Yale (8-9-2) vs. Harvard (4-6-8)
Friday, 7:30 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Network
A win in the Ivy Shootout tournament and a 5-1-1 record to open the season had everyone thinking the Bulldogs were on track for another shot at the ECAC title and NCAA postseason. Consecutive shutouts over Colgate, RPI, and Union were demonstrative that Yale was primed to play both ends of the rink. However, non-conference losses to Sacred Heart, Boston College, and Massachusetts, as well as dropping league games to Quinnipiac, Clarkson, RPI, and Union have left the Bulldogs with an 4-8-1 record in their last 13, and in a tie for ninth in the ECAC, though they sit just eight points out of the top spot. It will certainly be a climb back up into the league’s elite, and a win over Harvard -- one point ahead and tied for sixth - would be a huge step on the way back to normalcy.
NCAA Hockey on NBC Sports Network
- Yale @ Harvard, Jan 27, 7:30 PM
- Cornell @ RPI, Feb. 3, 7:00 PM
- Boston College @ Vermont, Feb. 10, 7:00 PM
- Minnesota @ Denver, Feb. 10, 7:30 PM
- Dartmouth @ Yale, Feb. 17, 7:00 PM
- Boston U @ Vermont, Feb. 24, 7:00 PM
- North Dakota @ Denver, Feb. 24, 7:30 PM
- Denver @ Neb-Omaha, Mar. 2, 7:30 PM
Every point counts in hockey, though the Crimson may have taken that advice literally. Coach Ted Donato
’s crew started the season on an up-and-down ride, and went into the holiday break with a respectable 4-4-3 record, with three of those wins coming over league rivals Colgate, Clarkson, and Princeton. Since returning to campus, things have been more down than up. A tie and loss at North Dakota was a preview of a second half that has seen them go 0-3-5 thus far, though the six ECAC deadlocks have been enough to boost them into sixth place in a tight league. A few more wins, starting with their weekend series at home against Yale, could push them into ECAC home-ice territory.
INTRODUCTION TO STATISTICS:
Yale is led by a pair of small forwards who combine to be anything but diminutive. In fact, the symbiotic relationship between senior Brian O’Neill (12 goals, 22 points) and junior Andrew Miller
(4 goals, 18 points) has them both skirting the top-50 scorers in the nation. O’Neill is on track to top his career high in goals, while Miller could break his personal best in assists -- and both rank among national leaders in those categories. Junior Antoine Laganiere
(7 goals, 16 points) has been a welcome surprise with career-best numbers for the Bulldogs, while sophomore Kenny Agostino
(6 goals, 15 points) is following up his superb first season by continuing to develop into an offensive force. Defensively, Tom Fallen (3 goals, 14 points) has proven to be a big-time contributor from the blue line in his first year, which has certainly helped ease junior Jeff Malcolm into the starting position. The departure of Ryan Rondeau
raised the notion of inconsistency returning to the nets, but Malcolm (8-8-2, 2.60 goals-against average) has seized the opportunity and appears to have a strong grip.
Alex Killorn (11 goals, 23 points) has improved on his numbers in each of the last three seasons, and lucky for Havard, his senior year is no different. He’s the only Crimson scorer with a double-digit goal total, and his 7 power-play tallies lead the team and put him among national leaders. Junior defenseman Danny Biega
(4 goal, 20 points) and freshman Patrick McNally
(4 goals, 17 points) give Harvard one of the top blue-line tandems across the NCAA. Marshall Everson
(7 goals, 16 points) has already blown past his sophomore year totals, and third-year forward Alex Fallstrom (7 goals, 13 points) has career highs across the board. Colin Blackwell
(4 goals, 10 points) has shown some streakiness in his first college go-round, though his contributions can’t be overlooked. In net, freshman Steve Michalek (4-5-7, 3.10 GAA) has taken the reins, putting up solid numbers in a highly competitive league.
"Steve came in and he had to earn his spot. I think he’s really been playing unbelievable. He just makes you confident when you’re out there with him because you know he’ll make the big saves.
" -- Harvard freshman defenseman Patrick McNally
on classmate and Wild goalie prospect Steve Michalek
"He really stepped forward with his playmaking abilities, his skills around the net, really showed up. He's not a real flashy skater, but he has a knack around the net and hockey sense, and that really showed up.
" -- Penguins coach Dan Bylsma
on team prospect and Yale sophomore Kenny Agostino
Harvard has had 14 of its games decided by one goal or less en route to an NCAA-high eight ties on the season. Yale’s O'Neill and Miller have combined on the same goal 18 times, including nine of O’Neill’s tallies -- four of which came in one game against Bentley on Jan. 1. … Family Studies:
Bulldogs forward Tommy Fallen’s grandfather, James, played hockey for the Cleveland Barons in the 1950s. Harvard’s Danny Biega
is the younger brother of Alex Biega
, a Sabres' draft pick -- both played for the Crimson with their third brother, Michael. Tommy O'Regan's father, Tom, was a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins
, while Conor Morrison is the son of former NHLer Dave Morrison and the grandson of All-Star Jim Morrison
. … Global Studies:
The Harvard roster features players from Switzerland, Croatia, Sweden, the Czech Republic, and Canada, while Yale's Nicholad Weberg is the first Norwegian to play for the Bulldogs. … Trophy Case:
Harvard's McNally took home ECAC Rookie of the Month for December, and teammate Colin Blackwell
has received weekly rookie honors. Killorn and O’Neill have each taken Player of the Week honors this season. … Tale of the Tape:
Crimson goalie Michalek is one of the youngest players in the NCAA this season, only four months younger than Blackwell. The team has racked up the nation’s top power play, converting on over a third of their opportunities, though both of Yale's special teams rank in the top-10. Furthering the chess match is that both squads are among the NCAA's most disciplined teams, averaging about 12 PIMs per game.