Boston Colleges: Harvard

Penn's Rosen a challenge for Harvard

February, 10, 2012
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CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- The No. 21 Crimson expect to have their hands full on Friday night.

At 20-2 overall and 6-0 in the Ivy League, Harvard is off to the best start in school history and sits in first place in the Ancient Eight. In third place? Friday night’s opponent, Penn, at 12-10 and 4-1 a half-game behind Yale (15-5, 5-1).

The Quakers have Zack Rosen to thank for that.

Rosen is averaging 18.3 points, 6.0 assists and 3.2 rebounds in 38.1 minutes a game as a senior. And he’s proven capable of rising up when his team needs him most.

“Yeah, he’s been killing it,” Crimson captain Oliver McNally said. “If you look at his numbers they’re pretty impressive. … He’s been by far the focal point of their team. They have some other talented players but when he’s going they’re going as a team, and if he has an off night I think they haven’t been too successful as a team.

“He’s gonna be the main focus of our defense.”

Asked how he plans to defend Rosen, coach Tommy Amaker laughed.

“Hopefully he kinda gets lost coming to the gym,” he joked. “He’s so good. I really have a great deal of respect for him and his play. He’s been as good as anyone in our league this year.”

The 6-foot-1, 175-pound guard leads the Ivy League in assists and is second in scoring.

“He has the ball in his hands so much,” Amaker said. “He’s similar to what I used to refer to about Jeremy Lin -- it’s not always the points he scores, it’s the points he’s responsible for. He scores a lot and he’s responsible for many more, which make him incredibly dangerous.”

McNally said he’s confident that Brandyn Curry’s on-ball defense can slow Rosen, with help from the rest of his teammates. The Crimson D ranks third in the country, allowing only 53.6 points per game.

“We’re hopeful one, he can maybe have an off day, two, he is in foul trouble, and three, we can limit his touches,” Amaker said of defending Rosen. “It’s gonna be an incredible challenge for us to keep him under wraps, and I’m not sure that that’s possible.

“We’ll try to rotate different people on him and see if there’s a way that we can possibly keep him to a level that doesn’t absolutely destroy us. He’s capable of dominating a game and putting his team on his back. He’s a bear.”

If the Crimson hope to leave the Palestra with a win on Friday night, defending Rosen is a burden they’ll have to bear well.

Jack McCluskey is an editor for ESPN.com and a frequent contributor to ESPNBoston.com. Follow him on Twitter @jack_mccluskey.

Harvard No. 24 in ESPN/USA Today poll

January, 16, 2012
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After another two-win week, the Crimson moved up one spot to No. 24 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll but remained nowhere near the AP Top 25.

Harvard, led by leading scorer Keith Wright -- named Ivy League Player of the Week for the second time this season after averaging 14.5 points and 11.5 rebounds in wins over Monmouth and George Washington -- has a week off before starting Ivy League play for good with a game at Dartmouth (Saturday, 7 p.m.).

After dropping a surprising decision at Fordham on Jan. 3, Harvard has taken care of business. The Crimson dispatched Dartmouth 63-47 at home on Jan. 7, keeping them in the ESPN/USA Today poll at No. 25, then went to Monmouth on Tuesday and won 70-61 and ran George Washington out of Lavietes Pavilion on Saturday in a 69-48 win.

The W over the Colonials pushed the Crimson’s home win streak to 23 games, the fifth longest such streak active in the country. Harvard is off to its best start since the 1945-46 season, when it started 16-1, and the best start for an Ivy team since Princeton also started 15-2 in 1997-98.

While Harvard remained in the ESPN/USA Today rankings with 61 points, it received only 22 in the AP poll -- 80 behind No. 25 Kansas State. While the Crimson have a respectable RPI of 57, they do not play another team in the top 100 the rest of the season. Yale, at 102, is their best remaining opponent.

Jack McCluskey is an editor for ESPN.com and a frequent contributor to ESPNBoston.com. Follow him on Twitter @jack_mccluskey.

Video: Harvard hoops beats GW

January, 14, 2012
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Harvard men's basketball improved to 15-2 with a 69-48 win over George Washington.

