The No. 20 Harvard men's hockey team will be playing its second of three straight non-conference contests against Hockey East opponents as it welcomes UMass Lowell to Bright Hockey Center Monday. It is Harvard's only scheduled Monday game outside of the Beanpot this season.
Harvard vs. UMass Lowell History
The Crimson and River Hawks have only met one other time, as the teams faced off in the opening round of the Wells Fargo Denver Cup in Denver, Colo., Dec. 28, 2001. The first two periods of the game went by without any scoring and a power-play goal at 14:36 of the third by Laurent Meunier proved to be the game-winner as the River Hawks claimed a 2-0 victory. Mark Concannon scored UMass Lowell's second goal of the game 1:27 after Meunier's game-winner.
Harvard went onto claim third place in the tournament, topping Bowling Green, 5-3 the following day in the consolation match. The Crimson rallied from a 3-0, second-period deficit to claim the victory.
Scouting The River Hawks
Expectations were high for the 2012-13 UMass Lowell squad, but the results have fallen short to this point in the season. Picked to finish second in Hockey East in the league's preseason poll and beginning the season ranked seventh nationally, the River Hawks enter the Harvard game with a 5-7-1 overall record. An early-season win over a talented Colorado College team provided an early boost, but back-to-back losses to powerhouse Boston College and a trio of defeats at the hand of New Hampshire served to keep the River Hawks below .500 and knock them out of the national polls in early November. UMass Lowell blanked Northeastern, 2-0, Saturday night at the Tsongas Center.
The River Hawks boast a balanced attack as they enter the game against the Crimson with 18 players on the roster having collected at least one point. Scott Wilson comes into the contest leading the team in points (11) and assists (9), while Joseph Pendenza (5g, 4a) and Josh Holmstrom (4g, 5a) are close behind with nine points each. Chad Ruhwedel is the top-scoring defenseman on the squad with four points on four assists. Junior Doug Carr has been the goalie of choice for the River Hawks this season, starting 11 out of 13 games for UMass Lowell. He holds a 2.74 goals against average and .902 save percentage.
Four Games of Firsts
Harvard's last four contests have featured a number of notable firsts for players on the team.
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 Nov. 10.
In the 4-1 upset victory over No. 10 Cornell, Mike Seward's game-winning tally was his first of the season, and Petr Placek's goal was his first collegiate score. Greg Gozzo picked up his first collegiate point on an assist and Dan Ford and Conor Morrison registered their first points of the year on an assist each.
Friday against Merrimack, Tommy O'Regan netted his first goal of the season and Desmond Bergin collected his first collegiate goal and assist in a two-point night. Bergin becomes the fourth member of the highly-touted freshman class to record a goal this season.
Desmond Bergin and Tommy O'Regan assisted on each other's goals Friday against Merrimack. The familiarity dates back a few years as the two played together at St. Sebastian's school.
Sophomore forward Tommy O'Regan has logged an assist in six of his last seven games. He recorded the longest point streak of the 2012-13 season for the Crimson, notching an assist in five straight contests from Nov. 2 to Nov. 16. The five-game point streak also marks a career long for O'Regan.
A Major Feat
Harvard has been booked for two major penalties so far this season, but has killed off both infractions. The first came at Colgate Nov. 17 and the Crimson killed of a major that spanned the entire overtime period in a 2-2 tie at Merrimack Dec. 7.
Not This Again
After setting the NCAA record for ties in a season in 2011-12, the Crimson recorded its first tie of the season Dec. 7 against Merrimack. The game against Merrimack was Harvard's eighth of the season. Last year, Harvard had recorded two ties over its first eight games.
Consider It Killed
With 29 of 31 (93.5%) penalties killed this season, Harvard ranks fourth in the nation and third in the ECAC in penalty killing.
Harvard was equal to the challenge posed by Bentley, killing all five power-play chances the Falcons earned in the game. Harvard also went 3 for 3 against Brown and killed three of four penalties against Yale. Harvard went 3 for 4 on the penalty kill against Union and stopped all three power-play chances against RPI. The Crimson kept the Cornell and Colgate power plays silent Nov. 16-17, and blanked Merrimack's six man-up chances Dec. 7.
In the quarterfinal series against Yale last season, Harvard killed 17 of 18 penalties, including an 11-for-11 showing in Game 2 of the series. Harvard went on to hold Cornell (0-for-2) and Union (0-for-3) without a power-play goal in the ECAC Tournament semifinal and final rounds. Harvard has killed 51 of its last 54 penalties and held nine of its last eleven opponents without a power-play goal, dating back to last season.
Freshman forward Jimmy Vesey got off to a stellar start in his first full month of action, earning Hogan Hockey/ECAC Rookie of the Month honors for November. It is Vesey's third league award of the 2012-13 season as he has claimed a pair of rookie of the week honors already this year. The award marks the first time a Harvard player has taken home the honor since sophomore Patrick McNally was named rookie of the month for December 2011.
Vesey led all Harvard players in the month of November with five points on three goals and two assists. He ended the month ranked seventh in the nation and fourth in ECAC Hockey in goals per game (0.71) and he also ranked third in the nation and first in the league in points per game among rookies (1.14). His two unassisted goals against Rensselaer Nov. 10 helped him claim his second rookie of the week award, and he capped his November with an assist in a 4-1 upset of No. 10 Cornell on the road.
On the same day he received ECAC Rookie of the Month honors, Jimmy Vesey was also named to the U.S. Junior National preliminary roster. Vesey is one of three representatives from ECAC Hockey to make the preliminary squad.
The 27-player preliminary roster will attend a training camp Dec. 16-18 at the New York Rangers' Madison Square Garden Training Center in Tarrytown, N.Y., with an additional camp being held days later in Helsinki, Finland. The final roster will be comprised of 23 players and will be finalized Dec. 23. The squad is set to compete in the IIHF World Junior Championship Dec. 26, 2012- Jan. 5, 2013 in Ufa, Russia.
The Bright Stuff
Harvard is 70-40-7 (.633) at Bright Hockey Center under Ted Donato and 292-133‑32 (.676) all-time at Bright, which opened in 1979‑80. Last season, Harvard posted an 8-5-3 home record.
Good With A Lead
The Crimson is 4-0-1 this season when leading a game at any point and is undefeated (4-0-0) when holding a lead after two periods.