Sunday, December 16, 2007

Interview with Jay Jaffe of Baseball Prospectus

First of all, welcome to Baseball Prospectus readers who have come here in search of our interview with Jay Jaffe. WHRB is the Harvard University student radio station, and so our main focus here is on Harvard sports, but we're making a push to interview national figures in the wider world of sports, so we invite you to check back occasionally as we will hopefully have something new and interesting. One of our projects is investigating how one might take a sabermetric approach to hockey, so hopefully we'll soon have something to say about that.

Enough self-promotion, here's the deal with our interview with Jay Jaffe, which you can find in the panel to your right. I've split it into six parts to make it a bit more manageable; I hope you'll enjoy and not think me too much of an idiot, even if I really, really seem to think the workhorse pitcher who won 254 games and pitched a ten-inning shutout in the 1991 World Series was called Jim Morris.

While you're here, you might be interested in some of the other interviews we've done, including those with Pat Forde of and Dak of Fire Joe Morgan. Readers with a fondness for the minor league baseball culture might want to check out our interview with John Wolff, a former hockey broadcaster at WHRB who wrote a book on his year playing in the minors.

Thanks again for stopping by, and feel free to email us at if you have any feedback for us.

Friday, December 14, 2007


First off, I hope everyone is enjoying the #1/#2 Harvard vs. UNH broadcast live on WHRB 95.3 FM and streaming on the web at right now

Onto what David McDonald called "one of the worst beatings we've taken since I've been here," the 7-2 BC win:

1.An obvious statement but specialty teams, particularly the BC PP, determined the game. BC was 4/10 on the PP, with 3 of those PP goals coming from Nathan Gerbe (who had 4 on the night). The Harvard PK which came into the game with the nation's 7th best penalty kill had no answer. Just about all of BC's PP goals were scored within the first 30 seconds of the PP. In the post-game conference, Donato said that the team took too many penalties, that team discipline was not where it needed to be, and that Harvard didn't have an answer for Gerbe and the BC PP. 

2.We saw something that few would have anticipated going in: Kyle Richter, who entered the game with a 1.43 GAA (3rd in the nation) and a .952 sv pct (1st in the nation), getting yanked early in the 3rd after surrendering 6 goals. Richter doubtless did not have his best game, but he had no chance on 4 of the goals. In his post-game comments, Donato said that Richter was "left helpless" on a number of the goals.

3. A loss like this inevitably sparks the conventional discussion about the relative strength/weakness of the ECAC and HE. People will say that a loss like this reflects the growing disparity between the two eastern conferences in competition and talent. Collectively, I think most would concede that more talent resides in the HE. It's worth noting, though, that the highest-ranked eastern team comes out of the ECAC. Clarkson is #8, followed by 3 HE teams--UMass, New Hampshire, and Northeastern. Aside from being undefeated against the HE going into the BC game, Harvard has traditionally played well against HE teams--going 5-1-1 against BC/BU in the last few years in non-Beanpot games. Of course, many will also bring up Harvard's dismal performance in the Beanpot--by far the more meaningful games--in recent years.

4. It's comforting to believe that this game was a total anomaly for Harvard. Harvard deviated from its game plan early, couldn't skate with BC, and didn't have an answer on the PP. The team now has 2 weeks to reflect on this debacle before playing Ohio State on Dec. 29, a game that Harvard ought to win. 

Almost halfway through the year, there is a lot to be optimistic about. Harvard is a point out of first place in the ECAC, a league that continues to reflect remarkable parity. Few thought Richter would establish himself as one of the nation's premier goalies early on. Michael Biega has lifted the Crimson offense in recent games. 6 goals for the younger Biega, 4 on the PP. Can Biega became the sniper that Harvard desperately needs? The D has looked outright dominant at times, though shaky at others. I'd say the big challenge for Harvard going forward is finding more scoring up front. Harvard has too much talent among its forwards to continue its current level of production.

We will be back on the airwaves on January 4 for Harvard @ Quinnipiac. The game is at 7pm, our coverage begins at 6:45pm. Tune in to 95.3 FM or log onto for all the action.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Harvard/US Under-18 Exhibition

I apologize for the intermittent reports--I got bogged down with thesis work and haven't had the chance to drop by.

In any event, I was at the US-Under 18 game on Sunday night. The game was entertaining in its own right, but it was also enjoyable to be at the game as a fan of Harvard hockey. I take immense pleasure in calling the games on the air, but I'm also looking forward to returning being an unabashed supporter of the Crimson when I graduate in '08.

