College Hockey Series of the Week: No. 18 Harvard vs. No. 2 Quinnipiac
This week the ECAC will showcase two of its top teams, as No. 18 Harvard (8-4-1) travels to No. 2 Quinnipiac (14-1-3) for a one-game matchup on Jan. 14.
Currently, in the ECAC standings, Harvard leads the pack with 20 points, riding a three-game winning streak after defeating Union College 4-1 on Jan. 8. On the other side, Quinnipiac is playing for the first time since Dec. 11, due to health and safety protocols. Despite the long layoff, Quinnipiac is unbeaten in its last 13 games, going 11-0-2.
Quinnipiac’s stellar record is due to a combination of amazing goaltending and commitment to sound defensive hockey. First-year goalie Yaniv Perets has emerged as one of college hockey’s best between the pipes. In 12 games played, Perets has posted a record of 9-0-2, a goals-against-average of 0.87 and a save percentage of .944. Yet, his last four starts have included three of his six shutouts of the season.
The Bobcats are the No. 1 defensive team in the nation. With 1.11 allowed goals per game, it’s no surprise why the Bobcats have collected eight shutouts between netminders Yaniv Perets and Dylan St. Cyr. Along with one of the top defenseman in the country, Zach Metsa. Metsa has collected 16 assists and 18 points.
Upfront the Bobcats are led by several talented upperclassmen. Oliver Chau leads the team in points with 18. Senior Wyatt Bongiovanni and Sophomore Ty Smilanic both lead the team in goals, with eight apiece. Senior Ethan de Jong has been one of the more impactful Bobcats on the ice, producing a plus-minus rating of +17.
On the other hand, Harvard’s victories have also come as a result of solid two-way hockey. The Crimson, under coach Ted Donato, have the eighth-ranked offense in the nation. Producing 3.68 goals per game, along with giving up only 2.31 goals per game, 12th in the NCAA.
Special teams have also become a focal point of the Crimson’s play; the penalty kill has been perfect of late, killing 18-of-18 power plays in the last seven games. Harvard’s penalty kill sits fourth in the NCAA at 89.9 percent, allowing five goals in 50 power plays.
Harvard’s heart and sole member of its team is Junior captain Nick Abruzzese. Abruzzese has emerged as the best point producer in collegiate hockey, placing first in points produced with 1.62 points per game. The Toronto Maple Leafs prospect has placed himself in the discussion for the Hobey Baker Award, recording seven multiple-point games.
Freshman Forward Sean Farrell has been flying on the ice since arriving, leading the team in power-play goals with five and tied in the team lead for goals, with fellow forward Alex Laferriere at eight. On the blue line, Henry Thrun has been the most productive defenseman, collecting 11 assists as part of his 14 points on the season.
In the net, starting goalie Mitchell Gibson has played sub-par, a record of 6-4-0 in 10 games played, allowing a total of 21 goals. Sophomore Derek Mullahy has played in four games with a record of 2-0-1, allowing seven goals.
With Harvard holding a three-point lead over Quinnipiac at 20 points overall in the ECAC, expect a highly exciting game between these two teams.
Jordan Hession is a fourth-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org
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Junior / Broadcast Journalism