Living dangerously catches up to Harvard

January, 4, 2012
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The No. 21 Crimson had been in this spot before. Against both Florida Atlantic and Boston College, Harvard didn’t always fire on all cylinders and had to clamp down late on defense and put together a run on offense to pull out wins.

Against Fordham, the flaws in that formula were exposed.

Though they led 27-24 at the half, the Crimson were never able to distance themselves from the Rams. Fordham then used a 12-0 second-half run to take a double-digit lead, forcing Harvard to play from behind for much of the rest of the game.

And this time, the Crimson just didn’t have a big enough run in them and fell 60-54. It was just the sixth time this season an opponent scored 60 or more points against Harvard, and the Crimson are now 4-2 in those games.

“We’re not gonna be able to get runs on every team,” Tommy Amaker said after the 63-51 win over Florida Atlantic on Dec. 22. “We’re gonna be in some tough, tight games. I think we recognize being ranked and the success we’ve had this year, we’re gonna be a target and people are gonna play incredibly hard against us.”

A week later, the Crimson had to put together a run to put away a game Eagles team 67-46 in Chestnut Hill. Afterward, Amaker was asked if he was concerned about his team’s tendency to start slow.

“Yeah, it’s not good for any team,” he said. “But you give credit to the opponent for being ready to play and coming right after us. I wish we could’ve played better right out of the blocks, but I think it had a lot to do with how BC played.”

The loss to Fordham no doubt had a lot to do with how well the Rams defended, holding the Crimson to just 36.4 percent shooting overall, 26.7 percent from 3. But it also hammers home just how important it will be for Amaker & Co. to find a solution for the persistent problem of their intermittent offense.

Because one thing’s for sure: That No. 21 ranking, the best in program history, does make the Crimson a target. And if their own aim isn’t good (they missed half the free throws they attempted in the Bronx), they’ll find themselves back where they were Tuesday night -- forced to watch an opponent celebrate an upset win.

Jack McCluskey is an editor for ESPN.com and a frequent contributor to ESPNBoston.com. Follow him on Twitter @jack_mccluskey.

Harvard moves up in the polls

January, 2, 2012
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With wins over Boston College (by 21) and Saint Joseph’s (by five) in the past week, Harvard has moved itself up the rankings again. The Crimson are now No. 21 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll, up from a program-best No. 23 the previous week.

The Crimson are ranked No. 22 in the AP Top 25, up from No. 24 the previous week.

Led by the sharpshooting Laurent Rivard’s 18 points (including four 3-pointers) and its usual stifling defense, Harvard beat BC for the fourth straight season Thursday night at Conte Forum.

After a quick turnaround, the Crimson hosted the Hawks at Lavietes Pavilion on New Year’s Eve. Phil Martelli’s team shot a blistering 19-of-24 in the first half to lead by 10 at the break, but Harvard’s defense saved it in the second half as the Hawks shot just 8-of-27 in final 20 minutes. Kyle Casey led the way offensively for Tommy Amaker’s 12-1 team, scoring 26 points -- including seven in the last 4:25.

Next up for Harvard: a road game at Fordham on Tuesday, followed by the start of Ivy League play Saturday versus Dartmouth.

Jack McCluskey is an editor for ESPN.com and a frequent contributor to ESPNBoston.com. Follow him on Twitter @jack_mccluskey.

Next up for Harvard: BU on Saturday

December, 9, 2011
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Matt Griffin and his Terriers teammates paid special attention to Thursday night’s game between Connecticut and Harvard, in which the No. 9 Huskies beat the No. 24 Crimson 67-53 in Storrs, Conn.

And not just because it may just have been the most important -- or at least the highest profile -- game between New England schools in the 2011-12 season. Consider it homework, of sorts.

The Terriers host the Crimson on Saturday at 4 p.m. (NESN) in Agganis Arena.

“Obviously Harvard’s having a great season and has a great program,” Griffin said by phone before practice Thursday. “They beat us pretty handily last year, so we know they’re a good team.”

