Harvard Men's Hockey Set to Open Against No. 15 Union, No. 18 RPI
Harvard begins its 111th season of men's hockey by facing two ranked league opponents, No. 15 Union Friday and No. 18 Rensselaer Saturday. The opening faceoff for each game is at 7 p.m. at Bright Hockey Center.
Free Tickets (and T-shirts)!
Friday's game is Community Day. Residents of Allston-Brighton and Boston will receive free admission to the game. Present proof of address at the ticket window for your free ticket. The first 250 students in attendance will receive free T-shirts bearing the newly chosen slogan from the Harvard hockey T-shirt slogan contest. Saturday is Kids' Day, with children ages 12 and under gaining free admission.
Follow From Home
Live video of the games is available with a Crimson Central subscription on GoCrimson.com. Free live statistics are also available on GoCrimson. WHRB-FM 95.3 and WHRB.org offer live audio. Brendan Roche and Raafi Aldina will have the call.
Behind the Bench
Former Crimson captain, NCAA Frozen Four Most Outstanding Player and 13-year National Hockey League veteran Ted Donato '91 begins his seventh season as The Robert D. Ziff '88 Head Coach for Harvard Men's Ice Hockey. He owns an 91-89-20 record, three ECAC title-game appearances and two NCAA tournament bids.
Coach Donato on Sweden, Union and RPI
Scroll down to view Ted Donato's interview with WHRB's Brendan Roche.
Last Time Out
Ludvig Rensfeldt scored the game-winning goal on a second-period power play as the Swedish National Under-20 Team defeated Harvard, 2-1, in an exhibition Monday night. Kyle Richter (Calgary, Alta.) made 25 saves and Ryan Grimshaw (Rochester, N.Y.) scored for Harvard. Johan Gustafsson recorded 27 saves for the visitors, as the Crimson owned a 28-27 shots edge.
Alex Fallstrom (Stockholm, Swe.) logged an assist against his countrymen, and Marshall Everson (Edina, Minn.) also added a helper. Harvard held a 27-25 advantage in faceoffs, led by Alex Killorn (Montreal, Que.) with a 9-4 record at the dot and Fallstrom with a 5-2 mark.
League Play Gets Underway
All 12 ECAC Hockey teams begin conference play Friday, while Princeton and Yale kick off the Ivy League season in New Haven, Conn.
The Crimson is 80-27-3 all-time in official season openers, including a team-record 18 straight opening wins from 1922-39. This is only the third time in 31 years that Harvard is opening the year against an opponent from outside the Ivy League. One of the two previous occasions came in 1991, when the Crimson started off with a 7-5 win against Union. Harvard opened the 2007-08 season at Clarkson, falling, 2-1.
Harvard has won four of its last six home openers and is 20-10-1 in home openers since the opening of Bright Hockey Center in 1979.
Let's Get It Started
Due to Ivy League schedule restrictions and no games last weekend, Harvard is the last of the 58 NCAA Division I men's hockey teams to begin the 2010-11 season. It is the Crimson's latest start to a season since beginning 1998-99 with a 4-1 loss to Brown on Nov. 6.
As Harvard opens its season, Union and RPI enter the weekend having played eight and seven games, respectively.
A Tradition of Excellence
The Crimson has amassed an all-time record of 1,289-822-112 since skating in its first game in 1898. Harvard, which has played in six of the last nine ECAC title games, is seeking its 14th regularâseason league championship and ninth tournament crown this year. The Crimson has also won 21 Ivy League titles and made 21 NCAA appearances, reaching the Frozen Four 12 times.
Del Mauro, a three-time ECAC AllâAcademic selection, earned the Angier Trophy as the Crimson's most improved player last season. Huxley has played 85 games on the Harvard blue line and registered 25 points over the past three seasons. Richter was the 2008 winner of the Dryden Award as ECAC Hockey's top goalie and holds Harvard records for games (34), starts (34) and minutes (2,023) in a season.
