Alex Killorn Makes Harvard History with Finals Run

Published by Michael D. Ledecky on June 19, 2015 at 5:26PM
Killorn's Playoffs

Killorn's image and number are projected onto the ice of Amalie Arena in Tampa, Fla., before Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final on June 13.

Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews hoisted his third Stanley Cup in six years on Monday, putting the cap on a championship series that started with a goal by a Harvard man.

On June 3, Tampa Bay Lightning center and former Crimson men’s ice hockey standout Alex Killorn ’12 drew the first strike of the Finals on a crafty backhanded redirect with his back to the net. Despite his side’s decisive Game 6 loss 12 days later, the fourth-year pro has already established his place among Harvard hockey’s most successful alumni.

Here are a few notes on how Killorn’s postseason accomplishments stack up against the 26 other Crimson icemen who have seen playing time in the National Hockey League:

- His Game 1 score was the first goal scored by a Harvard alum in a Stanley Cup Final. Killorn added a second tally in Game 5 to become the first Crimson alum with multiple goals or assists in a final.

- His 2015 postseason scoring totals (9 goals, 9 assists, 18 points) are all single-postseason records among the 12 Harvard alumni who have played in the NHL postseason.

- Through five playoff series appearances over two postseasons, Killorn has 10 playoff goals, second only to veteran forward Dominic Moore ’03 (11 goals) on the Harvard all-time list. Killorn has played in only 30 playoff games to Moore’s 88.

- Killorn’s game-winning goal in Game 7 of the 2015 Eastern Conference Final marked the second consecutive year in which a Harvard alum scored the series-clinching goal of a conference final. In 2014, Moore scored the lone goal of Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Final to send the New York Rangers to the league final. Since the NHL permanently moved to a conference championship playoff format for the 1981-1982 season, no two other players from the same collegiate or major junior program have scored conference championship-clinching goals in consecutive seasons.

- Killorn and Moore’s matchup in the Eastern Conference Final this year was the second meeting between former Harvard players in a conference final and the fourth in the playoffs overall. Don Sweeney ’88 defeated Neil Sheehy ’83 in 1990 when the Boston Bruins topped the Washington Capitals in the Wales Conference Final. Moore has faced Pittsburgh Penguins veteran Craig Adams ’99 in an Eastern Conference semifinals series twice—once as a member of the Montreal Canadiens (2010) and once as a member of the New York Rangers (2014).

- Killorn’s appearance in the Stanley Cup Final was the eighth by a Harvard alum, following that of George Owen ’28 (1929, 1930), Sweeney (1990), Adams (2006, 2008, 2009), and Moore (2014). Owen won the Cup as a rookie with the Boston Bruins in 1929, while Adams has won twice—once with the Carolina Hurricanes in 2006 and once with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2009.

Adding to his list of accomplishments, Killorn also earned a Harvard shout-out on a Tampa church’s bulletin board and a USA Today blog post on his incredible playoff mustache.