Atlantic City Trip at Stake as Harvard Men's Hockey Visits No. 18 Dartmouth
Killorn had a hand in half of Harvard's goals in Harvard's 6-4, series-clinching win Saturday (photo courtesy Steve Babineau).
The 10th-seeded Harvard men's hockey team seeks an ECAC Hockey semifinal berth as it visits third-seeded, 18th‑ranked Dartmouth for a best-of-three series.
The Crimson and Big Green will face off Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. at Thompson Arena in Hanover, N.H., and meet again, if necessary, Sunday at 4 p.m.
Follow From Home
Links to live, pay-per-view video of the games and free live statistics can be found on GoCrimson.com. WHRB-FM 95.3 and WHRB.org offer live audio with Brendan Roche and Charlie Hobbes on the call.
Behind the Bench
Former Crimson captain, NCAA Frozen Four Most Outstanding Player and 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 102‑108‑21 record and two NCAA tournament bids.
In the News
ESPNBoston: Goalie coaches play key role
This Week in Harvard Hockey: Goalies Galore
USCHO.com Names Michael Biega Its Third Star
Michael Biega Recognized as ECAC's Best on First Playoff Weekend
How They Got Here
Harvard (11-19-1, 7-14-1 ECAC Hockey) beat Clarkson, 2-1 and 6-4, last weekend in Potsdam, N.Y., to sweep a first-round series on the road for the second straight year. Dartmouth (16-10-3, 12-8-2) earned a first-round bye by finishing third in the ECAC regular season.
ECAC Hockey Quarterfinal Matchups
(12) Colgate at (1) Union
(11) St. Lawrence at (2) Yale
(10) Harvard at (3) Dartmouth
(8) Quinnipiac at (4) Cornell
What's At Stake
The quarterfinal series winners will advance to the ECAC Hockey Championship semifinals, being held for the first time at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, N.J. The tournament field will be reseeded for the semifinal round.
Harvard has an 87-46-4 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 11 league tournaments (including this year's), the Crimson is 32-12 with three league titles (2002, '04 and '06), three runner-up showings and seven total semifinal appearances. This is the 50th ECAC tournament and Harvard's 42nd quarterfinal appearance.
Harvard has won its last five games and seven of its last eight. The Crimson is tied with North Dakota for the nation's second-longest active winning streak, trailing only Michigan's six straight wins. It is Harvard's first run of five wins in a row since Jan. 4-Feb. 8, 2005.
In Friday's playoff opener, Danny Biega (Montreal, Que.) scored in the game's first four minutes, and brother Michael Biega (Montreal, Que.) broke a 1-1 tie with his goal in the third period. Ryan Carroll (Hackensack, N.J.) made 32 saves to overcome a 33-18 shots edge for Clarkson.
Saturday's clincher featured 10 goals in the final two periods. Harvard trailed, 3-2, after two, but Daniel Moriarty (Bienfait, Sask.) scored the tying and go-ahead goals 44 seconds apart during a five-minute power play. Michael Biega netted his third straight game-winner, while Alex Killorn (Montreal, Que.) logged a goal and two asssists. Pier-Olivier Michaud (Mont-Joli, Que.) and Alex Fallstrom (Stockholm, Sweden) also scored for the Crimson, and Ryan Carroll made 29 saves.
Lucky No. 1,300
The Crimson's win Saturday was the 1,300th in program history.
Michael Biega was named ECAC Hockey MLX Skates Player of the Week after netting the game-winning goal in each game of Harvard's sweep of Clarkson. He added an assist in Game 2 against the Golden Knights and was +2 for the weekend.
It is the third straight week a Harvard player has been honored by ECAC Hockey. Danny Biega garnered top-player honors Feb. 22, and Ryan Carroll was named Goalie of the Week last week. It is Michael Biega's third ECAC weekly honor. He was twice named ECAC Rookie of the Week during his freshman season of 2007-08.
Danny Biega has led Harvard's 7-1-1 surge in its last nine games with 13 points (5-8-13). Alex Killorn has logged seven goals and four assists in those seven contests, and Chris Huxley (Weymouth, Mass.) has notched 11 assists. Marshall Everson (Edina, Minn.) has five points (2-3-5) in the last four games.
Ryan Carroll has won his last seven starts, allowing two goals or fewer on four occasions. He has held six of his last 12 opponents to two or fewer. In the 1-0 loss at No. 3 Yale (Feb. 4), Carroll became the first goaltender all season to hold the nation's highest-scoring offense to a single goal.
Harvard has faced 11 one-goal deficits in the last nine games and on six occasions tied the game within four minutes. Its last two-goal deficit came in its Feb. 7 loss to Northeastern at the Beanpot.
Goals, Goals, Goals
Harvard has scored 31 goals in its last nine games, one fewer than its netted in the previous 17 contests.
Harvard has held its opponent to two goals or fewer in four of the last six and eight of the last 14 games. 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 fourth nationally in scoring offense, without a goal for more than 46 minutes Jan. 22.
