Kyle Criscuolo leads the Crimson into Worcester to face Boston College in the NCAA Tournament (John Crouch).
No. 10/9 Harvard (19-10-4, 12-6-4 ECAC) vs. No. 6/5 Boston College (26-7-5, 15-2-5 HEA)
The Opening Faceoff
The No. 10/9 Harvard men's hockey team earned an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament Sunday, selected as the three-seed in the Northeast Regional in Worcester, Massachusetts. Harvard will go up against second-seeded Boston College in the first round Friday, March 25 at 8 p.m. at the DCU Center. The matchup will be broadcast live on ESPNU with Barry Melrose, John Buccigross and Quint Kessenich on the call. The victor of the Harvard-Boston College game will face the winner of the first opening round matchup, Providence versus Minnesota-Duluth, Saturday March 26 at 9 p.m. for a trip to the Frozen Four in Tampa, Florida April 7-9.
The First Line
• Harvard is making its 23rd appearance in the NCAA Tournament and fourth under head coach Ted Donato. The Crimson earned an automatic bid last season and played in the Midwest Regional in South Bend, Indiana against Nebraska Omaha.
• Harvard and Boston College have met on the ice 123 times since the first meeting in 1919. Friday's contest will be the first played in an NCAA Tournament.
• The Crimson has played three previous NCAA Tournament games in Worcester, going 0-3 in those contests. Harvard's first game in Worcester came in 1993 when it lost a heartbreaker in double-overtime to Northern Michigan, 3-2. Harvard returned to Worcester in 2002, losing to Maine, 4-3, in overtime, and then went back in 2003 to face Boston University, falling to the Terriers, 6-4.
• Harvard's most recent NCAA Tournament victory came in 1994 when it defeated New Hampshire, 7-1, in the quarterfinals in Albany, New York. Harvard finished in third-place that year.
NCAA Tournament Quick Hits
- Harvard is making its 23rd NCAA Tournament appearance. It has reached the Frozen Four on 12 occasions and has one national title (1989). The Crimson's 12 Frozen Four appearances are fifth-most among tournament teams.
- The 1989 NCAA Championship for men's hockey was the first team title ever won at Harvard.
- Harvard holds an all-time NCAA Tournament record of 14-29-1.
- Harvard enters the tournament with a 2-7-1 record against participating teams this season.
- Jimmy Vesey enters the tournament with more goals than any other player. His 80 is 12 more than the next player, Sam Anas with 68. Vesey is fourth among active players with points with 144.
- Over their careers, Jimmy Vesey has 16 game-winning goals, tied for most among skaters in the tournament. His fellow co-captain, Kyle Criscuolo, has 13, tied for third. His eight this season is tied for the nation's best.
- Merrick Madsen's career save percentage of .931 is tied for the best among tournament goalies with Yale's Alex Lyon and North Dakota's Cam Johnson.
- Harvard's senior class has accounted for 115 points this season, fourth-most among tournament teams.
- Head Coach Ted Donato graduated from Harvard in 1991 and was the tournament MVP during the 1989 NCAA Championship. Donato and Denver head coach Jim Montgomery (1993) are the only two head coaches to win Tournament MVP as players and coach in this year's NCAA Tournament.
- Donato is one of nine coaches leading their alma mater this weekend.
-- Ted Donato and son Ryan are one of two father-son combinations in the NCAA Tournament. The other, Wayne Wilson, the head coach of RIT, and son Stu at Yale.
-- Harvard's eight NHL draft picks is tied with Providence for sixth-most among tournament teams. BC, Michigan and North Dakota each have 12.
-- Ryan Donato and Jimmy Vesey are both sons of former NHL players. Ted Donato played in the NHL for 13 years, while Jim Vesey played professional hockey for seven years with stops in the NHL for the St. Louis Blues and Boston Bruins.
-- With an average age of 21.44, Harvard is the third-youngest team in the NCAA Tournament.
-- Harvard is making consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances for the first time since 2005 - 2006. Harvard played in the NCAA Tournament every year from 2002 - 2006.
Undergraduate Fan Bus
For $10, undergraduate students can purchase a game ticket and a seat on the fan bus for travel to and from the DCU Center Friday night. Tickets can be picked up at the Murr Center Ticket Office beginning Tuesday at 9 a.m. until Thursday at 5 p.m. The bus will leave from Mt. Auburn St. near Lowell House at 4:30 p.m. Friday.
Last Time Out
Harvard made its second consecutive trip to Lake Placid to compete in the semifinals and finals of the ECAC Hockey playoffs. In the semifinals, the Crimson used the late-game heroics of Jimmy Vesey and Kyle Criscuolo to defeat St. Lawrence in overtime, 2-1. Vesey's initial shot deflected off Criscuolo's face mask and into the back of the net for the game-winner 2:18 into overtime. In the finals, Ryan Donato had Harvard's lone goal, falling to Quinnipiac, 4-1.
Scouting Boston College
The Eagles finished as the co-regular season champions with Providence in Hockey East this season. It fell in the conference tournament semifinals to Northeastern, 5-4, Friday night, but enters the NCAA Tournament with a 26-7-5 overall record and 15-2-5 Hockey East mark. Boston College went 11-0-4 in its first 15 games of the 2016 calendar year before falling to UMass-Lowell, 3-1, in the regular season finale Feb. 27.
Boston College has nearly doubled up opponents this season, averaging 3.9 goals per game, while holding opponents to 2.0. Thatcher Demko provides a solid last line of defense in goal for the Eagles. The junior has a nation's best 10 shutouts, while ranking fifth in save percentage, .935, and seventh in goals-against at 1.87.
The Eagles top scorer is junior Ryan Fitzgerald. He leads the team with 22 goals and 44 points. Sophomore Zach Sanford has a team-best 25 assists and is one of five Eagles with 20 or more helpers this season.
Boston College is one of the most penalized teams in the country with 564 total penalty minutes, good for a 14.8 per game average, third-most in the nation.
Series History vs. Boston College
Harvard trails in the all-time series with Boston College, 45-73-5. The first meeting occurred Jan. 19, 1919 with Harvard posting a 7-2 victory. The teams met again in 1922 with Boston College knotting the series with a 4-2 win. The teams didn't meet again until 1946 and have played consistently since then.
This Season vs. Boston College
Harvard met Boston College in the opening round of the Beanpot this year on Feb. 1, falling 3-2 to the then-fourth ranked Eagles. Ryan Donato and Kyle Criscuolo had the goals for Harvard in the second period, but two power play goals in the third by Boston College helped it rally for the victory.
Senior co-captain Kyle Criscuolo has eight game-winning goals this season, tied for the most in the nation. Criscuolo's eighth came in the ECAC semifinals, when he redirected a Jimmy Vesey shot off his face mask and into the goal 2:18 into overtime.
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 3.48 goals per game average this season is its highest since 2002-03 when it averaged 3.91.
Special Teams Success
Harvard's power play has been lethal this season, scoring on 27.9 percent of its opportunities (31-of-111), including its 3-of-4 showing Jan. 23 at Cornell. That conversion percentage is fourth in the nation. The Crimson have 31 power play goals this season, its most since 2011-12 when it had 38.
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 24 goals and 22 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.
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).
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.
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.