Anyway, some thoughts from the game:

1. Harvard was, unsurprisingly, the physically dominant team, but the Under-18 squad outskated Harvard, especially in the first 2 periods. Nevertheless, it was slightly odd seeing Harvard, typically a more finesse team, looking like a physical powerhouse. But when the opposition is in high school, that makes sense.

2. Goaltending: Kyle Richter got a well-deserved rest, replaced by Ryan Carroll for the first 2 periods with John Riley handling the 3rd. Carroll didn't look especially sharp, and in Riley's case, it's always difficult to come in cold. 

3. Harvard's first 2 goals seemed a bit fluky--the first came off a double deflection (I think) and the other came from a sharp angle shot that I think deflected off a skate or body.

4. Injuries: Joe Smith played. No McCafferty--not sure whether he'll be back vs. BC, though I wouldn't be surprised. He was skating last Thursday in practice, according to Ben Weintraub.

Join us tomorrow night for Harvard vs. Boston College from the Bright Hockey Center. The game begins at 7:00pm, our coverage begins at 6:45pm. We have a new episode of Top Shelf with Jimmy Fraser and Kyle Richter as well as an interview with Ted Donato. Tune in to 95.3 FM or listen to us streaming live on 

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Harvard vs. Michigan: A Night to Remember

I'd like to kick off my sports blogging career with a review of one of the greatest broadcast evenings of my life. I had the chance to sit courtside as the Crimson Men's Basketball team hosted the Michigan Wolverines in the biggest non-conference matchup in the last decade. It turned out to be the biggest win in the history of this program, as the Crimson upset the Wolverines 62-51, giving newly minted Head Coach Tommy Amaker a sweet win against his former squad.

The Storylines
All week, it was impossible to ignore the impending matchup: Amaker vs. Michigan. To be honest, most people had conceded the victory to Michigan. There wasn't much expectation for a contest and why would there be? Michigan, a Big Ten School with tremendous tradition, and more importantly, physically imposing and agile athletes, playing against a bunch of Ivy Leaguers, the best of whom are awarded a 15 seed in the year end NCAA tournament-- doesn't exactly make for the most even of matchups. The more interesting question we presumed, was what the atmosphere would be like when Amaker came out of the locker room with coaches he hired and players he recruited, and lined up on the other sideline to coach for the Crimson.

And yet, herein lies perhaps Amaker's greatest success: despite the media's best efforts, he ensured that this game was not about him, and he got his team to believe that they could compete with the Wolverines, if they played intelligently, despite their comparative size disadvantage. He managed to transform a personal storyline into the quintessential Harvard storyline: smarts vs. brawn.

After the win, Amaker said: "This is not a win for Tommy Amaker, this is a win for our program." I'll go ahead and mark this one down as a win for both.

The Scene
For those of you that were not able to see the game live, I apologize, because no amount of description over the radio could do justice to the atmosphere at Lavietes Pavillion. I've covered a few games there over the last four years, and this was like nothing I've ever seen. The game was sold out and not entirely surprisingly, half the fans were decked out in maize and blue; Michigan has a sizable following across the country and their Boston contingent was present in full force.

Still, the Harvard student body showed up and was spirited from the opening tip. Catalyzed as always by the band, the crowd was boisterous and energetic, knowing just when to kick their support into the next gear. Amaker and several team members commented after the game about how they were able to feed off the energy of their crowd. Though it's rare at Harvard to see such student strong fan support, it's well known across university arenas that the college game is one of momentum and runs, and crowds are a significant part of those game-changing swings. The crowd certainly knew their role today with chants of "We Got Tommy", referring to Amaker's switched allegiances, and "Appalachian State" referencing the Wolverines stunning home opening Football Loss to the reigning Division I-AA champion.

Most importantly, there was a palpable sense of unbridled emotion -- the kind that moves you to leap the press tables and mob your players at center court after the game, and muscle your way through a crowd to get your face on the edges of the ESPNU camera, that genuine outpouring of interest in your team's success. There's no doubt this was as big a win as fans here will ever see, against as high-profile an opponent as fans will see (though I believe Duke played in Cambridge several years ago); and consequently. there's no guarantee that there will be a crowd like this again anytime soon. But for one night, Lavietes Pavillion rocked like the home of a traditional basketball powerhouse. Here's hoping that there is more to come as the season progresses.

