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No. 7 Harvard Surges Into Postseason with Final Weekend Sweep

Sophomore defenseman Ian Moore patrols the blue line against Boston College in the Beanpot semifinal on February 6.
Sophomore defenseman Ian Moore patrols the blue line against Boston College in the Beanpot semifinal on February 6. By Dylan J. Goodman
By Bridget T. Sands and Aaron B. Shuchman, Crimson Staff Writers

At this time last year, a young, inexperienced Harvard men’s ice hockey team prepared for its first ECAC tournament since 2019. The Crimson surpassed expectations, winning the Whitelaw Cup and securing an unexpected NCAA tournament berth. Now, a year later, No. 7 Harvard has seen monumental growth, spending the majority of the season in the top 10 and setting a lofty end-of-season goal: a national championship.

“I think we've improved in a lot of areas,” head coach Ted Donato said. “I think we've had to find a lot of different ways to win games, against different styles and teams…I think some of the experiences we've had under pressure, whether it's playing at Cornell or playing at Michigan or the Beanpot, those are all opportunities for us to grow as a team and I think those are real key spots that we can look back at and say those helped our team get to where it is now.”

The Crimson’s growth and development was on full display on the final weekend of the regular season. On a road trip to upstate New York, Harvard throttled the St. Lawrence University Saints 6-2 on Friday night before defeating the Clarkson University Golden Knights 3-2 on Saturday evening.

“There's definitely a championship style that we know we can get to, and I think we've been making good strides these past couple weekends,” said senior defenseman and captain Henry Thrun. “When we play that way, I like our odds against anyone.”

The Crimson earned a bye in the first round of the ECAC tournament, finishing the regular season second in the conference, behind only the No. 2 Quinnipiac University Bobcats. Harvard will open its Whitelaw Cup defense at home on March 10 in the ECAC quarterfinals.


Harvard lined up a little differently than usual on Saturday. Senior forward Austin Wong slotted in on the first line in place of first-year forward Joe Miller, taking the right wing alongside junior forward Sean Farrell and sophomore forward Matthew Coronato. Sophomore Christian Jimenez also drew into the lineup, getting time at left wing on the fourth line next to first year forward Philip Tresca and senior forward Wyllum Deveaux. Jimenez, suiting up for just his fifth game of the season, saw his first action of the season at forward.

The Crimson found themselves behind quite quickly, as Clarkson scored within just two minutes of puck drop. In the midst of a Golden Knight offensive rush, Mathieu Gosselin got the puck to the top of the right point and fired.

However, Harvard responded only two minutes later when senior captain and forward John Farinacci notched his fourth goal of the season. In a breakaway down the left side of the ice, Farinacci used a great toe-drag to create space and find the top corner of the goal behind Golden Knights goaltender Ethan Haider, evening the score.

Senior forward and captain John Farinacci sets up in the corner against Boston College in the Beanpot semifinal on February 6.
Senior forward and captain John Farinacci sets up in the corner against Boston College in the Beanpot semifinal on February 6. By Dylan J. Goodman

Striking again while the kettle was hot, junior forward Ryan Drkulec added another Crimson goal just a minute later, taking the score to 2-1. Drkulec, who has been in the lineup consistently after an injury to first-year forward Casey Severo, found twine after picking up the puck after a faceoff win by senior forward and captain Baker Shore.

The rest of the first period remained scoreless, though Harvard found itself in some penalty trouble. Senior defenseman Ryan Siedem was sent to the box with five minutes left in the first, serving time for interference. Not two minutes after Siedem’s penalty expired, sophomore defenseman Jack Bar was sent to the box for holding. Starting his sentence with just twenty seconds left in the first, the penalty carried over to the start of the second. Clarkson capitalized on the opportunity, tying the game just as Bar was reentering play.

“Coming down the stretch here, there's a certain style of hockey that we want to play,” Thrun said. “Good on special teams, the power play’s been clicking. I think we gotta work on the penalty kill a little bit, but playing a good grind game.”

Soon after, the Crimson and the Golden Knights traded power play opportunities. Harvard got its first opportunity on the power-play after Ryan Richardson was sent to the box for kneeing with 11 minutes remaining in the period. Putting up only three direct shots on goal, the Crimson were unable to convert. Three minutes later, the Knights went to the advantage when Shore was charged with hooking. The penalty kill unit neutralized the situation, but it was soon tested again after first-year defenseman Ryan Healey was caught charging not a minute after the play returned to even-strength. Again, the penalty kill held strong, and even drew a penalty against Clarkson, setting up a minute of four-on-four. By the time the penalty parade was over, there were less than two minutes remaining in the period.

