Captain Max Everson leads the Crimson into the ECAC Playoffs against Brown (Gil Talbot).
The Havard men's hockey team begins its pursuit for its ninth ECAC Tournament title this weekend, hosting Brown in a best-of-three series at the Bright-Landry Hockey Center.
The sixth-seeded Crimson host the 11th-seeded Bears beginning Friday, March 6 at 7 p.m. Game two of the series will follow Saturday, March 7 at the same time, with game three if necessary to be played Sunday evening at 7 p.m. as well.
ECAC Playoff History
• Harvard has been crowned the ECAC Champion on eight occassions, most recently in 2006 when it defeated Cornell, 6-2. Brown has never won an ECAC Tournament title and has reached the title game just four times since the first conference tournament in 1962. The Bears most recent runner-up finish came in 2013, falling to Union, 3-1.
• Since 2002, Harvard has played in the ECAC Championship game seven times, winning four of those games. The Crimson won titles in 2002, 2004 and 2006, and finished second in 2003, 2005, 2008 and most recently in 2012. The seven appareances in the finals matches Cornell for the most since 2002. Union is next in line with four appearances that includes winning the three most recent tournament titles.
• Harvard has been the six seed in the ECAC Tournament three times, 1990, 1996 and 2004. The Crimson was ousted in the quarterfinals in 1990 and fell in the finals to Cornell, 2-1, in 1996, but in 2004 Harvard went on a 6-0 run through the tournament, culminating in a 4-2 victory over Clarkson.
• Harvard's 2004 championship also represents just one of two times since 2003 that a team playing in the first round of the ECAC Tournament went on to win the championship. The Crimson swept Vermont in the opening round, tripped up Brown in the quarterfinals, edged Dartmouth in the semifinals and finished its run with a win over Clarkson in the finals. St. Lawrence was the only other team to win the title after not receiving a bye, capturing the 2010 crown.
Season Series vs. Brown
Harvard and Brown split the season series with each team winning on its home ice.
The first meeting of the year came back in November at Bright-Landry, with the the Crimson producing a 6-2 defeat of the Bears. Sophomore Tyler Moy and junior Brian Hart each scored twice, and defenseman Patrick McNally collected three assists in the triumph. Harvard's special teams units were exceptional in the contest, scoring on three of four power plays, killing off all four Brown man-advantages, while Moy also chipped in a shorthanded tally for good measure.
The second game of the series played one month ago on February 7 in Providence had an alternative outcome for the Crimson. Harvard's offense struggled to break through the Brown defense and goaltender Tim Ernst as the Bears potted goals early in the second and third periods to take a 2-0 lead. Junior Desmond Bergin ended the scoreless drought for Harvard with 54 seconds left in the game, as Sean Malone and Jimmy Vesey picked up the assists, but the Crimson was unable to find the equalizier, giving Brown the 2-1 win.
Series History: Brown
The first round of the 2015 ECAC Playoffs pits the Crimson against its oldest rival. Harvard and Brown met for the first time back on Jan. 19, 1899 in what is considered the first collegiate hockey game for the Crimson. Brown came away the victor in that initial meeting, but over the next 116 years, the Crimson has established a 107-46-13 lead in the all-time series against the Bears. Brown has begun to chip away at that lead for Harvard, winning four of the last five meetings in the series.
Scouting the Bears
After managing just four wins through the first three months of the season, the Bears compiled a 4-2-2 record in the month of February. The sparkplug to that resurgence has been sophomore goaltender Tim Ernst. The ECAC Goaltender of the Month during February was 4-1-2 with a 1.97 GAA and a .938 save percentage. Ernst notched one shutout during the month (he has two this year) in a 1-0 victory at Union, making 36 saves.
Junior Nick Lappin leads the Bears with 11 goals this season, but trails Matt Lorito aand Mark Naclerio, 21 and 20, respectively, for the points lead. Both Lorito and Naclerio lead Brown with 11 assists.
With a 5-14-3 ECAC record and 13 points the Bears enter the 2015 ECAC Tournament as the 11 seed. It is the lowest seed the Bears have earned since 2012 when they entered as No. 12. Each of the last two seasons, Brown was the seven seed, reaching the finals in 2013 where it lost to Union, 3-1.
Leading the ECAC
Junior Jimmy Vesey's outstanding season culminated on February 28 when he finished the regular season as the points, goals and assists leader. With 34 points, Vesey beat Union's Daniel Ciampini by seven to earn that crown. He edged Ciampini by one goal (18-17) to lead that category and finished tied with teammate Kyle Criscuolo and Quinnipiac's Matthew Peca for the lead in assists with 16.
The Crimson is the highest scoring team in the ECAC, with 71 goals against conference opponents this season. Harvard has 21 goals in the first periods of ECAC games, but picks it up with 24 second and 26 in the third.