The Balance
My first comment about the basketball played on the floor has to do with the Offensive Balance displayed by the Crimson. Andrew Pusar led all Crimson players with 12 coming on an assortment of pretty and heady backdoor cuts; Dan McGeary had 11 including three huge triples; Pat Magnarelli added a gritty 11 points included putbacks of off his 7 boards; Jeremy Lin had 9 with several deft slices into the lane; Evan Harris had 9 points to go with 8 rebounds, 5 assists, and 3 blocks; point guard Drew Housman had a patient and timely 8 points, and Brad Unger chipped in a bucket. Amaker was quick to point out that such balance is a result of sharing the basketball, which has emerged as one of the early imprints of Amaker's coaching. The Crimson did an admirable job of swinging the ball around the perimeter until they found the openings inside, driving and kicking back out, and finding the open cutters. Led by Housman, whose point guard play has improved dramatically, Harvard was routinely patient, waiting for the best shot and slowing the game down by moving the basketball. The Crimson are equipped with several good passers: obviously Lin and Housman from the guard spots are expected to distribute the ball, but Unger, Harris and even Magnarelli are remarkable good passers for their size. The undisputed "cutter" of the evening was Andrew Pusar, who on 6 occasions was the beneficiary of the passing. Somebody's got to make a move to the basket, for the passing worthwhile and Pusar consistently attacked the weak spots in the Wolverines 1-3-1 zone, finding seams to the basket and converting early to prevent Harvard from being run off the floor.

While such balance is difficult to achieve on a regular basis, I do think it's imperative that the Crimson continue to get strong contributions from key sources: (1) Either Drew Housman or Jeremy Lin from the primary 1 and 2 Guard spots, (2) Either Andrew Pusar or Dan McGeary as the 2-Guard or Small Forward, and (3) Either Harris or Magnarelli (throw Unger into the mix as he gets healthier). Balance will help them keep defenses off guard and will increase their confidence as an offensive unit.

The Poise and Preparation
The second aspect of the Crimson performance that was truly impressive was the poise they demonstrated down the stretch. After the Crimson led 37-26 with about 15 minutes to go in the 2nd Half, Michigan turned its intensity up a notch and transformed the deficit into a 45-42 lead with 8:28 to play. It is at this point in most games over the last several years that the Crimson would fold. I remember an important game last year against Princeton that they managed to lose -- one that would have catapulted the Crimson to a lead in the Ivy League Standings -- in which they were up by at least 5 with 30 seconds to go. For a few tense moments, you could sense a collective holding of the breath as the crowd wondered which way this would turn. Would Michigan run away with the game or would the Crimson stand tough? Behind Housman, the Amaker Edition of the Crimson chose the latter whereas many former Crimson squads might have succumbed to the former.

This is the second time this season, this week in fact, that the Crimson have come away with a solid second half win, and both times -- Harvard defeated New Hampshire on Wednesady -- two factors have played an important role: End Game Coaching, and Big Shots from leaders.

With the Crimson attack faltering in the second half, Amaker got his squad together and slowed them down. The Wolverines were intent on turning the game into a track meet, in which their size and athleticism advantages could be realized. Amaker made sure his squad resisted the temptation by preaching methodical offensive basketball with designed options for McGeary and Pusar to shoot open shots from the wing, or for Harris and Magnarelli to establish position inside. The latter was no easy task against Michigan's Monstrous bigs, which is I believe, why you didn't see more inside presence from the Crimson. Nonetheless and Magnarelli both got to the line in the last two minutes by attacking the basket. Amakers messages of slowing the game down by sharing the basketball and rebounding hard got through. There were definite lapses, occasions on which the offense was out of sync searching for a shot on the perimeter with 5 seconds to shoot, usually when Housman was not in charge, or instances in which the Wolverines were tapping offensive rebounds around the rim. But overall, the Crimson won the battle of the Paint which is a testament to Amaker's coaching, and in the most important two minutes of the game (the last two minutes), Harvard seemed comfortable with its offensive identity and gameplan.

The second component of a big second half win is strong play and big shots from your leaders. Housman and Pusar came through with some mildly unexpected contributions from Dan McGeary as well. Housman scored all 8 of his points in the second 20 minutes, including a triple and key drive and scoop with under 4 minutes to play that buoyed the Crimson offense. He also converted 3-4 from the free throw line. McGeary hit two huge threes for the Crimson in the second half to add to his 5 first half points. When the Wolverines were charging and maize and blue senior Ron Coleman was starting to stroke from downtown, McGeary kept the Crimson afloat with trifectas of his own. And finally, Pusar made play after play not just with cuts to the hole, but with hustle including a strip and rebound off of a missed Evan Harris free throw with 35 seconds to go, which probably sealed the deal for the Crimson. I would have liked to see some more aggressive inside play from Harris and Magnarelli, and we'll look for that in games to come.

