They make you want to pace the floor, bite your nails and put on a pair of skates Harvard men's hockey Coach Bill Cleary just tugs at his scalp.
"I'm not going to have any hair left," Cleary said after his team shaved Northeastern, 4-2, last night at Bright Arena.
Five of the icemen's six games this season have been decided by two goals or less Fortunately for Cleary's shampoo supplier, four of those have been Crimson victories. The team has muddled its way to a 4-1-1 mark, one of the best starts in the ECAC.
Harvard scored twice within two minutes in the second period to claim a two-goal advantage and grab a decisive grip on the contest. But the offense stopped there, and half-way through the third period Northeastern crept to within one. The momentum switched suddenly.
"You go into a little shell, and they score a goal, and you start to get a little defensive," said Cleary, who's seen his squad let opponents back into the game a couple of times before. "That's the last thing you need," he added.
But Harvard goalie Grant Blair made 15 third-period saves, and Dave Connors added an open-net goal (Blair assisted) to give the defending ECAC champion Crimson the victory over the 1981 ECAC champion Huskies.
The loss dropped Northeastern to 5-3-1 overall, 3-3-1 in conference play.
The Huskies started the scoring 4:47 into the game. Left wing Mike O'Brien fired a point-blank shot off Blair, and center Randy Bucyk flipped the rebound off the crossbar and into the net.
It was a short-lived celebration, as Rob Ohno silenced the Husky faithful when he broke free and almost tipped it behind North-eastern goalie Tim Marshall. Marshall fended off two other close-range shots before center Phil Falcone knotted the score at 17:58. Husky defenseman Craig Frank screened Marshall, and Falcone's shot slid past Marshall across the goalmouth and into the far side of the net. It was Harvard's first power-play goal since the season-opener at Dartmouth
Brian Busconi flicked a Tony Visone centering pass into the lower right corner of the net 243 into the second period to give Harvard a 2-1 lead. Less than two minutes later, Peter Chiarelli fired in a slapshot on a Bob Starbuck faceoff to make it 3-1. It looked like a three-goal lead when Falcone crashed into Marshall and the puck trickled over the goal line at 1205. But referee Pierre Belanger dis-allowed the goal because of a high stick.
The Crimson continued to get scoring opportunities, but nothing went in and the margin stayed at two. As in its past games, Harvard couldn't break away. Said a frustrated Jay North after the game. "I think we're going to start scoring We've got to. We've got the talent."
Northeastern's Ray Manchurek had the talent 10:59 into the final period. Manchurek took a pass from Rod Isbister and snuck the puck past Blair to narrow the gap to one goal. Some vintage Blair acrobatics kept the gap intact until Connors hit the empty net from the red line with just seven seconds left in the game
"We're lucky to have Grant," North said. Cleary's barber would agree. At Bright Center Northeastern 1 0 1--2 Harvard 1 2 1--4
NU. Randy Bucyk (Bob Averill, Mike O'Brien) 4:47; H. Phil Falcone (Butch Cutone) 17:00; H. Brian Busconi (Tony Visone, Tim Barakett) 2:43; H. Peter Chiarelli (Bob Starbuck) 4:30; NU, Ken Manchurek (Rod sabister, Stewart Emerson) 10:50; H. Dave Connore (Falcone, Grant Blak) 19:53.
Saves--NU, Tim Marshall, 12-13-0-31; H. Blair 9-8-15--32.