Harvard beat BU 87-71 at Lavietes Pavilion on the same weekend a year ago.

“They shared the ball extremely well,” Griffin, a senior captain for BU, said of the teams’ previous meeting. “Their offense was run very crisply. In the second half, they had us chasing them around the court. They did a great job controlling the tempo.

“They have guys at every position that can make plays, so that makes them very difficult to defend.”

And while the Terriers lost John Holland, the team’s top scorer and the second-leading scorer in school history, and coach Patrick Chambers after last season, the Crimson returned every player from 2010-11. The early results reflect the chemistry challenges each team has faced. BU is 4-5, having dropped a close game at St. Joe’s on Wednesday night, while Harvard is 8-1 and has an early-season tourney title on its résumé.

“I think they’re pretty solid across the board,” Griffin said of the Crimson. “They have really good size, they shoot the ball extremely well and they’ve very well coached. It’s gonna be a good challenge, but every game on our schedule’s a challenge.”

Harvard coach Tommy Amaker said the loss will test the Crimson.

“Our kids have been able to handle things thus far in a very admirable way,” Amaker said, referring to the attention the Crimson have received for their play early in the season. “We’ll see now, after our first loss. We’re gonna have to regroup and respond and we have a tough game and a quick turnaround at BU.”

To come out on top in Saturday’s challenge, Griffin said the Terriers have to stay disciplined and stick to their principles.

“We’ve gotta come up with toughness plays,” he said. “I think we have to play very good definitely, rebound the ball especially well and we have to limit their runs. So when they make a run we have to be able to withstand that and be able to respond and answer their run.”

Harvard men's hoops cracks top 25

December, 5, 2011
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After just missing out on the Top 25 in last week’s rankings, Harvard (8-0) is in the rankings this week for the first time in school history. The Crimson are No. 25 in the AP poll and No. 24 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll.

Harvard’s 8-0 start is its best since the 1984-85 season. The Crimson play at No. 9 UConn on Thursday night (7 p.m. ET on ESPN2).

Harvard hoops: Best Ivy ever?

November, 29, 2011
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ESPN Insider's John Gasaway look at the hot start by Harvard and wonders how far they can go. Writes Gassaway:

Consider the unlikely series of events that has Harvard lurking just outside the top 25 in both major polls. As a mid-major in a one-bid conference, you don't often certify yourself as ready for national attention by shooting 12-of-44 from the field. Yet that is exactly what Tommy Amaker's team did.

The Crimson's 46-41 win over Florida State last Friday in the Battle 4 Atlantis semifinals in the Bahamas put this team on the map, so to speak. No one, except for a certain cunning and modest ESPN Insider, expected Harvard to beat an FSU team that, at the time, was ranked No. 20 in the nation. But look at the Crimson now. What's their secret, and just how far can they go?

Click HERE (Insider access required) to read the rest of this story.

Also, check out Myron Metcalf's Mid-major report, which leads with Harvard's impressive start.

Katz: High expectations for Harvard hoops

October, 18, 2011
10/18/11
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ESPN.com college basketball writer Andy Katz caught up with Harvard coach Tommy Amaker recently to talk about expectations this season for the Crimson:

BOSTON -- Harvard will hang its Ivy League championship banner at Lavietes Pavilion.

According to the Ivy League, this is completely legitimate. The Crimson did share the Ivy League regular-season championship with Princeton, which matched Harvard with a 12-2 conference mark last season. The Crimson get rings if they want -- just like Princeton. The league doesn't issue co-champs on the banner, so both programs are Ivy League champions.

But Princeton won a one-game playoff between the teams, earning the NCAA tournament automatic bid on a shot at the buzzer by Douglas Davis that denied the Crimson their first NCAA tournament berth since 1946.

Harvard coach Tommy Amaker celebrated the title. He's making sure that everyone knows the Ivy League championship is a big deal in Cambridge. But the problem is that the rest of the world and even his own players know the NCAA tournament berth is what matters most.

