Semifinals in Sight as Men's Hockey Visits No. 9 Cornell
The Crimson makes its first postseason visit to Cornell since 2000 (photo courtesy Patrick Shanahan).
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Duke, the Hockey Dog
The Harvard men’s hockey team looks to secure its 29th semifinal berth in 42 ECAC tournament appearances as it visits No. 9 Cornell for a best-of-three quarterfinal series and the latest installments in a 100-year-old rivalry. The Crimson and Big Red will face off Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. at Lynah Rink. If necessary, they will meet for a deciding game Sunday at 7.
Follow From Home
Live video of the games will be available from B2 Networks on a pay-per-view basis. WHRB-FM 95.3 and WHRB.org offer live audio, while Cornell will provide live statistics.
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 91-87-20 record, three ECAC title-game appearances and two NCAA tournament bids.
Donato Video Preview
Scroll to the bottom of the page to view Ted Donato reviewing last weeken's sweep of Princeton and the upcoming quarterfinal matchup with Cornell.
Ted Donato will coach his 200th game Saturday.
Harvard has an 85-44-4 all-time record in the ECAC playoffs and has won eight titles to trail only Cornell in wins (87) and championships (11). In the last 10 league tournaments (including this one), the Crimson is 30-10 with three league titles (2002, 2004, 2006), three runner-up showings and seven total semifinal appearances.
Crimson in the Quarters
Harvard is 46-19-4 in ECAC quarterfinal games and has advanced from 28 of its 40 appearances in the quarterfinal round. The 2008 Crimson beat Quinnipiac in three games in the program’s last quarterfinal series. Harvard has won seven of its last eight quarterfinal appearances. The Crimson is 3-7 in road appearances in the quarters.
Ninth-seeded Harvard (9-19-3) used a 7-0 edge in third-period goals to sweep No. 8 seed Princeton, 4-2 and 3-0, in an ECAC first-round series at Baker Rink. Harvard prevailed in a rematch of the 2008 ECAC Hockey final, and Kyle Richter (Calgary, Alta.) stopped 70 of 72 shots against to outduel Zane Kalemba in a battle of the last two Dryden Award winners.
Game 1 at Princeton
Harvard rallied from a 2-0 deficit with four goals in a 10-minute span of the third period. After Daniel Moriarty (Bienfait, Sask.) got Harvard on the board and Danny Biega (Montreal, Que.) tied the game, Michael Del Mauro (Watchung, N.J.) scored from the right side at 14:05. Michael Biega (Montreal, Que.) added an insurance goal as 12 of Harvard’s 18 skaters accounted for one point each in the game. Kyle Richter made 33 saves.
Game 2 at Princeton
Kyle Richter stopped all 37 of the Tigers’ shots, and Daniel Moriarty broke a scoreless tie at 7:11 of the third period to lead Harvard to a 3-0 victory. Danny Biega doubled the lead with a highlight-reel tally in the final six minutes and set up an empty-netter by Luke Greiner (Faribault, Minn.). Greiner added an assist, and Michael Del Mauro logged two helpers.
Danny Biega was named ECAC Hockey Rookie of the Week Monday after logging two goals, an assist and a +4 rating in the Crimson’s first-round sweep of Princeton.
Harvard has outscored its opponents, 9-0, in the third periods of the last three games, including the regular-season finale at St. Lawrence, a 4-3 loss.
It Ain’t Over ...
Friday’s comeback win was Harvard’s first when trailing at the second intermission since scoring twice in the third period to rally for a 3-2 win at Union Jan. 6, 2007. The victory ended a winless streak of 47 games (0-41-6) when trailing entering the third stanza.
Finishing the Job
Harvard has won 20 of 21 series in which it has won Game 1, sweeping 17 times. The exception was a 1999 quarterfinal loss at Rensselaer.
Beating the Odds
The only No. 9 seed to make it to the ECAC semfinals was 2004 runner-up Clarkson, which lost to No. 6 Harvard, the only champion to win two series. No. 10 Rensselaer lost in the semis in 1992. The seventh-seeded 1998 Princeton squad is the lowest seed to win the league tournament.
