Shinny in Minny: Previewing Men's Hockey's Trip Up To Minnesota for a Weekend Back-to-Back

Published by Stuti R. Telidevara on November 16, 2017 at 7:08PM
Gotta Lotta Energy

Harvard will be looking to harness more of the energy pictured above, after junior forward Ryan Donato's goal at Colgate last weekend.

The last time the Harvard men’s hockey team played at the University of Minnesota, Jimmy Vesey ’16 hadn’t won his Hobey Baker yet.

In Jan., 2016, the Crimson faced off against the Gophers in the championship game of the Mariucci Classic—Minnesota’s four-school invitational named for its raucous home rink. History was not on Harvard’s side. In fact, in the four meetings between the two teams since the Crimson’s NCAA championship win against them in 1989, the Gophers had always come away with victory. Harvard’s record in the Mariucci Classic overall was relatively unimpressive, having never finished better than last.

The teams’ most recent showdown saw leads gained and lost. The Crimson jumped ahead, 2-0, by the second period, but before long it stared down a 3-2 deficit with less than a minute left in regulation. The Harvard icemen rose to the occasion. Two-time captain Kyle Criscuolo ’16 played the hero, tying the game at 19:26 of the third frame and scoring the overtime winner.

The No. 13/11 Crimson (2-3-0, 2-3-0 ECAC) will need some heroics to get past the No. 7/6 Gophers (7-4-1, 3-2-1 Big Ten) this weekend. In 69 years and 29 games of series history, Harvard has never beaten Minnesota on the road in regulation. The Gophers are coming off a frustrating weekend against conference rival Michigan, scoring 10 goals in two games but earning just one point from their offensive efforts. They are certainly primed for a bounceback, however, with undeniable offensive talent in sophomore forward Rem Pitlick, who boasts a team-leading 14 points, and freshman forward Casey Mittelstadt, the 8th overall pick in last year’s NHL Entry Draft. The keystone to this high-flying offensive unit is 2017 First Team All-American and Hobey Baker Finalist, junior Tyler Sheehy.

Minnesota’s firepower up front could present a particularly unique challenge for the Crimson: the Gophers play on an Olympic ice sheet—a wider surface encouraging more skating and providing more time for clever decision making with the puck. To adjust to the foreign dimensions, Harvard practiced on Wednesday at the local Belmont Hill School’s rink, which boasts an Olympic-sized surface.

All the hype about offensive firepower should not detract from both teams’ sturdy netminder play. The Crimson will also face one of the nation’s most experienced goaltenders in Minnesota’s Eric Schierhorn (7-4-1, 2.39 GAA, .913 SV%), who is fresh off his Big Ten Goaltender of the Year campaign. The senior has backstopped the Gophers in every game of the season. Harvard is just as qualified in net, though. Tri-captain Merrick Madsen (2-3-0, 2.01 GAA, .913 SV%) is its last line of defense, and his performance will be crucial to the outcome of the weekend’s double-header.

All in all, the Crimson faces an uphill climb as it begins non-conference play and enters the thick of a nine-game road series. Trying to dig its way out of a sub-.500 start to the season, Harvard will need to generate more offense than it has to date, notching just 2.60 goals per game through five contests. This middling scoring pace (39th in NCAA) pales in comparison to last year’s dynamic offensive team, who averaged over four strikes per game.

This weekend should also be a nice homecoming for Crimson skaters Henry Bowlby, Benjamin Foley, Jacob Olson, and tri-captain Jake Horton, who are all local to the Minnesota area.

Grabbing the Gold: Star Fencer Eli Dershwitz Finds International Success Representing Team USA

Published by Leon K. Yang on November 13, 2017 at 8:31PM

Junior Eli Dershwitz, in the midst of an impressive career of fencing at Harvard, is also an established prominent figure on the international stage. No stranger to world competitions, the Sherborn, Mass. native recently set out overseas searching for more glory.

Dershwitz competed in the Senior World Cup Algeria from Nov. 3-5, where, out of 132 fencers, he captured a gold medal in the sabre category for the United States. The medal was his second career gold on the world circuit.

