No. 5/4 Harvard faces-off against No. 2/1 Quinnipiac in this year's Rivalry on Ice at Madison Square Garden (Athletic Communications).
No. 5/4 Harvard (8-1-3, 4-1-3 ECAC) vs. No. 11/11 Boston University (9-6-3, 4-3-2 HEA)
Harvard vs. No. 2/1 Quinnipiac (17-1-3, 8-0-2 ECAC)
The Opening Faceoff
Coming off its championship at the 25th Annual Mariucci Classic in Minnesota, the No. 5/4 Harvard Hockey will gear up for a pair of contests against nationally-ranked opponents this week. Playing its first home game in two months, the Crimson will host No. 11/11 Boston University Thursday evening on NESNplus before heading to New York City to face-off against No. 2/1 Quinnipiac at Madison Square Garden in the Rivalry on Ice.
The First Line
• Harvard kicked off 2016 with a historic performance at the Mariucci Classic. The Crimson matched a season-high goal total in its 7-3 win over Ferris State in the semifinals, before rally to beat the host Gophers in the championship, 4-3 (ot). With titles at the Shillelagh and Mariucci, Harvard won two regular-season tournaments for the first time in the 118-year history of the program.
• The Crimson faithful last watched its home team at the Bright-Landry Hockey Center on Nov. 7, a 5-2 dismantling of Brown. Thursday's game against BU is one of four home games in Cambridge for the Crimson.
• Harvard is playing in the Rivalry on Ice for third consecutive year, having played Yale at MSG the previous two seasons.
Jimmy Vesey For Hobey Baker
Last Time Out
Harvard travelled to Minnesota to compete in the 25th Annual Mariucci Classic last weekend, coming away the champions after victories over Ferris State and the host Gophers.
In the semifinals, Harvard matched its season-high with seven goals, all from different skaters, to top Ferris, 7-3. Lewis Zerter-Gossage had his first multi-point game in Harvard sweater with a goal and two assists.
Senior co-captain Kyle Criscuolo provided the heroics for the Crimson in the championship, scoring in the final minute and then 2:39 into overtime to lead the Crimson rally past Minnesota. The title marked the first championship in four Mariucci appearances for the Crimson.
Scouting Boston University
The Terriers are competing for the first time since Dec. 12 when it handed Quinnipiac its first and only loss of the season. Robbie Baillargeon scored the game-winner as BU posted a 4-1 triumph in Hamden, Conn.
BU stands at 9-6-3 overall and 4-3-2 in Hockey East to put it in a tie for fourth with Providence with 10 points. The Terriers have played three other ECAC opponents thus far, dropping its season-opener at Union, 5-3, tying Cornell, 3-3, at Madison Square Garden Nov. 28 and falling at Yale, 3-2, Dec. 11.
Danny O'Regan, younger brother of former Harvard skater Tommy '15, paces the Terriers with 14 assists and 19 points. Ahti Oksanen holds the team-lead in goals with nine, ahead of Matt Lane's eight. Connor LaCouvee has made 12 starts in net and is 6-3-3 supported by a 2.71 GAA and .911 save percentage.
Series History vs. Boston University
Harvard and BU are meeting for the first time since the longest game in Beanpot history (82:18). In the opening round of last season's tournament, O'Regan scored for BU to give the Terriers a 4-3 win. In the loss, Harvard netminder Steve Michalek '15 set a Beanpot and Harvard record with 63 saves. The win split the season series, as Harvard won at Agganis Arena when the Terriers were ranked No. 1/1. Harvard trails in the all-time series, 68-77-6.
Similar to Harvard, the Bobcats will play Thursday night before Saturday's tilt in New York, as they host Union at High Point Solutions Arena. Quinnipiac heads into that game coming off only its fourth non-win of the season, tying Northeastern in Boston, 3-3, last Saturday.
Quinnipiac finds itself at the top of the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine poll (and second in the USCHO.com) with a 17-1-3 record. The Bobcats are outscoring opponents 77-31 this season, good for the third best scoring margin in the nation, 2.19, one spot ahead of the Crimson's 2.08 margin.