On the Road in the Playoffs
Harvard is playing its ninth road ECAC playoff series. The Crimson’s previous series came at St. Lawrence in 1996 and at Brown in 2004, both quarterfinal series. Harvard was 1-2 in single road games before the series format was adopted.
Shutting Out the Hosts
Kyle Richter’s 37-save blanking of Princeton Saturday was Harvard’s first road shutout since John Daigneau ’06 stopped 29 shots in a 1-0 win at North Dakota Dec. 29, 2005.
The Crimson’s last previous weekend road sweep came Jan. 5-6, 2007 at Rensselaer and Union. Kyle Richter stopped 46 of the 49 shots he faced.
Nov. 7 at Lynah Rink
Then-No. 5 Cornell scored five unanswered goals in 16 minutes to rally to a 6-3 win. Louis Leblanc (Kirkland, Que.), Conor Morrison (London, Ont.) and Doug Rogers (Watertown, Mass.) scored to lift the Crimson to a 3-1 lead midway through the game, and Chris Huxley (Weymouth, Mass.) logged two assists. Joe Devin scored the tying and go-ahead goals. Ryan Carroll (Hackensack, N.J.) made 24 saves for Harvard, while Cornell’s Ben Scrivens stopped 22 shots.
Feb. 19 at Bright Hockey Center
The Big Red scored two goals 25 seconds apart in the second period and got 14 saves from Ben Scrivens in the third before adding an empty-net goal in a 3-0 win. Kyle Richter made 19 of his 23 saves in the first two periods.
This series is a rematch of the 2008 league semifinal, which Harvard won, 3-1. Senior Paul Dufault ’08 broke a third-period tie to lead the Crimson, with Michael Biega assisting. Jack Christian (Wilton, Conn.) also had a helper, and Kyle Richter made 22 saves. Ben Scrivens made 19 stops, and Colin Greening scored the Big Red’s goal.
Ten current Harvard players skated in the 2008 semifinals: Alex Biega (Montreal, Que.), Michael Biega, Jack Christian, Matt McCollem (Westford, Mass.), Pier-Olivier Michaud (Mont-Joli, Que.), Chad Morin (Auburn, N.Y.), Kyle Richter, Doug Rogers and Ian Tallett (St. Louis, Mo.). Ten players who played for Cornell are still on the Big Red’s roster.
Playoff Series History
The Crimson and Big Red are meeting for the eighth time in the last 11 ECAC tournaments but are facing off before the semifinals for the first time in a decade. The teams were matched up in four of the last eight league championship games, with each side winning twice, and alternated league titles from 2002 to ’06. Harvard has won the last two playoff matchups. Cornell has won three of the squads’ four previous quarterfinal meetings, most recently with back-to-back 4-3 home victories in 2000.
Cornell holds a 67-58-7 series lead in one of college hockey’s top rivalries. The teams first met Jan. 8, 1910, a 5-0 Harvard win in New York City. The games have been closer in recent years, with 15 of the last 18 being decided by two goals or fewer. Harvard had won seven of the teams’ last nine meetings before Cornell’s regular-season sweep.
Ted Donato’s squads are 8-7 against Cornell. They are 2-4 at Lynah Rink but spoiled Cornell’s Senior Night with road wins in 2006 and ’08.
Scouting the Big Red
Cornell (17-8-4) was 1-1-1 in its final three games of the regular season after defeating Harvard Feb. 19. The Big Red blew a late lead in a 5-4 loss at Dartmouth Feb. 20, but rebounded to beat Union, 4-1, Feb. 26 to wrap up second place in ECAC Hockey. Cornell closed the schedule with a 1-1 tie against Rensselaer a night later. The Big Red ranks second nationally in scoring defense (2.07 goals allowed per game) and sixth in penalty killing (87.2 percent).
Blake Gallagher paces Cornell with 34 points and 17 goals. Riley Nash leads the squad with 18 assists. His 27 points rank third on the team behind Gallagher and Colin Greening (13-17-30). Ben Scrivens stands third nationally in save percentage (.931) and goals-against average (1.99) with four shutouts.
