No. 18 Merrimack Makes First Visit to Bright Tuesday Night
Ford, who netted his first collegiate goal Saturday, has skated in all five Harvard games (photo courtesy Gil Talbot).
The Harvard men's hockey team's first non-league game of the season is its second game ever against Massachusetts neighbor No. 18 Merrimack and its third game in five days. The Crimson and Warriors meet Tuesday night at 7 p.m. at Bright Hockey Center.
Follow From Home
Live video of the game is available with a Crimson Central subscription here on GoCrimson.com, which also provides free live statistics. WHRB-FM 95.3 and WHRB.org offer live audio with Brendan Roche and Raafi Alidina on the call.
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 seventh season as The Robert D. Ziff '88 Head Coach for Harvard Men's Ice Hockey. He owns an 93-95-20 record, three ECAC title-game appearances and two NCAA tournament bids.
Dartmouth swept a home‑and‑home series with the Crimson (2-6-0), starting with five unanswered goals to turn a 3-2 lead into an 8-2 win Friday at Bright Hockey Center. Conor Morrison (London, Ont.) assisted Marshall Everson (Edina, Minn.) to cut the Big Green's lead to 2-1 late in the first period and scored in the second period to trim the deficit to 3-2. Both goals came on power-play chances.
A night later in Hanover, N.H., Dartmouth scored four times in a six-minute span of the first period en route to a 5-2 win. Matt McCollem (Westford, Mass.) and Dan Ford (Skaneateles, N.Y.) scored for the Crimson, which held a 29-18 shots edge over the final two periods. Dartmouth goaltender James Mello made 27 of his 31 saves in the second and third periods. Daniel Moriarty (Bienfait, Sask.) recorded two assists for Harvard, while Ryan Carroll (Hackensack, N.J.) made 37 saves.
Dan Ford's third-period tally Saturday at Dartmouth was the first goal of his Harvard career. With three total points, he is tied for third among freshman defensemen in ECAC Hockey play.
Conor Morrison and Alex Killorn (Montreal, Que.) have each registered points in three straight games. Morrison has two goals and two assists in that span. Killorn has logged a point in six of Harvard's eight games this season.
Outside the Box
The Crimson is averaging just 10.1 penalty minutes per game, the sixth-fewest in the nation. Harvard faced twice as many power plays in Friday's loss to Dartmouth (10) than it had in its previous three games combined (five). The Crimson committed four penalties for eight minutes Saturday.
Three of Harvard's four goals last weekend came on power plays. The Crimson scored twice as many power-play goals Friday (two) as it previously had all season (one).
Harvard has scored first in both of its wins, and its opponents have scored first in all of their victories. The Crimson is 2-0-0 when leading at any point in a game and 0-6-0 when trailing.
At the Top of the Stat Sheet
Alex Killorn leads Harvard with three goals and six points. Conor Morrison, Michael Biega (Montreal, Que.) and Danny Biega (Montreal, Que.) have five points apiece. The Biega brothers share the team assists lead with five each, while Morrison has two goals and three assists.
Alex Killorn scored the game's lone goal with 8.2 seconds left on the clock to lift Harvard to a 1-0 win against then-No. 18 Rensselaer Nov. 6. He netted another game-winning goal Nov. 12 at St. Lawrence and is one of only two ECAC players with two game‑winners in league action. He is tied for sixth nationally in game-winning tallies.
Harvard assistant coach Bobby Jay is a former Merrimack defenseman who, as a senior, captained the 1987-88 Warriors to their lone NCAA Division I tournament appearance.
Jay walked on with the team his freshman year and went on to play more than 100 games for Merrimack. He shared the team's Fans' Award as a sophomore in 1986 and won the Unsung Hero Award in 1987. In his final season, Jay helped lead the Warriors to a 34-6-0 record, as Merrimack went unbeaten in 25 league games to capture the ECAC East crown and reached the NCAA quarterfinals.
Following a 10-year pro career that peaked with a short stint with the Los Angeles Kings, he served as an American Hockey League general manager and assistant coach. Jay spent three years on the Harvard staff from 2004-07 and rejoined the Crimson last season.
Scouting the Warriors
Merrimack (5-3-4) owns the first national ranking in program history. The Warriors have lost just once in their last six games. That defeat came Saturday at No. 6 New Hampshire, a night after Merrimack topped No. 7 Boston College for the second time in three tries this season. The Warriors also own a pair of ties against Boston University and are 4-0-1 at home, but they are seeking to improve on a 1-3-3 road record.
With four goals and a team-high eight assists, Stephane Da Costa is averaging a point per game. Jesse Todd is Merrimack's top goal-scorer with six tallies. He and Joe Cucci (three goals, seven assists) have recorded 10 points each. Joe Cannata has started every game in goal. He owns a .922 save percentage and 2.25 goals-against average.
Although their campuses are about 25 miles apart, the only previous matchup between Harvard and Merrimack occurred about 1,400 miles from Boston, in the 2004 Dodge Holiday Classic at Minnesota. The Warriors defeated the 10th‑ranked Crimson, 6-4, behind four assists from defenseman Jeff Caron. A different player scored each of the game's 10 goals, and each team scored three times in the third period.