Game of The Night: Union (7) @ Harvard (5)

Friday night the Union College Dutchmen travel to Allston, MA to take on the Crimson of Harvard University. A huge 2 points are up for grabs in this game. Currently Union is tied for 1st place in the ECAC with St. Lawrence, @ 25 points, while Harvard sits in 2nd with 24 points. A win keeps Union on top, a loss propels Harvard over Union and possibly into 1st depending upon the SLU vs Princeton game. With just a few games remaining in the season these 2 points will be hotly contested.

The 1st meeting between the teams went to Union, 2-1 in Schenectady. For the Crimson that loss was the 2nd in a 3 game losing streak, their longest all year. Harvard has bounced back from that rough stretch last month to go 5-0-1 in their last 6, including a win over Northeastern on Monday to earn their 1st crack @ the Beanpot since 2008. This game is just another big test for a Crimson squad looking to make noise in the ECAC, in Boston hockey, & the NCAAs. Its a punishing stretch with a Beanpot Final on Monday vs BU and a trip to Yale next Friday. Union on the other-hand has gone a mediocre 3-2 since beating Harvard. Union is 10-4-1 on the road this season, which is good for them since 4 of their last 6 are road games. The Crimson are 8-0-2 at the Bright-Landry Center this year, they have 2 of their last 4 ECAC games there, including a potentially huge last game versus SLU.

Both teams are exceptionally well balanced. Union boasts the top line in the country of Mike Vecchione, Spencer Foo, & Sebastian Vidmar. Vecchione & Foo are 1st & 3rd in points, with 48 & 46 respectively. A combination of Cole Maier, Brett Supinski, Ryan Scarfo, Luc Brown, & Ryan Walker have been steady as well on the 2nd & 3rd lines, combining for over 100 points. The Defense corps is anchored by  Jeff Taylor (23 pts) & Nick DeSimone (15 pts), both offensive talents, as well as solid stay at home blue liners Matt Krug, J.C. Brassard, Vas Kolias, & Greg Campbell. Senior goalie Alex Sakelleropoulos’ 17 wins are 2nd most in NCAA, his GAA of 2.443 is 25th, & is 14th in Save % .921. Sakelleropoulos was :10 away from shutting out the Crimson in January. Harvard is paced by Ryan Donato, Alexander Kerfoot, & Luke Esposito or Sean Malone, Tyler Moy, & Lewis Zerter-Gossage. Donato, Kerfoot, & Esposito have  21, 29, & 23 points while Malone, Moy, & Zerter-Gossage have 27, 25, & 15. Plus 25 points from D man Adam Fox. Defensively Harvard is led by Wiley Sherman & Clay Anderson, Fox & Jacob Olson, & Viktor Dombrovskiy & John Marino. In goal the Crimson have ridden Merrick Madsen to 16 wins, 3rd in NCAA, 2.231 GAA good for 21st, a Save % of .913 18th overall, & a NCAA leading +/- 32.

Harvard is 3rd in team offense while Union is 5th. Both teams are loaded on offense but Harvard has the edge on D, 12th vs 29th, coupled with Madsen having a better rating than Sakelleropoulos 18th vs 24th. Harvard’s PP is 4th & Union’s is 36th, while both teams are good on the PK around 80%. This one will come down to the end, a matter of a coaching decision here, or a ref’s call there, but either way these two teams will be ready to battle once the puck drops. 1st place is on the line.

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