Last Season in the Playoffs
Brown overcame a combined shots disadvantage of 86-49 to defeat the Crimson, 1-0 and 2-0, in the first round of the 2009 ECAC tournament. The Bears’ Mike Clemente stopped 39 shots in the first game and 47 in the second to hand Harvard its first official consecutive shutouts in 109 seasons of hockey.
Last Time in the Quarterfinals
Harvard started its run to the 2008 ECAC title game with a quarterfinal series win against Quinnipiac. The Crimson’s 11-0 Game 1 win, led by totals of 3-2-5 by Dave Watters ’08 and 1-3-4 by Matt McCollem, marked the Crimson’s highest goal output and largest margin of victory since 1993. The Bobcats bounced back with a 7-4 win in Game 2, overcoming a goal and two assists by Pier-Olivier Michaud. The Crimson sealed the series win with a 3-1 Game 3 victory, behind two goals and an assist by Mike Taylor ’08 and a goal and a helper from Doug Rogers.
Harvard won its first ECAC tournament title in 1963, the second year of the event. The Crimson later claimed championships in 1971, ’83, ’87, ’94, 2002, ’04 and ’06.
Seven of Eight for the Ancient
Ivy League teams have won seven of the last eight ECAC tournaments. After Harvard and Cornell alternated titles for five years, Clarkson claimed the 2007 event. Princeton and Yale won in 2008 and ’09, respectively. Ivy teams have won 10 of the last 13 tournaments and 22 of the 48 overall, with the Crimson and Big Red accounting for 19 of those championships.
Leading the Crimson
Louis Lebanc leads Harvard with 11 goals and 23 points, following by linemates Michael Biega (7-15-22) and Alex Killorn (9-11-20). Biega leads the team in assists, while Leblanc is second. Conor Morrison ranks second with 10 goals.
Danny Biega, who totaled a goal and two assists in his first 25 games, has four goals, an assist and a +5 rating in the last five contests. He has scored goals in three straight games, while Daniel Moriarty has found the net in two straight. Michael Del Mauro and Luke Greiner had a goal and two assists each at Princeton. Michael Biega and Louis Leblanc have notched points in three straight contests.
Hot at the Dot
Doug Rogers opened the playoffs with a 16-6 faceoff record in Game 1 at Princeton. He is 54-27 (.667) on draws in the last four games.
Kyle Richter leads ECAC Hockey in 2010 playoff goals-against average (1.00) and save percentage (.972). Danny Biega (2-1-3) shares the defenseman scoring lead. He and Luke Greiner (1-2-3) are tied for the playoff points lead among freshmen.
Career Playoff Leaders
Doug Rogers leads Harvard with 10 points (3-7-10) in 13 career playoff games. Alex Biega has eight assists in 13 tournament contests. Pier-Olivier Michaud and Jack Christian, a 2006 ECAC champion, are +6 in the league playoffs.
Positive in the Postseason
Of Harvard’s 18 skaters last weekend, 17 own plus or even career ratings in the playoffs.
Kyle Richter is 5-2 with a .938 save percentage and 1.92 goals-against average in playoff games. He has allowed one goal or fewer in four of his seven tournament starts.
Colin Moore (Medfield, Mass.) returned to the lineup against Princeton after missing 12 games with an injury. In addition to strong defensive play and penalty killing, he posted a +3 rating.
Close to Home
Chad Morin hails from Auburn, N.Y., about an hour north of Ithaca.
Harvard is 3-2 at home and 4-5-1 overall against ranked teams this season and has won eight of its last 10 home games against ranked opponents, dating back to 2007-08. The Crimson is 2-4, 2-2 at home, against top-10 teams this season.
The Crimson penalty kill was 9 for 9 at Princeton and has killed 27 of its opponents’ 29 power plays (93.1 percent) over the last six games.
Quality, Not Quantity
Harvard won Saturday despite recording a season-low 17 shots on goal. The Crimson has been outshot in seven of its nine wins. In each of those victories, Harvard recorded fewer than 30 shots on goal and allowed more than 30. Harvard and Princeton each had 35 shots in Friday’s game.
Click here for full Harvard men's hockey notes in PDF format.