Junior Sam Anas has 23 points in 21 games to pace the Bobcats' offense. Anas is tied with classmate Tim Clifton for the lead in goals with 12, while freshman Chase Priskie has a team-best 15 helpers. Senior Michael Garteig ranks in the top-five in the nation in both save percentage (.943, fifth) and GAA (1.35, third).
Series History vs. Quinnipiac
Since Quinnipiac joined the ECAC at the start of the 2005-06 season, these two teams have competed in on even keel, with the Crimson holding a slight edge, 11-10-4, in the all-time series. Back in November, Quinnipiac handed Harvard its only loss of the year, 4-1.
Saturday's contest at Madison Square Garden is shaping up to feature two of the nation's best goaltenders in Harvard's Merrick Madsen and Quinnipiac's Michael Garteig. Both netminders rank in the top-five in the nation in GAA and save percentage with Madsen holding a slight edge in both categories with a 1.32 GAA (2nd) and a .956 save mark (2nd).
Harvard has posted seven goals in two games this season, marking the first time since the 2011-12 season that Harvard has posted at least seven goals twice in a season. The Crimson beat Dartmouth, 7-0 (Oct. 31), and Ferris State, 7-3 (Jan. 1), this year, while back in 2011-12 it beat New Hampshire, 7-6 (Nov. 22), and Yale, 8-2 (March 11).
Harvard scored its second extra-skater goal of the season Jan. 2, when Kyle Criscuolo scored in a 6-on-5 situation with 34 seconds left at Minnesota to send the game to overtime. Harvard's other extra-skater goal came in a 6-on-3 situation at Quinnipiac Nov. 13. Harvard scored on the 6-on-5 advantage twice last season; Jan. 30, 2015 when Victor Newell scored at 19:09 against Union and Feb. 7, 2015 when Desmond Bergin scored at 19:06 at Brown, but Harvard lost each of those games.
Mariucci Classic History
Harvard came away with its first Marucci Classic championship when it defeated Ferris State and Minnesota Jan. 1-2. Harvard had previously played in the tournament three times, failing to win a game, but this year's championship, paired with its Shillelagh Tournament title, marked the first time in program history Harvard had won two regular-season tournaments in one season. The win over Minnesota also marked the first win on campus in Minneapolis since Dec. 30, 1950.
Harvard's Results at Mariucci Classic:
Minnesota 5, Harvard 2
New Hampshire 8, Harvard 3
Minnesota 5, Harvard 2
UMass 4, Harvard 2
Northern Michigan 0, Harvard 0 (NMU wins shootout, 3-2)
Merrimack 6, Harvard 4
Harvard 7, Ferris State 3
Harvard 4, Minnesota 3 (ot)
Harvard's 4-3 overtime victory against Minnesota at the Mariucci was identical to the winning score of the Crimson's 1989 NCAA national championship final score in nearby St. Paul, Minnesota.
Harvard won its first of three tournaments it will play in this regular season when it took the championship at the Shillelagh hosted by Notre Dame. The Crimson topped the host in the first round, 4-1, and then shutout Rensselaer, 4-0, in the title game. The victory marked the first time Harvard had won a regular season tournament since the 1993 Beanpot. Outside of the Beanpot, Harvard last took home a regular season tournament title in December 1982 when it won the Jeno Holiday Tournament in Duluth, Minnesota.
Wearing Red, White and Blue
Freshman forward Ryan Donato was selected to the U.S. National Junior Team that won bronze Jan. 5 with a 8-3 victory over Sweden at the 2016 IIHF World Junior Championships. The Crimson rookie had three goals in the tournament, including two in the bronze game.
Donato is the first Crimson skater to make the U.S. World Junior roster since senior Jimmy Vesey won gold in 2013. Donato's father, Ted, the current Robert D. Ziff '88 Head Coach of Harvard Men's Ice Hockey played for the U.S. in 1988, scoring three goals and adding two assists in seven games.
On Saturday Dec. 5, Kyle Criscuolo joined Jimmy Vesey in the 100-games played club. Vesey has dressed in 107 games during his career. Desmond Bergin is five games shy of reaching 100 played. Should he reach the century mark, this year's trio would be the first teammates since 2008's Jon Pelle (135, most all-time), Tyler Magura and Mike Taylor to do so in their careers.
Harvard fans, first and second round beanpot tickets are available now! Please call the Harvard Athletics Ticket Office at 617-495-2211 to order.