No. 19 Harvard Men's Hockey to Battle No. 13 Cornell for ECAC Final Berth
The No. 19 Harvard men's hockey team heads to Atlantic City, N.J., seeking its ninth ECAC Hockey Championship title.
The third‑seeded Crimson takes on 13th-ranked, second-seeded Cornell in Friday's second semifinal, at 7:30 at Boardwalk Hall. Sixth-ranked, top-seeded Union meets No. 20 Colgate, seeded fourth, at 4:30. The winners meet in Saturday's 7:30 championship game, which will be preceded by the consolation matchup at 4:30.
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• The Crimson came back from a game down and came from behind in each game to defeat sixth-seeded Yale in a three-game series last weekend at Bright Hockey Center. The first two games of the series went to overtime, and Game 2 lasted nearly 90 minutes before Dan Ford (Skaneateles, N.Y.) netted the game‑winner. Harvard exploded for six straight goals to take the deciding game, 8-2.
• Harvard has a 90-49-4 all-time record in the ECAC playoffs and has won eight tournament titles to trail only Cornell in wins (97) and championships (12). Harvard is playing in its first semifinal since 2008 but its eighth in the last 12 years. In those 12 tournaments, including this year, the Crimson is 35-15 with three league titles (2002, '04 and '06), three runner-up showings and eight total semifinal appearances. This is the 51st ECAC tournament and Harvard's 29th semifinal appearance. Harvard is 17-11 in semifinals, including wins in each of its last six appearances.
• The Crimson has won four of its last five games and lost just three times in the last 16 games (8-3-5).
Recapping the Quarterfinals
• Game 1: Kenny Agostino scored at 3:49 of overtime to overcome a then-career-high 42 saves from Raphael Girard (Saint-Hyacinthe, Que.) and lift Yale to a 2-1 win. Luke Greiner (Faribault, Minn.) scored Harvard's goal in the final minute of the second period. Neither team scored in the end-to-end third period. The Crimson had three of the first four shots of overtime before Agostino sent Harvard to the brink of elimination.
• Game 2: Dan Ford scored at 9:20 of the second overtime to give the Crimson a 4-3 win in the fourth‑longest playoff game in program history Saturday. Harvard came back from two goals down, scored three power‑play goals and killed all 11 of Yale's power plays, including two in overtime. Danny Biega (Montreal, Que.) scored twice, Patrick McNally (Glen Head, N.Y.) logged three assists and Raphael Girard made 48 saves for Harvard.
Biega's second goal, a rocket one-timer from his point spot on the power play, gave the Crimson a third-period lead, but Antoine Laganiere scored with just 27 seconds remaining to send the game to overtime. Marshall Everson (Edina, Minn.) also scored, and linemate Alex Killorn (Montreal, Que.) set up both Biega goals while firing nine shots on net.
• Game 3: The Crimson scored four times in the second period and rolled to an 8-2 win Sunday. David Valek (Zagreb, Croatia) registered his first career hat trick, while Alex Killorn (2-2-4) and Marshall Everson (1-3‑4) notched four points each and Raphael Girard logged 39 saves. Alex Fallstrom (Stockholm, Sweden) and Daniel Moriarty (Bienfait, Sask.), two of 11 Crimson skaters to earn a point, added a goal and an assist each. Tommy O'Regan (Needham, Mass.) had two helpers.
After each team scored in the first period, Harvard took control as soon as the puck dropped to start the second. Killorn won the opening faceoff, and 35 seconds later, the Crimson had a 2-1 lead on Fallstrom's wraparound. Harvard began to pull away with Valek's first goal midway through the frame. The eight goals marked Harvard's greatest output since defeating Quinnipiac, 11-0, to open the ECAC quarterfinals March 14, 2008.
• Harvard killed 17 of Yale's 18 power plays (94.4 percent) during the series. The only man‑advantage goal for the Bulldogs, who had the league's No. 2 power play in the ECAC regular season, came four minutes, 26 seconds into a five‑minute power play in the third period of Game 3. The Crimson was 5 for 16 on its own power plays (31.3 percent).
