Seb Lloyd and the Crimson welcome St. Lawrence and Clarkson to Cambridge this weekend (Gil Talbot).
No. 7/8 Harvard (8-3-3, 4-2-3 ECAC) vs. No. 18 St. Lawrence (10-8-2, 4-3-1 ECAC)
Harvard vs. Clarkson (9-9-1, 1-5-2)
The Opening Faceoff
The No. 7/8 Harvard men's hockey team will play its first back-to-back home games since the second weekend of the season this Friday and Saturday, hosting fellow ECAC members, St. Lawrence and Clarkson at The Bright-Landry Hockey Center. Both games are slated for 7 p.m. starts and will be broadcast on both ESPN3 and the Ivy League Digital Network.
The First Line
• The Crimson are looking to bounce back after dropping consecutive games for the first time this season, losing by one goal to No. 10/10 Boston University and No. 2/1 Quinnipiac.
• Harvard is facing St. Lawrence and Clarkson for the first time this season. The Crimson last met both teams in North Country last February, falling to the Saints, 5-1, but topping Clarkson, 3-2. The second meeting with both schools this year will occur the last weekend of the regular, Feb. 26-27, back in North Country.
• Junior Alexander Kerfoot enters the weekend with the hot hand, having posted at least one point in each of the last 10 games he has played dating back to Nov. 7. His exceptional vision on the ice has led to 15 assists this season, second-most in the ECAC.
Last Time Out
Harvard made its third annual trip to Madison Square Garden last Saturday, taking on Quinnipiac in this year's Rivalry on Ice. It was the first time in the history of the Rivalry two teams ranked in the top-five nationally squared off against one another and despite a valiant four-goal comeback by the Crimson, Quinnipiac escaped with a 5-4 victory in overtime.
The Bobcats jumped out to an early 4-0 lead thanks to a 36-second stretch in the first period that saw the designated visiting team score three times. Harvard responded in the second period with goals from Alexander Kerfoot, Tyler Moy and Ryan Donato, before Colin Blackwell potted the equalizer in the third. In overtime though, Derek Smith's slapper found the back of the net and Quinnipiac earned the win in their first year competing in the Rivalry on Ice.
Scouting St. Lawrence
The Saints enter the weekend sporting a 10-8-2 overall record and a 4-3-1 mark in the ECAC, good for nine points and fifth in the league standings, one spot behind Harvard. St. Lawrence is winless in the New Year after having been swept by Northeastern at home Jan. 8-9 and then dropping a midweek game to Clarkson. In their last seven games, the Saints are 2-5-0.
Scoring has been very spread out across the St. Lawrence roster, with seven skaters having at least 10 points. Junior Gavin Bayreuther leads the team with 14 points and eight assists, but shares the scoring lead at six goals with senior Brian Ward and sophomore Mike Marnell. Sophomore Kyle Hayton has been the Saints primary goaltender with a 10-6-1 record, 1.87 goal-against average and a .940 save percentage. Hayton suffered the loss Tuesday against Clarkson.
Series History vs. St. Lawrence
The Crimson holds the edge in the all-time series, 53-44-7, but in recent years, the Saints have closed that gap. In the last six meetings, dating back to the 2012-13 season, St. Lawrence is 5-0-1 versus Harvard with the Crimson's last victory in the series coming Feb. 24, 2012 at home, a 4-1 decision. The series dates back to Dec. 27, 1954 when Harvard defeated the Saints in overtime, 3-2.
The Golden Knights earned their first ECAC win of the season Tuesday night, defeating St. Lawrence at home, 3-1. The win brought Clarkson's conference record to 1-5-2 and even its overall mark at 9-9-2. The win was the second in a row for the Golden Knights after it won the backend of a two-game swing at Bowling Green Jan. 3.
With eight goals and eight assists, sophomore Sam Vigneault leads Clarkson in both of those categories and points. Junior A.J. Fossen is on his heels with seven goals and helpers. Junior Steve Perry has been the No. 1 netminder for the Golden Knights, posting a 6-6-1 record in 14 starts. His GAA (2.85) and save percentage (.887) trail senior Greg Lewis, who has a 2.26 GAA, .918 save mark and a 3-3-1 record in seven games played.
Series History vs. Clarkson
The Harvard-Clarkson series has played out almost evenly since the first three match-ups in December 1935 when the Golden Knights won the first-ever meeting, Harvard won the next and the teams tied in the third. The all-time series record stands at 54-52-11, slightly in favor of the Crimson due in large part to its extensive success of late. Since Feb. 25, 2011, Harvard is 9-2-0 against Clarkson, including a season-sweep last year.
Junior forward Alexander Kerfoot is among the most prolific passers in college hockey this season. The top-line winger has 18 total points this season, including at least one in each of the Crimson's last 10 games that he has played. (Kerfoot missed the Dec. 5 game at Rensselaer due to injury). The 10-game streak is the longest since linemate Jimmy Vesey had a point in 20 consecutive games last season from Nov. 1, 2014 - Feb. 3, 2015.
Special Teams Success
Harvard's power play has been lethal this season, scoring on 28.8 percent of its opportunities (15-of-52). That conversion percentage ranks second in the nation. The Crimson's penalty has also done well this season, killing off 86.3 percent of penalties, good for 11th nationally.
Harvard fans, first and second round beanpot tickets are available now! Please call the Harvard Athletics Ticket Office at 617-495-2211 to order.
Ivy League Digital Network
The Ivy League Digital Network returns for a third season as the home for all live streaming and on-demand video content for each of the conference's eight institutions. Broadcast in full HD and featuring a live score bug and play-by-play and color commentary, the Ivy League Digital Network provides fans with unprecedented access to the Ancient Eight.
Harvard is proud to announce the addition of closed captioning for men's and women's hockey to make its Ivy League Digital Network broadcasts of those two teams accessible to all.
Closed captioning for the Crimson's hockey programs will be available on desktop and mobile devices. The service is provided by Vitac (vitac.com).