Harvard and St. Lawrence square off tonight at Appleton Arena, shown during a much colder time back in February.
The nation’s third best offense versus the ECAC’s top defense: something will have to give tonight in North Country.
At 7 p.m., the offense—that of the No. 8 Harvard men’s hockey team—will look to get the better of the defense—that of No. 19 St. Lawrence, at Appleton Arena. The Crimson (6-2-1, 2-1-1 ECAC) has averaged 4.22 goals per game so far this season, but the Saints (8-4-4, 5-0-2) have surrendered just a goal a game in conference play.
Senior forward Tyler Moy is tied for the team lead with six points through four games this season.
While ‘all’ eyes won’t be on the Harvard men’s hockey team until Saturday, the Crimson still has two important points to play for tonight in New Jersey. On the eve of the ECAC championship rematch between Harvard and Quinnipiac, the Crimson is set to take on Princeton at Hobey Baker Memorial Arena tonight at 7 p.m. EST.
“Friday night is an incredibly important game in the Ivy League,” Harvard coach Ted Donato ’91 said. “In the standings, it’s the same two points as any other game in the season—certainly the same two points as Saturday night.”
TALE OF THE TAPE
Harvard (3-0-1, 1-0-1 ECAC) enters tonight’s contest unbeaten through its first four games. After dominating possession in the attacking zone but struggling to find the back of the net in a 1-1 tie with Colgate last Friday, the Crimson bounced back with a 4-3 victory over rival Cornell behind the first career hat trick for sophomore forward Lewis Zerter-Gossage. As a result of the three points at home, Harvard jumped from No. 12 to No. 10 in both the USCHO and USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine polls.
Meanwhile, Princeton (0-3-0, 0-2-0) will be looking for its first win of the season in its home opener against the Crimson. In its first conference weekend of the year, the Tigers traveled nearly 400 miles to North Country, where they fell 4-0 to St. Lawrence on Friday and 4-2 to Clarkson the following night. Princeton’s slow start to the season on the surface is hardly surprising given that the Tigers were picked to finish last by both the coaches and the media of the ECAC. Yet in Princeton’s most recent matchup against the Golden Knights of Clarkson, the two teams were tied in the third period; additionally, the Tigers outshot both of their weekend opponents.
SCOUTING THE TIGERS
“I think Princeton has got a young team with good speed, good size,” Donato said. “They play very hard and are especially tough at home. I think it’s safe to say that all these Ivy League matchups bring a great amount of emotion and competitiveness to them, and I think that it’ll be a very hard fought, tight game.”
Thus far, Princeton’s exclusively sophomore top line has been responsible for practically all of the Tigers’ offensive production. Left wing Ryan Kuffner, who led the team with 20 points a year ago, has a goal and two assists; right wing Alex Riche scored Princeton’s only two goals in its season opener against Michigan State, then added an assist against Clarkson; and center Max Veronneau has logged three assists. Meanwhile, all the other forwards on the Tiger roster have combined for one point through three games.
Manning the Princeton net has been senior Colton Phinney. Largely because of a struggling blue line, Phinney led the ECAC in saves a season ago with 1058—a number that averages out to more than 35 a game. The last time Harvard played the Tigers at Hobey Baker Arena, Phinney eclipsed that average, stopping 39 of 40 shots against one of the top offenses in college hockey. But the Princeton offense left Phinney hanging. The Tigers were held scoreless, and once Phinney left his goal in favor of an extra skater, the Crimson added two empty-netters in what amounted to a 3-0 win for the visitors.
STATE OF THE CRIMSON
As for those visitors, they too received almost all of their offense from members of their first line last weekend. Co-captain Alexander Kerfoot picked up a goal and an assist over the two games, while sophomores Ryan Donato and Zerter-Gossage combined for seven points against Cornell alone.
Like Princeton, only one other forward got on the scoresheet over the weekend—senior Tyler Moy, who logged an assist in both games. Where the Crimson and Tigers differ, however, is in the fact that Harvard has seen what kind of potential its second line possesses. In the Crimson’s opening two games against Arizona State last month, Moy, Luke Esposito, and Sean Malone logged a total of 15 points. Granted, the level of competition is much higher in the ECAC, but that line likely will not remain quiet for long stretches of time.
Meanwhile on the defensive end, Ted Donato confirmed this week that sophomore D-man Adam Baughman has been a bit banged up. In the first game of the season, Baughman started alongside freshman Adam Fox on the Crimson’s second defensive pairing; but sophomore Jacob Olson has filled that spot in the three games since. Donato said he does not expect the injury, which remained undisclosed, to be long-term.
—Staff writer Jake Meagher can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @MeagherTHC.
Harvard’s elite contingent of professional athletes continue to make a substantial impact as we near the end of 2016.
JEREMY LIN ‘10
The Nets’ brand-new starting point guard and lone Ivy alum in the NBA, is off strong start in his seventh year in the league. Through four games, Lin is averaging 16.3 points, 6.5 assists, and 4.3 rebounds, all of which would be good for career-highs. A down year in Brooklyn figures to give Lin the opportunity to cement himself as a centerpiece of the team.
RYAN FITZPATRICK ’05
The former Crimson standout's struggles have been well-documented through the first eight weeks of the 2016 NFL season. A dismal performance against the Chiefs in Week 3—a game in which he went 20-for-44 in the air and threw six picks—helped lead to his league-leading 11 interceptions and lowest completion rate (56.1%) among QBs with at least 200 attempts. With replacement Geno Smith out for the season after tearing his ACL in Week 7, Fitzpatrick regained the chance to turn around the Jets disappointing 3-5 start after a 2015-16 resurgence.