"For our school, winning the Ivy is, in some ways, maybe as big as going to the tournament,'' said Amaker, who has transformed the Crimson into legit Ivy title contenders the past four seasons with players like former standout Jeremy Lin to current preseason Wooden All-America candidate, senior forward Keith Wright. "We have been to the tournament in 1946 but never had a chance to put up an Ivy League banner. There was a hollow feeling at Harvard, and they don't have to feel that way anymore.''

Click HERE to read the rest of the story.

Also, check out Blue Ribbon's Harvard preview (insider) and previews for the rest of the Ivy League.

'OTL': Was Harvard snubbed?

March, 14, 2011
3/14/11
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Was Harvard snubbed by the NCAA men's basketball tournament selection committee? No less than Jay Bilas and Dick Vitale say a strong case can be made for the Crimson's cause. "Outside the Lines" takes a closer look.

BC, Harvard relegated to NIT

March, 13, 2011
3/13/11
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NEWTON, Mass. -- After Boston College suffered a crushing 70-47 loss to Clemson, a fellow denizen of the NCAA bubble, in the second round of the ACC tournament, coach Steve Donahue had a feeling the television viewing at Conte Forum for Selection Sunday wouldn't be a festive affair.

“I sensed it just from the last couple days that we were probably a long shot,” Donahue said. “I wasn’t real confident to be quite honest, maybe because there’s a bad feeling in your stomach on how poorly you played your last game. Maybe that had more to do it than anything.

“If we came off the Virginia Tech game and that was our last game, on the road, maybe we feel differently today.”

[+] EnlargeSteve Donahue
Streeter Lecka/Getty ImagesBC coach Steve Donahue had a feeling his team wouldn't land an at-large NCAA bid following its decisive loss to Clemson.
Beating Virginia Tech on the road, after the Hokies had just taken down then-No. 1 ranked Duke, would have been a nice way to end the season. Unfortunately for the Eagles, there were other games remaining after that March 1 matchup and those didn’t end quite so well for the maroon and gold.

“We got what we deserved. That’s the bottom line,” Donahue said. “We’ve got to work harder, we’ve got to do things better.

“[The NCAA tournament] isn’t just for if you’re a little bit better than everyone else, you’ve got to be exceptional.”

Reggie Jackson said that while the team is disappointed the Eagles didn’t make the field of 68, as a team leader it’s his responsibility to keep his teammates’ spirits up as much as possible.

“It’s reality. We’re gonna face it,” Jackson said. “We’re not going to hang our heads, we battled and I’m going to preach that to the team. We did what we did, we did what we could do this year. First-year coach, I’m proud of how we responded throughout the season.

“We’re a little bit bitter from not making the tournament, but it’s a great season still.”

Senior forward Joe Trapani tried to keep it light with his remarks.

“I wasn’t expecting a bye, but ...” he said with a small laugh.

“I thought we had a good season in the ACC and I thought we could have done better, 9-7 is a good record [in the ACC], and a 20-win season is also good,” Trapani said. “So I thought we did accomplish a lot this year even though we didn’t get to where we wanted to go to.”

Instead, BC (20-12) will go to the NIT, where it is one of the four No. 1 seeds in the 32-team field. The Eagles will play at McNeese State (21-10) on Tuesday at 9 p.m. on ESPNU.

BC will be joined in the NIT by Harvard, which lost a heartbreaker to Princeton in a playoff for the Ivy League's NCAA berth on Saturday. The Crimson will play at Oklahoma State on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. (ESPN).

Harvard, which set a program record with 23 victories this season, will face a 19-13 Cowboys team led by former UMass coach Travis Ford.

For BC, finishing 20-12 overall and 9-7 in the ACC is no doubt a step up from last season’s results (15-16, 6-10 ACC), especially considering it was Donahue’s first season as head coach. But even the most ardent Eagles supporter would have to admit it fell short of exceptional.

Home losses to Yale, Harvard and Miami, a 4-6 road record and a lack of a marquee win all hurt the Eagles’ résumé in the end.

Donahue said he was disappointed the eight seniors on the BC roster won’t get the chance to come back next season and improve on their efforts. But the coach also said he was proud of what they did accomplish.