What Does it All Mean?
Often the rhetoric after a signature win like this is to downplay -- a win against Michigan is still only one non-conference win, and the Crimson travel downtown to play BU on Monday in the next non-conference matchup. You take one game at a time, refusing to linger on past successes, and preparing for the next opportunity. In some ways that's true. Many would point out (many Maize and Blue fans I'm sure -- I happen to know them intimately well, being one myself) that this is a down Michigan squad. It's young and developing under a new coach, and if there was a time to catch them, this was it.

However, Michigan is still Michigan, and Harvard University, preseason #7 of the Ivy League, just beat the Michigan Wolverines of the Big Ten. This is without question, the biggest win in the History of Harvard Men's Basketball. It does a few things: (1) It gives Amaker instant credibility as a coach and as a recruiter. As a former Duke Point Guard and Coach K disciple, he was already the highest profile coach in the Ancient Eight, but now he walks into the schools of potential recruits armed with a win over Michigan. It makes his proposition that much more compelling. (2) It gives his team a great deal of confidence and a tremendous platform from which to buid. The next month of basketball will be critical. Will the Crimson point to their successes in this game and continue to play with balance, poise and dare I say some swagger? Or will they revert to some of their older hindering habits. For this game to retain lasting luster, the Crimson will have to build on the lessons they have learned. You have to believe they have been brought together as a team, and now they must work together to improve -- a task made much easier with a win over one of the biggest names in collegiate athletics. (3) Finally, this game serves as just a small reminder to the rest of the country, that small conference basketball, and Ivy League Basketball in particular, is increasingly relevant. Every year in the NCAA tournament, the myriad upsets highlight just how good some of these smaller teams can be. No Ivy League team has done as much in recent times as Princeton did with its opening round triumph over defending national champion UCLA in 1996, but to their credit, Penn and Princeton as Ivy League representative have regularly come close. Harvard, with this win announces that even the biggest names are susceptible to falling to ... well the biggest names (just in terms of Academics as oppose to Athletics).

The prediction here is that in the coming years, Harvard becomes a bigger and bigger player on the Ivy League Basketball scene, and who knows, maybe they'll have a shot at their first postseason win ever. Till then, this one is plenty sweet. Congratulations to Coach Amaker and the Men's Basketball Team on a win that was a privilege to cover.

As always, catch coverage of Men's Basketball on 95.3FM or online at

Monday, November 26, 2007

Site news and the week ahead...

The sidebar for our little site has become rather busy, with tons of new info and links we hope you will enjoy. Of special note is our list of this week's broadcasts, which will be updated weekly so that you can remain up to date on what's going on in Crimson sports. Also, we proudly present the complete halftime interview series with Harvard football's Steven Williams.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Hockey Blog, Women's Hockey Edition: Harvard destroys, deconstructs St. Lawrence 5-1

Harvard is really good this year. That doesn't properly describe the quality of this team, but I don't want to start making up words. Let's just say this: if that's how they play the second or third best team in the nation, what chance does anyone else have?

1. Coach Katey Stone is a big fan of depth and passing finesse. She saw some of the latter but a whole lot of the former, as the third line stepped up huge tonight, playing the Saints extremely tough and adding a goal or two. Going in Zak and I suspected St. Lawrence had a slight speed advantage, but that was pretty much completely neutralized by the Crimson's ability to constantly refresh itself and send another strong, rested line out there.

2. Caitlin Cahow gets penalized quite a bit. One of the two Olympians on the team, she's probably the Crimson's best defenseman, but she definitely skates that tightrope* between aggressive and illegal. Some nights she does it well, but tonight it must be said was not one of her better outings, as she got sent to the box three times. Of course, when you rack up as many points as she does, I guess I shouldn't make too big a deal out of it.

*How's that for mixed sports metaphors?

3. Credit Coach Stone for showing a little creativity on the strategic front, having Sarah Vaillancourt line up in the left defense position to start the second period. She and Cahow instantly connected on a series of crisp passes and, twenty-four seconds later, the Crimson had scored again. I don't know how much control a coach can really have over the movement of a hockey game as once the puck is dropped the flow of the game mostly dictates the action, but she made an interesting move there that paid off big.

4. Anna McDonald, the sophomore transfer from Boston College who actually beat the Crimson in 3OT in the Beanpot last year, has tremendous ability and can really lead an offense. Getting her to come over to our side was a huge coup for this team, and she's right up there with Liza Ryabkina as an immediate contributor to the team in their first season at Harvard.

