Jacob Olson and the Crimson look to secure a first round bye in the ECAC playoffs in North Country this weekend (Elan Kawesch).
No. 12/12 Harvard (15-8-4, 11-5-4 ECAC) at Clarkson (16-13-3, 8-9-3)
The Opening Faceoff
The No. 12/12 Harvard men's hockey team hits the road for its longest in-conference road trip to cap the regular season, making the trek to North Country to face Clarkson and St. Lawrence. A visit to Cheel Arena is first on Friday night to taking on the Golden Knights, with the regular season coming to a close the next night at Appleton Arena against the Saints. Game time for both is set for 7 p.m.
The First Line
• Harvard enters the weekend needing just one point in the conference standings to ensure a first round bye in the ECAC playoffs. Harvard is in third place in the standings with 26 points, three ahead of St. Lawrence in fourth and four ahead of Rensselaer and Dartmouth. With at least one tie this weekend, Harvard will ensure that it will host a quarterfinal series at Bright-Landry Hockey Center March 11-13.
• With its 2-2 tie against Cornell Feb. 19, the Crimson clinched at least a share of the Ivy League title. The Ancient Eight championship is the 22nd in program history and the first since 2005-06. The Ivy League began recognizing a conference champion at the end of the 1956-57 season. Harvard's 22 is two more than second-place Cornell with 20.
• Senior Jimmy Vesey is one of just two ECAC skaters with 20 goals this season. His 20 tallies trails only Quinnipiac's Sam Anas' 21. Vesey has reached 20 goals in just 26 games, while Anas has played in 32.
Last Time Out
Harvard closed out the home portion of its regular season schedule last weekend, tying Cornell and beating Colgate. The Crimson received goals from Sean Malone and Seb Lloyd in a 2-2 tie with the Big Red that clinched a share of the Ivy League title Friday. On Senior Night Saturday against the Raiders, the teams were even at 4-4 in the third period, before Harvard reeled off the game's final three goals for a 7-4 triumph. Seniors Jimmy Vesey, Colin Blackwell and Kyle Criscuolo all had multi-point nights in the win.
The Golden Knights enter the final weekend of the regular season eighth in the ECAC standings with 19 points. With a point, or Union losing any point this weekend, Clarkson will ensure it will host a first round playoff series at Cheel March 4-6.
Following an eight-game unbeaten streak (7-0-1), the Golden Knights have hit a skid of late, dropping its last three contests, all to ECAC opponents. Last weekend, Clarkson lost road games at Brown and Yale.
Sophomore Sam Vigneault is the team-leader in all scoring categories with 10 goals, 14 assists and 24 points. A.J. Fossen and Jordan Boucher are tied for second with 18 points. Senior Greg Lewis and junior Steve Perry have shared time in net, with Lewis playing in two more games that Perry. Lewis has better statistics at 2.08 GAA and .922 save percentage.
Series History vs. Clarkson
The all-time series is nearly even between Harvard an Clarkson. The Crimson has the slightest of leads at 54-53-11 in the series that dates back to Dec. 28, 1935. Harvard also has the recent advantage, going 4-2-0 in the last six contests.
Previous Meeting vs. Clarkson
Clarkson won this season's first meeting back on Jan. 16 by a score of 5-1. Kyle Criscuolo scored Harvard's lone goal on the power play in the third period with Clay Anderson and Jimmy Vesey notching the assists.
Scouting St. Lawrence
St. Lawrence is entrenched in a close battle for the fourth-place spot in the ECAC standings. The top four teams in the standings at the end of the regular season earn first round byes and the right to host a quarterfinal series in the ECAC playoffs. The Saints, with 23 points, cling to fourth by one point over Rensselaer and Dartmouth, while Cornell is two back with 21. St. Lawrence will look to help its own cause against the Big Green hosting it Friday before Saturday's contest with the Crimson. Last weekend, St. Lawrence went 0-1-1, falling at Yale and tying Brown.