Returning Statistical Leaders
Five of Harvard's top six scorers return from 2009â10. Michael Biega (Montreal, Que.) ranked second on the team with 22 points while logging a team-high 15 assists a year ago. Alex Killorn ranked third on the squad with 20 points and nine goals. Conor Morrison (London, Ont.) is the top returning goal-scorer, having netted 10 goals to go with eight assists. Chris Huxley led Harvard defensemen with 13 points, one fewer than forward Daniel Moriarty (Bienfait, Sask.).
Last Year's Opener
The Crimson began 2009-10 with a 5-3 win at Dartmouth behind two goals and an assist from Alex Killorn and 41 saves from Kyle Richter. Marshall Everson and Daniel Moriarty each notched a goal and an assist.
The Bright Stuff
The Crimson is 57-28â3 (.665) at home under Ted Donato and 279â121-28 (.685) all-time at Bright Hockey Center, which opened in 1979-80.
Harvard, which opened the 2009-10 season with five straight road games, is playing its final full home weekend of the semester. The Crimson will play its next four games on the road.
Harvard's prolific "Local Line" of Bill Corkery '73, Bob McManama '73 and Dave Hynes '73 will be inducted into the Massachusetts Hockey Hall of Fame on Wednesday. McManama, a native of Belmont, Mass., centered left wing Hynes of Cambridge and right wing Corkery of Arlington for each of their three seasons on the Crimson varsity squad. They helped Harvard capture the ECAC title and reach the NCAA semifinals as sophomores in 1970-71 and share the ECAC regular-season crown as seniors in 1972-73.
The Crimson posted a 52-16-3 record in those three years as the members of the Local Line totaled 201 goals and 407 points. At the time of their graduation, McManama and Hynes ranked second and third, respectively, on Harvard's career scoring chart and were tied for second all-time in goals at Harvard.
Scouting the Dutchmen
Union, coming off a third-place ECAC regularâseason finish and trip to the league title game, has lost just once, 2-1 at Alaska Oct. 15. The Dutchmen bounced back the next night with a 4-3 win against Alaska-Anchorage and has since beaten 2010 NCAA semifinalist RIT and tied rival Rensselaer.
Union owns the nation's top power play at 43.2 percent (16 for 37). Adam Presizniuk paces the Dutchmen with 15 points and 10 assists, while Jeremy Welsh has 13 points and a team-high six goals. Keith Kinkaid ranks in the nation's top 10 with both his 1.68 goalsâagainst average and .934 save percentage. Union is coached by former Harvard assistant Nate Leaman.
Harvard vs. Union Series History
Harvard holds a 30-5-3 all-time edge against Union and has lost just twice in the last 18 meetings. Ted Donato is 9-2-1 against the Dutchmen, and the Crimson is 16-2-1 in series meetings at Bright.
Harvard vs. Union in 2009-10
The Crimson swept two games against the nationally ranked Dutchmen. In Schenectady, N.Y., Ryan Carroll (Hackensack, N.J.) made 47 saves to lead Harvard to a 4-1 win over No. 13 Union. Eric Kroshus (Calgary, Alta.) set up Conor Morrison's tying goal and scored the goâahead marker himself in the second period.
In the rematch, Alex Killorn netted two goals and Kyle Richter logged 31 saves in a 4-3 win against the No. 16 Dutchmen. Alex Fallstrom had a goal and an assist in each game against Union.
Scouting the Engineers
Rensselaer enters Friday's game at Dartmouth on a six-game unbeaten streak since a season-opening loss at Colorado College. The Engineers are 3-0 at home, but a neutral-site tie with rival Union left them winless in four games away from Troy, N.Y., entering this weekend.
Chase Polacek is the reigning ECAC Hockey Player of the Year. With three goals and a team-high six assists, he shares this year's team scoring lead with top goal-scorer Tyler Helfrich (four goals, five assists). Allen York began the road trip ranked eighth nationally with a 1.79 goals-against average and 13th with a .934 save percentage.
