After a humbling loss to archrival Yale, the No. 4/4 Harvard men’s ice hockey team (10-2-2, 6-1-2 ECAC) will look to rebound as it resumes conference play at the Bright-Landry Center this weekend against Clarkson and St. Lawrence.
The Stakes at Hand
While Harvard sits in second place in the ECAC, Clarkson (7-10-4, 4-3-2) and St. Lawrence (9-10-2, 5-4-0) lurk closely behind, as both squads are tied for fourth place in the conference. While the Crimson cannot surpass No. 12/12 Quinnipiac this weekend to move into first, the team is in danger of sliding down if it doesn’t come away from the weekend with at least one point.
The game also marks only the second time this year in which Harvard is coming off a loss. The Crimson won, 2-0, against Dartmouth, which ranks 10th in the ECAC, after the squad’s first loss to Yale on the year. This time, the task could be harder against a team with a realistic shot at earning a bye in the conference tournament.
Rediscovering Harvard’s Offensive Prowess
Harvard’s one goal output against the Bulldogs at Madison Square Garden was not indicative of the success the team has had on the year. In its last four conference games, the squad has averaged just under five goals per game.
The Crimson boasts two of the top ten goal scorers in the conference. Junior forward Jimmy Vesey finds himself tied for second with 11 goals on the year, despite having played seven fewer games than the other two players who have notched the same total. Sophomore forward Tyler Moy’s seven goals on the season has him tied for 10th in the conference.
Golden Knights’ Lost Momentum
After earning seven points in four straight ECAC games, Clarkson has dropped its last two conference tilts against Cornell and Colgate. In those two games, the Golden Knights found the back of the net only once after averaging more than two goals per game during their aforementioned four-game unbeaten streak.
But the team’s defense has played strong over those past six conference games, as the defensive unit led by sophomore goaltender Ville Runola has conceded an average of just over a goal per game.
Balanced Saints Attack
While Harvard has four of the 16 leading point scorers in the conference, St. Lawrence has to rely on a whole team effort, lacking a top-20 point scorer on its roster. The Saints’ leading point-getter, junior forward Brian Ward, is tied for 23rd in the ECAC. But despite the lack of superstar offensive players, St. Lawrence has managed to put up an average of 2.76 goals per game, good for fifth in the conference.
Stopping the offense isn’t the only adversity that faces the Crimson. St. Lawrence is anchored by freshman Kyle Hayton between the pipes, who owns the league’s third best save percentage of .934.
—Staff writer Kurt Bullard can be reached at email@example.com.