RPI Awaits Men's Hockey in Shillelagh Tournament Final

Published by Jake Meagher on November 29, 2015 at 10:13PM
For All The Marbles

One day after knocking off Notre Dame in its Shillelagh Tournament opener, the Crimson will take on RPI in the championship game.

SOUTH BEND, Ind.—One week ahead of their scheduled Dec. 5 bout at Houston Field House in New York, the men’s hockey teams from Harvard and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute will get their first look at each other in the championship game of Notre Dame’s Shillelagh Tournament Saturday afternoon at 4:05 p.m.

The two ECAC heavyweights skate into the final after earning 4-1 wins in Friday’s opening round. RPI (8-4-2, 4-0-2) extended its unbeaten streak to nine games with its drubbing of Western Michigan in the first matchup of the day, while Harvard (5-1-1, 4-1-1) capitalized on nine Notre Dame penalties to knock off the hosts in the nightcap.

While the final of the holiday tournament will not count towards the ECAC standings, Saturday might not be the last time the two sides play for a trophy. Despite its predicted 10th place finish in both the preseason coaches’ and media polls, the Engineers have taken the ECAC by storm thus far in 2015, riding wins over Yale and St. Lawrence to the top of the leaderboard alongside unbeaten Quinnipiac.

The RPI offense starts with junior forward Riley Bourbonnais, who is tied for second in the ECAC with eight goals on the year. The Rochester, N.Y., native also ranks third in the ECAC in points—tied with Harvard’s Jimmy Vesey (13).

Bourbonnais is joined by sophomore Viktor Liljegren and senior Milos Bubela on the first line, the latter of whom returned to the lineup only recently after missing five games with a shoulder injury. Bubela ranks first among all active RPI skaters in goals and points with 22 and 47, respectively.

While the return of the veteran forward has helped solidify the Engineer first line, the loss of a rookie has left a hole further down the lineup. Earlier this week, second-line center Evan Tironese, who opened the year with seven points in seven games, was ruled out for the season.The ECAC Rookie of the Month in October took a hit from behind earlier in the season, and after being labeled day-to-day for a few weeks, RPI coach Seth Appert recently confirmed that Tironese’s rookie campaign has concluded.

Nonetheless, the depth of Appert’s squad has enabled the Engineers to beat the injury bug. Twelve different players have recorded five or more points thus far in 2015.

On Saturday, the well-rounded RPI attack will look to hand Crimson sophomore goaltender Merrick Madsen his first loss. Madsen, who now boasts a 4-0-0 record after his 29-save performance against Notre Dame Friday night, in all likelihood will get the start in net again as Harvard looks to add a trophy to its cabinet.

Madsen kept the Crimson in contention early on Friday, before a plethora of Notre Dame penalties allowed Harvard to pull away with three power-play goals. In order to stave off the Crimson, whose power-play unit ranks second in the nation, the Engineers will have to play more disciplined than usual, as RPI has racked up the most penalty minutes in the ECAC and eighth most in the country (14 per game).

—Check TheCrimson.com at 4:30 p.m. for live updates.

—Staff writer Jake Meagher can be reached at jake.meagher@thecrimson.com.

Three Things to Watch: Holy Cross

Published by David Freed on November 29, 2015 at 7:30PM

After getting its first victory over a Division I team, the Harvard men’s basketball team looks to win consecutive games for the first time all year when it travels to Holy Cross (2-3) Sunday. Staff writer David Freed has three things to watch as the Crimson kick off a month-long road trip.


Athlete of the Week Runners-Up: Week of November 23rd

Published by George Hu on November 29, 2015 at 6:25PM

Considering the magnitude of The Game, especially this year with Harvard chasing its third straight Ivy title, a standout performer on the football field against Yale was likely to take home Athlete of the Week honors. Justice Shelton-Moseley was the star to take advantage of the big stage, as he delivered several game-changing plays at the Yale Bowl on Saturday. Several other Crimson athletes had performances that were just as commendable, however, as they helped their respective teams secure strong finishes to their seasons.


Tweets of the Week

Published by George Hu on November 29, 2015 at 6:22PM

Harvard-Yale brings out the best in Tweeters across campus every year, and the 2015 edition of the rivalry game certainly didn’t disappoint. Several of the usual random tidbits from Harvard athletes also made the cut in November’s final Tweets of the Week, giving us a peek into their adventures on the T and in the dentist’s office.


Three Things To Watch: Bryant

Published by David Freed on November 26, 2015 at 11:18AM
Moment of Zen

Junior forward Zena Edosomwan has dominated the glass and leads the Crimson in rebounds, but has struggled at the foul line, shoot just over 50 percent from the charity stripe this season.

Men’s Basketball beat writer David Freed notes three things to watch in the lead up to the fifth game of the season for the 1-3 Crimson, who take on Bryant at 7 p.m. Eastern.

1. Struggles At the Point — Harvard coach Tommy Amaker was frank after freshman point guard Tommy McCarthy turned in a zero-assist, five turnover game Sunday at Boston College, noting that “it is a process for a young player”. McCarthy has been the starter in each of the four games but has struggled offensively, with 15 turnovers against 11 assists and 33 field goal misses against just nine makes. Backup junior Corbin Miller has been steadier, if unspectacular, in limited action with just four turnovers in 85 minutes. The Crimson enter a soft spot in their schedule with three winnable games against Bryant, Holy Cross, and Northeastern before traveling to Kansas. If McCarthy continues to struggle against easier competition, Amaker may consider moving to his more experienced backup.

2. Usage v. Efficiency — One of the perplexing conundrums for the Crimson through four games has been the offensive play of junior forward Zena Edosomwan. The former top-100 recruit has been a monster on the glass—averaging four more rebounds than anyone on the team—but offensively has been an enigmas. On a team that shoots just under 59 percent from the line, Edosomwan is a primary culprit, making just half of his 26 attempts, shooting nearly as well from the field (49 percent) as he does from the line. Given that Harvard’s starting backcourt is shooting just 30 percent combined, the team has not lost a step offensively by force-feeding the junior in the post, but the situation is one to monitor going forward.

3. Taking Care of the Ball — Amaker, a former point guard himself, always focuses on his team taking care of the ball. After the team turned it over 24 times against Holy Cross a year ago, he notes that “it is hard to think that you are going to be able to win, let alone have a chance to win, with that many turnovers”. In the past he has praised Siyani Chambers ’15-’16 for his steadiness at the point, keeping the team’s offense on track and under control. Without Chambers, the team’s assist-to-turnover ratio has slipped from 1.1 to 0.8. Freshman Corey Johnson is the only starter averaging more assists than turnovers. Look for it to be a focus of improvement moving forward.