Harvard's class of 2016 will be honored after Saturday's game (Gil Talbot).
No. 13/13 Harvard (14-8-3, 10-5-3 ECAC) vs. No. 16 Cornell (12-8-5, 7-7-4 ECAC)
Harvard vs. Colgate (8-202, 4-12-2 ECAC)
The Opening Faceoff
The 13th-ranked Harvard men's hockey team hosts its final two home games of the 2015-16 regular season this weekend, with Ivy League rival No. 16 Cornell coming to town Friday night and Colgate visiting Saturday. Friday's contest against the Big Red will be broadcast live on NESNplus, while fan's can watch Saturday's game on ONE World Sports. Both games with be simulcast on the Ivy League Digital Network.
The First Line
• ECAC Hockey is entering the home stretch of the regular season with just two weekends of games remaining before the first round of the playoffs March 4-6. Harvard has 23 points and is third entering the weekend with the top-four teams in the standings at the end of the regular season earning first round byes and the right to host quarterfinal matchups. Full standings can be found at the bottom of the adjacent page.
• The Ivy League title is on the line Friday for the Crimson. With a victory, Harvard can clinch the Ancient Eight title, edging out second-place Yale. The championship will be the 22nd in program history and first since 2005-06.
• Harvard boasts a 5-3-1 record at Bright-Landry Hockey Center this season. Since the completion of the renovations on the building completed prior to the start of last season, the Crimson is 13-7-3 on its home ice.
Following Saturday's game, Harvard will recognize and honor each of its seven seniors for their tremendous contributions to the men's hockey program over the last four years. The seven seniors are: Desmond Bergin, Colin Blackwell, Kyle Criscuolo, Greg Gozzo, Brayden Jaw, Peter Traber and Jimmy Vesey.
Senior Kyle Criscuolo is one of five student-athletes in college hockey selected as a finalist for the 2016 Hockey Humanitarian Award. The HHA is presented annually to college hockey's finest citizen – a student-athlete who makes significant contributions not only to his or her team but also to the community-at-large through leadership in volunteerism. Prior to tonight's game, The HHA organization will recognize Criscuolo in an on-ice ceremony.
Since Jan. 15, the Big Red is just 1-6-3, picking up its only win in that span on Feb. 6 when it downed Princeton, 1-0, on the road. Last weekend, Cornell hosted Brown and Yale, tying the Bears, 3-3, before dropping a 4-2 decision to the Bulldogs. With 18 points in the ECAC standings, Cornell is slotted eighth entering the weekend, four points behind St. Lawrence for fourth and a first-round bye.
Goals are at a premium when the Big Red is on the ice this season. Cornell is averaging just 2.3 per game, while opponents manage 2.5. No Big Red skater has reached 10 goals scored this season, as Anthony Angello leads the way with nine and is second with 17 points. Jeff Kubiak has a team-best 13 assists and 20 points. Goaltending duties have fallen squarely on Mitch Gillam who sports a 2.02 GAA and a .929 save percentage, earning all 12 of the Big Red's wins this year.
Harvard and Cornell first met on the ice Jan. 8, 1910 with the Crimson posting a 5-0 shutout in New York City. The rivalry has blossomed into one of the most intense in college hockey in the last 106 years with Cornell holding a slight edge in the all-time series at 74-62-10. Harvard's win at Cornell back in January snapped a 0-3-2 stretch against the Big Red.
Harvard's power play was electric in the first meeting this season between the two squads. The Crimson was successful on 3-of-4 man-advantage opportunities en route to a 6-2 triumph at Lynah Rink. The win in Ithaca was the first since Nov. 16, 2012 for the Crimson.
The Raiders have had a tough go of it since the calendar flipped to 2016, going 3-7-1 since the New Year. Heading into the weekend, with a road game at Dartmouth before Saturday's meeting, Colgate sits in 10th in the ECAC standings with 10 points. The highest seed the Raiders can obtain for the ECAC playoffs is ninth, indicating it will travel for the first round.
Twin brothers, Tyson and Tyler Spink have been a been a shining spot for Colgate this season, posting 30 and 24 points, respectively, to lead the team. Each has a team-best 18 assists, while Tyson matches Mike Borkowski for the team-lead in goals with 12. Junior Charlie Finn has seen action in 28 games in net for the Raiders, but has struggled this season. He is allowing 3.43 goals per contest and has a save mark of .894.
Series History vs. Colgate
With its win over the Raiders back in January, the Crimson extended its lead in the all-time series to 52-23-7. The win also brought Harvard's current win streak over Colgate to five games. The Crimson and Raiders met for the first time on Jan. 7, 1961 when Harvard defeated Colgate, 4-1.
Meeting at Starr Rink in Hamilton, New York for the final time, Harvard outlasted Colgate in a back-and--forth game for a 4-2 victory Jan. 22. Sean Malone and Alexander Kerfoot scored early goals for Harvard, but Mike Borkowski had the response each time, making it a 2-2 game before Kyle Criscuolo netted the game-winner on the power play in the second period and Jimmy Vesey sealed the deal with an empty netter late.
On Jan. 29, senior Kyle Criscuolo and Jimmy Vesey were recognized as two of the 20 candidates for the Senior CLASS Award. The honor highlights student-athletes that remained in school for four years, while showing excellence in the community, the classroom, character and competition. The winner will be announced during the NCAA Men's Frozen Four in April.
Freshman Ryan Donato recorded his first career hat trick Feb. 13, leading Harvard to a 4-1 win over Union. The rookie scored a goal in each period and became the second Crimson skater to notch a hat trick, joining senior Jimmy Vesey. For his efforts, along with his goal in the Beanpot consolation game, Donato was named ECAC Rookie of the Week, Feb. 16.
Ryan's father, current head coach, and former Crimson standout, Ted Donato '91 waited until his senior season to post the only hat trick of his career, scoring three times in an 8-1 victory at Dartmouth, Nov. 27, 1990.
Senior forward Jimmy Vesey registered his first career hat trick Jan. 15 scoring three goals in 4:55 during the third period to help Harvard rally past St. Lawrence, 3-2. Prior to the hat trick, Vesey had scored two goals in a game 11 times. The hat trick was the first for a Harvard skater since Alexander Kerfoot at Boston College, Nov. 11, 2014 and it was the first natural hat trick since Michael Biega '11 versus Brown Jan. 7, 2011.
Donato and Vesey represent the first Crimson teammates to have hat tricks in the same season since brothers Danny and Michael Biega in 2010-11. Michael's was the natural hat trick mentioned above on Jan. 7 against Brown, while Danny netted his Jan. 28 against Colgate.
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).