Harvard Men's Hockey Hosts No. 14 Union at Fenway, No. 6 BU at Bright
The Harvard men's hockey team skates in a pair of high-profile matchups as it faces No. 14 Union Friday at historic Fenway Park as part of Sun Life Frozen Fenway 2012 and hosts No. 6 Boston University Saturday.
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In the News
Boston Herald: Outdoor test for Crimson
• Harvard (4-4-6, 3-3-4 ECAC Hockey) returns to Boston following a seven-game road swing, during which it posted a 1-1-5 record.
• The Crimson scored on three of its four power plays last weekend to increase its NCAA‑leading power-play efficiency to 34.9 percent (24 for 63). Dating back to last season, Harvard has scored at least one power-play goal in each of its last 18 games. The Crimson has multiple power-play goals in half of its 14 games this season and has converted its first power play in each of the last five contests.
• Harvard ranks 10th nationally in scoring offense at 3.36 goals per game.
• Alex Killorn (Montreal, Que.) leads Harvard with 18 points and nine goals. He ranks 16th nationally with 1.29 points per game and 13th with 0.64 goals per game.
• Harvard boasts two of the three highest-scoring defensemen in the nation. Danny Biega (Montreal, Que.) ranks second nationally in defenseman scoring at 1.21 points per game (4-13-17) and is tied for eighth in assists per game with 0.93 per contest. Patrick McNally (Glen Head, N.Y.) ranks third among defensemen with 1.07 points per game (4‑11‑15) and is the highest-scoring freshman at any position.
The Crimson trailed entering the third period of each game but emerged each night with a tie. Union held a 3-1 edge on Harvard heading into the final frame in Schenectady, N.Y., Friday, but Alex Killorn and Danny Biega scored to draw the Crimson even, 3-3. Each player added an assist, Alex Fallstrom (Stockholm, Sweden) also scored and Steve Michalek (Glastonbury, Conn.) made 33 saves.
A night later in Troy, N.Y., Rensselaer scored twice in the first period, but a power‑play goal by Eric Kroshus (Calgary, Alta.) and a spinning, highlight-reel tally by Colin Blackwell (North Andover, Mass.) earned Harvard a 2-2 draw. The Crimson held a 27-13 edge in shots. Dan Ford (Skaneateles, N.Y.) assisted on both goals to finish the weekend with three helpers.
Sun Life Frozen Fenway 2012 is a 16-day ice event including two free community skate days, eight high school hockey games and six college hockey games. Frozen Fenway marks the start of the celebration of the 100th anniversary of Fenway Park, Major League Baseball's oldest ballpark. The first baseball game played at Fenway was an exhibition between the Boston Red Sox and Harvard April 9, 1912.
Back to the Beginning
Hockey at Harvard began outdoors. The school played its first game, against Brown, at Franklin Park Jan. 19, 1898 and continued to play its home games outdoors until the opening of the Boston Arena in 1910. The team played at Harvard Stadium from 1905 until 1910.
The Drawing Board
Harvard has tied its last two games, three of its last four, five its last seven and six total, matching the program record, set in 1991-92 and 2008-09.
Harvard owns a .500 record overall (4-4-6), in conference (3-3-4), out of conference (1-1-2), at home (2-2-1) and on the road (2-2-5). Harvard and its ECAC Hockey opponents have each totaled 29 goals.
Dating back to last season, Harvard has netted 28 man‑advantage goals in its last 16 ECAC games.
The Crimson is on pace to post the 10th-highest power-play percentage in NCAA history. The last team convert at least 35 percent of its power plays over a full season was the 1986-87 Harvard squad at 35.9. The last school to break 30 percent was Colorado College in 2002-03 at 30.8. The NCAA record for power-play efficiency is 40.2 percent, recorded by Boston University in 1970-71.
Alex Killorn and Danny Biega are among the nominees in fan balloting for the 2012 Hobey Baker Memorial Award, which opened Monday at hobeybakeraward.com. The first phase of fan balloting will run through March 4. The fans' vote accounts for one percent of the total ballot in each phase
Three Harvard players have won the Hobey Baker Memorial Award: Mark Fusco '83 in 1982‑83, Scott Fusco '85-86 in 1985-86 and Lane MacDonald '88-89 in 1988-89. Only Minnesota and Minnesota Duluth have captured more Hobey trophies, with four each.
Up for a Challenge
Union and BU are Harvard's fourth and fifth ranked opponent in the six games, and the Crimson is in a stretch of seven currently ranked opponents in eight games. Harvard plays at No. 12 Colgate and No. 9 Cornell next weekend.
Harvard has entered the final period trailing in 10 games but has rallied to win or tie on six of those occasions. Harvard has trailed 21 times this season and has come back to tie the score 17 times. The Crimson trailed twice each in its win against No. 18 Colgate and its ties against No. 19 Quinnipiac, Dartmouth, No. 18 North Dakota and No. 14 Union. Harvard scored seven goals over the final two periods to come back from a four‑goal deficit and defeat New Hampshire, 7-6, Nov. 22 and erased four separate one‑goal deficits in a 4-4 tie at Massachusetts Dec. 2.