5. Huge, huge shoutout to Christina Kessler for going almost four hours of gametime without giving up a goal. There isn't much more you can say. Just kudos to her, I guess.

My thanks to Zak Kline, Nick Crowne, and Saul Gorman for making the broadcasts of the games possible, and of course thanks to everyone who listened in. Men's hockey resumes November 28 at 7:30 as the Crimson take on the Yale Bulldogs. As always, Nick Crowne and Ben Weintraub have the call.

Friendly Reminder: Women's Hockey vs. St. Lawrence today at 4:00

Alasdair Wilkins and Zak Kline have the call as the Harvard Crimson look to improve to 6-0 on the year against the eighth-ranked St. Lawrence Saints. Drop of the puck is at 4:00 with our coverage beginning around 3:45.

Listen to it here.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Hockey Blog, Women's Hockey Edition: Harvard routs Clarkson 5-0 to improve to 5-0

Welcome to this special guest edition of the hockey blog, as I step in to comment on the Harvard women's hockey team's play this Thanksgiving weekend.

1. The two goals by Katharine Chute is as good a testament as any to the interchangeability of this Crimson squad. Not to take anything away from the freshman center, but it's fair to say she's one of several players who could have been on the receiving end of Sarah Vaillancourt's passes. And that's what is so dangerous about this Crimson team - it doesn't really matter if a lot of players are having off-games, as the team only needs one or two to be a scoring threat.

2. Christina Kessler has now not given up a goal in 3 hours, 26 minutes, and 13 seconds of play (that's right, I looked it up). By any standards, that's a superlative shutout streak, although the Crimson defense made her job easy tonight by limiting shots on goal and largely keeping Clarkson in the neutral zone. Expect that shutout streak to end sometime tomorrow when they take on the potent St. Lawrence offense.

3. The Clarkson defense played surprisingly well considering they let up five goals. Well, I'm adjusting my standards considerably here, but considering how poorly you might have expected them to play from that final score, they in fact did quite a bit better than that. Harvard didn't have a ton of opportunities, but they took advantage of them masterfully. I'm not sure how repeatable a skill that is, but that's ultimately nitpicking what was a total deconstruction of what was supposed to be the tenth best team in the country.

Well, that's all for this one. Congratulations to Harvard women's hockey as they improve to 5-0 on the year on the strength of their most dominating performance yet. Special kudos go to Sarah Vaillancourt, Caitlin Cahow, Katharine Chute, and Christina Kessler.

Zak Kline and I will be back tomorrow to call the St. Lawrence game at 4:00. Coverage will start around 3:45. Thanks again to Nick Crowne for his excellent work producing tonight's game.

Listen to it here.

Harvard Women's Hockey coverage on WHRB

Tune in to 95.3 FM WHRB tonight for Harvard women's hockey vs. Clarkson. The game begins at 7pm, our coverage begins at 6:45pm. Streaming live on the web at

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Postgame: Harvard escapes with 2-1 OT victory

Dramatic win by Harvard, with Rogers getting the gamewinner with 1:08 left in OT. 

1. There are a few ways of thinking about this game. Harvard stole this game, no doubt. BU outshot Harvard 40-20 and outworked Harvard. Harvard was 0-7 on the PP and didn't "deserve" to win. But being opportunistic is crucial to the success of any hockey team, and if there is a word that describes this year's Crimson squad it is opportunistic. By the same measure you could say that BU has incredible are they 3-7-2 on the year? As we observed with last year's Harvard team, if you can't finish, you won't win games. 

2. Richter continues to stand on his head in net. Amazing that he leads the nation in GAA and save percentage, especially after many observers had questions about Harvard's strength in net this year. 39 saves tonight, kept Harvard in the game in the first when BU outshot Harvard 16-4, despite allowing the early goal. One of the most impressive aspects of Richter's game this year has been his ability to bounce back after goals...we saw it from the outset of the year when Clarkson scored 60 seconds in, but Richter was able to respond and give Harvard a chance to win.

3. I said that we should get more visibility on this year's team after the Cornell/Colgate weekend, but I am back to being confused about where this year is going. Harvard is 5-2 overall, 4-2 in the ECAC, but it seems like Harvard has been fortunate to win most of its games. Play in the defensive zone has been shaky, there hasn't been much scoring up front, and PP has been mediocre. By most standards, Harvard shouldn't be over .500 right now. Obviously Richter has bailed out Harvard on a number of occasions, putting the Crimson in position to capitalize on chances, and they have. But how much longer can Richter carry this team?

