Harvard men's ice hockey continues ECAC Hockey play with games against Princeton and Quinnipiac this weekend. (Gil Talbot)
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- Harvard men's ice hockey returns to Bright-Landry Hockey Center to host Princeton (Fri, 7 p.m.) and Quinnipiac (Sat., 3:30 p.m.) this weekend, with games airing on NESN. The Crimson looks to continue an impressive run against the Tigers, as Harvard has won nine straight in the series against Princeton, a streak that dates back to Nov. 16, 2013.Harvard has won three straight games against Quinnipiac, including a 6-2 road win on Dec. 1, with Ryan Donato recording his first hat trick of the year in that contest.
The First Line
• Harvard is 4-1-0 on home ice this season (all in league play), and 18-1-3 overall in its last 22 games against ECAC Hockey opponents at Bright-Landry Hockey Center. Since the start of the 2014-15 season, Harvard is 45-21-10 in ECAC Hockey play overall.
• Senior goaltender Merrick Madsen has been excellent in net for Harvard in its recent unbeaten run. Over the last four games, Madsen is 3-0-1 with a 1.43 goals against average and .955 save percentage, including a 32-save performance in a 3-0 shutout win against RPI last Friday.
• The accolades are rolling in for junior forward Ryan Donato, who had a career high 14-game point streak (14 goals, eight assists) to open the season, and is fourth in the nation with an average of 1.47 points per game and tops in the country with a .93 goals per game. His 14-game point streak and six-game goal streak which ended on Tuesday were the longest at Harvard since Jimmy Vesey '16 had a 20-game point streak to start the 2014-15 season, which included an eight-game goal scoring streak. Donato was named the HCA National Player of the Month for December and was also named ECAC Hockey Player of the Month.
A streak of four straight NCAA Tournament appearances was snapped last season, but Quinnipiac returns with a formidable roster, including preseason All-ECAC Hockey selection, junior defenseman Chase Priskie (five goals, nine assists). Freshman Odeen Tufto (four goals, 16 assists) is off to a fast start, as is sophomore goaltender Andrew Shortridge (7-9-2, 2.29 GAA, four shutouts).
The Quinnipiac Series
Series Record: Harvard leads, 14-13-4
Last Five Meetings:
Mar. 19, 2016 – L, 4-1
Nov. 12, 2016 – L, 4-2
Jan. 6, 2017 – W, 5-2
Mar. 17, 2017 – W, 4-1
Dec. 1, 2017 - W, 6-2
The Last Meeting, Quinnipiac
On Dec. 1, 2017, junior forward Ryan Donato notched his second career hat trick, and goaltender Michael Lackey made a career high 41 saves to lead Harvard to a 6-2 win at Quinnipiac. Senior defenseman Wiley Sherman, junior forward Lewis Zerter-Gossage, and senior forward Seb Lloyd added goals for Harvard.
After a 10-win improvement last season, Princeton looks to continue its upward trend under fourth-year head coach Ron Fogarty. The Tigers are led by preseason All-ECAC Hockey selection, junior forward Max Verroneau, who has 21 points (nine goals, 11 assists) in 18 games so far this season. Junior forward Ryan Kuffner (11 goals, eight assists), who led the team in goals and points last year, is also a force up front, as is senior forward David Hallisey (11 goals, seven assists)
The Princeton Series
Series Record: Harvard leads, 156-58-11
Last Five Meetings:
Nov. 14, 2016 – W, 3-0
Jan. 29, 2016 – W, 4-1
Nov. 11, 2016 – W, 5-2
Jan. 7, 2017 – W, 5-2
Dec. 2, 2017 - W, 5-2
The Last Meeting, Princeton
On Dec. 2, 2017, freshman defenseman Reilly Walsh and junior forward Ryan Donato each had a goal and an assist, and junior goaltender Michael Lackey made 23 saves to lead Harvard to a 5-2 win at Princeton at Hobey Baker Rink. A late second period burst and great goaltending by Lackey in the third period proved to be the difference for the Crimson.
