Men’s Ice Hockey: Harvard Tries for Redemption over Northeastern

By: Dan Shulman

Harvard University vs. Northeastern University (Beanpot Consolation) February 8, 2016

ABOUT THE OPPONENTS: All-Time Series: Harvard 65-34-0

HARVARD: Location – Cambridge, MA.; Mascot – Crimson; This Year’s Record – 13-6-3 (9-4-3) 2-2-0 on neutral ice; Fun Fact – this will be the eighth straight consolation game for Harvard, going 4-3 in their previous seven.

NORTHEASTERN: Location – Boston, MA.; Mascot – Huskies; This Year’s Record – 9-13-5 (4-9-3 HEA), 1-2-0 on neutral ice; Fun Fact – Northeastern has finished fourth in the Beanpot 30 times.

PREVIEW

Harvard and Northeastern, following close defeats last week, will face off in the Beanpot Consolation Game. Harvard suffered a loss at the hands of Boston College this past Monday, 3-2. The Crimson played twice over the weekend, beating Brown on Saturday before losing to Yale on Saturday.

Northeastern had a rough start against BU last week, falling 3-1. On Friday, the Huskies looked to rebound against UMass-Lowell, and mustered a 2-2 tie against the high-powered Riverhawks.

The two teams last met in the first round of the 2014 Beanpot, with Northeastern winning in grand fashion, 6-0. The teams combined for 76 PIM in the game, mostly stemming from an altercation midway through the third period.

This season, Harvard is led by Hobey Baker candidate Jimmy Vesey. Scoring 18 times and recording 17 assists in 22 games this season, Vesey, a Nashville draft pick, is looking to reach the precipice of college hockey before the end of this, his senior season.

Defensively, Harvard is braced by 6’7” Wiley Sherman. The Bruins draft pick has registered eight points this season, is a +7, and has taken 27 shots of goal.

Merrick Madsen has played the majority of the minutes in goal for Harvard this season. Although, with two big ECAC games over the weekend, it is likely that freshman Michael Lackey could be between the pipes on Monday night. Lackey is 1-3-1 this season with a .887 SV% and a 3.27 GAA.

For Northeastern, John and Nolan Stevens have powered the Huskies offense with a combined 36 points (18G, 18A). The brothers have anchored the top line this season along with Zach Aston-Reese.

The blue-line unit is highlighted by senior Colton Saucerman. The senior has scored once and added seven assists this season. He is a +3 and has blocked 33 shots this season.

In the crease for the Huskies should be Ryan Ruck. The freshman has looked sharp this season, rising to prominence by claiming the starting job. Ruck boasts a .909 SV% and a 2.42 GAA along with one shutout through 21 games this season.

Puck drop is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. and can be seen live on NESN or TSN in Canada.

PREDICTION

Harvard is coming off two tough road games over the weekend at Ivy League foes Brown and Yale. Northeastern played just once up at UMass-Lowell. Despite the lack of rest, Harvard simply has too much talent for Northeastern. The Huskies defense will have difficulty stopping Jimmy Vesey and the Crimson top three.

THREE KEYS TO THE GAME

  1. First Period

Harvard is +13 in the first period while Northeastern is -17. The Huskies had difficulty in the first period against BU while Harvard led BC after twenty minutes. This period will be the difference maker in the consolation game.

  1. Special Teams

Harvard’s 30.67% power play was stifled by the razor sharp BC penalty kill, but could have a field day against Northeastern’s dismal 80% penalty kill.

  1. Fore-checking

Harvard sends a three man forecheck against opponents while Northeastern opts for two. Harvard may get caught being too aggressive and be forced to handle many of Northeastern’s odd-man rushes.

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