Jake Horton and the Crimson play two games broadcast on ONE World Sports this weekend (Gil Talbot).
No. 9/9 Harvard (13-7-3, 9-4-3 ECAC) vs. No. 18 Rensselaer (14-10-6, 6-4-6 ECAC)
Harvard vs. Union (10-10-8, 3-8-5 ECAC)
The Opening Faceoff
The No. 9/9 men's hockey team begins a four-game homestand this weekend hosting capital region ECAC foes No. 18/- Rensselaer and Union at the Bright-Landry Hockey Center. Each of the next four home games is slated to be broadcast on television and simulcast on the Ivy League Digital Network. Both games this weekend can be found on ONE World Sports.
The First Line
• Harvard has just six games left in the regular season, all against ECAC opponents. The Crimson is tied with Yale for second in the conference standings with 21 points, three ahead of Rensselaer, St. Lawrence and Dartmouth. The top-four teams in the standings at the end of the regular season earn a first round bye in the ECAC playoffs.
• Each of Harvard's 13 victories this season has come when scoring three of more goals. The Crimson is 13-2-1 when going over three tallies, but 0-5-2 when it scores two goals or less.
• The Crimson has been successful at maintaining leads this season, posting a 12-1-0 record when leading after two periods. The only loss when holding a lead after 40 minutes came against Boston University Jan. 7.
Last Time Out
Northeastern raced out to 3-0 lead in the first period of the Beanpot consolation game Monday at TD Garden on its way to a 5-1 victory over Harvard. Freshman Ryan Donato scored Harvard's only goal of the game on an assist from Luke Esposito.
The Engineers remain squarely in the hunt for one of the four first round byes in the ECAC playoffs as one of seven teams currently separated by four points at the top of the standings. Tied for fourth with St. Lawrence and Dartmouth entering the weekend, Rensselaer has done little to help its cause of late, losing three-straight to conference opponents Yale, St. Lawrence and Clarkson.
Junior Riley Bourbonnais heads up the Engineers offense with 13 goals and 21 points. Joining him in the 20-point club is sophomore Lou Nanne who is tied for the team lead with 14 assists. Senior Zach Schroeder also has 14 helpers. Both of Rensselaer's goalies boast winning percentages of .500 or better. Jason Kasdorf is 8-8-4 in 21 games with a .934 save percentage and 2.15 GAA. Cam Hackett is 6-2-2 with a .933 save mark and 2.34 GAA.
Series History vs. Rensselaer
Harvard holds a 51-36-7 advantage in the all-time series vs. Rensselaer with its first meeting dating back to Dec. 27, 1951. The Engineers won that matchup, but recent results have favored the Crimson, with Harvard registering a 5-1-2 mark dating back to the start of the 2012 season.
Previous Meeting vs. Rensselaer
Friday's meeting will be the third this season between Harvard and Rensselaer. The first meeting occurred in the Shillelagh Tournament title game in South Bend, Ind. with the Crimson trouncing the Engineers, 4-0. Jimmy Vesey, Luke Esposito, Kyle Criscuolo and Ryan Donato all scored in that game with Cam Hackett in net for Rensselaer. The teams met a week later in Troy, New York, playing to a scoreless draw as Jason Kasdorf returned from injury to start in net for the Engineers.
Union comes into the weekend at an even 10-10-8 overall, but just 3-8-5 in the ECAC to rank ninth with 11 points in the standings. The Dutchmen will visit Dartmouth Friday before the duel in Cambridge. Last weekend, Union dropped a 4-1 decision to Clarkson before skating to a 3-3 tie with St. Lawrence Saturday. The overtime game vs. the Saints was the 12th of the year for Union, the most in Division I. The Dutchmen are 2-2-8 in those games.
Union enters the weekend with two 20-point scorers in sophomore Spencer Foo (12-13--25) and junior Mike Vecchione (6-14--20). Junior Alex Sakellaropoulos has 22 starts to his name this season, going 8-8-6 with a 2.49 GAA and .916 save percentage.
Series History vs. Union
In the history of Harvard hockey, the series versus the Dutchmen is relatively short, dating back only 25 years to the first meeting Nov. 15, 1991. The Crimson won that meeting, 7-5, and each of the next four and holds a 30-14-6 advantage in the all-time series. Union, though, has had the upper hand since the 2010-11 season, going 9-0-3 against Harvard.
