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Monday, February 1, 2010

Harvard men's hockey: Three stars and roster updates

Since we last took a look at the Crimson, they've played three games and posted a 1-1-1 mark. An undefeated road weekend was highlighted by a 4-1 win at nationally-ranked Union, before a last-second goal from Louis Leblanc gave the Crimson a tie at RPI. Friday night Harvard hosted Princeton but couldn't keep their four-game unbeaten streak alive in a difficult 2-1 loss. After the jump, we've got your three stars of the last three games, along with several roster and injury notes from the last week.

THREE STARS OF LAST THREE GAMES 1/22 - 1/29

1. Louis Leblanc
The dynamic freshman has continued to drive the Crimson attack as he scored the game-tying goal at RPI and added two more assists over the course of the last three games. Leblanc continues to impress with his effort - and the gametying goal typified Leblanc's relentless style of play. In the waning seconds of the third period, the freshman positioned himself at the far post and when RPI netminder Allen York couldn't cover the puck after a shot through traffic and the ensuing rebound, Leblanc jammed it through a crowd as the net came loose moments later. He's capable of prettier plays too, as he set up fellow freshman Conor Morrison's power play goal on Friday night with a nifty centering pass to the slot.

2. Ryan Carroll
Carroll put together one of the finest performances in net we've seen in person last Friday against Union, making 47 stops en-route to an upset road victory over the ECAC-leading Dutchmen. He's allowed just eight goals in his last five starts, dating back to the Crimson's win over Carroll and fellow junior Kyle Richter have both played well since early December, but entering a busy stretch of games (four games in eight days) Carroll will see plenty of work. Furthermore, Carroll played extremely well against Boston College in early December, making 17 saves in 36 minutes of shutout relief of Richter.

3. Danny Biega
The rangy freshman defenseman has put his game together in recent weeks, and become a two-way threat while working well with junior Chris Huxley. He's an athletic presence on the ice who has begun to leverage his dangerous combination of strength and speed to become more physical and we've seen him become increasingly difficult to work past on the rush. While he's still finding his way offensively, he's been put on the power play umbrella with his older brothers, a combination that's been effective in practice and flashed potential on Friday night against Princeton but is still seeking its first goal.


ROSTER NOTES

- The Crimson have been hit with a few injuries recently and that will force some changes to the Crimson's lineup tomorrow night. Doug Rogers suffered an injury in the first period of Friday night's game and is unlikely to play tomorrow, although Ted Donato called the injury "hopefully a muscle problem,"which would mean a quicker recovery. The loss of Rogers hurts more after he played very well against RPI on Jan. 23, scoring a goal and assisting on Leblanc's game-tying goal, and had a strong first period against Princeton. Rogers is also the top faceoff man for the Crimson, so his absence will mean more faceoffs for Luke Greiner and P.O. Michaud.

- Matt McCollem suffered an upper-body injury Friday night and will miss the rest of the week's games as he recovers. It has been tough sledding so far this season for the junior winger, who missed the first 11 games of the season recovering from off-season surgeries and now may miss an extended stretch of time recovering from this latest injury, which appears unrelated to what kept him out the first chunk of the season.

- Daniel Moriarty, one of our Three Stars of the first half of the season, has been a healthy scratch the last four games and it appears unlikely he will return to action any time soon. Moriarty, despite a strong start to the season with 11 points in 14 games, has not been able to crack the top twelve up front and it is unclear when he will return to the lineup.

- Colin Moore, who suffered a hand/wrist injury late in the third period on Jan. 22 against Union, is unlikely to play Monday as he continues to recover from that injury. The sophomore has missed two games since the injury. Moore's loss means the Crimson will be without one of their top penalty killers, and he could be replaced in that role by Rence Coassin or Michael Del Mauro.

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