No. 9/9 Harvard (18-9-4, 12-6-4 ECAC) vs. No. 17/- St. Lawrence (19-13-4, 11-8-3)
The Opening Faceoff
The No. 9/9 Harvard men's hockey team, and defending Whitelaw Cup champions, is making its second-straight trip to Lake Placid this weekend, qualifying for the semifinals of the ECAC Hockey Tournament after sweeping Rensselaer in the quarterfinals. Harvard, the three-seed, will face four-seed St. Lawrence in the second semifinal contest Friday, March 18 at 7:36 p.m. The winner of that game and the first semifinal between Quinnipiac and Dartmouth with meet in the championship Saturday, March 19 at 7:36 p.m. All three games of the tournament will be aired on American Sports Network, as well as online on TSN GO and through Boxcast on ECACHockey.com.
The First Line
• Harvard and St. Lawrence are meeting in the semifinals of the ECAC Tournament for just the second time in program history. The first and only prior meeting in the semifinals occurred at the very first ECAC Tournament in 1962 which the Saints won, 6-5. The meeting is only the 12th ever in the ECAC Tournament between the schools, with Harvard holding an 8-3 record overall against St. Lawrence. The Crimson and Saints have not met in the playoffs since 2006 when Harvard defeated St. Lawrence in three games during the quarterfinals.
• Harvard has now reached the semifinals each of the last two seasons. The last time Harvard played in consecutive ECAC semifinals was 2005 and 2006. The Crimson reached the championship every year from 2002 - 2006, winning three titles ('02, '04, '06) in that span.
• Harvard's eight goals in the series-clinching game versus Rensselaer were the most since March 11, 2012 against Yale. After playing two overtime games against the Bulldogs, Harvard made a statement with an 8-2 win in game three of that quarterfinal series. The Crimson's 13 goals against the Engineers was its most in a quarterfinal series since 2008 when it racked up 18 against Quinnipiac, including an 11-0 drubbing in the series opener.
Last Time Out
Harvard made easy work of Rensselaer in the ECAC quarterfinals, sweeping the Engineers, 5-2 and 8-2, at the Bright-Landry Hockey Center. In the opener, Sean Malone and Seb Lloyd each potted two goals. Malone continued to be the star of the series in game two, scoring again and adding two assists, finishing the weekend with six points. In the 8-2 thumping, Jimmy Vesey also had three points on two goals and one assist.
Scouting St. Lawrence
The Saints also posted a sweep in their quarterfinal series against Clarkson, albeit needing overtime to win both games, 3-2. At 8:12 of the first overtime Friday evening, Brian Ward scored the game-winner to give St. Lawrence a 1-0 edge in the series. On Saturday, Ward would record one of the assists on Gavin Bayreuther's game-winner in double overtime to close out the Knights.
Bayreuther and Drew Smolcynski, who had assists on both overtime winners, are tied for the team-lead with 28 points. Bayreuther has the edge in goals with 11, while Smolcynski paces the team with 19 assists. Kyle Hayton has been a constant in net for the Saints, going 17-11-3 in 32 starts with a .935 save mark and a 2.05 GAA.
Harvard holds a significant edge in special teams over St. Lawrence. In ECAC games this season, Harvard converted on 22-of-68 (32.4 percent) of its man-up chances, most in the conference. Meanwhile, St. Lawrence scored on just nine of its 74 (12.2 percent) power plays, eighth-best in the league.
Series History vs. St. Lawrence
The all-time series with St. Lawrence favors the Crimson, 55-44-7. 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 by the same score in regulation, in January.
This Season 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.
Harvard swept the season series with the Saints, winning in Canton, N.Y. in the season finale, 4-1. The Crimson's power play went 2-for-4 with goals by Lewis Zerter-Gossage and Ryan Donato to set the tone.
The season sweep of St. Lawrence was the first since 2010-11 for Harvard.
Two For You & Two For You
The ECAC playoffs each of the last two seasons has seen the Crimson have two players score two goals in a single game. In game one versus Rensselaer last weekend, Sean Malone and Seb Lloyd each lit the lamp twice. The last time two Crimson scored two goals in the same game happened in last season's first round when Jimmy Vesey and Colin Blackwell did it against Brown.