• Fourteen of the 19 Harvard skaters who played against Yale registered a point. Alex Killorn led the way with six points on two goals and four assists. Marshall Everson had five points (2-3-5) while Danny Biega (2-2-4) and Patrick McNally (0-4-4) each chipped in four points from the blue line.
• Harvard's top line of Alex Killorn, Marshall Everson and Alex Fallstrom totaled 10 points on four goals and six assists in Game 3. Each member of the trio was +4 in the game, and they combined for 16 shots. For the series, they totaled five goals, nine assists and 40 shots on goal.
• Raphael Girard totaled 129 saves on 136 shots, missing his third consecutive 40-save game by one stop Sunday. He posted a .949 save percentage and 1.97 goals-against average during the weekend.
• Patrick McNally was named ECAC Hockey Rookie of the Week following his four-assist weekend. It was his second such selection this season and the fourth of the year for Harvard.
• Defensive partners Dan Ford and Danny Biega combined for three goals and 10 shots Saturday. They also blocked four shots each. Ford, David Valek and Ryan Grimshaw (Rochester, N.Y.) led Harvard with seven blocks each in the series.
• Yale scored first in each game of the series and outscored Harvard by a 4-1 margin in first periods. The Crimson erased all three leads, thanks in part to a 7-0 edge in second-period goals and a 4-2 advantage in third-period play.
No. 4 seed Colgate reached Atlantic City by handling Quinnipiac, 4-0, in Game 3. Cornell played a double-overtime game of its own, downing Dartmouth, 4-3, in the first game of its sweep. Top-seeded Union took two close games from local rival Rensselaer.
Harvard's No. 19 ranking in the USCHO.com Division I Men's Poll marks its first appearance in the national poll since receiving a No. 18 ranking Nov. 17, 2008. The Crimson has received votes in the poll in 17 of the 23 weeks of voting this season.
The Crimson owns the nation's top power play at 28.4 percent (37 for 131). Harvard has scored a power‑play goal in 25 of its 32 games and netted multiple power-play goals in 10 games.
Leading the Crimson
Alex Killorn leads Harvard with 42 points and 20 goals. He ranks 11th nationally with 1.31 points per game and eighth with 0.62 goals per game. Danny Biega ranks second nationally among defensemen at 1.06 points per game (10-24-34).
Ted Donato has been named a finalist for the Tim Taylor Award for ECAC coach of the year, while Danny Biega is a finalist for Player of the Year and Best Defensive Defenseman and Patrick McNally is up for Rookie of the Year. Donato led the Crimson to a third-place ECAC finish after Harvard was chosen seventh by the coaches and 12th by the media in the preseason. The awards will be presented at Thursday's league banquet.
The Crimson captured its best league finish since taking third in 2008 by earning at least one standings point in 17 of its 22 ECAC Hockey games. With a 3-2-6 record in league road games, Harvard took points from nine of its 11 away contests. The Crimson's last ECAC loss at Bright Hockey Center came Nov. 11 against Cornell.
Between the Pipes
Raphael Girard ranks fifth nationally in save percentage at .932 and 19th in goals-against average at 2.25. He has started each of Harvard's last five games and seven of the 10 since he stopped all 26 shots he faced in a relief win at Quinnipiac Feb. 3.
The Crimson holds a 38-21 advantage against its opponents in third-period goals, including 20-8 over the last 15 games and 4-0 on the final weekend of the regular season. Harvard is 9-2‑4 when entering the third period leading or tied.
Harvard has held 19 of its 20 opponents in 2012 to three or fewer goals in regulation.
The Crimson has killed 25 of its opponents' last 27 power plays.
Harvard has trailed during play in 27 games, but has rallied to win or tie 19 of those contests (9-8-10), including the last two games of the quarterfinals and victories against St. Lawrence and Clarkson to cap the regular season.
