Harvard men's ice hockey takes on UMass Lowell and Vermont at the Catamount Cup this weekend. (Gil Talbot)
BURLINGTON, Vt. -- Harvard men's ice hockey will conclude a program-record stretch of nine consecutive games away from Bright-Landry Hockey Center this upcoming weekend in Burlington, Vermont at the TD Bank Catamount Cup with games against UMass-Lowell and Vermont). The Crimson is making its second appearance in the Catamount Cup, last appearing in the tournament during the 2010-11 season, when it split games against Army (W, 4-2, Jan. 1, 2011) and host Vermont (L, 3-1, Jan. 2, 2011) at Gutterson Field House. Harvard head coach Ted Donato '91 and Vermont head coach Kevin Sneddon (Harvard '92) were teammates at Harvard for three seasons, winning a national championship together in 1989.
The First Line
• Harvard carries a three game unbeaten streak (2-0-1) into its first games after the holiday/exam break. The Crimson last played on Dec. 1-2, sweeping games at Quinnipiac (W, 6-2) and Princeton (W, 4-2). Junior forward Ryan Donato (four goals, assist) had a banner weekend, including his second career hat trick in the win at Quinnipiac, while junior Michael Lackey (2-0-0, 2.00 GAA, .941 Save %), making his first starts in net in two seasons, was fantastic as well.
• Harvard is unbeaten in its last five games against Hockey East opponents (4-0-1). Harvard has not played UMass-Lowell since the a 4-2 win on Nov. 29, 2014. The last time Harvard played Vermont, was the 2011 meeting in the Catamout Cup, a 3-1 Vermont win.
• Junior forward Ryan Donato has a 10-game point streak (eight goals, seven assists) to open the season, the longest of his collegiate career, and is 2nd in the nation with 1.5 points/game.
Scouting UMass Lowell
One of the top programs in college hockey in recent years, head coach Norm Bazin has led UMass-Lowell to the NCAA Tournament in five of the last six seasons. Lowell lost four of its top five scorers from a season ago. The River Hawks are 9-8-0 to start the year, and led up front by sophomore forwards Kenny Hausinger (six goals, eight assists) and Ryan Lohin (five goals, nine assists). Junior goaltender Christoffer Hernberg is 9-2-0 on the season with a 1.85 goals-against average and .931 save percentage.
The UMass Lowell Series
Series Record: UMass Lowell leads, 2-1-0
Last Three Meetings:
Dec. 28, 2001 (N) – L, 2-0
Dec. 10, 2012 (H) – L, 5-0
Nov. 29, 2014 (A) – W, 4-2
The Last Meeting, UMass Lowell
On Nov. 29, 2014, Luke Esposito scored a pair of goals for the Crimson, while Tyler Moy and Clay Anderson also lit the lamp to lead Harvard to a 4-2 win at UMass Lowell. Goaltender Steve Michalek needed to make just 15 saves to pick up the win. Current seniors Eddie Ellis, Seb Lloyd, Wiley Sherman, and Jake Horton all played in the game.
Head coach and Harvard alum Kevin Sneddon '92 leads a young Vermont team that has been playing better hockey of late (1-1-2) after a tough start overall (4-10-3) to the year. Sophomore Ross Colton (10 goals, two assists) is off to a quick start, leading the nation with seven power play goals. Sophomore goaltender Stefanos Lekkas (4-10-2, 3.06 GAA, .912 Save%) has seen the lion-share of work in net. Vermont (55th, NCAA in scoring offense) has struggled to put the puck in the net, averaging 2.18 goals per game.
The Vermont Series
Series Record: Harvard leads, 35-24-3
Last Five Meetings:
Dec. 7, 2004 (H) – W, 3-1
Feb. 26, 2005 (A) – T, 2-2 (ot)
Nov. 28, 2006 (H) – L, 2-1 (ot)
Dec. 8, 2007 – T, 2-2 (ot)
Jan. 2, 2011 – L, 3-1
The Last Meeting, Vermont
On Jan. 2, 2011, Rob Madore made 28 saves to lead host Vermont to a 3-1 victory against the Harvard at the Catamount Cup. Madore made 23 of his saves over the last two periods. Alex Killorn scored the lone goal for the Crimson and was named to the all-tournament team. Kyle Richter made 25 saves in net for the Crimson.
Fox at World Juniors
Harvard will be missing the services of sophomore forward Adam Fox, who was selected for the U.S. World Junior roster for the second consecutive season. Fox will compete at the 2018 IIHF World Junior Championships in Buffalo from Dec. 26-Jan. 5. Last year Fox and the Americans went 7-0 and captured gold with a shootout victory over host Canada.
