Harvard is looking for its first victory against a Hockey East school this season against New Hampshire (Gil Talbot).
Audio: ECAC Weekly Radio Show Featuring Jimmy Vesey
The Harvard men's hockey team takes on its second straight non-conference opponent when it travels to Durham, N.H., Tuesday for a showdown with the No. 20 New Hampshire Wildcats. It is the first meeting between the two teams since 2011 and the first time they have squared off in Durham since 2005.
• In just its second non-conference contest of the season, the Crimson hosted a talented No. 7/7 Boston College team Wednesday at Bright-Landry Hockey Center, falling to the Eagles 5-1.
• Rookie Luke Esposito collected his first collegiate goal against the Eagles, and classmate Clay Anderson earned his first collegiate point on the play, providing the primary assist. Captain Dan Ford logged the secondary helper on the play, his second of the season. Esposito becomes the fourth freshman this season to notch a goal for the Crimson.
• Harvard has faced five nationally-ranked opponents in its nine games this season, holding a 1-3-1 record in such games. The Crimson has scored eight goals and conceded eight goals in its four games against ranked ECAC opponents.
• Last season, the Crimson faced six Hockey East schools, putting together a 2-3-1 record in those games. Both of Harvard's wins against Hockey East opponents came against Boston University. Harvard downed the No. 8/8 Terriers, 6-5 in overtime, at Agganis Arena Jan. 9, and posted a 7-4 win over No. 11/13 BU in the Beanpot consolation game.
• With 34 of 37 penalties killed (91.9%), Harvard is tied with Quinnipiac (68 of 74) for the best penalty kill in the nation. In fact, both the Harvard men's team and the Harvard women's team boast the top penalty killing units in the country.
• After failing to score on the power play in its first four games of the season, Harvard has collected a power play goal in each of its last five contests. Sophomore Jimmy Vesey has netted three of those man-up scores.
Series History vs. New Hampshire
The Crimson and Wildcats have faced each other 30 times prior to Tuesday's matchup, with Harvard owning a 19-11 mark in those games. The series began in 1943 when the Crimson demoralized the Wildcats, 13-2, at the Boston Skating Club. Harvard would go on to win the first six meetings between the two teams, and holds a series-best win streak at seven games from 1977-83. The Crimson has won its last two meetings against the Wildcats. Harvard has only faced New Hampshire three times during the Ted Donato era, posting a 2-1 mark.
About The Wildcats
A perennial Hockey East powerhouse, New Hampshire sits just one game above .500 at 7-6-1 heading into the showdown with the Crimson. UNH started the season at Minnesota's Ice Breaker Tournament, topping Clarkson, 4-1, and falling to the Gophers, 3-2. The loss kicked off a six-game winless streak that was later snapped with a 4-1 win over Massachusetts at home. A six-game win streak followed, including a pair of wins over Northeastern and a 3-2 overtime win over then-No. 3 Providence, but the Wildcats dropped a 4-2 final to the Friars in their last game.
Scouting New Hampshire
UNH has done a good job spreading the scoring this season, as five players have already posted double-digit point totals through 14 games. Senior Kevin Goumas (5-9-14) and junior Trevor van Riemsdyk (3-11-14) share the team lead in points with van Riemsdyk holding a team-best 11 assists and +12 rating. Senior Nick Sorkin leads all players with eight goals on the year, including a team-high three markers on the power play. Tyler Kelleher represents the top rookie scorer on the roster, bringing a line of 2-7-9 into the game, while leading the team with a pair of game-winning strikes this season.
Junior goalie Casey DeSmith has started 10 of the 14 games for UNH this season with senior Jeff Wyer picking up the other four starts. DeSmith holds the better numbers with a 2.00 goals-against average and .926 save percentage, to go along with a pair of shutouts on the season.
Last Time vs. UNH
The Crimson scored seven goals over the final two periods to storm back from a four‑goal, first‑intermission deficit and defeat New Hampshire, 7-6, Nov. 22, 2011 at Bright Hockey Center. Colin Blackwell netted the tying and go‑ahead goals in the third period, while Alex Killorn '12 notched two goals and an assist to lead the Crimson to a dramatic win in its first non-league game of the season.