“If you make this a great run here, these kids will never forget this,” Donahue said. “NIT or NCAA, we can make this a very special experience for these guys.”

Hockey East tourney starts Thursday

March, 9, 2011
3/09/11
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BOSTON – Hockey East coaches routinely refer to their league as the most competitive in the country, top to bottom. And the playoffs usually bear that out. You only have to look back as far as last year, when 8th seed Vermont derailed top-seed New Hampshire, preventing the Wildcats from playing in Boston’s TD Garden.

Here's a look at the four quarterfinal matches -- all best-of-three series -- that will decide which teams will travel to the Garden for the league semifinals on March 18. Boston University and Northeastern get things rolling on Thursday, while the other three series begin Friday.

No.1 Boston College vs. Massachusetts
The top-seeded Eagles (26-7-1; 20-6-1 Hockey East) are looking to repeat their national championship run last spring, which began with a two-game sweep against the Minutemen (6-21-6; 5-16-6 HE). BC is white-hot right now, riding an 18-2-1 run and sweeping UNH last weekend to claim the school’s 11th regular season Hockey East crown.

To make matters worse for UMass, the Eagles are loaded, despite the loss of sniper Chris Kreider with a broken jaw. BC has the league’s top offensive squad (3.85 goals a game, 3rd in the nation), led by junior Cam Atkinson (24-14-38) and senior Brian Gibbons (10-26-36), and the league’s best defense (2.24 GAA), anchored by senior netminder John Muse (.933 save percentage). Plus, the Eagles excel at special teams, with the nation’s No. 6 power play, and No. 3 penalty kill (12 shorthanded goals on the season).

Toot Cahoon’s Minutemen proved resilient, claiming the league’s last playoff spot on the last night of the season with a gritty 4-4 tie against Maine. Senior captain and goaltender Paul Dainton (.910 save percentage), the league’s reigning Defensive Player of the Week, was instrumental in the tie, stopping 32 shots. He’ll have to be at the absolute top of his game if the Minutemen are to have any chance at Conte Forum this weekend.

No. 2 New Hampshire vs. No. 7 Vermont
It’s déjà vu all over again for the UNH Wildcats (19-9-6; 17-6-4 Hockey East). Same rink, same opponent. Dick Umile’s Wildcats have to be thinking of last spring’s embarrassing early exit from the Hockey East playoffs at the hands of Kevin Sneddon’s Catamounts (8-18-8; 6-14-7 HE). In that series, Vermont rebounded from a 7-4 opening-night loss to post back-to-back 1-0 wins and take the series, two games to one.

UVM’s diminutive Rob Madore, who almost singlehandedly stole that series, is back in goal, but his Catamount teammates have been desperate to score goals this season, scoring only 2.29 goals per game. That lack of production has put added pressure on Vermont's defense, which hasn't always been up to the task, surrendering 3.31 goals a game.

The Wildcats have plenty of offensive pop -- 3.5 goals per game -- led by league scoring champ Paul Thompson (26-23-49), but the bigger question might be whether UNH has the mental fortitude. They had a chance to wrap up the league’s regular season title last weekend, but let it slip away when they lost twice to Boston College. It wasn’t UNH’s first late-season nosedive, and New Hampshire fans are clamoring for a trophy.

No. 3 Boston University vs. No. 6 Northeastern
With the Terriers (18-10-8; 15-6-6 Hockey East) and Huskies (12-14-8; 10-10-7) splitting a two-game set last weekend, this quarterfinal match-up has the feel of a best of five series. Last weekend, the Terriers knocked off the Huskies at Matthews Arena, 3-2, and the next night the Huntington Hounds returned the favor with a 4-3 win at BU’s Agganis Arena.

The Huskies get head coach Greg Cronin back on the bench, after he and assistant Albie O’Connell served a six-game suspension for recruitment violations. The team defense, except for two seven-goal lapses against Boston College last month, has generally been solid, with goaltender Chris Rawlings holding the fort (2.51 GAA, .924 save percentage, league-leading five shutouts). Scoring, however, has only been average (2.79 goals per game).