The result propelled him to a sensational ranking of 10th in the world by the International Fencing Federation. In addition, Dershwitz is the youngest of the top 25 sabre fencers in the world.

In the three-day competition held in Algiers, Algeria, Dershwitz beat Russia’s Veniamin Reshetnikov in the semifinals, 15-14, and Italy’s Enrico Berre, 15-9, in the finals.

Dershwitz’s impressive line of achievements stretch well before his time at Harvard. In 2012, he won a silver medal at the Junior World Championships. In 2013, Dershwitz won gold at the Sosnoweic Junior World Cup. In 2014, he contributed to winning a bronze medal for the United States at the Junior World Championships and won the gold medal at the Budapest Junior World Cup.

In 2015, Derschwitz captured the gold at the Junior World Championships and followed up with a gold medal at the National Division I Championships. In 2016, he was named to the U.S. Olympic Team a finished 19th at the Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro. He became the seventh fencer in Crimson history to compete in the Olympics; at the age of 20, he was the youngest on the American team. In March of that year, he won his first grand prix medal.

In 2017, Dershwitz competed at the World Cup in Madrid, where he won a silver medal; this was his first individual medal on the world stage.

Dershwitz’s career at Harvard has been equally illustrious. As co-captain of the fencing team, he has already acquired first team All-Ivy and All-American honors in both his freshman and sophomore campaigns. In his freshman year, he finished with an 84-14 record, including an impressive 15-0 performance at the Ivy League Round Robbins, leading to the Crimson’s Ivy League Title victory. At the NCAA Championships, he finished third.

In his sophomore year, Dershwitz finished with a 69-10 record in the regular season and became the Men’s Sabre Ivy League Champion. He earned a gold medal at the NCAA Regionals Championship, which qualified him for the NCAA Championships. At the NCAA Championships, Dershwitz bested his previous year’s performance, becoming the NCAA Champion in men’s sabre, becoming the first individual to win a title for Harvard since 2007.

Tweets of the Week

Published by Eamon J. McLoughlin on November 13, 2017 at 5:44PM

Here's all the best from your favorite Harvard athletes this past week:

6. “Congrats to Eli Dershwitz for winning gold for the U.S. at the Senior World Cup in Algeria this weekend! #GoCrimson” - Harvard Fencing (@goHFTweet)

And I thought my trip into Boston over the weekend was a journey to a faraway land. Oh well. Congrats Eli!

5. “Walked through some ruins in Pompeii followed by a hike up a volcano at Mt. Vesuvius. Just arrived in Rome.” - Marc Mangiacotti, Men’s Track and Field Coach (@MarcMangiacotti)

You know what they say Marc, when in Rome, walk through some ruins or hike up a volcano or something.

4. “Don’t worry, do what you’re suppose to do and all will fall into place” - Rio Haskett, Men’s Basketball (@MohTG_)

As finals loom on the horizon, I think we could all take a page from Rio’s book and try to calm down.

3. “A woman at the train station thought I was 19. Am I at that age yet where I should be happy that I look younger?" - Amanda Sobhy, Women’s Squash Alum (@itssobhytime)

That’s a good question, Amanda. A better one might be why was a random woman at the train station trying to guess your age?

2. “Imagine if all unhealthy food was healthy and vice versa. So eating right would be pizza, gummies, ice cream and fries. And a cheat meal would be...kale lol #ifonly #maybeinheaven #rehabthoughts” - Jeremy Lin, Men’s Basketball Alum (@JLin7)

A true jack of all trades. He doesn’t just hoop, he obviously still thinks deeply about the big issues in his free time. Thanks for this Jeremy, it really got the cranium cranking.

1. “I want stroke me as my walkup song but I don't think that will go over well” - Elizabeth Shively, Softball (@LizAShively)

Why would that not go over well, Elizabeth? I can’t see anything wrong with that plan whatsoever.

Ranking Men's Basketball's Nonconference Opponents: No. 4

Published by Stephen J. Gleason on November 11, 2017 at 6:44PM
From Way Down Town

Junior guard Corey Johnson leads all Harvard upperclassmen in minutes.