Donato, Welch '05 Receive Olympic Call
Junior forward Ryan Donato and former Harvard standout Noah Welch '05 will represent the United States in men's ice hockey at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, USA Hockey announced on Jan. 1. Donato and Welch were selected to the 25-man roster that will make-up the 2018 U.S. Olympic Men's Ice Hockey Team, released during the NHL Winter Classic. Donato, a native of Scituate, Mass., is in the midst of his best individual season with the Crimson, recording a point in all 12 games to start the season and leading the team with 20 points (12 goals, eight assists). Welch, a two-time All-American and standout defenseman at Harvard, captained the Crimson as a senior in 2004-05. The Brighton, Mass., native registered 76 points (23 goals, 53 assists) in 129 career games. Team USA will gather for its first practice in South Korea approximately a week before competition begins on Feb. 10. Harvard men's hockey is no stranger to the Winter Olympics, with 28 men's hockey alumni selected as a coach, player, or member of team personnel of their respective national teams, including current head coach Ted Donato '91, who represented the U.S. at the 1992 Winter Olympics in Albertville.
Fox at World Juniors
Harvard will have the services of sophomore forward Adam Fox, who won a bronze medal at the IIHF World Junior Championships, one year after winning goals with Team USA. Fox, who competed a the tournament in Buffalo from Dec. 26-Jan. 5, was the team's top socring defensemen with five points (goal, four assists), including the game-winning goal in Team USA's 5-4 win against Finland on Dec. 31. Fox was named one of the team's most valuable players.
Oh Captains, My Captains
Seniors Eddie Ellis, Jake Horton, and Merrick Madsen will lead the squad this season as captains. All Harvard varsity captains are elected by their teammates. This marks the first time in program history that Harvard has elected three men's hockey captains.
Harvard is 21-1-3 in its last 25 games at Bright-Landry Hockey Center, a run that dates back to Feb. 12, 2016. The Crimson was unbeaten at the Bright-Landry Hockey Center last season, going 13-0-2. The last time Harvard finished a season unbeaten at home was 1993-94 when it went 10-0-3. Since extensive renovations were completed prior to the start of the 2014-15 season, the Crimson is 33-8-6 on its home ice.
Several of Harvard's freshmen have made an immediate impact. Forward Henry Bowlby leads the team with a +11 rating and has 10 points (five goals, five assists). Forward Jack Badini has nine points (four goals, five assists), and defenseman Reilly Walsh leads all Harvard blueliners with 10 points (three goals, seven assists) including a team high three power play goals.
Dominant on Draws
Freshman center Jack Badini leads the team and is third in ECAC Hockey at 60.4% on faceoffs this season. Badini is No. 8 in the nation on draws. Junior forward Ryan Donato, who made the switch to center this season, has also been solid in the faceoff circle with a 54.2% win rate on draws through 15 games this year.
Strong on the PK
Harvard's penalty kill has been excellent through 15 games this season. Currently, Harvard ranks 10h in the nation at 86.0% (49-for-57) on the kill, including nine games this season where the Crimson has not allowed a power play goal.
Senior co-captain Merrick Madsen has been selected as one of the 20 candidates for the Senior CLASS Award for men's collegiate hockey. To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence: community, classroom, character and competition.
NHL In The Family
Ryan Donato, Jack Donato, Ty Pelton-Byce, and Reilly Walsh are sons of former NHLers. Ted Donato, Harvard's current head coach, played 13 years in the NHL, while John Byce played parts of two seasons with the Bruins and a decade playing professionally. Mike Walsh played parts of two seasons wth the New York Islanders and had a nine-year pro career.
The class of 2018 has 75 wins in three-plus seasons at Harvard and could surpass the most wins for a senior group since the class of 2006 had 82, and the most in the last 20 years of any senior class.
While Harvard lost its top three scorers from 2016-17, four of its top eight scorers are back. Leading the group is junior Ryan Donato who was fourth on the team with 40 points (21-19--40) and second in goal-scoring last year and sophomore defenseman Adam Fox (6-34-40), who led all blueliners in the nation in scoring.