Previous Meeting vs. Union
In this season's earlier meeting, Harvard and Union engaged in a back-and-forth affair that ended with the teams sharing a 4-4 tie in Schenectady, New York. Trailing 4-3 late, Wiley Shermanforced overtime when his slap shot set up by Kyle Criscuolo found mesh with 2:29 left in regulation.
Harvard, Michigan and Robert Morris are the only three teams in the country with two skaters among the top-10 in goals per game this season. Jimmy Vesey ranks third at 0.78, while Kyle Criscuolo comes in 10th at 0.70.
Dishing it Out
Junior Alexander Kerfoot is one of just four players in the nation averaging more than one assist per contest. At 1.09 assists per game, Kerfoot ranks third nationally, trailing only New Hampshire's Tyler Kelleher's 1.18. Michigan's JT Compher (1.12) and North Dakota's Nick Schmaltz (1.09) round out the foursome.
On Jan. 29, senior Kyle Criscuolo and Jimmy Vesey were recognized as two of the 20 candidates for the Senior CLASS Award. The honor highlights student-athletes that remained in school for four years, while showing excellence in the community, the classroom, character and competition. The winner will be announced during the NCAA Men's Frozen Four in April.
Senior Kyle Criscuolo was named one of five student-athletes in college hockey named a finalist for the 2016 Hockey Humanitarian Award. The HHA is presented annually to college hockey's finest citizen – a student-athlete who makes significant contributions not only to his or her team but also to the community-at-large through leadership in volunteerism.
Trio for Walter Brown
The Crimson trio of Kyle Criscuolo, Jimmy Vesey and Merrick Madsen were named semifinalists for the 2016 Walter Brown Award. The oldest nationally-recognized hockey honor, the Walter Brown Award honors the top American-born college hockey player in New England. Vesey is the reigning award winner and a four-time semifinalist. Criscuolo is a semifinalist for the second-straight season, while Madsen earned his first semifinalist honor.
70 is Elite
Senior forward Jimmy Vesey joined a list of the most prolific scorers to wear a Harvard jersey Friday, Jan. 22 when he netted the 70th goal of his career. He is just the seventh Harvard player to reach that plateau. He enters Monday with 74 career goals, tying him with Mike Vukonich for sixth all-time in the Crimson record books.
Best of the Month
On Feb. 3, Jimmy Vesey was honored as the January Player of the Month in the ECAC. He also earned the award for the month of November. He is the only skater to earn two Player of the Month honors this season. In January, Vesey scored eight goals and had eight assists in nine games leading Harvard to a 6-3 record.
Over the last two seasons, senior forward Jimmy Vesey has led the nation in scoring.
Most Goals, Last Two Seasons
50 – Jimmy Vesey, Harvard (NSH)
43 – Sam Anas, Quinnipiac
39 – Ahti Oksanen, Boston University
39 – Ralph Cuddemi, Canisius
38 – Austin Ortega, Omaha
For the first time this season, Harvard student-athletes earned multiple weekly awards from the ECAC on Jan. 26. Senior co-captain Kyle Criscuolo, who scored the game-winners in the victories at Colgate and Cornell, was named the Player of the Week. Freshman forward Michael Floodstrandrecorded a goal and assist for the first multi-point game of his career to earn Rookie of the Week honors. Both awards were the first for each player.
Special Teams Success
Harvard's power play has been lethal this season, scoring on 29.5 percent of its opportunities (23-of-78), including its 3-of-4 showing Jan. 23 at Cornell. That conversion percentage leads the nation.
In addition to joining the top-10 ranks among Harvard's all-time goal scorers, Vesey also entered the top-20 of all-time point scorers this season. With 133 points he ranks 20th on Harvard's all-time list.
Ivy League Digital Network
The Ivy League Digital Network returns for a third season as the home for all live streaming and on-demand video content for each of the conference's eight institutions. Broadcast in full HD and featuring a live score bug and play-by-play and color commentary, the Ivy League Digital Network provides fans with unprecedented access to the Ancient Eight.
Harvard is proud to announce the addition of closed captioning for men's and women's hockey to make its Ivy League Digital Network broadcasts of those two teams accessible to all.
Closed captioning for the Crimson's hockey programs will be available on desktop and mobile devices. The service is provided by Vitac (vitac.com).