Harvard closes out its season series against Dartmouth on Friday night at Thompson Arena. (Gil Talbot)
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- Harvard men's ice hockey returns to league play this weekend to close out the season series with travel partner Dartmouth on Friday night at 7:30 p.m.. The Crimson is 2-0-2 in its last four games away from Bright-Landry Hockey Center and 3-0-2 in its last five ECAC Hockey road contests. Harvard last played Dartmouth on Oct. 29 at home in its season opener, defeating the Big Green, 5-0.
The First Line
• In a fight for a top-four seed in the ECAC Hockey standings and a coveted first round bye in the league playoffs, Harvard (8-5-3 ECAC Hockey, 19 points) currently sits in fourth place in the league standings, four points ahead of Dartmouth (7-7-1, 15 points) and Colgate (7-6-1, 15 points).
• Harvard is 6-1-1 in its last eight meetings against Dartmouth, but saw a five game unbeaten streak against the Big Green come to an end last season at Thompson Arena, when Dartmouth earned an 8-4 win on Jan. 14, 2017, Harvard's last loss before ripping off an 18-game unbeaten streak (17-0-1).
• Harvard continues to play solid hockey in its own end in league play, as the Crimson allowed two goals or less for the 10th time in 16 ECAC Hockey contests in Saturday's 2-0 loss to Colgate.
Donato For Hobey
The accolades are rolling in for junior forward Ryan Donato (20 goals, nine assists), Harvard's nominee for the 2018 Hobey Baker Memorial Award. Donato will play at Dartmouth and in the opening Beanpot game before departing for the 2018 Winter Olympics. Donato had a career high 14-game point streak (14 goals, eight assists) to open the season, and is the first player in college hockey to reach 20 goals this year, taking just 19 games to do it. No player has averaged a goal per game since Ryan Carter (Iona) in 1998-99. Donato was named the HCA National Player of the Month for December and was also named ECAC Hockey Player of the Month.
Dartmouth is playing its best hockey of the season, recording road wins against No. 2 Denver (W, 1-0) and No. 2 Clarkson (W, 3-2) in the past six weeks. A big reason for Dartmouth's success of late has been the standout play in net of goaltending tandem Devin Buffalo (Dartmouth's Hobey Baker nominee) and Adrian Clark. Dartmouth is also one of the nation's best shot-blocking teams, averaging 14.59 blocks per game this season. Senior forward Corey Kalk leads the team in scoring with 15 points (five goals, 10 assists).
The Dartmouth Series
Series Record: Harvard Leads 133-65-13
Last Five Meetings:
October 31, 2015 – W, 7-0
November 1, 2015 – W, 5-2
January 14, 2017 – L, 4-8
February 10, 2017 – W, 5-2
October 29, 2017 - W, 5-0
The Last Meeting
On Oct. 29, 2017, junior forward Ryan Donato scored twice, senior captain Jake Horton added a goal and an assist, and senior goaltender Merrick Madsen made 19 saves to help Harvard to a season-opening 5-0 win over Dartmouth at Bright-Landry Hockey Center. Freshman Henry Bowlby scored his first collegiate goal, and junior Lewis Zerter-Gossage added a first period goal, as the Crimson jumped out to a 3-0 lead after opening 20 minutes and never looked back.
Last season, Harvard men's ice hockey went 8-0 during the month of February as part of a 17-game winning streak, the longest in program history.
ECAC Does It
Harvard has been at its best this season in ECAC Hockey play, with a nine-game unbeaten streak (6-0-3) in league play snapped this past weekend. Junior forward Ryan Donato leads the league with 15 goals in 16 conference games, and senior goaltender Merrick Madsen (5-4-2, 2.12 goals-against average, .922 save percentage, three shutouts) has been at his best against ECAC Hockey opponents. Harvard is allowing 2.25 goals per game (.23 lower than overall) in league play.
Donato, Welch '05 Receive Olympic Call
Junior forward Ryan Donato and former Harvard standout Noah Welch '05 will represent the United States in men's ice hockey at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, USA Hockey announced on Jan. 1. Donato and Welch were selected to the 25-man roster that will make-up the 2018 U.S. Olympic Men's Ice Hockey Team, released during the NHL Winter Classic. Donato, a native of Scituate, Mass., is in the midst of his best individual season with the Crimson, recording a point in 14 straight games to start the season and leading the team with 29 points (20 goals, nine assists). Welch, a two-time All-American and standout defenseman at Harvard, captained the Crimson as a senior in 2004-05. The Brighton, Mass., native registered 76 points (23 goals, 53 assists) in 129 career games. Team USA will gather for its first practice in South Korea approximately a week before competition begins on Feb. 10. Harvard men's hockey is no stranger to the Winter Olympics, with 28 men's hockey alumni selected as a coach, player, or member of team personnel of their respective national teams, including current head coach Ted Donato '91, who represented the U.S. at the 1992 Winter Olympics in Albertville.
The class of 2018 has 77 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.
Harvard is 22-3-4 in its last 29 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 34-10-7 on its home ice.
Several of Harvard's freshmen have made an immediate impact. Forward Henry Bowlby leads the team with a +11 rating and has 10 points (five goals, five assists). Forward Jack Badini has 13 points (seven goals, five assists) and is Harvard's top faceoff man (58.3%), and defenseman Reilly Walsh leads all Harvard blueliners with 12 points (three goals, nine assists) including three power play goals.
Dominant on Draws
Freshman center Jack Badini leads the team and is fourth in ECAC Hockey at 58.3% on faceoffs this season. Badini is No. 18 in the nation on draws. Junior forward Ryan Donato, who made the switch to center this season, has also been solid in the faceoff circle with a 52.3% win rate on draws through 21 games this year.
Strong on the PK
Harvard's penalty kill has been excellent through 21 games this season. Currently, Harvard ranks 17th in the nation at 83.1% (64-for-77) on the kill, including 12 games this season where the Crimson has not allowed a power play goal.
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.
Senior goaltender Merrick Madsen has etched his name in the Harvard record books. Madsen has three shutouts (Dartmouth, Brown, Rensselaer) in 15 starts this season bringing his career total to 10 (Second 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 third on the all-time wins list (52), moving into sole possession of third with his 50th career win against Rensselaer on Jan. 5, 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 118 shots on net in 21 games (5.62 per game/1st 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 last season on Feb. 10, 2017 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.
Harvard hosted One Summit for a learn to skate and play hockey event on Jan. 14 at the Bright-Landry Hockey Center. One Summit is an organization that helps children battling cancer build confidence and courage through a partnership with a Navy SEAL.
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.)
Fox at World Juniors
Sophomore forward Adam Fox won a bronze medal at the IIHF World Junior Championships, one year after winning goals with Team USA. Fox, who competed a the tournament in Buffalo from Dec. 26-Jan. 5, was the team's top socring defensemen with five points (goal, four assists), including the game-winning goal in Team USA's 5-4 win against Finland on Dec. 31. Fox was named one of the team's most valuable players.
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".
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).
Through 21 games, senior defenseman Wiley Sherman leads the team with 36 blocked shots, while senior captain Jake Horton is tops among Harvard forwards with 32 blocked shots. Sophomore defenseman Adam Fox is third on the team with 29 blocked shots.
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.
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.
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.
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.