Harvard closes out the 2017-18 regular season at Brown and Yale this weekend. (Gil Talbot)
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- Harvard closes out the 2017-18 regular season on the road with league games at Brown and Yale, having clinched a top-4 seed and first round bye in the ECAC Hockey playoffs last weekend. The Crimson (11-6-3, 25 points) could finish as high as third in the league standings, depending on what Clarkson (11-5-4, 26 points) does this weekend. Harvard has finished in the top-4 of the league standings for three consecutive years, and has recorded 10 or more wins in ECAC Hockey play in eight of 14 seasons under head coach Ted Donato, including four straight.
The First Line
• Harvard's current three-game winning streak has been keyed by strong play on the power play - the Crimson are 7-for-14 over the last three contests on the man advantage with multiple power play goals in each game.
• Harvard has won three straight games in the series against Brown and is 12-4 in the last 16 meetings against the Bears.
• Junior forward Ryan Donato was the talk of the U.S. men's ice hockey team at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea. Donato led Team USA with five goals, scoring four in two wins against Slovakia, and adding another in the team's 3-2 (SO) quarterfinal loss to the Czech Republic. Donato surpassed his father Ted's goal total (4) from the 1992 Olympics.
The Last Time Out
A balanced effort keyed by a strong start, including first period even strength goals from sophomore forward Ty Pelton-Byce and sophomore defenseman John Marino helped Harvard earn a 5-2 win over No. 7/7 Clarkson on Senior Night at Bright-Landry Hockey Center. Senior goaltender Merrick Madsen made 26 saves to earn the win in net.
Winless in its last eight games (0-7-1), the Bears played two tough games at Cornell (L, 2-1) and Colgate (L, 3-1) last weekend but have struggled to put the puck in the net (2.04 goals per game, 59th NCAA). Freshman Luke Kania has emerged as Brown's primary option in net (2.72 GAA, .909 Save%). Up front, junior Tommy Marchin (10 goals, four assists) is Brown's top goal scorer, with Sam Lafferty (5G, 10A), and Brent Beaudoin (4G, 11A) also among the top contributors.
The Brown Series
Series Record: Harvard leads, 114-46-13
Last Five Meetings:
Jan, 16, 2016 – L, 5-1
Feb. 26, 2016 – L, 2-1
Dec. 3, 2016 – W, 7-3
Feb. 24, 2017 - W, 4-1
Nov. 4, 2017 - W, 3-0
The Last Meeting
On Nov. 4, Reilly Walsh scored his first two collegiate goals and goaltender Merrick Madsen made 26 saves to lift Harvard to a 3-0 win over Brown at Bright-Landry Hockey Center. Nathan Krusko added his first goal of the season for Harvard, which earned its second shutout in its first three games of the year.
Yale saw a five-game winning streak come to an end at Cornell last Saturday in a hard-fought 3-2 game at Lynah Rink. Junior forward Joe Snively leads the team with 31 points (17G, 14A) and has been red hot of late, with nine points (5G, 4A) in his last four games. Sam Tucker (8-9-1, 2.83 GAA, .902 Save%) and Corbin Kaczperski (6-3-0, 2.00 GAA, .933 Save%) have split time in net. Yale is 11-5-1 since a 3-7-0 start.
The Yale Series
Series Record: Harvard leads, 143-90-21
Last Five Meetings:
Nov. 6, 2015 – T, 2-2 (ot)
Feb. 6, 2016 – L, 2-1
Jan. 21, 2017 – T, 1-1 (ot)
Feb. 2, 2017 - W, 4-2
Nov 3, 2017 - L, 5-2
The Last Meeting
On Nov. 3, senior forward Jake Horton and junior forward Lewis Zerter-Gossage each scored second period goals by Harvard fell 5-2 to Yale at Bright-Landry Hockey Center.Senior goaltender Merrick Madsen made 21 saves in net. The Crimson outshot Yale 35-26 for the game, including a 21-11 margin in the second period.
Horton Nearing Games Played Mark
Senior forward Jake Horton, who has never missed a game in his four seasons at Harvard, is nearing a program record for games played in a season. Horton enters the weekend with 134 games played, sixth all time in program history, and has a chance to match or eclipse the Harvard record of 138 games played set by Tom Cavanagh '05.
Gornet Stars In First Career Start
In his first career start in net on Feb. 12 against No. 19 Boston College, sophomore goaltender Cameron Gornet was impressive, making 30 saves to help the Crimson earn a 5-4 win over the Eagles in the Beanpot consolation game. For Gornet, it was his first game action of the season and first game since Feb. 18, 2017.
ECAC Does It
Harvard has been at its best this season in ECAC Hockey play, with a 9-3-3 mark in league play in the last 14 games. Junior forward Ryan Donato leads the league with 16 goals in 17 conference games, and Merrick Madsen (7-4-2, 2.03 goals-against average, .925 save percentage, three shutouts) has been at his best against league opponents allowing two goals or less in five of his last six starts. Harvard is allowing 2.10 goals per game (.31 lower than overall) in league play, and is second in ECAC Hockey in scoring defense.
Donato For Hobey
The accolades are rolling in for junior forward Ryan Donato (21 goals, 10 assists), Harvard's nominee for the 2018 Hobey Baker Memorial Award. Donato played for the U.S. men's ice hockey team at the 2018 Winter Olympics before returning to complete the season at Harvard. 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.
Donato, Welch '05 Receive Olympic Call
Junior forward Ryan Donato and former Harvard standout Noah Welch '05 represented he United States in men's ice hockey at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea. Donato and Welch were selected to the 25-man roster that made 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. 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. 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.
Harvard is 24-3-4 in its last 31 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 36-10-7 on its home ice.
Several of Harvard's freshmen have made an immediate impact. Forward Henry Bowlby leads Harvard forwards with a +12 rating and has 15 points (seven goals, eight assists). Forward Jack Badini has 16 points (nine goals, seven assists) and is Harvard's top faceoff man (59.4%), and defenseman Reilly Walsh is second among Harvard blueliners with 15 points (five goals, 10 assists) including 10 PPGs.
Dominant on Draws
Freshman center Jack Badini leads the team and is second in ECAC Hockey at 59.4% on faceoffs this season. Badini is No. 9 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 27 games this year.
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 18 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 (54), 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 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).
The Harvard Hockey class of 2018 has 80 wins in 3+ seasons at Harvard and could surpass the most wins for a senior group since the class of '06 had 82, and the most in the last 20 years of any senior class.
Opposing goaltenders can expect to see a lot of Ryan Donato on a nightly basis. Donato leads the team with 132 shots on net (5.74 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 gold 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-winner 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 27 games, senior defenseman Wiley Sherman leads the team with 47 blocked shots, while senior captain Jake Horton leads Harvard forwards with 39 blocked shots. Junior blueliner Adam Fox is second on the team with 40 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.