Shutting the Door
The Crimson has doubled up its opponents, 18‑9, in third periods, holding six teams scoreless in the final period and surrendering more than one goal just once. Harvard's last four opponents have totaled one third-period goal. Three of those four teams have totaled five shots or fewer in the third.
Harvard has received votes in 10 of the 14 weeks of the USCHO.com national poll. The Crimson is 1-1-3 against ranked teams and, dating back to last season, is 3-3-4 against its last 10 ranked foes.
Harvard is on pace for its highest-scoring season since 2002-03, when the Crimson averaged 3.91 goals per game and ranked sixth nationally in scoring offense. The Crimson's offensive success this season comes after finishing 2010-11 ranked 54th nationally with 2.26 goals per game.
The regular season will reach its midway point in Friday's second period, and Harvard already has six double-digit scorers, one fewer than it had all of last season.
Different players have scored each of Harvard's last six goals.
Outside the Box
Harvard gave its opponents a total of three power plays last weekend. The Crimson has allowed its opponents only 50 power plays this season, the nation's lowest total and an average of just 3.43 per game. That is 11 fewer than Yale, which has surrendered the nation's second-fewest power plays. Only nine other teams have allowed their opponents fewer than 80 power plays.
Only one of Harvard's games has been decided by more than two goals. Ten of the 14 games, including nine of the last 10, have been tied in the third period. At a point in every third period but one, the score has been tied or the teams have been separated by one goal.
The Crimson is unbeaten when scoring four goals or more (3-0-2) and when allowing three goals or fewer (3-0-4).
Out of its Conference, Not Out of its League
Harvard is 1-0-1 against teams from Hockey East, having defeated New Hampshire and tied Massachusetts.
Dan Ford has registered assists in each of the last four games, totaling five helpers in that span.
Last Season: Harvard vs. Union
The Dutchmen recorded their first season sweep of Harvard by winning a pair of thrilling, 2-1 games last season. In the season opener at Bright Hockey Center, Danny Biega tied the game in the third period, but Greg Coburn netted the winner for No. 15 Union in the final seven minutes.
The Jan. 22 rematch at Messa Rink was even more dramatic. Mat Bodie broke a 1-1 tie with his goal at 17:43 of the third period.
Series History: Harvard vs. Union
Harvard holds a 30-7-4 all-time edge against Union and has lost just four times in the last 21 meetings. Ted Donato is 9-4-2 against the Dutchmen, and the Crimson is 16-3‑2 at home against Union.
Scouting the Dutchmen
After tying Harvard, Union (10-5-6, 4-2-3) capped last weekend with a 7-1 defeat of Dartmouth, as Daniel Carr and Trevor Mingoia notched two goals and an assist each. The Dutchmen are 5-2-3 in their last 10 games, with the only losses coming at Denver and Colorado College to close 2011.
Union boasts the top scoring defense in the nation, allowing just 1.95 goals per game. Troy Grosenick, in his first season as a starter, owns a .932 save percentage and 1.74 goals‑against average. On the offensive end, Kelly Zajac leads the team with 21 points and 17 assists, while Carr has 20 points and Jeremy Welsh has a team‑high 13 goals.
Last Season: Harvard vs. Boston University
The Crimson and Terriers split their two games last year. BU pulled away to a 5-2 home win last January, with Marshall Everson (Edina, Minn.) and Ryan Grimshaw (Rochester, N.Y.) accounting for the Harvard goals.
The Crimson avenged that loss by rallying in the final four minutes on goals by Danny Biega and Michael Del Mauro '11 to top the Terriers, 5-4, in the Beanpot consolation game on Valentine's Day 2011. Grimshaw also scored in that game, while Alex Killorn tallied twice and Biega finished with three points. Alex Fallstrom and Peter Starrett (Bellingham, Mass.) registered two assists each. Ryan Carroll '11 made 45 saves.
Series History: Harvard vs. Boston University
BU leads the all-time series against Harvard, 74‑63-6, but the Crimson holds a 49-47‑6 edge in non-Beanpot games. The teams first met Dec. 13, 1922, a 2-0 Crimson win at the Boston Arena. Harvard won 15 of the first 16 meetings and in 1952 claimed out a 7-4 victory in the inaugural Beanpot tournament championship. The Terriers had won the last six Beanpot meetings before last season and hold a 26-14 series edge in Beanpot matchups.
The Bright Stuff
Harvard is 63-37-5 (.624) at home under Ted Donato and 285-130-30 (.674) all-time at Bright Hockey Center, which opened in 1979-80.
Scouting the Terriers
BU (11-6-1) won just three of its first eight games but enters Friday's league game against Northeastern having won eight of 10 since. The Terriers have taken two of three games against rival Boston College and also have wins against nationally ranked Cornell, Denver and Merrimack.
Matt Nieto paces BU with 17 points and, with eight goals, shares the team lead with Wade Megan. Chris Connolly had logged a team‑high 14 helpers. Kieran Millan had a .916 save percentage and 2.79 goals-against average.