Donato For Hobey
Junior forward Ryan Donato (eight goals, seven assists) is off to a torrid start, with points in 10 straight games to start the year. Donato recorded his second career hat trick in a 6-2 win at Quinnipiac on Dec. 1, and now is second in the NCAA with an average of 1.50 points per game. Donato is on pace to have his best season in a Harvard uniform, and is a strong candidate to make the U.S. Olympic Team.
Oh Captains, My Captains
Seniors Eddie Ellis, Jake Horton, and Merrick Madsen will lead the squad this season as captains. All Harvard varsity captains are elected by their teammates. This marks the first time in program history that Harvard has elected three men's hockey captains.
Several of Harvard's freshmen have made an immediate impact. Forward Henry Bowlby leads the team with a +7 rating and has five points (three goals, two assists). Forward Jack Badini has six points (three goals, three assists) including four in his last three games, and defenseman Reilly Walsh leads all Harvard first-year players with eight points (three goals, five assists) including a team high three power play goals.
Dominant on Draws
Freshman center Jack Badini leads the team and is fifth in ECAC Hockey at 58.2% on faceoffs this season. Junior forward Ryan Donato, who made the switch to center this season, has also been solid in the faceoff circle with a 56.0% win rate on draws through 10 games this year.
Strong on the PK
Harvard's penalty kill has been excellent through seven games this season. Currently, Harvard ranks 12th in the nation at 85.0% (34-for-40) on the kill, including six games this season where the Crimson has not allowed a power play goal.
Senior co-captain Merrick Madsen has been selected as one of the 20 candidates for the Senior CLASS Award for men's collegiate hockey. To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence: community, classroom, character and competition.
NHL In The Family
Ryan Donato, Jack Donato, Ty Pelton-Byce, and Reilly Walsh are sons of former NHLers. Ted Donato, Harvard's current head coach, played 13 years in the NHL, while John Byce played parts of two seasons with the Bruins and a decade playing professionally. Mike Walsh played parts of two seasons wth the New York Islanders and had a nine-year pro career.
The class of 2018 has 72 wins in three-plus seasons at Harvard and could surpass the most wins for a senior group since the class of 2006 had 82, and the most in the last 20 years of any senior class.
While Harvard lost its top three scorers from 2016-17, four of its top eight scorers are back. Leading the group is junior Ryan Donato who was fourth on the team with 40 points (21-19--40) and second in goal-scoring last year and sophomore defenseman Adam Fox (6-34-40), who led all blueliners in the nation in scoring.
Senior goaltender Merrick Madsen has etched his name in the Harvard record books. Madsen has two shutouts (Dartmouth, Brown) in eight starts this season bringing his career total to nine (T-2nd in Harvard history). With 28 wins last season, he had the most wins by a Harvard goaltender in a single season, passing Grant Blair '86, who had 24 in 1985-86. Madsen will leave Harvard as one of the program's greatest goaltenders. He is currently tied for fourth on the all-time wins list (48), and entered the year second on the career goals-against average list (2.04), and first on the career save percentage list (.927).
Madsen in Minny
Madsen made a career high 48 saves in Harvard's 2-1 (ot) loss at Minnesota on Nov. 18, He had the most saves in a game by a Harvard goaltender since Raphael Girard made 48 saves in a win against Yale on March 10, 2012 (4th most in a game all-time).
Donato A High Volume Shooter
Opposing goaltenders can expect to see a lot of Ryan Donato on a nightly basis. Donato leads the team with 52 shots on net in 10 games (5.2 per game/2nd NCAA) The junior forward was second in the country with a 5.14 shots per game average last year. He ripped off a season-high 13 shots during his four-goal showing against Union Feb. 10, when he became the first Harvard skater since Connor Morrison on Nov. 24, 2009 to score four goals in a game. That number was the highest since Jimmy Vesey '16 had 13 against Rensselaer Feb. 12, 2016.
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).
Harvard boasts seven players on its 2017-18 roster that were selected in the NHL Entry Draft:
• Jack Badini (2017, Anaheim, 3rd rd.)
• Ryan Donato (2014, Boston, 2nd rd.)
• Adam Fox (2016, Calgary, 3rd rd.)
• Merrick Madsen (2013, Philadelphia, 6th rd.)
• John Marino (2015, Edmonton, 6th rd.)