Senior goaltender Merrick Madsen has etched his name in the Harvard record books. Madsen has three shutouts (Dartmouth, Brown, Rensselaer) in 10 starts this season bringing his career total to 10 (Second in Harvard history). With 28 wins last season, he had the most wins by a Harvard goaltender in a single season, passing Grant Blair '86, who had 24 in 1985-86. Madsen will leave Harvard as one of the program's greatest goaltenders. He is currently third on the all-time wins list (51), moving into sole possession of third with his 50th career win against Rensselaer, and entered the year second on the career goals-against average list (2.04), and first on the career save percentage list (.927).
Madsen in Minny
Madsen made a career high 48 saves in Harvard's 2-1 (ot) loss at Minnesota on Nov. 18, He had the most saves in a game by a Harvard goaltender since Raphael Girard made 48 saves in a win against Yale on March 10, 2012 (4th most in a game all-time).
Donato A High Volume Shooter
Opposing goaltenders can expect to see a lot of Ryan Donato on a nightly basis. Donato leads the team with 75 shots on net in 15 games (5.00 per game/2nd NCAA) The junior forward was second in the country with a 5.14 shots per game average last year. He ripped off a season-high 13 shots during his four-goal showing against Union last season on Feb. 10, 2017 when he became the first Harvard skater since Connor Morrison on Nov. 24, 2009 to score four goals in a game. That number was the highest since Jimmy Vesey '16 had 13 against Rensselaer Feb. 12, 2016.
2016-17: A Year To Remember
• Harvard had a 28-6-2 overall record, the most wins since the 1988-89 season (31) and the fewest losses in Division I college hockey. The Crimson earned its 13th Frozen Four appearance and first since 1994.
• Harvard won its 10th ECAC Hockey Tournament title and second in the last three years (2015, 2017). The title was the third under head coach Ted Donato '91 (2006, 2015, 2017).
• Harvard won a share of its 14th ECAC regular season title, the most in the conference, hoisting its first Cleary Cup (named for legendary student-athlete, coach and administrator William J. Cleary, Jr. '56) since 1993-94.
• The Crimson earned its first outright Ivy League title since 2006. Harvard has 23 Ivy League titles to its credit since the league began recognizing an official conference champion in ice hockey in 1956.
• Harvard snapped a 24-year Beanpot drought (1993) with its 6-3 victory over Boston University on Feb. 13, 2017 at TD Garden. The championship marked the 11th in the storied history of the tournament for Harvard. Nathan Krusko earned tournament MVP honors, scoring twice and dishing out an assist in the championship game.
• The Crimson was unbeaten at the Bright-Landry Hockey Center last season, going 13-0-2.
• Adam Fox was named 2016-17 CCM/AHCA first team East All-American and Alexander Kerfoot was selected to the second team.
• Fox was named the ECAC Hockey Rookie of the Year. Fox and Alexander Kerfoot were selected to the All-ECAC Hockey first team, forward Ryan Donato was tabbed to the second team and goaltender Merrick Madsen earned a spot on the third team.
• Goaltender Merrick Madsen etched his name in the Harvard record books. With 28 wins on the season, Madsen recorded the most wins by a Harvard goaltender in a single season, passing Grant Blair '86, who had 24 in 1985-86.
• Harvard had an 18-game unbeaten streak (17-0-1) dating from Jan. 20 to its Frozen Four appearance. It was the longest such streak in program history and the longest in the nation during the 2016-17 season.
Through 15 games, senior defenseman Wiley Sherman leads the team with 30 blocked shots, while senior captain Jake Horton is tops among Harvard forwards with 23 blocked shots, while junior defenseman Jacob Olson has 19 blocked shots and sophomore defenseman Adam Fox also has 19 blocked shots.
Harvard placed 27 student-athletes on the ECAC Hockey All-Academic team, the most of any school in the conference. Harvard was led by senior Thomas Aiken, who earned a spot on the Commissioner's List as the top scholar for Harvard in 2016-17.
Ivy League Network
The Ivy League Network returns for a fourth 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 Network provides fans with unprecedented access to the Ancient Eight conference's eight institutions.