Harvard's Four-Line Shower Rusted the Golden Knights
The game started out inauspiciously enough from a Harvard point of view. The Crimson held a 2-0 lead by the end of the first period, but it wasn't a solid kind of 2-0 advantage, the kind that makes Crimson fans comfortable.
And Clarkson made the Harvard partisans even more apprehensive by scoring a goal within the first minute of play in the second stanza, to narrow the Crimson margin to 2-1.
Clarkson was, to everyone's surprise, skating with Harvard, forechecking and backchecking solidly enough to disrupt the Crimson offensive attack. Clarkson even outshot Harvard by a slight margin in the first period, and only excellent saves by Brian Petrovik kept the Golden Knights off the scoreboard.
Clarkson also was playing a physical game in the first period with lots of shoving and pushing. But a needless elbowing penalty set up the first Harvard goal.
So when Clarkson got its early second-period tally, things weren't quite going the way everyone thought they would. But as has happened so often this season, it was the four Harvard lines that eventually wore out the three lines Clarkson was using.
There was no way that the Golden Knight forwards could maintain the pace they had kept for the first period and for half of the second period. Eventually, they began to tire and that's when Harvard made its move. Or more accurately, that's when the line of Dan Bolduc, Kevin Carr, and Paul Haley, made its move.
The high-flying Bolduc had been all over the ice in the first part of the game, and had a few excellent scoring chances. But what Harvard fans witnessed in the middle part of the second period was the most amazing individual display turned in by a Crimson hockey player this season.
Everyone knows Bolduc has incredible speed, reminding one of a collegian Yvan Cournoyer, but it was never more awesome than in that 3:22 span of the second period, when he tallied three goals to put away Clarkson single-handedly. Before the Golden Knights even realized what had hit them, the game had turned from a tight 2-1 affair to a 5-1 rout. By that time Clarkson would have been better off pleading sole contendere.
By the third period the Clarkson zone resembled a shooting gallery, as Harvard built up an 8-1 lead. Even the seldom-used Wiz Wyatt got into the act, putting away one goal.
So Harvard now proceeds to the semifinals against Cornell Friday night.
Although there were cheers in Watson Rink when Brown was announced to be leading B.U., the hockey purist has to be happy that B.U. won, even though it will make the Crimson's path to the NCAA championships in St. Louis more difficult. Fans may eventually be treated to an ECAC "grudge match" final between the archrival Terriers and the Crimson.