Road Tests for No. 17 Men's Hockey in No. 10 Cornell, Colgate

Road Tests for No. 17 Men's Hockey in No. 10 Cornell, Colgate

Harvard hits the road for the first time this season after compiling a 3-2-0 record in a five-game homestand (Photo: Justine Agaloos).

Complete Game Notes

College Hockey News: Vesey Follows Family Success

ECAC Hockey: Vesey Captures Second Rookie of the Week Honor

Hockey's Future: Healthy Fallstrom Brings Offense, Leadership to Harvard Offense

The Matchups

After completing its season-opening five-game homestand with a 3-2-0 record, the No. 17/- Harvard men's hockey team hits the road to take on archrival No. 10/10 Cornell Friday at Lynah Rink, before heading to Hamilton, N.Y., to take on Colgate Saturday. Friday's game against the Big Red will be televised on NBC Sports Network, marking Harvard's first televised game of the season.   

Last Season vs. Cornell
While Harvard had a tough start to the series against the Big Red, the Crimson had the last laugh, topping Cornell in the third meeting of the 2011-12 campaign.

The power plays were on display in the first matchup at Bright Hockey Center last season, as the Big Red skated away with a 4-2 win. Three first-period goals, including two power-play strikes from Nick D'Agostino, gave the guests a commanding 3-0 lead after one period. Marshall Everson and Alex Fallstrom answered back with power-play scores of their own in the second period, but a John Esposito tally in the third gave Cornell the two-goal win.

The rematch at Lynah Rink saw Everson strike again on the man-advantage to knot the score at 1-1 after the first. Joakim Ryan put the hosts up 2-1 with a goal in the second but Alex Killorn scored in the back half of the third to push the game to overtime and an eventual 2-2 tie.

The teams' third meeting of the season came in the ECAC Tournament semifinals and a ruthless Harvard attack saw the Crimson post a pair of goals in each period to breeze to a 6-1 win and earn a spot in the tournament championship game. Patrick McNally got things started less than five minutes into the game and Killorn followed suit less than three minutes later. Colin Moore '12 and Marshall Everson scored in the second period and Killorn and Everson each tallied their second goals to give Harvard a 6-0 edge, before Cornell got its only goal with 1:06 left in the game. 

Last Season vs. Colgate
Entering the teams' first matchup of the year in search of its first league and overall win, the Crimson overcame two seperate one-goal deficits to post a 4-2 victory over the Raiders. Robbie Bourdon gave Colgate a 1-0 lead after one period but Rence Coassin's '12 marker at 3:54 of the second allowed Harvard to draw even. A power-play goal from Austin Smith gave the lead back to Colgate but man-up tallies from Patrick McNally and Alex Killorn gave Harvard a 3-2 edge at the second intermission. Colin Blackwell's first collegiate goal in the third secured the 4-2 victory for the hosts.

Goals from Marshall Everson and Peter Starrett '12 gave Harvard a 2-1 lead after two in the rematch in Hamilton, N.Y., but Austin Smith scored the equalizer at 12:28 of the third frame and the game would end in a 2-2 tie.    

Championship Quality
The Crimson and Big Red have combined for three NCAA titles, with Cornell capturing two and Harvard one. They rank first and third in ECAC regular-season championships (Harvard 13, Cornell 9) and first and second in league tournament crowns (Cornell 12, Harvard 8). The rivals have accounted for nine of the 22 ECAC regular-season and tournament titles awarded over the last 10 seasons. For six of those nine championships, the other rival was the runner-up.

Either Harvard or Cornell has won or shared the Ivy League crown in 38 of the league's 55 seasons, with Harvard totaling 21 titles and Cornell 19. The teams shared the honor in 1983‑84 and 1984-85.

First of Many
Freshman Brian Hart, a second-round draft pick of the Tampa Bay Lightning, collected his first collegiate goal in Harvard's 4-0 shutout of Rensselaer Saturday. Hart is the third player in Harvard's highly-touted freshman class to score a goal this season.

Helping Hand
Sophomore forward Tommy O'Regan has logged an assist in his last four games. He has the longest active point streak on the team heading into the Cornell game, and the four-game stretch marks a career long.  

Veni, Vidi, Vesey
Through five games this season, rookie Jimmy Vesey has shown that the same goal-scoring prowess that earned him EJHL Player of the Year honors last season, has carried over to his college career. The rookie ranks tied for 13th in the nation in points per game (1.40) and leads all freshmen in that category. He is also second in the country in goals per game (1.00), behind junior Eric Robinson (1.17) of Dartmouth. He has two multi-goal games to his credit and has earned ECAC Hockey Rookie of the Week honors twice this season.  

