Wiley Sherman and the Crimson host the USNDTP U-18 team Saturday (Gil Talbot).
Harvard (0-0-0) vs.
The Opening Faceoff
The No. 12/13 Harvard men's hockey team begins the 2016-17 season Saturday night at the Bright-Landry Hockey Center, hosting the United States National Team Development Program U-18 team at 7 p.m. The game is the lone official tune-up in the preseason for the Crimson, as it is slated to open the regular season with two games at Arizona Oct. 28-29.
The First Line
• Harvard entered the year ranked No. 12 in the USCHO.com poll and No. 13 in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine Poll. The Crimson represent the third ranked opponent that the U.S. U-18 team has played in a row, falling on the road at No. 9/8 Notre Dame, 5-1, and Thursday at No. 3/4 Boston University, 8-2.
• The Crimson and the U.S. U-18 team have squared off twice since 2001-02. Harvard took the Jan., 26, 2002 meeting, 5-2, but the U-18 squad took the matchup on Dec. 9, 2007, 4-3.
• Harvard played one exhibition last season, tying New Brunswick, 3-3, at the Bright-Landry Hockey Center.
• Seniors Alexander Kerfoot and Devin Tringale will lead the squad this season as captains. All Harvard varsity captains are elected by their teammates. This marks the third-straight season that Harvard has had two captains.
Last Time Out
Harvard is coming off its second-straight NCAA Tournament appearance, playing Boston College in Worcester in the first round last March. The Eagles took the game, 4-1, in the first postseason meeting between the Beantown rivals, despite 123 career meetings. Junior Seb Lloyd scored the lone Crimson goal, assisted by classmate Jake Horton and senior Clay Anderson.
Scouting USNTDP U-18
The U.S. U-18 squad enters Saturday's matchup with a 2-5 overall record, and have dropped its last three games. On Thursday, the red, white and blue visited No. 3/4 Boston University, dropping an 8-2 decision. Josh Norris, the team's leading scorer (4-3--7), and Jacob Tortora scored both of the goals for the U-18 team shorthanded.
Four current Harvard student-athletes were members of the USNDTP. Sean Malone, Michael Lackey, Adam Fox and Michael Floodstrand all played for the national squad before joining the Crimson.
Harvard's 3.41 goals per game average last season ranked ninth nationally and is its highest since 2002-03 when it averaged 3.91.
Harvard's 1.03 scoring margin (3.41 GF - 2.38 GA) ranked 10th among all NCAA Division I teams in 2015-16.
The Crimson were among the least penalized teams in 2015-16, averaging just 8.2 minutes in the box last year. That number was 10th-lowest nationally.
Special Teams Success
Harvard's power play was lethal last season, scoring on 27.4 percent of its opportunities (31-of-113). That conversion percentage ranked fifth in the nation. The Crimson's have 31 power play goals was its most since 2011-12 when it had 38.
Last Line of Defense
Junior Merrick Madsen proved himself to be among the best netminders in the nation last year. The Acton, California native was eighth in save percentage (.931), 10th in win percentage (.696) and shutouts (four) and 14th in goals-against (2.00). Madsen's career .930 save percentage ranked third among active goaltenders entering the 2015-16 season.
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 '16, who repeated as the award's winner. Kyle Criscuolo '16, Alexander Kerfoot and Desmond Bergin '16 each earned second team honors and goaltender Merrick Madsen received honorable mention.
Two current Crimson skaters have hat tricks to their credit, sophomore Ryan Donato and senior Alexander Kerfoot. Kerfoot earned his Nov. 11, 2014 at Boston College, when he also provided two assists. That five point mark is the highest single-game point mark of current Crimson.
Donato recorded his hat trick Feb. 13, 2016 leading Harvard to a 4-1 win over Union.
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.
Junior forward Alexander Kerfoot is among the most prolific passers in college hockey this season. The top-line winger had 34 total points last season, 30 of those coming via assists. He had the longest point streak in 2015-16, an 11-game stretch from Nov. 7, 2015 - Jan. 15, 2016. That streak is the longest since Jimmy Vesey '16 had a point in 20 consecutive games last season from Nov. 1, 2014 - Feb. 3, 2015.
Kerfoot's 58 career assists entering the year ranks fifth among active Division I skaters.
Extra Skater = Goal
Harvard has scored with an extra skater on the ice twice each of the last two season. Last season, Kyle Criscuolo scored in a 6-on-5 situation with 34 seconds left at Minnesota Jan. 2 to send the game to overtime. Harvard's other extra-skater goal came in a 6-on-3 situation at Quinnipiac Nov. 13. Harvard's 6-on-5 goals in 2014-15 came Jan. 30 when Victor Newell scored at 19:09 against Union and Feb. 7 when Desmond Bergin scored at 19:06 at Brown.
Junior defenseman Wiley Sherman is one of six players in college hockey standing 6'7". Those six players are just one inch shorter than the tallest player the NCAA, Maine's Stephen Mundinger.
Wealth of Experience
The Harvard roster features 15 juniors and seniors, tied for second most in the NCAA. Only Princeton, Quinnipiac and Vermont have more at 16.
Harvard returns 63.3 percent of its point scorers from last season and 56 percent of its goal scoring. Senior co-captain Alexander Kerfoot was second on the team with 34 points (4-30--34) last year and sophomore Ryan Donato finished third in goals with 13 (13-8--21). Luke Esposito also finished fifth on the team in points last year, matching Donato's 21 (5-16--21).
The Harvard roster boasts a father-son combo, as well as a pair of brothers. Head coach Ted Donato and sophomore Ryan Donato represent the father-son duo, while senior Alexander Kerfoot and freshman Colton Kerfoot will both wear the Crimson sweater this season. Ted and Ryan are one of six father-son pairing in college hockey this season.
Three former Harvard men's hockey players are now general managers in the NHL, the most of any college program. Don Sweeney '88 (Boston), Peter Chiarelli '87 (Edmonton) and Chuck Fletcher '90 (Minnesota) all skated for the Crimson. Only one other college program is represented more than once, Bowling Green: George McPhee (Las Vegas) and Brian MacLellan (Washington).
Ivy League Digital Network
The Ivy League Digital Network returns for a fourth 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. The Ivy League Digital Network is also available on Roku and AppleTV.
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).