CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- Harvard and Dartmouth have waited it out for nearly a month, but the storied Ivy League foes are finally set to commence their seasons tonight. From Bright-Landry Hockey Center, the Crimson and Big Green will be the final Division 1 teams to take to play opening games when the puck drops at 7:30.
Tonight marks the 204th all-time meeting in a series which dates back to 1907 and sees Harvard hold a 128-64-12 edge. Dartmouth has had the upper hand recently with a 6-3-3 mark since 2011.
Dartmouth returns 98.6 percent of the point scoring, including all 11 skaters who produced in double digits, from its 10-20-4 squad of a year ago. The Big Green were 0-8-0 out of the gates, but recovered to reach the second round of the ECAC Tournament after a three-game series win at RPI. They lost exhibition contests to defending Canadian national champion Alberta and league foe Brown last Saturday and Sunday at Thompson Arena.
Senior Eric Neiley's 16 goals last year were double his closest teammate and his 29 points also led the team. Saugus, Mass. native classmate Brandon McNally, one of five Massachusetts natives making a return to their home state this evening, led the squad with 14 assists and was second with 21 points.
The Crimson return 94 percent of point scoring after going 10-17-4 last year, and tonight look to improve upon a 6-4-0 mark in home openers under head coach Ted Donato. 2013 NHL draftees Wiley Sherman (Boston Bruins) and Merrick Madsen (Philadelphia Flyers) are two of eight rookies joining Donato's team.
Harvard welcomes back three 20-point scorers and each of its top 11, including Nashville Predators prospect and current junior Jimmy Vesey who posted 13 goals and 22 points while playing in all 31 games.
Here are tonight's lines:
Brad Schierhorn - Tyler Sikura - Eric Robinson
Brandon McNally - Eric Neiley - Tm O'Brien
Jesse Beamish - Charlie Mosey - Grant Opperman
Jack Barre - Carl Hesler - Kyle Nickerson
Rick Pinkston - Andy Simpson
Brandon Kirk - River Rymsha
Geoff Ferguson - Brett Patterson
Jimmy Vesey - Alexander Kerfoot - Kyle Criscuolo
Tommy O'Regan - Luke Esposito - Brian Hart
Seb Lloyd - Tyler Moy - Jake Horton
Devin Tringale - Eddie Ellis - Phil Zielonka
Patrick McNally - Desmond Bergin
Max Everson - Brayden Jaw
Wiley Sherman - Clay Anderson