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California products Moy, Madsen give Harvard consistent punch

 

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Don’t be surprised to see two Californians leading Harvard University into the Frozen Four.

Senior forward Tyler Moy and junior goaltender Merrick Madsen have spearheaded the Crimson’s charge up the rankings, where they’ve taken up residence in the top five since late January. That coincided with a 14-game unbeaten streak heading into the ECAC Hockey semifinals in mid-March.

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Other than one midseason three-game slump, the Crimson has remained consistent and head into this weekend’s NCAA East Regional in Providence, R.I. ranked second in the country.

“It’s a credit to the depth of our team – having eight seniors on this team is pretty big,” said Moy, a former San Diego Jr. Gull. “The confidence you get with being an older guy is a huge part. It’s something we try to pass along, just establish a consistency and expectations. And we set our goals very high – that’s driven us.”

Madsen, a former California Heat player from Acton, also cited consistency.

“We’re on a pretty good heater, and we’re doing a good job creating opportunities,” said Madsen, a 2013 Philadelphia Flyers draft pick. “In the January losses, we played more of a selfish game. Before that, we were on a winning streak and we stopped doing all the little things. Our game is getting to the corners, working from the bottom out. The three losses calibrated us.”

Moy was one of the ringleaders of the course correction.

“It’s been interesting to follow him. I grew up playing against him, and when I came in (at Harvard), he wasn’t one of the guys who had been drafted, but he competed as hard as anyone,” Madsen said. “He got drafted in his last year of eligibility (by the Nashville Predators in 2015), which speaks a lot to his work ethic, and came back and took more of a leadership role.”

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Moy has shouldered a larger role in the Crimson’s No. 1 offense. His 40 points, 19 goals, 21 assists, seven power-play goals and three game-winners are career highs. He has teamed with fellow seniors Sean Malone (38 points) and Luke Esposito (33 points) to form a dynamic line.

“The players I’m playing with are awesome guys to play with; they make everyone around them better,” Moy said. “We’re roommates, so that makes it easier with the chemistry. And when the team is doing well, it makes it easier to do well on an individual level.”

Madsen might not have the numbers he posted as a sophomore (2.25 goals-against average vs. 2.00 and .916 save percentage vs. .931), except for the most important one. He has 24 wins, six more than a season ago.

“I had the numbers and a good year as a sophomore, but I went a couple months where I had a .980 save percentage and finished .930, so it wasn’t like I had a great second half,” Madsen said. “I wanted more consistency, and I always wanted to give the team a chance to win. There were some losses last season when I felt I let the team down.

“This year, I’ve done a better job giving us a chance to win each night even if the numbers are down.”

Numbers or not, Madsen is one of 10 semifinalists for the Mike Richter Award (national) and a finalist for the Ken Dryden Award (ECAC).

“Every year, you could see humungous improvements in his game,” Moy said. “Since he came in as a sophomore, he has been a rock in net, even more so this year. He is somebody we can rely on.

“We have a guy who can grab some games for you when the offense struggles. At this time of year, every goal counts.”

Photos/Gil Talbot/Harvard Athletics

— Chris Bayee