Meanwhile, the Terriers, which spent a short stint atop the country’s national polls, have been an enigma for coach Jack Parker. They are a talent-laden squad that doesn’t always play to its blue-chip capabilities. According to goalie coach Mike Geragosian, goalie Kieran Millan has stolen at least a half-dozen games, covering for the mistakes of an underage defense. If they’re not careful, the Terriers might find themselves buried by a Northeastern Nor’easter.

No. 4 Merrimack vs. No. 5 Maine
The referees assigned to this game will want to get a good night’s rest beforehand, because they can expect to be busy. The last time these two teams met, in late February, they combined for more than 300 penalty minutes over a two-game set in Orono. The Black Bears (17-10-7; 14-8-5 Hockey East) swept the Warriors (22-8-4; 16-8-3 HE) by two lopsided margins, 4-0 and 7-1.

It is one of the few league series that Merrimack lost this year, after winning 3-game sets against higher-ranked Boston College, New Hampshire, and Boston University. This quarterfinal series, however, will be played at Merrimack’s Lawler Arena, where the Warriors thumped Maine in January by a 7-1 score. So expect one, if not both, of these teams to light up the scoreboard, and to fill the scoresheet under “penalties.”

Merrimack does have sensational sophomore Stephane Da Costa back from injury (he missed all three games between the teams), but Maine counters with gifted junior Gustav Nyquist (17-29-46). Given the wild score swings, the series may come down to goaltending. While Merrimack’s Joe Cannata (2.37 GAA, .913 save percentage) has been dependable, and often spectacular, if Maine’s scorching hot freshman goalie Dan Sullivan shuts the door in the Black Bear net (three shutouts in the past six games), this could be a very interesting series.

In other Boston-area college playoff news:

No. 3 Dartmouth vs. No. 10 Harvard
In ECAC Hockey, Harvard (11-19-1; 7-14-1 ECACH) continued its fine recent run of form, knocking off No. 7 Clarkson in a two-game sweep last weekend, setting up an all-Ivy series at Dartmouth (16-10-3; 12-8-2 ECAC). The Crimson have won five straight games with timely scoring -- notably from brothers Micheal and Danny Biega -- and airtight goaltending from senior Ryan Carroll.

Dartmouth won both regular-season meetings with the Crimson, posting an 8-2 victory Nov. 26 at Harvard’s Bright Hockey Center in Cambridge and a 5-2 win a night later at Thompson Arena in Hanover, N.H. However, Harvard has been finding ways to win lately, and they have history on their side. The Crimson are 4-0 all-time in playoff games against Dartmouth. The teams have never met for a multi-game series in the playoffs. Three of the previous four games came in the league semifinals, including the most recent meeting, a 10-1 Harvard victory on the way to the Crimson's 2006 league title.

The winning team will reach the league semifinals, being held this season at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, N.J., for the first time.

Harvard stuns BU in Beanpot consolation

February, 14, 2011
2/14/11
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BOSTON -- Playing at 4:30 on the second Monday of February, when the TD Garden resembles a ghost town, is a disconcerting experience for any Boston University hockey player. The absolute worst, though, is losing the Beanpot consolation game and having to settle for fourth place in this four-team tourney that BU has dominated over the years (29 titles).

That’s where the Terriers found themselves Monday, coming out on the wrong end of a topsy-turvy 5-4 game to Harvard (5-18-1). It is only the fourth time in 59 years that BU (14-9-7) has lost both games in a Beanpot, and the first time since 1980, when former Terriers Mike Eruzione, David Silk, Jack O’Callahan and Jim Craig were winning gold in the Lake Placid Olympics. Adding salt to the wound, the loss to Harvard will seriously hamper BU’s aspirations to make the NCAA tournament.

“That was an embarrassing display by my team. We didn’t come to play,” BU coach Jack Parker said. “As far as the NCAA selection, this is a huge loss for us.

“Give Harvard credit,” he added. “They competed right to the end.”