JIMMY VESEY '16
The New York Rangers’ is tied for second in the NHL with six goals, trailing only Tampa Bay’s Steven Stamkos. Vesey’s rookie campaign is off to a flying start, and with nine points, the Boston native is already skating with the first line. The breakout left wing tallied three points last night against the Blues, scored and assisted in a 5-2 dismantling of his hometown Bruins Oct. 26, and netted two goals four days earlier against the Caps. It figures to be a race between Vesey and Toronto’s first overall selection Auston Matthews for the Calder Memorial Trophy, awarded to the rookie of the year.
While Men's Soccer's Jake Freeman took the top in this week's Athlete of the Week rankings, senior Robert Deng of Men's Golf and football junior Semar Smith both led their teams to strong performances this past week.
Robert Deng Men’s Golf
The Harvard men’s golf team defended its title in the Macdonald Cup at Yale this weekend, led by senior Robert Deng, who fired a career-low first round 65 (-5). He followed that round with scores of 71 (+1) and 69 (-1) en route to a 5-under-par finish through 54 holes. The Crimson put down 14 challenging teams, besting Ivy rival Yale in third-place by seven strokes, and fourth-place Princeton by eight.
The Course at Yale certainly suits Deng’s eye, as he followed up his second-place performances in 2014 and 2015 with a fourth-place result this year, finishing five strokes behind Boston College’s Matt Naumec.
After missing the team’s first event at Bethpage in New York, Deng has shown strong leadership throughout the fall season, also posting a T-3 finish at the Quechee Club Collegiate Challenge in late September, where participated as an individual.
Deng led Harvard to an overall even-par finish, four strokes ahead of runner-up Sterling University, who shipped in all the way from Scotland. The Crimson has a two-week layoff before heading to South Carolina for the Camden Collegiate Invitational at Camden Country Club.
Semar Smith Football
Junior Semar Smith led No. 16 Harvard (4-0, 2-0 Ivy League) to a 29-13 win over Cornell (3-1, 1-1) with 71 yards and a trio of touchdowns at Harvard Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Smith averaged 3.7 yards per carry on 19 attempts. Smith ran for his first touchdown on the last play of the first quarter, rushing four yards to the right side for the score.
With 9:19 left in the third quarter Smith extended Harvard’s lead to 20-7 with an untouched six-yard cutback run up the middle. He added a third touchdown with 7:28 to go in the fourth, an almost identical run to his score earlier in the half.
Smith’s patient style served him well in this game, allowing the play to develop before deciding to cutback. He is averaging 84.8 yards per game and 4.7 yards per carry on the season, and the Coral Springs, Florida has now tallied six touchdowns on the season. The Cornell game was Smith’s second multi-touchdown game—he scored two at Brown. The trusty Junior has 72 touches on the season and no fumbles.
Smith helped extend Harvard’s eleven-game winning streak over Cornell, the longest streak between the two schools since 1890.
Published by Cade Palmer
on September 27, 2016 at 8:03PM
While freshman standout Bente van Vlijmen earned Athlete of the Week honors for her three-goal weekend performance on the field hockey pitch, other Crimson athletes had solid games of their own.
PAIGE KEBE, OUTSIDE HITTER, WOMEN’S VOLLEYBALL
In its first Ivy League matchup of the season, the Harvard women’s volleyball team defeated rival Dartmouth with an offensive performance from junior outside hitter Paige Kebe.
Despite losing the conference opener to Dartmouth (6-5, 0-1 Ivy) in the two seasons prior to this one, Friday’s match was won handedly by the Crimson (3-7, 1-0) in three sets (27-25, 25-16, 25-23). Kebe led the team in kills with 11, while teammates sophomore Christina Cornelius, freshman Maclaine Fields and freshman Grace Roberts Burbank each added seven of their own. Kebe also tallied a dig, a block and, with her 26 total attempts, a hitting efficiency of .346. Overall, the junior hitter led the team with 11.5 points on the match.
With the win, Kebe’s kills for the season rise to 76, the second best for the team behind only Cornelius, who currently sits at 83. Now with 270 total attempts, her hitting efficiency has risen to .167 and her total points to 82.5, the third highest for the team.
This Friday, the women’s volleyball team looks to maintain their undefeated Ivy League record in a match at Princeton. The Tigers (7-3, 1-0) are also looking to sustain an unblemished conference record as they are coming off a close five-set victory against Penn.
DEFENSIVE BACKS, FOOTBALL
Traveling to Providence to play Brown in their annual Homecoming game, the Harvard football team (2-0, 1-0) held its pass-happy opponent to only three touchdowns through the air in the path to a 32-22 victory.
The Crimson’s defensive backs played a heavy hand in holding Brown (1-1, 0-1) standout senior receiver Alex Jette to 79 yards, in addition to intercepting quarterback Kyle Moreno on three separate occasions. The first of these came early in the second quarter at the hands of senior safety Kolbi Brown. Grabbing the ball at the Brown 45, the Crimson safety returned it to the 20, giving the offense the opportunity to capitalize on the turnover with a field goal.
Up 32-16 at the beginning of the fourth quarter, the Crimson defense struggled as the Bears marched down the field. As Brown drove to the Harvard 19, their offensive push was stopped with a well timed interception by junior safety Tanner Lee on the Crimson’s own two-yard line. Lee would return the ball 21 yards to the Harvard 23. However, the drive would end in a fumble for Harvard.
Again, Brown charged down field, stopped by yet another interception, this time by sophomore cornerback Wesley Ogsbury on the Harvard 37 yard-line. It would be these two late interceptions that kept the Brown offense at bay throughout the fourth quarter, securing the win for the Crimson.