Facing two ECAC opponents this weekend, the Crimson men’s hockey team will attempt to replicate last week’s win over Dartmouth. Harvard (1-0, 1-0 ECAC) will face Colgate (2-2-3) tonight and archrival No. 5 Cornell (1-0) on Saturday.
The two New York road contests will be the first games away from the Bright Hockey Center this season. Last year, the Crimson went 0-11-5 away from home. With this in mind, the players acknowledge the added challenge of attaining victories this weekend.
“We’re just going to focus on playing strong and hard hockey,” sophomore forward Alex Killorn said. “It’s a little different playing away, but we’re just taking it game by game.”
The game against Cornell, one of the nation’s best teams, will take place in a sold out Lynah Rink. Contests with the Big Red have been historically tough. Last year, Harvard split with Cornell, losing 2-1 in Ithaca and capturing a 4-2 win in Cambridge.
While the Crimson men say they treat each game with equal importance, Saturday’s face-off with a long-time nemesis will demand a distinct effort from all fronts. Harvard defenseman will look to control dangerous attackers Colin Greening and Riley Nash, who was voted preseason All-ECAC. Cornell’s Ben Scrivens, among the nation’s best goaltenders, is also bound to be a strong force between the pipes.
Junior forward Michael Biega believes that the key to emerging victorious this weekend is controlling the flow of the game.
“We want to be able to dictate the speed of play, so we need to come out fast,” said Biega, who notched two assists last week.
Harvard started the ECAC schedule off strong, controlling play in the opening period against Dartmouth and holding a 13-5 shots-on-goal advantage. The squad showed offensive aggression all night, with Killorn leading the way with two goals. Richter remained solid in net, stopping 41 shots.
Captain Alex Biega called on all segments of the team to be effective this weekend.
“We have to use our speed offensively and take advantage of our defensemen,” Alex Biega said. “And we need to be strong on special teams and power plays.”
Last week against the Big Green, Harvard’s special teams were an essential part of the victory. The Crimson went two for three on the power play, while Dartmouth went one-for-four.
“The power play was the difference between winning and losing against Dartmouth, and it could quite possibly be a factor [again],” Alex Biega said.
Killorn’s second tally against the Big Green came on the power play. He shot a loose puck into the net after junior defenseman Chris Huxley centered it from the left side, and sophomore forward Daniel Moriarty deflected it to the right side, where Killorn was waiting.
“In tight games, [the powerplay] is huge,” Killorn said. “We don’t want to put them in power play too often, but if we get the opportunity, we’ll score some goals.”
Despite a highly anticipated Big Red contest, the Crimson emphasizes that they cannot look past Friday’s game against a Colgate team with an undeniable level of skill.
“They’re obviously a very strong team and they’ve played good teams so far,” Alex Biega said.
Colgate tied No. 15 Nebraska-Omaha on October 16th and lost to No. 13 University of Massachusetts at Lowell by two goals a week later.