Freshman David Valek and the Crimson are after ECAC and Ivy League points (photo courtesy Jim Rosvold).
The Harvard men's hockey team visits its oldest rivals, Brown and No. 8 Yale, Friday and Saturday nights. Harvard is seeking to avenge a Dec. 1 loss to the Bears and complete a season sweep of the Bulldogs.
Follow From Home
WHRB-FM 95.3 and WHRB.org offer live audio of Friday's game, while Saturday's audio broadcast will be available on GoCrimson.com, which will also link to live statistics. Both Brown and Yale will offer live video of the games on a pay-per-view basis.
Behind the Bench
Former Crimson captain, NCAA Frozen Four Most Outstanding Player and 13-year National Hockey League veteran Ted Donato '91 is in his sixth season as The Robert D. Ziff '88 Head Coach for Harvard Men's Ice Hockey. He owns an 87-80-20 record, three ECAC title-game appearances and two NCAA tournament bids.
Last Time Out
No. 14 Boston College took advantage of 17 Crimson penalties, scoring three power-play goals to defeat the Crimson, 6-0, Monday at TD Garden in the semifinals of the 58th Beanpot tournament. Kyle Richter (Calgary, Alta.) made 37 saves for Harvard while John Muse stopped 33 shots for the Eagles, handing Harvard its first shutout of the year. Carl Sneep registered a goal and two assists to lead BC to the championship game next week against the Boston University. Harvard will take on Northeastern in the consolation game.
Vote for Alex
Alex Biega (Montreal, Que.) is among the candidates for a chance to compete in the NCAA Frozen Four Skills Challenge April 9 in Detroit. He is a nominee for the men's East squad. To aid in the selection process, fans can vote for Biega and the other candidates on NCAA.com.
Harvard has lost just once in its last five league games (3-1-1).
Fran Toland, who served as associate athletic director at Harvard for 41 years, was inducted into the Beanpot Hall of Fame in a ceremony in between games of Monday's first round.
With the switch to a new academic calendar this year, the Crimson's exam break moved from January to December, but Harvard's success following exams is nothing new. Under Ted Donato, Harvard is 35-9-8 in post-exam league games and 17-3-5 in post-Beanpot league games. The Crimson is unbeaten (11-0-4) in its last 15 league games between the end of the Beanpot and end of the regular season.
Harvard killed a season-high eight penalties Monday against BC and has killed 25 of its ECAC opponents' last 27 power plays, including each of the last 12.
With wins against No. 8 Quinnipiac (3-1, Dec. 29) and No. 5 Yale (3-2, Jan. 12), Harvard has won four of its last six games against top-10 teams, dating back to last season.
Leading the Crimson
Louis Leblanc (Kirkland, Que.) paces Harvard with nine goals and 17 points in 18 games, Michael Biega (Montreal, Que.) has 16 points and a team-high 11 assists.
Rolling in Goal
Ryan Carroll (Hackensack, N.J.) has stopped 179 of the 187 shots he has faced in his last six appearances and has a 3-1-0 record, 1.53 save percentage and .957 goals-against average in that span. He has started Harvard's last five ECAC games. Carroll, who stopped a career-high 47 shots in the Jan. 22 win at No. 13 Union, ranks ninth nationally with a .924 save percentage and 25th with a 2.55 goals-against average.
Harvard vs. Brown Series History
Harvard played its first hockey game Jan. 19, 1898 at Franklin Park in Boston. Brown won that contest, 6-0, but the Crimson holds a 102-41-12 all-time series lead in college hockey's oldest rivalry. The Crimson has lost just twice (9-2-4) in its last 15 visits to Meehan Auditorium. The Bears, however, were unbeaten (2-0-2) in four series meetings last season, eliminating Harvard from the ECAC playoffs and giving the Crimson the first consecutive shutout losses in program history. Doug Rogers (Watertown, Mass.) has a team-high five career points, all assists, against Brown.