Junior Gavin Bayreuther is the lone Saints player in double-digits with goals at 10. He also leads the team in assists with 15. Senior Brian Ward and junior Drew Smolcynski are next in scoring with 22 and 21 points, respectively. Kyle Hayton has been the starter in net for 28 games this season, posting a .935 save percentage and a 2.05 GAA.
Series History vs. St. Lawrence
The all-time series with St. Lawrence favors the Crimson, 54-44-7. Harvard won the first ever meeting in overtime, 3-2, back on Dec. 27, 1954 and recently snapped a six-game winless streak to the Saints with its win, by the same score in regulation, in January.
Previous Meeting vs. St. Lawrence
Senior co-captain, and Hobey Baker Award candidate, Jimmy Vesey came to the Crimson's rescue in the third period of the first meeting between the two schools this season. Trailing 1-0, Vesey registered the next three goals in a 4:55 span to notch his first career hat trick as a natural hat trick. The Crimson hung on to win the game 3-2.
Senior co-captains Jimmy Vesey and Kyle Criscuolo are among the 36 players in the nation to have over 100 points in their careers. Vesey ranks sixth in the nation, and has the most points of any current ECAC skater, with 136 (76G, 60A). That tally is 12 more than the next closest ECAC player (S. Anas, Quinnipiac, 124). Criscuolo is tied for 21st in the nation with 109 points (51 G, 58A).
Three for 30
Harvard's first line of Jimmy Vesey, Alexander Kerfoot and Kyle Criscuolo is set to become the first trio of teammates since the 2003-04 season to amass 30 points apiece. Criscuolo enters the weekend two points shy of 30, while Vesey leads the team with 38 and Kerfoot has 30. In 2003-04, four Crimson tallied 30 or more points: Tom Cavanagh '05 (36), Tim Pettit '04 (34), Tyler Kolorik '04 (30) and Brendan Bernakevitch '05 (30).
On Jan. 29, senior Kyle Criscuolo and Jimmy Vesey were recognized as two of the 20 candidates for the Senior CLASS Award. On Feb. 17, the Senior CLASS Award announced its 10 finalists, with Jimmy Vesey among those honored. 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.
Senior Kyle Criscuolo was named one of five student-athletes in college hockey named 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.
Dishing it Out
Junior Alexander Kerfoot is one of just three players in the nation averaging more than one assist per contest. At 1.00 assists per game, Kerfoot ranks third nationally, trailing only Michigan's JT Compher (1.21) and New Hampshire's Tyler Kelleher's 1.06.
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.
Harvard, Michigan and Robert Morris are the only three teams in the country with two skaters among the top-11 in goals per game this season. Jimmy Vesey ranks third at 0.77, while Kyle Criscuolo comes in 11th at 0.63.
Harvard has posted seven goals in three games this season, marking the first time since the 2004-05 season that Harvard has posted at least seven goals three times in a season. The Crimson beat Dartmouth, 7-0 (Oct. 31), Ferris State, 7-3 (Jan. 1) and Colgate, 7-4 (Feb. 20), this year, while back in 2004-05 it beat Princeton, 8-6 (Nov. 13) and 7-0 (Jan. 28) and Union, 8-1 (Feb.1).
Trio for Walter Brown
The Crimson trio of Kyle Criscuolo, Jimmy Vesey and Merrick Madsen were named semifinalists for the 2016 Walter Brown Award. The oldest nationally-recognized hockey honor, the Walter Brown Award honors the top American-born college hockey player in New England. Vesey is the reigning award winner and a four-time semifinalist. Criscuolo is a semifinalist for the second-straight season, while Madsen earned his first semifinalist honor.
70 is Elite
Senior forward Jimmy Vesey joined a list of the most prolific scorers to wear a Harvard jersey Friday, Jan. 22 when he netted the 70th goal of his career. He is just the seventh Harvard player to reach that plateau. He enters Monday with 76 career goals, good for sixth all-time in the Crimson record books. With one more goal he'll move into a tie for fifth all-time with Dan DeMichele '71.
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).