Eric Kroshus '12, Alex Fallstrom '13 and David Valek also scored as Harvard trimmed a 4-0 UNH lead after one period to 5-4 through two and went ahead in the third. Fallstrom and Valek also recorded assists, while Danny Biega '13 and Patrick McNally logged two helpers apiece. Steve Michalek stopped 24 of the 28 UNH shots he faced in a relief win.
An Historic Comeback
Harvard's comeback from a four-goal deficit in its last game against UNH was truly a rare occurrence. Harvard last rallied from a four-goal deficit to win Feb. 6, 2004, when the Crimson trailed 4-0 after one period and 5-1 in the second before coming back to win, 7-5, against Yale in New Haven, Conn.
Points For All
There are seven players on Harvard's roster that have played against New Hampshire and six of those seven players have points against the Wildcats. Colin Blackwell (2-0-2), Patrick McNally (0-2-2) and David Valek (1-1-2) have two points apiece, while Danny Fick (0-1-1), Dan Ford (0-1-1) and Tommy O'Regan (0-1-1) each have a point.
Wins At The Whitt
The Crimson holds an 8-5 record all-time in road contests against New Hampshire. The most recent matchup in Durham came in 2005 when Harvard skated to a 1-0 victory over the Wildcats.
The Crimson offense had its best showing of the season Saturday at Princeton, yielding five goals and six assists. Four Harvard players (Brian Hart, Sean Malone, Tyler Moy and Jimmy Vesey) recorded multi-point games, marking the first time this season Harvard has had more than one multi-point scorer in a game.
Both Brian Hart and Jimmy Vesey came into the BC matchup riding four-game point streaks. Hart had posted an assist in each of his last four games, including a pair of helpers against Princeton, representing his longest career point streak. Vesey brought a four-game goal scoring streak into Wednesday's contest, the longest goal streak of his career.
Right On, Rookies
The freshman class has made a significant impact for Harvard through nine games this season. seven of the nine newcomers have logged at least point, and all nine have seen game action. Sean Malone leads all freshmen in points with 1-4-5, and is joined by Luke Esposito (1-4-5). Tyler Moy (1-2-3), Kevin Guiltinan (0-2-2), Alexander Kerfoot (1-1-2), Phil Zielonka (0-1-1) and Clay Anderson (0-1-1).
Harvard has shown a penchant for netting late scores through nine games this season, scoring half of its goals this season in the third period. The Crimson is outscoring teams 17-14 in the second and third periods combined, including a 10-8 margin in the third period.
Penalty killing has been a strength for Harvard this season, as it enters the UNH game with the top-ranked penalty kill in the nation (91.9%, 34/37), along with Quinnipiac (91.9%, 68/74). Harvard's penalty kill was on point against Clarkson Nov. 9, as the Crimson quelled two five-on-three scenarios in the game.
Opponents have had a tough time figuring out senior goalie Raphael Girard, who has posted shutouts in two of his four starts this season. In the season opener, Girard stopped 43 shots to blank Bentley, 3-0, and he picked up 28 saves in a 2-0 shutout over No. 10 Rensselaer. He became the first Harvard goalie since Kyle Richter '10-11 in 2007 to record consecutive clean sheets.
Block N' Roll
A big reason for Harvard's defensive success this season has been its penchant for blocking shots. The Crimson has recorded more blocks than its opponent in six of nine games this season, reaching the 15 blocks mark in seven of nine contests. In Harvard's 2-0 shutout of No. 10 Rensselaer, the Crimson blocked 29 shots, compared to RPI's 12. The 29 blocked shots represented the most in a game for a Harvard team since March 12, 2011, when the Crimson amassed 34 blocks in a 2-1 loss to Dartmouth in the ECAC Championship quarterfinals.
Rookie defenseman Kevin Guiltinan leads all Harvard players with 32 blocked shots, followed by sophomore Desmond Bergin (19) and senior David Valek (17). Senior captain Dan Ford also has 17 blocks on the year. On the season, Harvard has blocked 156 shots to its opponents' 126.