Harvard vs. Rensselaer Series History
Harvard owns a 45-34-3 lead in the all-time series, which began with a RPI home win in 1951. Ted Donato is 7-4-1 against RPI, but the Crimson is seeking its first series win since Nov. 4, 2008. The Crimson and Engineers have combined for three national titles and have met twice to determine the ECAC champion, a 3-1 RPI win in 1985 and a 3-0 Harvard victory in 1994.
Harvard vs. Rensselaer in 2009-10
Last season's meeting at RPI was a 3-3 tie, with Louis Leblanc '13 forcing overtime by scoring with 2.3 seconds remaining. Alex Killorn and Doug Rogers '10 also had third-period tallies.
In the first five series home games under Ted Donato, the Crimson was 5-0 with four total goals allowed. RPI ended that streak Feb. 12 with a 5-4 comeback win after Harvard scored twice in the first two minutes and the teams totaled six first-period goals. Chase Polacek scored twice for the Engineers, while Conor Morrison led the Crimson with a goal and an assist.
It was the first blemish on Harvard's record in February home games under Donato. The Crimson entered with a 19-0-0 record in such games.
Harvard, which led ECAC Hockey in league penalty killing in 2007-08 and league powerâplay efficiency in 2008-09, ranked in the top half of the league in both categories last season. The Crimson killed penalties at an 80.9-percent rate (89 for 110) in ECAC games and converted 18.9 percent of its power plays (18 for 95).
Harvard used a 7-0 edge in third-period goals to pull off a road sweep of Princeton, 4-2 and 3-0, in the first round of the 2010 ECAC Hockey tournament.
Danny Biega (Montreal, Que.) recorded two goals, an assist and a +4 rating in the series, while Michael Del Mauro and Luke Greiner (Faribault, Minn.) had a goal and two assists each. Kyle Richter registered a 37-save shutout in Game 2, as Daniel Moriarty broke a scoreless tie with his third-period goal.
What a Difference a Year Makes
Harvard's opening-night lineup last season featured six freshmen and four sophomores among the 12 forwards. This season, none of the 14 Crimson's forwards has fewer than 22 games of experience. Eight have played at least 40 games. Four of those are seniors with at least 60 games under their belts: Michael Biega (95 games), PierâOlivier Michaud (Mont-Joli, Que.) (71), Matt McCollem (Westford, Mass.) (68) and Michael Del Mauro (63).
Stability Amid Turnover
Harvard lost four defensemen to graduation but returns three who skated in at least 30 of the team's 33 games last season: Danny Biega (32 games), Chris Huxley (32) and Ryan Grimshaw (30).
Dependability Between the Pipes
Kyle Richter and Ryan Carroll have combined to start 92 games in their Harvard careers. Richter owns a .913 save percentage and 2.66 goalsâagainst average in 74 career games (70 starts). Carroll has registered a .921 save percentage and 2.64 goalsâagainst average in 28 games (22 starts). They expect to be pushed this season by freshman Raphael Girard (Saint-Hyacinthe, Que.).
Year In, Year Out
Michael Biega leads Harvard with 22 goals, 33 assists, 55 points and 95 games played in his career. He ranked sixth on the team in scoring as a freshman in 2007-08 (9-7-16), third a year later (6-11-17) and second last season (7-15-22).
Back in the Lineup
Matt McCollem is back on the ice following the first healthy offseason of his collegiate career. He has battled injuries since his freshman season in 2007-08, when he logged 11 points (5â6-11) and a +8 rating over the final 14 games.
Danny Biega was the second returning collegiate player selected in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft. He was taken with the seventh pick of the third round, the 67th overall selection, by the Carolina Hurricanes. Biega was the first Quebec native to be drafted, making it the second straight year a Harvard player has held that distinction after Louis Leblanc was selected in the 2009 first round by the Montreal Canadiens.
Biega's selection gives the Crimson four NHL draftees on its roster. Alex Fallstrom was chosen in 2009 (Minnesota Wild, fourth round, 116th overall, traded to Boston Bruins), Alex Killorn in 2007 (Tampa Bay Lightning, third round, 77th overall) and Matt McCollem in 2006 (St. Louis Blues, sixth round, 154th overall).
Photo at top right courtesy David Silverman