Harvard has entered the final period trailing in 17 games but has rallied to win or tie in 10 of those (3-7-7). Harvard has trailed 37 times during play this season and has come back to tie 30 times. The Crimson trailed twice each in its win against No. 18 Colgate (Nov. 12) and its ties against No. 19 Quinnipiac (Nov. 5), Dartmouth (Nov. 25), No. 18 North Dakota (Dec. 30), No. 14 Union (Jan. 6) and No. 9 Cornell (Jan. 21). Harvard scored seven goals over the final two periods to rally 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).
Harvard is unbeaten when scoring four goals or more (8-0-2) and has lost just three times in 23 games when allowing three or fewer (11‑3‑9).
The Drawing Board
The Feb. 17 tie at Brown was Harvard's 11th of the season, setting a new NCAA record. Before the Crimson this season, three teams recorded 10 ties in a season: Minnesota State in 2002‑03, Colorado College in 2008‑09 and Western Michigan last season. Those MSU and WMU teams both made the NCAA tournament.
The Feb. 10 tie against Rensselaer was Harvard's eighth in ECAC play, eclipsing the league record held by the 1991-92 Yale, 2003‑04 Dartmouth and 2010-11 Quinnipiac squads.
Time and a Half?
Fourteen of Harvard's 32 games have reached overtime, including 13 of the last 25. The Crimson has played 90 minutes, 17 seconds of overtime. Saturday's double-overtime thriller was the Crimson's first extra-session win since Nov. 20, 2007 at Boston University. Harvard's last playoff win in overtime had been March 18, 2005, when Kevin Du '07 scored to give the Crimson a double‑overtime win against Colgate in the semifinals.
Harvard is 24-3-2 in February home games under Ted Donato. The Crimson is 24-10-6 in post‑Beanpot ECAC games and 48-24-16 in all post-exam league games in Donato's seven‑plus seasons. (Harvard's first-semester exams took place in January until being moved to December in 2009.)
Back in the Semifinals
Harvard is playing an ECAC semifinal for the first time since 2008, when the Crimson defeated Cornell, 3-1, and fell to Princeton, 4-1, in the league title game. Harvard reached the semifinals in six straight years from 2001-06, advancing to the final in the last five of those tournaments.
Playoffs Under Ted Donato
Harvard is 19-13-0 in playoff games in Ted Donato's eight years as head coach. His Crimson previously reached the semifinals in 2005, '06 and '08 and won the 2006 league championship.
Flashback to 2006
The Crimson's last ECAC title run, in 2006, started in similar fashion to this year's playoffs. Harvard earned a first-round bye but lost its quarterfinal opener at home to St. Lawrence. The Crimson rallied to win a close game the following night and erupted for eight goals to take Game 3, 8-4.
As the No. 3 Seed
In six previous tournaments as the ECAC's No. 3 seed, Harvard has reached five semifinals and three finals, winning the 1963 and 2002 titles.
Harvard is tied for 22nd in the PairWise Ranking. The Crimson is 4-5‑5 against its fellow teams under consideration for the NCAA tournament (Ratings Percentage Index of .500 or better).
Alex Killorn and Danny Biega were unanimously to the All-Ivy League first team, while goaltender Steve Michalek (Glastonbury, Conn.) was named to the second team. Biega earned his second straight first-team selection by ranking second in the Ancient Eight with 14 points and 11 assists in Ivy games. Killorn, a second-team pick last season, led all players with eight goals against Ivy competition in 2011-12.
The Century Mark
With his first assist Saturday, Alex Killorn became the first Crimson player to register 100 career points since Tom Cavanagh '05 totaled 117 (48‑69-117) from 2001-05. His second goal Sunday was the 50th of his career, making him Harvard's first 50‑goal scorer since Tim Pettit '04, who scored 57 from 2000-04. Killorn has 55 assists. The last 50-assist Harvard men before him were his former teammates, Alex Biega '10 and Doug Rogers '10, who also had 55 each.
