No. 4/3 Harvard (9-2-1, 5-1-1 ECAC)
No. 4/3 Harvard (9-2-1, 5-1-1 ECAC)
The Opening Faceoff
The No. 4/3 Harvard men's hockey team will enter 2017 riding a four-game win streak as it preps to host No. 15/15 Quinnipiac Friday and Princeton Saturday. Both games can be seen live on ESPN3 and the Ivy League Digital Network with puck drop slated for 7 p.m. each night.
The First Line
• Harvard rose to No. 3 this week in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine poll, matching its highest ranking in that poll from Jan. 5, 2015. The USA Today poll began in the 1994-95 season. Harvard's highest ranking ever in the USCHO.com poll is also No. 3, which it also attained Jan. 5, 2015.
• With two more power play strikes against Rensselaer Dec. 30, the Crimson continue to boast the nation's most lethal man-advantage unit. Harvard has 17 goals on 53 power play chances, good for a 32.1 percent conversion rate. The Crimson has converted on the power play at least once in nine games this season and has scored twice a man up in each of the last four games.
• Scoring goals has been an exact science for the Crimson this season. At 4.50 goals per game, the Crimson ranks second in the nation in that category. Seven times this season, Harvard has scored five or more goals, highlighted by a season-high seven goals at Arizona State (Oct. 28) and Clarkson (Dec. 3).
Last Time Out
Harvard extended its win streak to four games with a 5-1 throttling of Rensselaer at the Bright-Landry Hockey Center Dec. 30. Luke Esposito and Sean Malone each had two points, including power play goals, while Merrick Madsen stopped 30 shots. Madsen would garner the ECAC Hockey Goaltender of the Week award for his performance.
The Bobcats defeated the Crimson in the first meeting this season in Hamden, Connecticut, 4-2. In its 10 games since, Quinnipiac has a 4-5-1 record and has fallen to No. 15 in both national polls. Quinnipiac reached the championship game of the Three Rivers Classic just before the New Year by defeating No. 8/8 Boston College, but was downed by Robert Morris, 5-2, in the final.
Quinnipiac has a narrow edge in goals per games over its opponents at 3.0-2.7. Tim Clifton leads the offense with 10 goals, five of which have come on the power play. He is tied with Landon Smith for the team-lead in points with 16. Junior transfer Chris Truehl has started 17 games in net, holding a .908 save mark and a 2.43 GAA. He has one shutout this year.
Series Record vs. Quinnipiac: 11-13-4
Last Five Meetings: 1-4-0
Nov. 12, 2016 – L, 2-4
March 19, 2016 - L, 4-1
Jan. 9, 2016 - L, 5-4 (ot)
Nov. 11, 2015 - L, 4-1
March 20, 2015 - W, 5-2
The Tigers have been among the hottest teams in college hockey over the last month. Since Nov. 25, Princeton is 7-2-0 with five of those victories coming against ranked opponents.
Sophomore Max Veronneau and freshman Jackson Cressey have led the charge, earning ECAC Player and Rookie of the Month honors, respectively. Veronneau leads the team with 21 points and 15 assists, while Cressey has 15 points and 12 helpers. Sophomore Ryan Kuffner paces the team with 10 goals. Senior Colton Phinney has started 15 of the team's 17 games, sporting a 6-8-1 record, .895 save percentage and a 3.48 GAA.
Harvard won the first meeting this season, 5-2, back on Nov. 11. Princeton will visit Dartmouth Friday night before the clash in Cambridge Saturday.
Series Record vs. Princeton: 154-58-11
Last Five Meetings: 5-0-0
Nov. 11, 2016 - W, 5-2
Jan. 29, 2016 - W, 4-1
Nov. 14, 2015 - W, 3-0
Feb. 28, 2015 - W, 5-0
Dec. 5, 2014 - W, 4-3
In back-to-back games this season against Bentley (Nov. 26) and at St. Lawrence (Dec. 2), senior forward Alexander Kerfoot had four points. It marked the first time since the 1990-91 season that a Crimson skater had four points in consecutive games. Current head coach Ted Donato '91 was the last to accomplish that feat early in his senior season when he went four straight games with at least four points.
The Crimson is unbeaten at the Bright-Landry Hockey Center this season, going 4-0-1.
Weeks in the Polls
Harvard has been ranked in the USCHO.com poll for 59 weeks, while it has spent the last 41 weeks ranked in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine poll. In rising to No. 3 this week in the USA Today poll, Harvard has matched its highest ranking ever.
Leading the Way
Senior co-captain Alexander Kerfoot is setting the tone for the Harvard offense this season. His 20 points lead the Crimson and he has recorded a point in 11 of Harvard's 12 games. He is in the midst of a 10-game point streak.
Harvard's nine game-winning goals this season have come from the sticks of six different skaters. Tyler Moy has three to his name, Luke Esposito has two, while Ryan Donato, Jake Horton, Devin Tringale and Lewis Zerter-Gossage each has one game-winner to his credit this year.
In The Giving Mood
In Harvard's 5-2 win over Bentley Nov. 26, senior Alexander Kerfoot dished out four assists. That number was a career-best and the most by a Harvard skater since Colin Blackwell '16 had four against Cornell March 16, 2012.
The Crimson's offense has continued to fire on all cylinders in 2016-17 after finishing ninth in the country with a 3.41 goals per game average in 2015-16, Harvard is second the nation with a 4.50 mark. The 3.41 average from a season ago was the highest for Harvard since 2002-03 when it put up 3.91 per contest.
Harvard is boasting a 2.25 scoring margin through the first 12 games of the season, the second-best mark in Division I. Harvard's offense is averaging 4.50 goals, while the defense has surrendered just 2.25, the 11th-lowest in the nation.
Power Play Power
The Crimson has converted on 32.1percent of its power play opportunities this season. It's 17-for-53 success rate is tops in the country.