In the limited time remaining in the second period, Harvard pounced and took advantage. After Laferriere took a shot that missed, Moore picked up the rebound and found the twine with less than a second to play in the period. The goal was the sophomore blueliner’s first goal of the season.

The third period brought twenty minutes of hard fought college hockey. Neither team added to their score, as the Clarkson defense kept the Harvard attack to only three shots on goal, while senior goaltender Mitchell Gibson stopped eight shots from the Golden Knights. Haider was called to the bench with just under 2:30 left in favor of a sixth attacker to try to even the score, but the Harvard defense locked down the win after some final chances for Clarkson.

“He's one of the best goalies in the country,” Thrun said of Gibson. “Sometimes he doesn't get enough recognition for what he does…obviously, his numbers are pretty impressive, as well as the presence he has back there for us.”


The Crimson got out to a fast start, with early chances for Thrun and Healey. Farrell also made an outstanding defensive play to thwart a rush opportunity for the Saints. Just over eight minutes into the period, the Saints were caught with six players on the ice, giving Harvard a power play opportunity. The Crimson, which ranks second in the ECAC with a 24.5% power play conversion rate, was unable to capitalize on the opportunity, with its best chance coming after a cross-ice pass by first-year forward Joe Miller set up Thrun for a one-timer.

Play evened out after the power play, with the Saints improving their offensive game and forcing senior goaltender Mitchell Gibson to make some quality saves. With 90 seconds remaining in the first period, St. Lawrence took another too many men on the ice penalty, sending Harvard’s lethal power play unit back onto the ice. This time, the Crimson scored only 10 seconds into the power play, as junior forward Alex Laferrire’s pass from behind the net deflected off a skate and past Saints goaltender Emil Zetterquist, giving Harvard a 1-0 lead at the end of the first period.

Junior forward Alex Laferriere skates up the ice against Boston College in the Beanpot semifinal on February 6.
Junior forward Alex Laferriere skates up the ice against Boston College in the Beanpot semifinal on February 6. By Dylan J. Goodman

“Everybody preaches that being on the power play is a gift and you need to capitalize on that as much as possible,” Laferriere said. “Every time we go out there we just need to keep our foot on the gas and not be lackadaisical and just keep pressuring them.”

St. Lawrence started the second period strong, putting together some of its best shifts of the game, including a breakaway chance that Gibson shut down with a daring poke check far outside of the net. Just after a Crimson power play expired, first-year forward Philip Tresca scored for the second game in a row when he received a cross-crease pass and roofed a backhand past Zetterquist, making it 2-0. The Saints answered with a power play goal less than two minutes later after forward Ty Naaykens’ wrist shot through traffic beat Gibson, cutting the Harvard lead to 2-1.

With time ticking down in the second period, it appeared the Crimson were headed for another close game in the third period. However, goals by senior captains Baker Shore and John Farinacci in the final minute of play gave Harvard a commanding three-goal lead heading into the third period. With 54 seconds left, Shore’s deflection of a pass by sophomore defenseman Jack Bar put the Crimson up 3-1, before Farinacci scored in the final five seconds when he hammered a slap shot past Zetterquist from the left circle, extending the lead to 4-1.

St. Lawrence made it interesting early in the third period, with forward Cameron Buhl scoring a power play goal off of a rebound in front of the net, cutting the Harvard lead to 4-2. Gibson made a series of key saves in the next five minutes to keep the Saints at bay, as the home team put together its best offensive stretch of the game.

However, with under five minutes to play, Farrell snuffed out the comeback attempt with a goal on a penalty shot. Awarded the penalty shot being hooked by forward Jordan Steinmetz, Farrell skated in slowly on Zetterquist and calmly fired a wrist shot over the goalie’s glove, restoring the Crimson’s three-goal advantage. Laferriere added an empty-net goal just over 30 seconds later to give Harvard a 6-2 victory.

With two weeks off before the Crimson’s playoff opener, Donato plans to give the team ample time to rest and recover, and the head coach is optimistic that Severo and sophomore forward Zakary Karpa will be able to play when Harvard returns to the ice.

“We’ve played a lot of hockey over the last six to eight weeks, and after this weekend will be the first time we get to take a deep breath, maybe some guys with some bumps and bruises, give them a chance to get healthy,” Donato said. “Once we're in the playoff grind those games get super intense, physical, you get overtimes and all sorts of stuff that really doesn't give you a lot of opportunities to heal.”

-Staff writer Bridget T. Sands can be reached at

-Staff writer Aaron B. Shuchman can be reached at

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