Eddie Ellis and the Crimson host Colgate and Cornell this weekend (Steve Musco).
The No. 14/13 Harvard men's hockey team will play its first two home games of February, hosting the Colgate Raiders Friday, Feb. 13 and Ivy League rival Cornell Saturday, Feb. 14 at the Bright-Landry Hockey Center. Both games are set for 7 p.m. starts and will be broadcast live on the Ivy League Digital Network. Saturday's contest against the Big Red can also be seen on ESPN3.
The weekend series could have significant ramifications on the ECAC playoff seeding for all three teams, as Colgate and Cornell trail Harvard and three other teams for fourth place in the conference standings. Harvard, Yale, Dartmouth and Clarkson all have 18 points with six ECAC games remaining. Colgate and Cornell will also face-off against the Crimson's travel partner, Dartmouth, this weekend in two big tilts.
Inside the Glass
• Harvard went on the road and faced the Raiders and Big Red three weeks ago, dropping a heartbreaker to Cornell, 3-2, before throttling Colgate, 6-1. On Saturday, Jan. 24, junior forwards Jimmy Vesey and Kyle Criscuolo put on an offensive showcase, tallying two goals and two assists apiece in leading the Crimson to the win.
• Entering the weekend, the Crimson's roster boasts three players that rank among the top-100 in the nation in points per game. Vesey ranks second, Criscuolo is ninth at 1.36 and Tyler Moy is tied for 82nd at 0.86. Of the two opposing teams set to visit Cambridge, only Kyle Baun from Colgate finds a spot on the top-100 points per game list, tied for 99th at 0.82.
• The top two power play units in the ECAC will be on display Saturday evening. Cornell paces the league, converting at a 20.6 percent rate (13-for-63), while the Crimson is right behind at 20 percent (12-for-60). The Big Red is also the most penalized team in the ECAC, averaging 16.7 penalty minutes per contest. Meanwhile, Harvard averages the second fewest at 9.9 per game.
Criscuolo Commandeers Colgate
Junior co-captain Kyle Criscuolo has played some of his best hockey over the last three season against the Raiders. In five contests, the Southampton, New Jersey, native has four goals and four assists, leading the Crimson to a 3-2-0 record against the Raiders in that span.
Senior goaltender Steve Michalek set new Harvard and Beanpot records February 3, turning away 63 shots in the Crimson's double-overtime loss to Boston University in the semifinals of this year's Beanpot. The record 63 saves beat Grant Blair's previous Harvard record of 60 set in a 6-6 tie against Boston College Dec. 21, 1984. The mark also beat the previous Beanpot save record of 52 by BC's Jim Barton, set in 1970.
New England's Finest North Americans
On Wednesday, Feb. 4, the Gridiron Club of Greater Boston announced that junior forwards Kyle Criscuolo and Jimmy Vesey were among the 20 semifinalists for the Walter Brown Award. The nation's oldest nationally-recognized college hockey honor, the Walter Brown Award was established in 1953 and is presented annually to the best American-born college hockey player in New England.
Previous Meeting vs. Colgate
Meeting on January 24 at Starr Rink in Hamilton, New York, the Raiders took the game's first lead at 2:09 of the second period on a Tim Harrison goal, but it would be their only tally, as Harvard scored the game's next six goals. Harvard's top line of Kyle Criscuolo, Tyler Moy and Jimmy Vesey racked up 10 points, with Criscuolo and Vesey each registering two goals and two assists. Victor Newell also contributed two assists in the victory.
Series History: Colgate
Harvard boasts a 49-23-7 advantage in the all-time series against the Raiders. The first meeting was a 4-1 victory on Jan. 7, 1961, with Harvard also winning the next four games. Over the last three years, the Crimson holds a 3-2 advantage with a 1-1-0 mark at Bright-Landry Hockey Center.
Scouting the Raiders
Kyle Baun and Tyson Spink headline the Colgate attack, with Baun posting 23 points, while Spink has 21 on the year. Of Baun 11 strikes, four have come on the power play, and another shorthanded. He enters the weekend tied with Darcy Murphy in plus-minus rating at +10.
Charlie Finn sports a 15-9-3 record in net for the Raiders. His five shutouts have him tied with Quinnipiac's Michael Garteig for the nation's lead in that category. Finn holds a 2.10 GAA and a .921, but the five goals he allowed against Harvard in January are tied for his season-most.
The Raiders will be on the road for four of its final six regular season games. Colgate will host Union and Rensselaer next weekend before finishing the year with trips to New Haven and Providence to battle Yale and Brown. At 17 points, the Raiders are tied for seventh in the ECAC standings, but just one point back of the four-team tie of fourth place.
Previous Meeting vs. Cornell
In an Ivy League grudge match at Lynah Rink on January 23, the Crimson and Big Red looked destined for overtime, tied 2-2 in the final minute of regulation, but Eric Freschi scored the game-winner at 19:19 to give Cornell its third consecutive 3-2 victory in the series. Two freshmen accomplished firsts, as Wiley Shermanearned his first collegiate point with an assist on Jimmy Vesey's goal and Eddie Ellis netted his first goal as a Crimson in the third period.
Series History: Cornell
The Crimson versus Big Red Series dates back to 1910, with Harvard coming away victorious in 15 of the first 17 meetings. Cornell has rallied from that early deficit over the years, and with victories in the last three meetings has a 74-61-9 advantage in the all-time series. Harvard's last win in the series came on Nov. 16, 2012, a 4-1 triumph in Ithaca.
Scouting the Big Red
The low-scoring style of play for the Big Red has translated into just three players reaching double-digit points thus far. Cole Bardreau leads the team with 15 points on three goals and a team-best 12 helpers, while Christian Hilbrich and Jake Weidner have 11 points.
In goal, Mitch Gillam has made 17 starts this season, including Cornell's victory over Harvard in January. With just 26 goals against, Gillam has a 1.46 GAA and boasts a .945 save percentage. He has one shutout to go with an 8-6-3 overall record.
Cornell stands in an identical situation as Colgate, entering the weekend with 17 points in the ECAC standings and in striking distance of a top-four finish. As well, the Big Red will be the visiting team in four of its last six games. Cornell has struggled to string wins together since the New Year, winning no more than two games consecutively, leading to the 10-10-3 overall record and an 8-7-1 showing in conference play.