Sophomore Alex Chiasson opened the scoring with a power-play strike at 5:42 of the first period, collecting his own rebound and rapping it past Crimson goaltender Ryan Carroll. Things went from bad to worse for the Crimson at 19:59, when Harvard’s Daniel Moriarty got booted from the game on a hitting-from-behind call.

Then things got interesting. Harvard knotted the game on a short-handed goal, when Alex Killorn converted a sweet feed by Alex Fallstrom from behind the net, sliding the puck past BU’s Kieran Millan on his blocker side.

Only 54 seconds later, the Crimson took the lead as Harvard’s Ryan Grimsaw floated across the high slot and ripped a low shot that beat Millan, again underneath his blocker.

And the Crimson weren’t done. Nineteen seconds after Grimshaw’s strike, Killorn got his second of the game from an almost impossible angle. Chasing after the puck with a BU defender, Killorn tossed a shot on Millan from the goal line that managed to break through Millan and across the goal line to give Harvard a 3-1 margin at 5:36.

The Terriers cut the margin to one on a nice bang-bang play in tight. With Harvard’s Rence Coassin serving a minor for a hit from behind, BU’s Garrett Noonan took a slick feed from Charlie Coyle at the doorstep and tapped in past Carroll’s blocker at 12:24.

Then, showing their own quick-strike capabilities, the Terriers tied the game 43 seconds later. Noonan hit Adam Clendening with a tape-to-tape cross-ice feed at the left faceoff dot, and the freshman from New York buried it past Carroll to knot the game 3-3.

At 14:05, the Terriers regained the lead on their third power-play goal of the game. Chiasson, parked in front of Carroll, tipped a point shot from David Warsofsky past the Crimson netminder for his second on the night and a 4-3 BU lead.

“We made it 4-3, get what should have been the winning goal, and then we go to sleep again,” Parker said.

And Harvard didn’t quit. Sophomore Danny Biega snapped a shot from the top of the right faceoff circle that had eyes, sailing through a screen and past Millan at 15:57. Less than two minutes later, Harvard’s Michael Del Mauro, parked at the doorstep, buried a rebound of a Conor Morrison shot for the winner.

“We’re glad to come out with the win,” Harvard coach Ted Donato said. “It was kind of a strange game, back and forth. I thought our guys battled hard and stayed with it.”

For Donato and his Crimson squad, third place looked pretty good after a season of tough, one-goal losses.

“We wanted to use this game as a measuring stick,” Donato said. “There’s reason for a lot of optimism for the end of the season.”

Meanwhile, Parker and his Terriers must live with the bitter taste of a rare fourth-place finish, knowing it may cost them dearly at season’s end.

Bounces go Northeastern's way

February, 7, 2011
2/07/11
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BOSTON -- Bounces. In hockey, they can go your way, and they can absolutely crush you.

For struggling Harvard, the benevolent bounces proved as elusive as ever Monday night, as Northeastern took full advantage of two breaks to propel the Huskies to a 4-0 victory over the Crimson in the opening round of the 59th annual Beanpot at TD Garden.

If a sequence has defined the season for Harvard (4-18-0), it occurred during a 42-second stretch in the first period. At 10:06, Harvard senior netminder Ryan Carroll stoned Northeastern’s Braden Pimm with a great glove save, shutting down a Husky shorthanded bit. Seconds later, a Harvard shot caromed off NU goaltender Chris Rawlings, dropping to an open Alex Fallstrom, with a wide open net in front of him. But the puck skipped on the Harvard sophomore, and Fallstrom could only knuckleball a shot into Rawlings’s glove.

[+] EnlargeChris Rawlings
AP Photo/Winslow TownsonNU's Chris Rawlings made 42 saves in notching his fifth shutout of the season.
A half-minute later, NU’s Mike McLaughlin picked up a pass from Steve Quailer, floated into the high slot and snapped a shot that creased the shaft of the stick of Harvard's Danny Fick. The slight deflection fooled Carroll, and the puck broke through him for a 1-0 Northeastern lead.

