No. 2/2 Harvard (24-5-2, 16-4-2 ECAC)
The Opening Faceoff
The No. 2/2 Harvard men's hockey team heads to Lake Placid, New York for the third year in a row, qualifying for the ECAC Playoffs semifinals with a sweep of Yale last weekend at Bright-Landry Hockey Center. The Crimson will face-off against Quinnipiac, who earned its semifinal bid after it beat St. Lawrence in a series that went the full three games. The Crimson and Bobcats drop the puck at 4:05 p.m. Friday at the 1980 Rink-Herb Brooks Arena in a game that is broadcast in the Boston area on NESNplus and streamed online on TSNGO and ECACHOCKEY.com.
The First Line
• The Crimson are playing in its 32nd semifinal game since 1962 and the third-straight. Harvard is 20-11 in semifinal games, including reaching the finals each of the last two seasons. Overall, Harvard has reached the title contest 20 times and is 9-11 in championship games.
• Harvard and Quinnipiac have met just five times in the ECAC Hockey playoffs with Harvard holding a 3-2 edge. The Crimson won the only meeting in the semifinals two years ago, 5-2, on its way to capturing the conference title.
• The Crimson has hoisted the Whitelaw Cup nine times as the champion of the ECAC Hockey Tournament. Harvard last won the championship in 2015 and has won two under head coach Ted Donato '91. Harvard's nine titles is second only to Cornell's 12. The Big Red has not won the Whitelaw Cup since 2010.
• Harvard and Quinnipiac split the season-series, with each team winning on its home ice. The Bobcats won, 4-2, in November and the Crimson won, 5-2, in January.
Last Time Out
Harvard improved to 55-25-4 all-time in the ECAC quarterfinals, sweeping Yale in two games. The Crimson also improved to 8-2 in the quarterfinals versus its archrival.
In each game, the Crimson rallied from a third-period deficit to capture the victory. Trailing 4-3 entering the third Friday, Tyler Moy, Alexander Kerfoot and Lewis Zerter-Gossage each scored to give Harvard the 6-4 win. The next night, down 3-2, Moy and Zerter-Gossage struck again to put Harvard ahead 4-3.
Quinnipiac, the five-seed in the ECAC playoffs, won game two and three of its quarterfinal matchup at St. Lawrence to clinch its spot in the semifinals. After losing game one, 2-0, the Bobcats won the next two games, 3-2. Quinnipiac swept Brown in the first round, 6-1 and 5-1. Since the start of February, Quinnipiac is 9-3-0.
The Bobcats offense ranks second in the nation in shots on goal at 35.77, producing an average of 3.08 goals per game. Tim Clifton and Bo Pieper lead the team with 13 goals each, while Brogan Rafferty has a team-best 22 assists. Junior Landon Smith has 29 points to pace the team.
While Chris Truehl started both games in net versus Harvard this year, Andrew Shortridge has taken command of the starting job. He has a 2.03 GAA and .921 save mark. He stopped all 12 shots he faced against Harvard Jan. 6 after Truehl was pulled.
Series Record vs. Quinnipiac: 12-13-4
Last Five Meetings: 1-4-0
Jan. 6, 2017 - W, 5-2
Nov. 12, 2016 - L, 2-4
March 19, 2016 - L, 4-1
Jan. 9, 2016 - L, 5-4 (ot)
Nov. 11, 2015 - L, 4-1
With its win over Brown Feb. 18, Harvard went over the 20-win plateau for a season for the 17th time in program history. It is only the second 20-win season in the last 10 years for Harvard as it had 21 in 2014-15. Harvard's 24 wins this season matches its highest total since the 1993-94 campaign. Harvard won a program-best 31 games in 1988-89 on its way to the program's lone national title.
Harvard's series sweep against Yale in the ECAC Hockey quarterfinals gave head coach Ted Donato '91 the two wins he needed to reach 200 for his career. Donato is just the third Harvard coach to reach 200 wins during their career, joining Bill Cleary, Jr. (324) and Ralph "Cooney" Weiland (315). Donato has a 200-185-48 record during his 13 years at the helm of the Crimson.
The Crimson were unbeaten at the Bright-Landry Hockey Center this season, going 13-0-2. The last time Harvard finished a season unbeaten at home was 1993-94 when it went 10-0-3. Harvard was a perfect 16-0-0 at home in 1988-89.
Wins on Wins
Harvard leads the nation in team winning percentage at .806 with a record of 24-5-2. Its five losses are the fewest in Division I hockey this season and fewest since 1993-94. Harvard is riding a 14-game unbeaten streak (13-0-1) dating back to a Jan. 20 win over Brown. Its last loss was Jan. 17 versus Dartmouth. Harvard has also won its last 12 games, the longest such streak since it won the first 15 games of the 1988-89 season.
Three times this season, Harvard has overcame a deficit heading into the third period, rallying past Cornell Jan. 27, and then in each game of the ECAC quarterfinals vs. Yale. In each of the comeback wins, sophomore Lewis Zerter-Gossage scored a goal in the third period. The last time Harvard won three games when trailing heading into the third frame was 2011-12.
The senior-laden line of Luke Esposito, Sean Malone and Tyler Moy has been tremendous all season for the Crimson, but stole the spotlight during the ECAC quarterfinals. The trio racked up 15 points during the two-game sweep, six from Malone (1g, 5a), five by Moy (2g, 3a) and four by Esposito (3g, 1a).
For the year, the Crimson is 20-5-2 when the three senior skate on the same line. Collectively, they have a points line of 45-61-106.