More Harvard hockey coverage this weekend on WHRB. Tune in Friday at 7:00pm for Women's Hockey vs. Clarkson and at 4:00pm on Saturday for Women's Hockey vs. St. Lawrence. Alasdair Wilkins and Zak Kline have the call on 95.3 FM WHRB, streaming on the web at

Our next game is November 28 @ Yale. The puck drops at 7:30pm, our coverage begins at 7:15pm.

Apologies for technical difficulties...

Due to unforeseen problems with our equipment, we were forced to cancel our broadcast of tonight's women's basketball game against Fairfield. As some small attempt to make up for this, we present our interview with senior captain Jessica Knox.

Listen to it.

Monday, November 19, 2007

This week's games...

Some exciting games for all to enjoy over the Thanksgiving week...

On Tuesday, Nick Crowne and Ben Weintraub will be taking a trip to Boston University as the men's hockey team takes on the Terriers. The broadcast will start at a little after 7:15. Tune in to the radio at 95.3 FM or stream online over the high bandwidth stream at

At the same time, Alasdair Wilkins and Kara Hollis will be calling the women's basketball game against Fairfield, available exclusively on the low bandwidth stream. That broadcast should begin a little before 7:00.

On Friday, Alasdair Wilkins and Zak Kline will be bringing you the women's hockey game against Clarkson at 7:00. They will also be handling the next day's game against St. Lawrence at 4:00. Both games will be on the radio and the high bandwidth stream.

And, as always, tune in on Sunday at 1:00 for Sports Talk, recapping the entire week of Crimson sports.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Interview with ESPN's Pat Forde

As part of the pregame for Harvard-Yale (not to mention my own fannish curiosity), I interviewed columnist Pat Forde of The interview looks at college football, both generally in terms of the craziness that has been this season and in terms of the Harvard-Yale rivalry.

Take a listen to it right here.

Postgame: Drive for five snapped

Harvard's bid for 5 consecutive wins ended with 2 third period goals by Burton. Tough loss for Harvard but they will be forced to rebound quickly against BU on Tuesday. 

Some thoughts:

1. The Burton goals both seemed odd, though we didn't have a good look from the far end of the ice. It seemed like the gamewinner deflected off a skate in front since Burton fired it from such a sharp angle. Couldn't have gone in on its own but since Burton was credited with the goal it probably hit a skate.

2. The cross-checking penalty on McCafferty late in the third: Again, this occurred in the far side corner and consequently we didn't get a great look at it, but from what I saw, I can understand how Harvard players and coaches would be upset by the call. It looked like Burton (I think) lost an edge against the boards while he was shaded by McCafferty. Did not look like McCafferty got his stick up on the check.

3. Dekanich played an exceptional game for Colgate. Harvard had their chances but Dekanich stepped up in the 3rd, making 12 saves. Dekanich has been up and down this year but he looked on top of his game tonight.

4. Forecheck continues to be an issue for Harvard. Don't know what the solution is, but Harvard hasn't been able to establish a solid forecheck this year.

5. Tough loss but by no means crushing. To put things in perspective, Harvard is still off to a fine start. Now tied for 2nd in the ECAC with Cornell. More pressing is how Harvard will respond on Tuesday against a BU team that is trying to establish a rhythm...3-6-2 record thus far but BU scored 13 goals in a weekend split vs. Vermont. 

Tune in Tuesday night to 95.3 FM for Harvard-BU. The game begins at 7:30pm, our coverage begins at 7:15pm. 

Also, I would like to congratulate our football broadcasters for a year of exceptional coverage on WHRB. Samir Rao, Alasdair Wilkins, and Saul Gorman did a superb job and deserve much praise for a year of high-energy broadcasts.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Harvard ousts Cornell in rivalry game; moves into sole possession of 2nd place in the ECAC

A few quick thoughts on Harvard's 2-1 victory over Cornell:

1. Game winner by McCafferty at 7:30 of the 3rd on a persistent effort by McCollem on the wrap-around. McCafferty showed good awareness pinching in, came out of nowhere to fire the puck home. Always a risky move but it resulted in the GWG tonight. 

2. Harvard was never trailing in the game but in some respects it seemed like a resilient victory. Harvard was outplayed and outworked in the last 10 minutes of the 2nd and seemed a bit fatigued heading into the locker room after 2. I was surprised Cornell wasn't able to capitalize on at least one of the many chances they had in the 2nd. But Harvard controlled play in the 3rd, and the shot totals from the 3rd, 14-4 in Harvard's favor, reflected Harvard's dominance in the period. Cornell never got it going in the 3rd and Harvard really took it to Cornell in the final period. 