Alex Killorn is Harvard's first 20-goal scorer since current San Jose Shark Dominic Moore '03 scored 24 in 2002-03. He is the first to hit the 40-point mark since Moore (24‑27‑51), Tim Pettit (17‑30‑47) and Brett Nowak '03 (12‑29-41) all did so in 2002-03.
Danny Biega is the first Harvard defenseman to log 30 points in consecutive seasons since Mark Benning '87 registered 38 points in 1985‑86 and 32 in 1986-87. Biega's 34 points are the most by a Crimson defenseman since Sean McCann '94 in 1993‑94 (22-17-39). Biega's 10 goals match his total from last year, the greatest from the Harvard blue line since Jeremiah McCarthy '98 in 1997‑98 (11).
Alex Killorn, Danny Biega and Marshall Everson (11-19-30) are the first Crimson trio to notch 30 points each since Tom Cavanagh (16-20-36), Tim Pettit (10-24-34), Tyler Kolarik '04 (12-18-30) and Brendan Bernakevitch '05 (11-19-30) all put up 30 points in 2003-04.
Climbing the Charts
Alex Killorn is tied for 17th all-time at Harvard with 128 career games played and is set to become the 13th Crimson player to skate in 130 games.
Alex Killorn and Danny Biega were among the nominees in fan balloting for the 2012 Hobey Baker Memorial Award, which went from Jan. 9 through March 4 at hobeybakeraward.com. 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.
Walter Brown Award Semifinalists
Marshall Everson and Colin Blackwell (North Andover, Mass.) have been named semifinalists for the 60th Walter Brown Award, presented annually to the best United States-born college hockey player in New England, Gridiron Club of Greater Boston president Paul Stewart announced last month.
Everson and Blackwell are among 21 semifinalists from 14 schools and three conferences, including six candidates from ECAC Hockey. Harvard is one of five schools with multiple nominees. Nine Crimson players have combined to win the award 10 times, most recently Dov Grumet-Morris '05 in 2004‑05. Everson ranks third on the Crimson with 30 points and 11 goals in 27 games and ranks fourth on the Crimson with 19 assists. Blackwell has registered 15 points, including five goals.
Goaltender of the Month
Raphael Girard was named ECAC Hockey/Fischer Hockey Goaltender of the Month for February. He was unbeaten at 3-0-2 in seven February appearances, posting a 1.75 goals‑against average and .944 save percentage.
For its strong finish to the season Feb. 24-25, Harvard was recognized by College Hockey News as its national Team of the Week. Along with the first two multiple-goal games of his career, David Valek played his usual strong defensive game against St. Lawrence and Clarkson and was subsequently named ECAC Hockey Player of the Week and Inside College Hockey National Player of the Week. Raphael Girard was named ECAC Hockey Goaltender of the Week. He stopped 58 of the 61 shots he faced, with two of the three goals he allowed coming on power plays.
Nov. 11 at Bright Hockey Center
A bad start and a host of penalties left the Crimson with a three‑goal deficit midway through the first period. Harvard battled back to within one on power-play goals by Alex Fallstrom and Marshall Everson, but Cornell sealed a 4-2 win with a goal in the final minutes. Danny Biega and Luke Greiner assisted on both Harvard goals. Nick D'Agostino scored twice for the Big Red.
Jan. 21 at Lynah Rink
Alex Killorn scored the tying goal with less than eight minutes remaining as Harvard rallied to tie No. 9 Cornell in front of a fish-throwing, sellout crowd. Marshall Everson scored a tying, power‑play goal late in the first period and assisted on Killorn's tally. Steve Michalek made 17 saves, and Cornell's Andy Iles logged 31 stops to combat Harvard's 33-19 shots advantage.
The Crimson and Big Red have combined for three NCAA titles, with Cornell capturing two and Harvard one. They rank first and third in ECAC regular-season championships (Harvard 13, Cornell 9) and first and second in league tournament crowns (Cornell 12, Harvard 8). The rivals have accounted for nine of the 20 ECAC regular-season and tournament titles awarded over the last 10 seasons. For six of those nine championships, the other rival was the runner-up.