Three in a Row
After Jimmy Vesey took home league Rookie of the Week honors Oct. 30, Harvard's first week of action, classmate Kyle Criscuolo made it two in a row for the Crimson, earning the honor for the week of Nov. 6. Criscuolo had a pair of goals and an assist and finished +3 in Harvard's ECAC and Ivy opening weekend, as the Crimson captured a 3-2 win over Brown and fell to Yale, 5-1.

Vesey extended the streak to three for Harvard, and two out of three for himself, when he earned Rookie of the Week honors for the week of Nov. 13. Vesey got Harvard on the board in a tough, 6-2, loss to No. 8/7 Union Nov. 9 and helped the Crimson rebound with a pair of unassisted goals in a 4-0 blanking of Rensselaer a night later.         

Harvard has now had a player take home league Rookie of the Week honors every week the team has been eligible this season.   

Finally, a First
Brendan Rempel's game-winning tally against Brown Nov. 2 represented the first goal of his collegiate career. His goal means that every member of the class of 2013 has registered at least one goal in their collegiate careers. Rempel was also the first defenseman to tally a goal this season for the Crimson.

Production Lines
After Harvard's top line had a strong showing against Bentley in the season opener, with each player tallying a goal and finishing a collective +8, the third line proved to be the catalyst in Week 2. The trio of Kyle Criscuolo, Brian Hart and Tommy O'Regan had a hand in three of Harvard's four goals and finished a combined +6.

Ted Donato shifted the lines for the Union/RPI weekend, skating an all-freshman trio as his second line. The group of Jimmy Vesey, Hart and Criscuolo accounted for four of Harvard's six goals, and finished with a combined +5 rating.    

Scouting the Big Red
For most of the 2012-13, Cornell has been the highest-ranked ECAC and Ivy League team in the national polls, scaling to as high as No. 4 in the Nov. 5 renditions. A pair of victories at home against Colorado College kick started the Big Red's season, and a 3-1 win at Colgate moved Cornell to 3-0-0 to start the year. The Raiders managed a tie in the back half of the home-and-home, and a trying road trip last weekend saw Cornell drop a 5-3 decision to Princeton Friday and a 4-1 result to Quinnipiac Saturday.

Sophomore defenseman Joakim Ryan enters the weekend with the team lead in points (six) thanks to a team-high six assists. His 1.00 assists-per-game average is tied for eighth in the nation, and third among defensemen. John Esposito, Joel Lowry and Greg Miller all have identical point totals at 3-1-4 on the year, and blueliner Cole Bardreau also has 1-3-4 points on the season.

Junior Ithaca, N.Y., native Andy Iles has played every minute in goal for the Big Red this season. He brings a 2.14 goals against average and .927 save percentage into the matchup with the Crimson.

Scouting the Raiders
It has been an up-and-down season thus far for the Raiders, as they enter the Dartmouth-Harvard weekend with an overall record of 4-6-1. A 10-2 blowout of Niagara in the season opener was soon forgotten, thanks to a pair of losses to Miami (Ohio) and one to Bowling Green. Colgate bounced back with a three game win streak, topping the Falcons, RIT and Quinnipiac to improve to 4-3 on the season. Since the win, Colgate has gone 0-3-1, with losses to the Bobcats and Cornell coming last weekend.  Colgate enters the weekend in search of its first ECAC victory.  

Like the Big Red, a defenseman entered the weekend with the team lead in points. Sophomore Spiro Goulakos (4-5-9) is tied with rookie forward Tylor Spink (3-6-9) with nine points on the season, with Goulakos' 0.82 points-per-game average ranking tied for 18th in the nation among defensemen. Rookie forward Kyle Baun is close behind with 4-4-8. Goalies Eric Mihalik and Spencer Finney have both gotten looks in net through 11 games, with Mihalik holding better numbers (.899 save percentage, 2.62 goals-against average) entering the weekend.

Colgate enters the weekend as the ninth-most penalized team in the nation, averaging 15.9 penalty minutes per game. That total ranks third in the ECAC, behind only Quinnipiac (17.4) and Rensselaer (17.4).    

Shutting The Door
For the second time in five games, goalie Raphael Girard posted a shutout, blanking RPI, 4-0, Saturday. In his 14th career start and 19th career game, Girard recorded his first collegiate clean sheet, stopping 31 shots in a season-opening 5-0 win against Bentley. Harvard had previously gone nearly two years without a shutout, with the most recent one prior to this season coming Nov. 6, 2010 at home against Rensselaer. Kyle Richter '11 blocked 19 shots in the 1-0 win over the Engineers.

Girard's effort against Bentley also marked the first time since 2000 that the Crimson recorded a shutout victory in its first game of the season.