3. Richter continues to excel. Had his shutout streak snapped in the first off what seemed like an odd deflection. Didn't get a clear view of it, though. Made some big saves in the 2nd to keep the score tied.

4. Harvard needs to work on its forecheck. Outside of the 4th line the forecheck was a bit weak. Also, as in the Union game, Harvard had difficulty clearing the puck and needs to play more effectively in its own zone. Cornell had several opportunities off of errant clearing attempts.

Tune in to 95.3 FM tomorrow night for Harvard vs. Colgate. The game is at 7:00pm, our coverage begins at 6:45pm. Also, tune in to the Harvard-Yale football game tomorrow on 95.3 FM. The game begins at Noon, but we have an hour-long pregame on WHRB, beginning at 11:00am. 

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Women's Basketball Broadcast 7:00 tonight only on the Internet

Amy Newsome and Kara Hollis will be calling the Harvard women's basketball team's home opener tonight against Siena. The game is at 7:00. Tune into the low-broadcast stream on to hear it, which you can directly access below...

Listen to the game!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Postgame: Harvard takes care of business; records first shutout on consecutive nights since 1982

A few quick thoughts:

1. Richter continues his ridiculous play in net, recording his second consecutive shutout. It's still very early in the season, but if Richter can play at close to this level, Harvard can be competitive versus anyone.

2. Credit the Harvard D for extending its strong play, continuing to block shots and make Richter's job easier. Harvard blocked a staggering 29 shots tonight, sealing up the shooting lanes. Alex Biega has played much better in his own zone this year, not only in terms of decision-making but also playing a nastier defensive game.

3. An opportunistic offense. Harvard didn't have an abundance of scoring chances but capitalized when they did. Taylor opened the scoring on a first-rate outlet pass from Pelle and played an all-around superb game. Huxley scored on a shot through a screen on the first PP. Then in the third Dufault scored on a phenomenal individual effort and Magura capped it off with a shorty.

More later this week...Next week should give us a better read on this year's team...Enjoy the victories

Friday, November 9, 2007

Postgame: Harvard wins 3-0; Richter blanks RPI; Christian scores 3rd

All things considered, a solid performance by Harvard. Even strength play was fairly balanced, with both teams trading the momentum, but specialty teams determined this one. Harvard converted on 2 of 6 PP opportunities (Biega, McCafferty), while RPI went 0-5 on the man advantage. Harvard PK continues to impress, but once again the story of the game was Kyle Richter's dominant performance in net for Harvard. 

Richter stopped all 30 shots, recording his first shutout of the year, after a career-high 42 saves against St. Lawrence. He wasn't tested in the same way tonight as he was last weekend, but needless to say stepped up in the game's crucial moments. 

It's still early in the season and consequently it's difficult to read this year's squad, but I think the outlook is positive. As always, the ECAC is wide open, and last year's early season difficulties do seem to be behind this year's team. 

Harvard debut of Pier-Olivier Michaud tonight, playing on the 4th line with Magura and Del Mauro. Quick skater, on the smaller side, but strong on his skates. Set up a few quality scoring chances with Del Mauro in the third. Seemed to click on the 4th line. Rolecek and Watters were scratches. 

Alex Biega continues to impress. Opened the scoring tonight with a PP goal at 19:13 of the first. Quarterbacks the PP skillfully and has a bomb from the point. Scored tonight pinching in on a feed from Pelle. 

Tempers flared late in this one. 4 players called for hitting after the whistle penalties. Possibly some bad blood between these teams, though in recent years we've more often seen physicality after the whistle between Harvard and tomorrow's opponent, Union.

Jack Christian keeps his scoring streak alive, netting his third of the season on a short handed empty netter late in the third. We were calling the game next to Steve Rolecek and Ian Tallett, and both found great amusement in Christian's goal. Can Christian keep it up?

Tune in tomorrow night to 95.3 FM WHRB for Harvard vs. Union. The game starts at 7pm, our coverage begins at 6:45pm. We will also be debuting the new season of Top Shelf with hosts Jimmy Fraser, Kyle Richter, and myself. Send comments to and feel free to add your thoughts below.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Weekend observations: Clarkson/St. Lawrence

Welcome to the WHRB Sports Blog, Harvard hockey fans. I hope to regularly update this space with commentary and observations about the team, post coach and player interviews, and keep you updated about upcoming hockey broadcasts on WHRB 95.3 FM.