Including the Big Red's title this season, either Harvard or Cornell has won or shared the Ivy League crown in 38 of the league's 55 seasons, with Harvard totaling 21 titles and Cornell 19. The teams shared the honor in 1983‑84 and 1984-85.
Cornell holds a 71-59-8 all-time lead in a series noted for the quality of the teams, intensity of the games and passion of the fans. 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 19 of the last 24 being decided by two goals or fewer.
Playoff Series History
The Crimson and Big Red have faced off in eight of the last 12 ECAC tournaments. In each of Harvard's three championship-weekend appearances under Ted Donato, the Crimson has met Cornell, winning in the 2006 final and '08 semifinals after losing in the 2005 final. The Big Red has won four of the six title-game meetings and leads the all-time playoff series, 14-7-1. The teams have split their four semifinal meetings:
1970: Cornell 6, Harvard 5
1975: Harvard 6, Cornell 4
2001: Cornell 5, Harvard 2
2008: Harvard 3, Cornell 1
Current Crimson vs. Cornell
Danny Biega has seven points on a goal and six assists in eight career games against the Big Red, while Alex Killorn has four goals and five points in 10 games.
Scouting the Big Red
Cornell has lost just once (6-1-3) since the start of February. That defeat, 2-1 in overtime at Rensselaer, came in the regular-season finale and cost the Big Red a share of the ECAC regular‑season title. Cornell bounced back with a sweep of Dartmouth in the league quarterfinals. Sean Whitney's first goal of the season lifted the Big Red to a double-overtime win in Game 1, and three first-period goals were enough for a 3-1 victory in Game 2.
Greg Miller, one of Cornell's six 20-point scorers, paces the squad with 14 goals, 15 assists and 29 points. Brian Ferlin (8-13-21) was this season's Ivy League Rookie of the Year, and Nick D'Agostino (8-12-20) is a standout defenseman. Andy Iles is the backbone of a strong defense with his 2.08 goals-against average and .920 save percentage.
Harvard vs. Union in 2011-12
The Crimson and Dutchmen played two closely contested games on consecutive Fridays in January. Union held a 3-1 edge on Harvard heading into the final frame in Schenectady, N.Y., Jan. 6, but Alex Killorn and Danny Biega scored to draw the Crimson even, 3-3. Each player added an assist, Alex Fallstrom also scored and Steve Michalek made 33 saves.
In an outdoor game at Fenway Park as part of the Sun Life Frozen Fenway 2012 event, an ECAC Hockey conference-game-record crowd of 8,981 saw No. 14 Union shut out Harvard, 2-0, Jan. 13. The Crimson had a would-be go‑ahead goal by Peter Starrett (Bellingham, Mass.) disallowed early in the second period and fell victim to a riccocheting point-shot goal with 3.6 seconds left in the frame. Union's Troy Grosenick made 18 saves, and Michalek logged 30.
Harvard vs. Colgate in 2011-12
Harvard's season-series win against the Raiders proved to be the difference between the teams in the regular-season standings. In the Nov. 12 game at Bright, Patrick McNally and Alex Killorn scored goals 79 seconds apart late in the second period to bring Harvard back from a goal down. Colin Blackwell and Rence Coassin (Hamden, Conn.) also scored, while Killorn and McNally added assists. Steve Michalek made 30 saves for his first collegiate win.
Michalek made 34 saves, including 15 in the third period, as the teams tied, 2-2, Jan. 20 in Hamilton, N.Y. Marshall Everson tied the score at 1-1 in the final minute of the first period and set up Peter Starrett to give the Crimson the lead in the second, before Austin Smith rallied the Raiders in the third. Alex Killorn assisted on both Crimson goals.
Career Playoff Leaders
Danny Biega has piled up 13 points (5-8-13) in 12 career postseason games, while Alex Killorn has notched 11 points (4-7-11) in 13 games. Biega, Alex Fallstrom and Daniel Moriarty share the team lead with five playoff goals. Fallstrom is a team-high +7 in 11 games.