Pacing the Crimson
With 28 points on 11 goals and a team-high 17 assists, Danny Biega is one of just three defensemen in the nation to lead his team in scoring. Alex Killorn (14‑13‑27) is the Crimson's top goal‑scorer. Ryan Carroll has a team‑high .918 save percentage, while Kyle Richter (Calgary, Alta.) leads in goals‑against average (2.72).
According to Google Maps, it is a 271-mile drive from Bright Hockey Center to Boardwalk Hall, but Harvard is looking to get to Atlantic City via a circuitous route totaling more than 1,000 miles. The Crimson made the trip to Clarkson (251 miles each way) last weekend and even took a side trip into Canada when a wrong turn took the team bus across the border. Google lists Thompson Arena as 109 miles from Bright.
Michael Biega (2-1-3), Danny Biega (1‑2‑3), Alex Killorn (1-2-3) and Chris Huxley (0-3-3) all started the ECAC tournament with three-point weekends. Daniel Moriarty (2‑0‑0), Alex Fallstrom (1-1-2) Pier-Olivier Michaud (1-1‑2) and Marshall Everson also have point-per-game playoff averages. Ryan Carroll posted a .924 save percentage and 2.50 goals‑against average last weekend.
Career Playoff Leaders
Pier-Olivier Michaud leads active Crimson players in career postseason assists (four), points (eight) and plus/minus (+7) and shares the playoff goals lead at four with Daniel Moriarty.
Ryan Carroll owns a 1.94 goals-against average, .932 save percentage and 2-2-0 record in five playoff games. He has surrendered two goals or fewer in three of his four postseason starts.
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 Quarterfinals
Harvard is 46-21-4 in ECAC quarterfinal games and has advanced from 28 of its 41 appearances in the quarterfinal round. Harvard has won seven of its last nine quarterfinal appearances. The Crimson is 5-8 in road appearances in the quarters (1-2 in single games, 4-6 in series).
On the Road in the Playoffs
Harvard is playing its 11th ECAC road playoff series and is 9-15 in those games. The Crimson won quarterfinal series at St. Lawrence in 1996 and at Brown in 2004 and has swept road series in the last two first rounds. Harvard was 1-2 in single road games before the series format was adopted.
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.
Finishing the Job
Harvard has won 21 of 22 series in which it has won Game 1, sweeping 18 times. The exception was a 1999 quarterfinal loss at Rensselaer.
In the Regular Season
Dartmouth swept a home‑and‑home series with the Crimson Nov. 26-27, starting with five unanswered goals to turn a 3-2 lead into an 8-2 win at Bright Hockey Center. Conor Morrison (London, Ont.) assisted Marshall Everson to cut the Big Green's lead to 2-1 late in the first period and scored in the second period to trim the deficit to 3-2. Both goals came on power plays.
A night later in Hanover, N.H., Dartmouth scored four times in a six-minute span of the first period en route to a 5-2 win. Matt McCollem and Dan Ford (Skaneateles, N.Y.) scored for the Crimson, which held a 29-18 shots edge over the final two periods. Dartmouth goaltender James Mello made 27 of his 31 saves in the second and third periods. Daniel Moriarty recorded two assists for Harvard, while Ryan Carroll made 37 saves.
Harvard owned a 6-1-1 record in the previous eight meetings with Dartmouth before the Big Green swept the 2010-11 regular season series. The Crimson previously lost just once (7-0 in 2000-01) to the Big Green in a 20-game span from 1996 to 2004 and owns a 125-58-9 all-time series edge. The teams first met Feb. 7, 1907, a 12-3 Crimson win at Harvard Stadium.
Playoff Series History
The Crimson has won all four of its previous postseason encounters with the Big Green. The teams met four times in a six-year span. Harvard posted a 3-2, overtime win in the 2001 consolation game and then defeated Dartmouth in three semifinals in four years: 5-3 in 2003, 2-1 in '04 and 10-1 in '06.
Scouting the Big Green
Dartmouth entered its final road trip of the regular season with an 8-2-1 record in its previous 11 games but suffered a road sweep at the hands of Colgate and Cornell Feb. 18-19. The Big Green rebounded with a 4-2 win against St. Lawrence Feb. 25 but fell to Clarkson, 4-1, in the regular‑season finale a night later. The Big Green's notable wins include a 5-4 victory against New Hampshire (Jan. 15) and a 4-1 win at Union (Jan. 21).
The veteran trio of Scott Fleming (12-15‑27), Adam Estoclet (13-12-25) and Doug Jones (7‑18‑25) powers the Dartmouth offense. The defensive corps, led by seniors Evan Stephens and Joe Stejskal, is also an experienced group. James Mello has emerged as the starting goaltender and had a strong season. He owns a .929 save percentage and 2.17 goals-against average and was the first-team All-Ivy League goalie.