That said, a few notes about this past weekend's games against Clarkson and St. Lawrence: 

If I had said that Jack Christian would be Harvard's leading goal scorer after 2 games, most would have been seriously alarmed about the potency of the Crimson offense. Yet the Crimson delivered a third period offensive explosion against St. Lawrence, netting 4 goals en route to a 6-1 victory. Half of the Crimson's goals were scored by players who had never scored before--Jack Christian (2) and Dave McDonald, the top defensive defensemen on the team. 

All things considered, I thought Harvard showed a lot of promise this weekend against two of the better teams in the conference. Clarkson is without question a superb team, while SLU appears to have some early-season kinks to resolve after being swept at home and falling to 0-3 in ECAC play. It was not surprising to see them fall out of the USCHO Top 20, while Clarkson moved up to #8 after picking up 4 points on home ice.

Harvard responded well after early nerves against Clarkson resulted in a goal at 1:00 of the first period, but simply couldn't penetrate the Clarkson zone for the last 10:00 of the third period. Possibly a conditioning issue (first game of the year) but credit Clarkson for stepping up and shutting down the Crimson attack.

SLU was a different story. Plenty of scoring chances in a fast-paced first period, with Christian lighting the lamp on a centering feed from Paul Dufault. Harvard gave SLU lots of chances to get back into the game with a string of penalties to begin the 2nd but the Harvard PK was stifling as it was the entire weekend. Fraser blocked a ton of shots on the PK. Obviously Harvard poured it on in the 3rd, with Christian scoring a ENG and McDonald scoring in the waning moments. SLU goaltender Petizian was shaky all night. Alex Biega fired a shot from the red line that hit the crossbar. Petizian clearly didn't have his best game and, in fairness, should have stopped some of the goals he surrendered.  

Story of the weekend was Richter's play in net. Many observers had questions about Harvard's goaltending situation, after a senior goaltender graduated for the third consecutive year. Personally I thought this was somewhat overdone, as it was Richter who played a large role in resurrecting Harvard's 2006-2007 season after its 3-9 start. Sure, his numbers weren't staggering (7-8, 2.84 GAA, .903 sv pct) but remember that his difficult starts against Yale and Brown (5-1 loss and 6-6, respectively) contributed significantly to his stats. Also, Richter has a knack for making big stops that can spark the team. He had some problems controlling his rebounds but made some first-rate saves to keep Harvard in the game against Clarkson and preserve its lead against SLU. I expect Richter to be strong in net this year. 

Defense was strong, especially compared to last year's early season defensive effort. Losing Reese obviously hurts on the offensive side but he was in my estimation Harvard's top shut-down defenseman last year. I expected the D to need some time to establish a groove but they looked solid to me. I expect Alex Biega and Morin to be better in their own zones this year. Biega, as an aside, also appeared more comfortable quarterbacking the PP, and he has a vicious shot from the point. 

More to come later on this weekend's home games vs. #16 RPI and Union...

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Interview with Dak of Fire Joe Morgan

It was my rare privilege to interview Dak, one of the mysterious bloggers at Fire Joe Morgan, the preeminent site for mocking really bad sports journalism, often with a statistical bent. I'm a gigantic fan of the website, which is illustrated by the fact that, due to a set of circumstances far too boring to explain, I actually recorded the interview at 2:00 in the morning...and it still went roughly fifty minutes. The interview went down right after Game 1 of the World Series ended.

For those who dare, here is the unedited interview.

Interview with John Wolff, former hockey broadcaster and author of "Harvard Boys"

On last week's Sports Talk (Sundays at 1:00 PM EST), we interviewed John Wolff, a former hockey broadcaster for WHRB. Sadly, that was not the subject of his book, Harvard Boys: A Father and Son's Adventures Playing Minor League Baseball. This may come as something of a surprise, but the book is actually about playing minor league baseball, which he did for a year in 2006. His father, Rick Wolff, also a Harvard graduate and also a minor league ballplayer, provides commentary on his son's experiences.

Check out the complete interview.


WHRB Sports, the home for student radio coverage of Harvard athletics, is launching this blog. Here's what you can expect to see on here:
  • Announcements of our broadcasts, including our internet-only broadcasts of women's hockey, men's basketball, women's basketball, and more
  • Links to the online streams so that you'll never need to search for where to listen in
  • Premium content, including complete, unedited interviews with a number of figures from Crimson sports and beyond
  • Blogs from our broadcasters on various Harvard teams
Though these are our major objectives, we're not above doing a few things just for fun. So stay tuned, keep checking the site, and thanks for stopping by.