13 in Two
Harvard's 13 goals in its two games represents its highest, consecutive two-game total this season, edging the 12 it scored in its home-and-home to start the year with Dartmouth. The 13 goals is the most in two-straight games since the end of the 2011-12 season, when the Crimson scored 14 in consecutive games in the ECAC playoffs. Harvard scored eight to clinch the quarterfinals against Yale and then put up six against Cornell in the semifinals.
Harvard's 3.61 goals per game average this season is its highest since 2002-03 when it averaged 3.91.
Over the last three seasons, Harvard is 5-0 when competing on an Olympic-sized rink (200x100). Harvard won two games at Mariucci Arena this season, two at the 1980 Rink in Lake Placid last season and beat New Hampshire at the Whittlemore Center in 2013-14. Harvard last defeat on an Olympic sheet came in January of 2010 when it last a pair of games at Minnesota.
With his third period assist in the season finale at St. Lawrence, forward Jimmy Vesey reached the 20 goal - 20 assist plateau for the second straight season. This year, the co-captain has 23 goals and 21 assists, while last year he finished with 32 goals and 26 helpers. He is the first Harvard player to have multiple 20-20 seasons since Hobey Baker winner Lane MacDonald. MacDonald had 37 goals and 30 assists in 1986--87 and then tallied 31 goals and 29 helpers in 1988-89.
Harvard earned a share of its first Ivy League title in 10 years, racking up 16 points (7-1-2) to split the 2016 championship with Yale. Harvard leads the conference with 22 Ivy League titles since the conference began recognition of championship in men's sports in 1956-57.
The Crimson was led to its title by five All-Ivy League selections, highlighted by Player of the Year, Jimmy Vesey, who repeated as the award's winner. Kyle Criscuolo, Alexander Kerfoot and Desmond Bergin each earned second team honors and goaltender Merrick Madsen received honorable mention.
Records Were Meant to be Broken
Jimmy Vesey racked up nine goals during the 2015 ECAC tournament, breaking Doug Marrett's (Cornell) record of eight set in 1973. Vesey had the game-winners in both of Harvard's wins at Yale and then scored twice in both the semifinals and finals.
Whitelaw Returns to Cambridge
The Whitelaw Cup, awarded to the ECAC Tournament champion, was raised by Harvard Saturday, March 21, 2015 for the ninth time in the history of Crimson hockey. Harvard last won the ECAC championship in 2006, the second year with head coach Ted Donato behind the bench.
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 142 (79G, 63A). That tally is the highest in the ECAC. Criscuolo has 112 points (52 G, 60A).
Three for 30
Harvard's first line of Jimmy Vesey, Alexander Kerfoot and Kyle Criscuolo is the first trio of teammates since the 2003-04 season to amass 30 points apiece. Vesey leads the team with 44 points (23G, 21A), Kerfoot has 33 (4G, 29A) and Criscuolo has 31 (18G, 13A). 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 among the nation's leaders in assists this season. At 0.97 assists per game, Kerfoot is fourth among all skaters in the nation.
Harvard has posted seven goals or more in four games this season, marking the first time since the 2002-03 season that Harvard has posted at least seven goals four times in a season. The Crimson beat Dartmouth, 7-0 (Oct. 31), Ferris State, 7-3 (Jan. 1), Colgate, 7-4 (Feb. 20) and Rensselaer, 8-2 (March 12) this year, while back in 2002-03 it beat Colgate, 7-1 (Nov. 23), Union, 7-4 (Nov. 29), Colgate, 8-1 (Dec. 30) and Colgate again, 7-0 (Feb. 14).
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. With two goals March 12 against Rensselaer, Vesey gained sole possession of fifth on the Harvard all-time scoring list with 79. C.J. Young '90 ranks fourth on that list with 84 career goals.
Best of the Month
On Feb. 3, Jimmy Vesey was honored as the January Player of the Month in the ECAC. He also earned the award for the month of November. He is the only skater to earn two Player of the Month honors this season. In January, Vesey scored eight goals and had eight assists in nine games leading Harvard to a 6-3 record.
Over the last two seasons, senior forward Jimmy Vesey has led the nation in scoring.
Most Goals, Last Two Seasons
55 – Jimmy Vesey, Harvard (NSH)
45 – Sam Anas, Quinnipiac
42 – Ralph Cuddemi, Canisius
41 – Austin Ortega, Omaha
39 – Ahti Oksanen, Boston University