Dec. 1 at Bright Hockey Center
Mike Clemente made 18 of his 42 saves in the first period and Brown added a pair of empty-net goals in the final minute of the third period to pull away to a 4-1 win against the Crimson. Conor Morrison (London, Ont.) scored for Harvard, which held a 43-33 advantage in shots. Kyle Richter allowed two goals on 31 shots.
Scouting the Bears
Brown's Dec. 1 win at Harvard was part of a five-game win streak for the Bears, but that run was followed by five straight losses with five or more goals allowed in each. Brown righted the ship with a 3-2 win at Clarkson and took three points last weekend with a 4-3 win against Rensselaer and a 2-2 tie with No. 18 Union.
League opponents have outscored the Bears by more than a goal per game, but Brown is enjoying a breakout season by scoring leader Harry Zolnierczyk (9-11-20). Zolnierczyk shares the team goals lead with Jack Maclellan and the assists lead with Devin Timberlake. Mike Clemente owns a .903 save percentage and 3.25 goals-against average.
Inspiration for Innovation
The Harvard-Yale rivalry was the impetus for one of the great innovations in hockey history. In their March 7, 1923 game against Yale, Harvard coach William H. Claflin '15 and captain George Owen '23 implemented the practice of changing entire lines of three forwards at a time. The tactic, which became known as the line change, helped the Crimson defeat the Bulldogs, 2-1, in overtime.
Harvard vs. Yale Series History
Harvard's series with Brown is its oldest, but the 110-year-old rivalry with Yale is its most-contested. Harvard leads the all-time series, 137-74-18. The teams first met Feb. 26, 1900, a 5-4 Elis win in New York City. In 1913, six weeks after voting to make hockey a "major sport," the Harvard Athletic Committee voted to award a varsity letter to any Harvard player who had ever skated against Yale.
The first of two Yale wins last season ended Harvard's four-game series win streak that started with a home sweep of the teams' 2007 first-round playoff series. The Crimson is 7-5-1 against the Bulldogs under Ted Donato. Doug Rogers and Michael Biega share Harvard's active career scoring lead against the Bulldogs with three goals and two assists each.
Jan. 12 at Bright Hockey Center
Louis Leblanc scored twice and Ryan Carroll made 35 saves as Harvard downed fifth-ranked rival Yale, 3-2. Alex Fallstrom (Stockholm, Sweden) netted his first career goal as Harvard scored three goals in less than eight minutes of the second period and held off Yale in the third. Leblanc registered his first multi-goal game, and Ryan Grimshaw (Rochester, N.Y.) logged two assists.
Following a scoreless first period, Yale scored just 36 seconds into the second. Leblanc answered just 92 seconds later, and Fallstrom put the Crimson on top 64 seconds after that.
Harvard-Yale Turns 230
Saturday's game is the 230th in the Harvard-Yale series, thing it with Princeton-Yale as college hockey's 11th-most-contested rivalry.
College Hockey's Most-Contested Rivalries
278 meetings Michigan/Michigan State
277 Minnesota/North Dakota
273 Colorado College/Denver
251 Denver/North Dakota
249 Boston College/Boston University
247 Colorado College/Minnesota
237 Michigan Tech/North Dakota
217 Michigan/Michigan Tech
Colorado College/North Dakota
210 Minnesota/Minnesota Duluth
Michigan Tech/Minnesota Duluth
211 Denver/Michigan Tech
204 Minnesota Duluth/North Dakota
181 Clarkson/St. Lawrence
Scouting the Bulldogs
The Jan. 12 loss at Harvard ended a five-game unbeaten streak for Yale. The Bulldogs are 3-2-0 since. They held on for a 4-3 win against then-first-place Union Friday, but were shut out by Rensselaer, 4-0, a night later.
Despite the blanking by RPI, Yale leads the NCAA in scoring offense at 3.95 goals per game. Brian O'Neill leads the team with 24 points, while Broc Little paces the squad with 15 goals and Andrew Miller has a team-high 16 assists. Nick Maricic (.900 save percentage, 2.63 goals-against average) has started nine games, including the last two, in goal, while fellow rookie Jeff Malcolm (.887, 2.74) has made eight starts.
Click here for full Harvard men's hockey game notes in PDF format.