“It looked like [Fallstrom] had a lot of net, but the puck just wouldn’t sit for him,” said Harvard coach Ted Donato. “Ultimately, though, I don’t think one play decided the game.”

Perhaps not one. But two bad breaks proved doubly difficult for the Crimson to overcome. Less than two minutes into the second period, McLaughlin got another fluky goal. Eyeing an open lane to Carroll from the right faceoff dot, the junior from Ontario threw a wrister on the net. Carroll stopped the initial shot, but the puck popped straight over the prone netminder, falling behind him and into the open net for a 2-0 NU lead at 1:43.

“I just got lucky on a bounce,” McLaughlin said. “I’m glad it went in the net.”

McLaughlin’s ninth goal of the season was a back-breaker. “We couldn’t mount much of an attack after that,” said Donato, noting he was disappointed, given his team’s improved play of late. “Tonight was frustrating.”

The Huskies (9-11-6) then turned on the afterburners in the middle stanza, scoring two more goals to stretch their lead to 4-0 after 40 minutes. At 10:53, Steve Silva put the game out of reach, taking a slick feed off the back boards from Wade MacLeod and rifling a shot under Carroll’s blocker just before he was laid out by Harvard’s Matt McCollem.

With Northeastern on a power play, MacLeod picked up another picture-perfect assist at 16:19 when he found Brodie Reid at the left faceoff dot and hit him with a tape-to-tape crossice pass. Reid’s one-timer beat a sprawling Carroll, and gave the Huskies a commanding 4-0 margin.

In the third period, the Crimson threw caution, and luck, to the wind, and stormed the Northeastern net. Donato even resorted to pulling goaltender Kyle Richter (who had replaced Carroll to start the third period) during a Harvard power play with more than five minutes remaining, but to no avail.

Rawlings, Northeastern’s superb sophomore goaltender, rung up his fifth shutout of the season, finishing with 42 saves.

“Rawlings just got stronger as the game went on,” Donato said. “Anything he saw, he was going to stop.”

NU coach Greg Cronin, who knows a thing or two about bad bounces in the Beanpot, including a number of them in 2009 when his Huskies lost in the final to Boston University, said he was glad to be on the other side of Lady Luck.

“Unfortunately, those are the memories for a lot of Northeastern folks over the last 20 years,” he said. “Near misses.”

Next Monday, Cronin’s Huskies will have the chance to erase more than a quarter century of Beanpot frustration with a chance at their first title since 1988.

BC has no answers for Harvard

January, 5, 2011
1/05/11
11:51
PM ET
NEWTON, Mass. -- Basketball is a zero-sum game. There's only one win to be had, so there's always one winner and one loser.

But there were two No. 0s in Wednesday night's Boston College-Harvard matchup, and it just so happens that each was his team's best playmaker. For the Eagles, it was Reggie Jackson; for the Crimson, it was Laurent Rivard.

This season, Jackson has been named Atlantic Coast Conference player of the week once; Rivard has been named Ivy League rookie of the week twice. On Wednesday, Rivard got the upper hand as the Crimson won 78-69 in Conte Forum.

Jackson, a junior, got BC off to a quick start, scoring seven of his 18 points in the first four minutes. With primarily Jackson running the offense, the Eagles played patiently, moving the ball and finding the open man for layups and unchallenged 3-pointers.

When Joe Trapani made a layup with 7:03 remaining in the first half, the Eagles led 26-19 and looked like they might pull away from the visitors from the Ancient Eight. But the Crimson turned up the intensity on both ends of the floor and went on a 14-3 run to close the half.

And though he struggled from the field in the first half, Rivard was right in the middle of that run. The 6-foot-5 freshman from Saint-Bruno, Quebec, was just 2-for-7 shooting (including 1-for-4 from 3-point range) before intermission, but when the ball wasn't falling he put it on the floor, went to the hoop hard and got fouled. During the Crimson run, Rivard was fouled on drives three times and was a perfect 6-for-6 from the line.

"The kid's an absolute workhorse," Harvard senior big man Keith Wright said. "He works hard, his work ethic is definitely paying off. He's always shooting in the gym and he played hard and we needed him to."

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