In a series that began on Sunday and will continue through the Crimson’s season opener on Nov. 10 against MIT, men’s basketball beat writer Stephen Gleason will look at Harvard’s 13 nonconference opponents. Coming in at No. 4 is Vermont.

No. 13: MIT

No. 12: Holy Cross

No. 11: Fordham

No. 10: Manhattan

No. 9: Massachusetts

No. 8: Wofford

No. 7: Northeastern

No. 6: George Washington

No. 5: Boston University


2017-2018 Matchup: Tuesday, January 2 at Lavietes Pavilion (7:00 p.m.)

2016-2017 Record: 29-6 overall, 16-0 America East Conference

2016-2017 Matchup: Vermont, 82, Harvard, 71

Head Coach: John Becker (7th season)

Key Returning Players: sophomore forward Anthony Lamb (was the team’s leading scorer as a freshman and provides length along the perimeter, also averaged 5.5 rebounds a season ago); redshirt senior forward Payton Henson (averaged 11.5 points per game to go with 5.3 rebounds, will have to step up in an undersized Vermont frontcourt); senior guard Trae Bell-Haynes (the team’s quarterback on both ends of the floor, a lot of big game experience, on a list by Jay Bilas, along with Lamb, as one of the nation’s most underrated players)

Stat to Watch: 84: the number of days in between losses by the Catamounts a season ago; Vermont lost to Butler in December before reeling off 21 straight victories

Overview: Vermont caught the eyes of the nation a season ago after its 21-game winning streak. The Catamounts have a chance to be even better this season as John Becker returns his four top scorers from a season ago. This team is one of the nation’s top mid-majors and is facing a challenging nonconference schedule that includes Kentucky, Marquette, and Yale. Its matchup with the Crimson may be the best between two New England teams this season.

—Staff writer Stephen J. Gleason can be reached at

Ranking Men's Basketball's Nonconference Opponents: No. 3

Published by Stephen J. Gleason on November 11, 2017 at 6:35PM
Zach Attack

Senior guard Zach Yoshor is one of just three Crimson players who has been on a team that has made the NCAA Tournament.

In a series that began on Sunday and will continue through the Crimson’s season opener on Nov. 10 against MIT, men’s basketball beat writer Stephen Gleason will look at Harvard’s 13 nonconference opponents. Coming in at No. 3 is St. Mary’s.

No. 13: MIT

No. 12: Holy Cross

No. 11: Fordham

No. 10: Manhattan

No. 9: Massachusetts

No. 8: Wofford

No. 7: Northeastern

No. 6: George Washington

No. 5: Boston University

No. 4: Vermont

Saint Mary’s

2017-2018 Matchup: Thursday, November 23 at Titan Gym, Fullerton, Calif. (4:00 p.m.)

2016-2017 Record: 29-5 overall, 16-2 West Coast Conference

2016-2017 Matchup: N/A

Head Coach: Randy Bennett (17th season)

Key Returning Players: Sr. C Jock Landale (arguably the top big man that Harvard will face this season, averaged 16.9 points and 9.5 rebounds per game a season ago, first team All-WCC and AP Honorable Mention); Sr. G Emmett Naar (two-year starter at point guard, averaged 5.6 assists per game, team’s top returner in minutes and assists); Sr. F Calvin Hermanson (43 percent three-point shooter, averaged 13.1 points per game a season ago)

Stat to Watch: 14.5: The Gaels outscored their opponents by an average of 14.5 points per game last season.

Overview: St. Mary’s has been one of the most successful and consistent Division I programs over the last ten seasons. The Gaels have won 20 or more games each season in the last decade and should be a top mid-major program again this season. Landale is an All-American candidate and Emmett Naar will lead the backcourt. While this team isn’t particularly deep, it makes up for it in experience. Randy Bennett will likely start five upperclassmen, including Cullen Neal, a graduate transfer from Ole Miss who is a sniper from three-point range. Neal will bolster a sweet-shooting unit that was 39.4 percent from long range a season ago.

—Staff writer Stephen J. Gleason can be reached at