one power-play goal in five straight league games until being held scorless in three man-advantage chances Saturday against Princeton.
Harvard was the only team in ECAC Hockey not to allow a shorthanded goal in league play. Boston University scored the only shorthanded goal against Harvard in the regular season Jan. 15.
Before surrendering two power-play goals to St. Lawrence, the Crimson had killed its ECAC opponents' last 15 power plays, dating back to the 4-4 tie against Princeton (Feb. 11). Harvard's penalty kill was 67 for 81 (82.7 percent) in ECAC play and is 90 for 111 (81.1 percent) overall.
Only Dartmouth (12) and St. Lawrence (13) allowed fewer league power-play goals than the 14 let in by Harvard. Only Boston College (18), Army (19) and Dartmouth (19) have fewer overall power-play goals against than Harvard (21).
Outside the Box
The Crimson has faced an NCAA-low 111 opposing power plays, an average of 3.8 per game. On a per-game basis, only Lake Superior State (3.4), New Hampshire (3.7), UMass Lowell (3.8) and Michigan Tech (3.8) have put themselves in fewer man-down situations.
Harvard averages 12 penalty minutes per game, Division I's 12th-lowest mark. The Crimson has committed five or fewer penalties in 19 games overall, four or fewer in each of its last five games and two in each game last weekend.
Harvard is 5-1-1 in its last seven games despite trailing eight times. The Crimson was behind by a single goal each time and on four occasions tied the game within three minutes, 14 seconds. Harvard's last two-goal deficit came in its Feb. 7 loss to Northeastern in the Beanpot semifinals.
Four of Harvard's last six games have been decided by a tie-breaking goal in final eight minutes of the third period. Ten of Harvard's 19 games in 2011 and 13 of its 29 total games have been tied in the third. The Crimson is 5‑7‑1 in those games.
Help from the Blue Line
Defensemen have assisted on or scored 20 of the Crimson's last 23 and 40 of its last 48 goals.
From Blue Line to Red Light
The last defenseman to lead Harvard in scoring was Mark Fusco '83 in 1981-82, the season before he won the Hobey Baker Award and led Harvard to the NCAA title game. Danny Biega's 10 goals are the most by a Harvard defenseman since Jeremiah McCarthy '98 scored 11 in 1997-98. Sean McCann '94 holds the Crimson record for goals by a defenseman with 22 in 1993-94.