Ancient Eight's Best
Harvard took home all three major awards distributed by the Ivy League March 2. Sophomore Ryan Donato was named the Player of the Year, Adam Fox was selected Rookie of the Year and Ted Donato earned Coach of the Year honors.
Ryan Donato is the 12th Harvard skater to earn Player of the Year, with Harvard earning the honor each of the last three seasons (Jimmy Vesey '16 - 2015, 2016). Fox is the 14th skater to earn Rookie accolades and Ted Donato is the first Harvard leader to earn Coach of the Year honors.
Goaltender Merrick Madsen and forward Alexander Kerfoot joined Donato and Fox on the All-Ivy first team. Freshman defenseman John Marino was named to the second team and senior forward Tyler Moy was honorable mention.
Junior goaltender Merrick Madsen has been selected as a finalist for the Ken Dryden ECAC Hockey Goaltender of the Year Award, as announced by the league Monday, March 13. Madsen was joined as a finalist by St. Lawrence's Kyle Hayton and Union's Alex Sakellaropoulos.
The honor is among a growing list for Madsen. He was previously named to the All-Ivy League first team and was chosen as a semifinalist for the Mike Richter Award, honoring college hockey's top netminder. The ECAC Hockey Goaltender of the Month for February is 24-5-2, tying Denver's Tanner Jaillet for most wins this season. His GAA (2.26) and save mark (.915) both rank among the nation's top-25.
Tim Taylor Finalist
Ted Donato '91, The Robert D. Ziff '88 Head Coach for Harvard Men's Ice Hockey, has been named a finalist for the Tim Taylor Coach of the Year Award of ECAC Hockey, as announced by the league Wednesday, March 8. Donato was joined on the finalist list by Union's Rick Bennett and Princeton's Ron Fogarty.
Freshman Adam Fox has made a name for himself on the Harvard blue line. The Jericho, New York native, and Calgary Flames prospect leads the team with 29 assists. His 1.13 points per game mark ranks first among all defensemen in the country and fifth among all rookies. It is also a statistic that places Fox among the top-20 all-time of U19 defensemen in Division-I history.
He was named a finalist for the ECAC Hockey Rookie of the Year March 10. His 22 points in conference games leads all defensemen and is second among all freshmen. Princeton's Jackson Cressey and Clarkson's Jake Kielly are the other two finalists.
Points in Bunches
Senior center Sean Malone has a knack for filling the stat sheet on any given night. The West Seneca, New York native and Buffalo Sabres prospect has 11 multi-point games this season, the most on the team. Against Yale in the ECAC quarterfinals, he put up six points over two games, including a career-best four-point showing (1g, 3a) in the 6-4 win March 10.
The class of 2017 has amassed 74 wins during its career, the most for a senior group since the class of 2006 notched 82, the most over the last 20 years of any senior class.
Harvard's seniors have combined for the most points of any senior class in the nation.
Harvard - 175
Boston College - 137
Minnesota Duluth - 136
Opposing goaltenders can expect to see a lot of Ryan Donato on a nightly basis. The sophomore forward is second in the country with a 5.03 shots per game average. He ripped off a season-high 13 shots during his four-goal showing against Union Feb. 10. That number was the highest since Jimmy Vesey '16 had 13 against Rensselaer Feb. 12, 2016.
Harvard as a team ranks sixth in the nation in shots on goal per game at 34.45. That number ranks third in the ECAC behind Quinnipiac (35.77) and Princeton (35.74).
Stat Sheet Success
Harvard is yet to lose a game this season when either Ryan Donato or Jake Horton scores, dishes an assist or has a plus rating in a game.
When Donato Has a:
Goal: 11-0-0; Assist: 10-0-0; Plus: 12-0-0
When Horton Has a:
Goal: 6-0-0; Assist: 7-0-0; Plus: 9-0-0
Power Play Power
The Crimson has converted on 26.6 percent of its power play opportunities this season. It's 37-for-139 success rate is the fifth-best in the nation.
Sophomore defenseman Wiley Sherman has blocked a team-high 45 shots this season, helping the Crimson stymie opposing offenses. Alexander Kerfoot and Jake Horton lead all forwards with 33 blocks.
Harvard ranks first in the nation in scoring. The Crimson is averaging 4.23 goals each time out. Harvard has scored at least five goals in 15 games this season. Last season, Harvard averaged 3.41 goals per game which was its best mark since posting 3.91 in 2002-03.
Harvard is boasting a 1.94 scoring margin this season, the best mark in Division I. Harvard's offense is averaging 4.23 goals, while the defense has surrendered just 2.29, the 11th-lowest in the nation.
Harvard's 24 game-winning goals this season have come from the sticks of 13 different skaters. Alexander Kerfoot has four, Tyler Moy and Luke Esposito have three; Sean Malone, Clay Anderson, Ryan Donato and Lewis Zerter-Gossage have two, while Viktor Dombrovskiy, Frédéric Grégoire, Jake Horton, John Marino, Jacob Olson, Devin Tringale each has one game-winner to his credit this year.
Scoring Four or More
Four goals has been the magic number for the Crimson this season, as 22 of its wins have come when it has scored four or more times. The Crimson won for the first time when scoring less than four goals Jan. 20 when it blanked Brown, 3-0. Harvard has only lost once when scoring four goals - at Dartmouth Jan. 17. Harvard is also 17-1-2 when allowing two goals or less.
Harvard ranks No. 2 in the USCHO.com poll and No. 2 in the USA Today poll this week, matching its highest ranking in each poll ever. Harvard has been ranked in the USCHO.com poll for 69 weeks, while it has spent the last 51 weeks ranked in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine poll.