• Wiley Sherman (2013, Boston, 5th rd.)
• Reilly Walsh (2017, New Jersey, 3rd rd.)
Harvard adds eight freshmen to the roster in 2017-18. Among them are drafted defenseman Reilly Walsh (New Jersey) and forward Jack Badini (Anaheim). Up front, Harvard will also add Henry Bowlby, Jack Donato, Mitchell Perrault and Benjamin Solin. The additional new defensemen are Nick Azar and Benjamin Foley.
Senior defenseman Wiley Sherman is one of nine players in college hockey standing at least 6'7", and the tallest D1 defensemen. Stephen Mundinger of Maine and Keenan Suthers of St. Lawrence, both forwards are the tallest players in the nation at 6'8".
Through 10 games, senior captain Jake Horton leads the team with 18 blocked shots, while senior defenseman Wiley Sherman has 16 blocked shots and sophomore defenseman Adam Fox has 15 blocks.
2016-17: A Year To Remember
• Harvard had a 28-6-2 overall record, the most wins since the 1988-89 season (31) and the fewest losses in Division I college hockey. The Crimson earned its 13th Frozen Four appearance and first since 1994.
• Harvard won its 10th ECAC Hockey Tournament title and second in the last three years (2015, 2017). The title was the third under head coach Ted Donato '91 (2006, 2015, 2017).
• Harvard won a share of its 14th ECAC regular season title, the most in the conference, hoisting its first Cleary Cup (named for legendary student-athlete, coach and administrator William J. Cleary, Jr. '56) since 1993-94.
• The Crimson earned its first outright Ivy League title since 2006. Harvard has 23 Ivy League titles to its credit since the league began recognizing an official conference champion in ice hockey in 1956.
• Harvard snapped a 24-year Beanpot drought (1993) with its 6-3 victory over Boston University on Feb. 13, 2017 at TD Garden. The championship marked the 11th in the storied history of the tournament for Harvard. Nathan Krusko earned tournament MVP honors, scoring twice and dishing out an assist in the championship game.
• The Crimson was unbeaten at the Bright-Landry Hockey Center last season, going 13-0-2.
• Adam Fox was named 2016-17 CCM/AHCA first team East All-American and Alexander Kerfoot was selected to the second team.
• Fox was named the ECAC Hockey Rookie of the Year. Fox and Alexander Kerfoot were selected to the All-ECAC Hockey first team, forward Ryan Donato was tabbed to the second team and goaltender Merrick Madsen earned a spot on the third team.
• Goaltender Merrick Madsen etched his name in the Harvard record books. With 28 wins on the season, Madsen recorded the most wins by a Harvard goaltender in a single season, passing Grant Blair '86, who had 24 in 1985-86.
• Harvard had an 18-game unbeaten streak (17-0-1) dating from Jan. 20 to its Frozen Four appearance. It was the longest such streak in program history and the longest in the nation during the 2016-17 season.
Harvard placed 27 student-athletes on the ECAC Hockey All-Academic team, the most of any school in the conference. Harvard was led by senior Thomas Aiken, who earned a spot on the Commissioner's List as the top scholar for Harvard in 2016-17.
Harvard is 19-1-3 in its last 23 games at Bright-Landry Hockey Center, a run that dates back to Feb. 12, 2016. The Crimson was unbeaten at the Bright-Landry Hockey Center last season, going 13-0-2. The last time Harvard finished a season unbeaten at home was 1993-94 when it went 10-0-3. Since extensive renovations were completed prior to the start of the 2014-15 season, the Crimson is 31-8-6 on its home ice.
Harvard Hockey is no stranger to the Winter Olympics, with 26 men's hockey alumni selected as a coach, player, or member of team personnel of their respective national teams, including Ted Donato '91, who represented the U.S. at the 1992 Winter Olympics in Albertville.
The men's hockey competition at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea will be comprised of players currently on college rosters, those with AHL only contracts and those playing professionally in Europe. Harvard has several strong candidates for the U.S. squad. USA Hockey will evaluate 30 players (none from college hockey ranks) on a preliminary team at the Deutschland Cup in Germany from Nov. 10-12. USA Hockey expects to announce the 25 players that will make-up the 2018 U.S. Olympic Men's Ice Hockey Team by Jan. 1. Team USA will gather for its first practice in South Korea approximately a week before competition begins on Feb. 10.
Ivy League Network
The Ivy League 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 Network provides fans with unprecedented access to the Ancient Eight conference's eight institutions.