NEW HAVEN, Conn. - A first-round playoff series win last week gets the Bulldogs a shot at ECAC Hockey's top seed this weekend. The No. 8 seed Yale men's hockey team (13-13-5) visits No. 1 Harvard this weekend in a best-of-three quarterfinal playoff series at Bright-Landry Hockey Center. The Crimson (22-5-2), ranked No. 2 in both national polls, and the Elis drop the puck in game one on Friday night at 7 in a contest airing live on Boxcast. To watch the broadcast, go to the Yale schedule and click on the video link.
There have been 254 Yale-Harvard meetings in eight different cities. The first was Feb. 26, 1900, in New York, a 5-4 Yale victory. Harvard leads the series 143-90-21, but the Bulldogs are 11-3-3 over the last five seasons.
At Boston: Patrick Spano made 33 saves and Ted Hart scored the goal in Yale's 1-1 overtime draw at Boston on Jan 21. The visitors scored late (16:44) and the home team scored even later (17:53) to send it to extra time… At New Haven: Yale had a 23-20 edge in shots but Harvard won 4-2 on Feb. 17. Andrew Gaus and John Hayden scored while Patrick Spano made 16 saves.
THIS YEAR COMBINED
Harvard outshot Yale 54-51 while having the edge in scoring 5-3. The Elis went scoreless on seven advantages compared to a 2-for-10 mark for the Crimson.
The Bulldogs and Crimson have played 14 times in the ECAC playoffs and Harvard has won 10 games. The Elis are 3-2 at home against the Cantabs and 1-8 at Boston. This is the fourth quarterfinal series between the two rivals with Yale looking for its first advancement.
IN THE ECAC TOURNEY
Keith Allain's overall ECAC Tournament record as head coach is 22-18 (16-8 at New Haven) over 10-plus seasons and includes championships in 2009 and 2011. The Blue was not as successful in the conference post-season before his arrival. Yale's first ECAC playoff game was a 4-2 loss at St. Lawrence in a single-game, first-rounder in 1967. The Elis didn't return to post-season play until 1979, a 9-2 loss at New Hampshire. The Bulldogs have played 93 ECAC tournament games and are 33-55-5 overall, including a 15-33-4 mark in quarterfinal rounds.
Yale is coming off a home sweep of Dartmouth in the first round, including scores of 6-1 and 3-2 (OT). Mike Doherty led the Blue with three goals and five points, while Sam Tuckerstopped 68 of 71 shots to earn both wins between the pipes. The Big Green had a 71-70 edge in shots combined, but the Elis converted three of six power plays and blanked Dartmouth on all five of its advantages.
The Crimson haven't lost a game since a midweek trip to Hanover 17 days into the new year. Their 12-game unbeaten streak is the second longest active in Division I and has Harvard enjoying its best season since legendary coach Bill Cleary stood on the bench. The Cantabs also have 10 straight wins and are 11-0-2 at The Bright-Landry Hockey Center this season.
No. 7 Princeton beat No. 10 Colgate in the only first round series to go three games. Other than No. 8 Yale sweeping No. 9 Dartmouth, No. 5 Quinnipiac took care of No. 12 Brown and No. 6 Clarkson handled No. 11 RPI. Princeton earns a trip to No. 2 Union this weekend; the other games have the Bobcats at No. 4 St. Lawrence and the Golden Knights at No. 3 Cornell. All games this weekend are set for 7 p.m. except for a game three at Lynah Rink (4 p.m.).
Yale's final goal last Saturday night not only evened Yale's overall record this season, it helped even the school's record in ECAC Playoff OT games at 7-7-5. In their first 10 extra-session playoff games, the Elis went 0-5-5, including five straight ties.
Andrew Gaus' tally in the decisive first-round game last weekend was the seventh OT winner for a Bulldog skater. Prior to that, Kenny Agostino '14 scored at 3:49 of OT at Harvard on 3/9/12, but the Crimson took the series. Broc Little '11 hit the net at 5:40 of the third OT on 3/7/08 to beat RPI. The next night against the Engineers at the Whale, it was Sean Backman '10 at 5:11 of the first OT that ended the series. Yale also won OT games on consecutive nights at Union in 2006. Matt Cohen '07 scored at 9:21 of the first OT in game one, while David Meckler '09 ended the longest (141:35) Yale game ever at 1:35 of the fifth extra period with a series-ending tally. The school's first post-season OT playoff win of any type came on 3/5/05, when Will Engasser '08 found the net at 2:41 of the first session at Dartmouth in a series won by the Green in three contests.