Viktor Dombrovskiy and the Crimson visit Princeton and No. 7/8 Quinnipiac (Gil Talbot).
No. 10/10 Harvard (3-0-1, 1-0-1 ECAC)
Harvard (3-0-1, 1-0-1 ECAC)
The Opening Faceoff
The Harvard men's hockey team (3-0-1, 1-0-1 ECAC Hockey) opened conference play with a tie against Colgate and a victory against Cornell, using the results to rise to No. 10 in both the USCHO and USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine polls. The Crimson will take that new ranking on the road this weekend, heading to Princeton Saturday and No. 7/8 Quinnipiac Saturday. Both games will start at 7 p.m., with Friday's matchup to be broadcast on the Ivy League Digital Network, while Saturday's game can be seen on SNY and Quinnipiac All-Access.
The First Line
• With its tie last Friday against Colgate, the Crimson are 23-12-3 in home openers since 1979 when it played its first season at the Bright-Landry Hockey Center. Harvard is unbeaten through the first four games of the year for the third-straight season. The Crimson started last year an identical 3-0-1 and were 2-0-2 to start the 2014-15 campaign.
• Harvard and Quinnipiac have developed a strong rivalry in recent seasons, as both teams have battled for position among the conference standings and championships. The squads have met each of the last two seasons in Lake Placid during the semifinals or finals of the ECAC Hockey Tournament. Harvard won the 2015 meeting in the semifinals en route to the ECAC Tournament title, while Quinnipiac won last year's meeting in the championship game.
• Through four games, Harvard's 4.50 goals per game mark remains tops in NCAA Division I.
Last Time Out
Harvard picked up three points during the first weekend of ECAC action, tying Colgate and downing Cornell. The Crimson racked up 42 shots on goal against the Raiders, but needed a third period power play strike from Alexander Kerfoot to earn the tie. The next night, Lewis Zerter-Gossage recorded his first career hat trick and Ryan Donato tallied four points to pace Harvard to a 4-3 triumph over Cornell.
The Tigers have struggled out of the gate this year, standing at 0-3-0 with losses to Michigan State, St. Lawrence and Clarkson. Princeton was blanked on the road by the Saints, 4-0, and then dropped a 4-2 decision to the Golden Knights. Friday's game will be the home opener at Hobey Baker Rink for the Tigers.
Offense has come at a premium for Princeton, managing just four goals through the first three games. Sophomore Alex Riche has two tallies and one assist and is tied with Ryan Kuffner (1G, 2A) and Max Veronneau (0G, 3A) for the points lead. Senior Colton Phinney has struggled in net, entering the weekend with a .865 save percentage and a 4.04 GAA. He's given up one power play goal and two shorthanded strikes.
Series Record vs. Princeton: 153-58-11
Last Five Meetings: 5-0
Jan. 29, 2016 - W, 4-1
Nov. 14, 2015 - W, 3-0
Feb. 28, 2015 - W, 5-0
Dec. 5, 2014 - W, 4-3
Jan. 31, 2014 - W, 3-2
The 2016 NCAA Division I runner-up sports a 6-3-1 overall record and a 1-1-0 ECAC count. The Bobcats got two points in the conference standings with a 5-3 win at Clarkson, but was blanked the next night at St. Lawrence, 2-0.
Experience and youth are impacting the Quinnipiac box scores this season. Senior Tim Clifton has a team-best five goals and is tied with freshman Brogan Rafferty with the lead in points with eight. Rafferty has dished out seven helpers. Goaltending duties have been split between junior Air Force transfer Chris Truehl and freshman Andrew Shortridge. Truehl has started six games and has a .921 save percentage and 2.31 GAA. Shortridge's marks stand at .903 and 2.34.
Series Record vs. Quinnipiac: 11-12-4
Last Five Meetings: 1-4-0
March 19, 2016 - L, 4-1
Jan. 9, 2016 - L, 5-4 (ot)
Nov. 11, 2015 - L, 4-1
March 20, 2015 - W, 5-2
Feb. 27, 2015 - L, 5-2
Sophomore Lewis Zerter-Gossage recorded his first career hat trick in Harvard's 4-3 win over Cornell Nov. 5. It was the first hat trick of the year for the Crimson and Zerter-Gossage is the third active Crimson skater to drop on a trio of goals in a single game. Sophomore Ryan Donato posted his hat trick in a Feb. 13, 2016 win over Union 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. Head coach Ted Donato recorded the lone hat trick of his career vs. Dartmouth in an 8-1 win Nov. 27, 1990.
Harvard is boasting a 3.00 scoring margin through the first four games of the season, the best mark in Division I. Harvard's offense is averaging 4.50 goals, while the defense has surrendered just 1.50, the third-lowest in the nation.
Power Play Power
The Crimson has converted on one-third of its power play opportunities this season. It's 6-for-18 and 33.3 percent success rate is tied for the best mark in country with Yale.
Freshman Adam Fox, a Calgary Flames third-round draft pick this summer, has at least one assist in each game this season. His five helpers leads the Crimson and he is tied for second nationally with Holy Cross' Mike Barrett with a 1.25 assists per game mark. Yale's Ryan Hitchcock leads the nation at 1.33.
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.