Rensselaer Hosts Men's Hockey Friday To Open February Slate

Rensselaer Hosts Men's Hockey Friday To Open February Slate

Colin Blackwell has collected an assist in each of his last three contests (Gil Talbot).

Complete Game Notes (pdf)

Highlights: Nov. 10, 2012 Harvard vs. Rensselaer

Series History: Rensselaer
Friday's game marks the 88th meeting between the Crimson and Engineers, with Harvard holding a 47-35-5 lead in the all-time series. The teams first faced each other in 1951, when RPI skated to a 6-2 victory at its own Christmas Tournament. Harvard has a pair of six-game winning streaks in the all-time series, but RPI entered the 2012-13 campaign unbeaten in three games against the Crimson.   

Last Time Against The Engineers
The final game of a season-opening five-game homestand for Harvard culminated in a dominant, 4-0, blanking of the Engineers Nov. 10 at Bright Hockey Center. Marshall Everson  started the scoring at the 9:05 mark of the first period and rookie Brian Hart netted his first collegiate goal to make it 2-0 Harvard after one. Classmate Jimmy Vesey gave Harvard a 3-0 cushion with an unassisted effort in the second, and an unassisted, empty-net tally for Vesey in the third sealed the two-goal game for him and the 4-0 win for Harvard. Goalie Raphael Girard turned aside 24 shots for his second shutout of the season.  

Scouting RPI
A season-opening win over Ferris State started the Engineers' season off on the right foot, but a string of five losses that followed, including the 4-0 defeat at Harvard, set RPI back. The Engineers rallied for a signature win Dec. 7 at Yale, a 6-1 final, and swept a home weekend against Colgate (2-1) and Cornell (3-2) Jan. 18-19. In their last action, the Engineers gave No. 19 Union all it could handle in a 3-2 defeat at the Times-Union Center.

Sophomore forwards Ryan Haggerty and Jacob Laliberte are leading the way for the Engineers this season, as Haggerty has the team points (18) and goals (10) lead and Laliberte is second in points (17) and first in assists (10). Senior defenseman Nick Bailen is the team's top-scoring blueliner with 5-11-16 points, and leads the team with four power-play goals.

It has been an even split this season between goalies Bryce Merriam and Jason Kasdorf, and sophomore Scott Diebold has also played nearly 25% of the minutes as well. Kasdorf boasts the best numbers of the group, holding a 1.75 goals-against average and .935 save percentage to along with a team-best four wins.   

Last Time Out
After a seven-game road swing, the Crimson returned home for its first ECAC home weekend of 2013 last weekend. Jimmy Vesey got things off on the right foot Friday against Clarkson, scoring a goal just 2:34 into the game and giving the Crimson a 1-0 lead at the first break. The lead held until late in the second when Clarkson netted a pair of scores just nine seconds apart to swing the lead to the Golden Knights after two periods. Clarkson's Joe Zarbo completed his hat trick in the third as the guests poured in three more in a 5-1 final.

A night later against St. Lawrence, the Saints took a 2-0 lead with a pair of markers before the halfway point of the opening stanza. Vesey was at it again, logging a power-play tally at 14:42 of the period to cut the Harvard deficit to one after the first frame. 11 seconds into the second period, Vesey struck again, tying the game at 2-2. A Saints power-play strike gave them the lead once again, but Alex Fallstrom's marker at 13:29 of the second leveled the score at 3-3 after two full periods. A scoreless third forced Harvard's fourth overtime game of the season and George Hughes fired true with 1:23 showing on the clock to give the Saints a 4-3 win.    

It's All Too Vesey
For the third time this season, freshman Jimmy Vesey received ECAC Hockey Rookie of the Week honors. It is also the fourth such honor for a Harvard player this season.

Vesey has been Harvard's biggest offensive threat in the 2013 portion of the schedule, and his finishing touch was on display in three games last week. Vesey netted Harvard's only goal at No. 19 Union Jan. 22, slipping home a quick shot off a Colin Blackwell faceoff win. The rookie struck again in his next game, giving Harvard a 1-0 lead at home against Clarkson Friday. A night later, Vesey collected a pair of goals against St. Lawrence, including a power-play tally and a goal just 11 seconds into the second period.

The North Reading, Mass., native leads the team with 10 goals and 14 points. His 0.62 goals-per-game average is tops among freshmen nationally, and he also ranks ninth nationally in points per game among rookies with 0.88. He is the leading rookie scorer in ECAC contests with 11 points (8g, 3a) in league games.

Jimmy Vesey has scored at least one goal in each of his last three games, giving him the longest active goals streak on the team and the longest of the season for the Crimson. Colin Blackwell has an assist in each of his last three contests, good for the second-longest assists streak this season, behind only Tommy O'Regan's string of five straight games with a helper. Vesey has the longest active points streak at four games.

I Wanna Block
The defensive unit for the Crimson has recorded 59 more blocks than its opponents through 19 games this season with a 346-287 edge in the category. Harvard has had more blocks than its opponent in 12 games this season including seven of its last nine contests. The Crimson recorded a season-high 27 blocks against Boston University Jan. 9, and has posted two games with a block differential of +16 (23-7). Harvard has eclipsed the 20-block benchmark in eight games this season, including its last three contests.  

Senior captain Danny Biega holds the team lead in blocks with 47 on the season. Dan Ford is close behind with 41 and Brendan Rempel has picked up 39 on the season.

Rockin' Rookies
The Harvard class of 2016 is leading the way for first year players in ECAC Hockey. Jimmy Vesey is the top-scoring freshman in league games with 8-3-11 points and classmate Brian Hart is tied for third with 2-7-9 points in league contests. Kyle Criscuolo, who hasn't played since Dec. 10 due to injury, is tied for 14th among league rookies with 3-1-4 league points.      
Young Blood
The underclassmen on the Crimson have stepped up in terms of point scoring this season. Four of Harvard's top five scorers are either freshmen or sophomores.

Century Club
Four members of the class of 2013 have eclipsed the 100-games played mark in their careers. Danny Biega leads the way with 119, followed by Luke Greiner with 110 and Marshall Everson with 106. Alex Fallstrom is the most recent member of the 100-games played club, as the game against the Saints was his 100th in a Harvard uniform. Conor Morrison also has a good chance to reach 100 games played as he currently sits at 92 for his career.

The last time Harvard had five seniors eclipse the 100-game mark was during the 2007-08 season, led by Jon Pelle '08 with 135 for his career.   
Gotta Have Hart
Rookie Brian Hart has emerged as an offensive catalyst for the Crimson of late. Hart has logged a point in five of his last seven games, and has seven total points (2 goals, 5 assists) over that span.  

Must Be McGregor
Harvard is 2-0-0 when sophomore Ryan McGregor scores a point. He logged an assist in a 4-0 shutout of Rensselaer Nov. 10, and collected a pair of helpers in Harvard's 6-5 comeback win over Boston University Jan. 9.