Alumni have had buildings named after them for less. Sure, you thought the Cabots, the Lamonts, and the Widene rs were nice to Harvard, but no donor could be more generous than the Dartmouth men's hockey team was last night.
The Crimson had just won one of its last seven ECAC games, and second-place Yale was on deck. Harvard needed a quick confidence-builder, and Dartmouth seemed only too pleased to oblige. The result: a 4-0 victory that lifted the icemen's ECAC record to 6-7-1 (6-9-1 overall).
Among the Big Green's biggest beneficiaries was goalie Grant Blair, who effortlessly notched his second shutout of the season and the fifth of his college career. Blair faced just 20 shots on goal, only one of them from closer range than the edge of a faceoff circle.
Harvard's sixth straight victory over Dartmouth was the first series shutout since the 1961-62 season. The Big Green tightened its hold on last place in the ECAC by dropping to 2-11 in conference play, 2-16 overall.
Crimson winger Shayne Kukulowicz had scored almost as few goals as Dartmouth had wins. The leading returning scorer from last year's ECAC champs. Kukulowicz had just three goals to his credit this year, none since December. Enter the Big Green confidence builder.
Seven minutes into the third period, Harvard held a 3-0 advantage when Kukulowicz picked off the puck near center ice, raced down the right wing and slapped the puck along the ice, into the far corner of the Dartmouth net.
"That's a big goal for Shayne," Harvard Coach Bill Cleary said after the game. "You could see him lift right after that."
The victory-sealing goal took the pressure off the 6-ft., 1-in., 190-lb. senior, and he joked later about what has been a frustrating drought, remarking, "Yes, I did score a goal tonight."
Despite launching 19 first-period shots on goal, Harvard didn't break through goalie Jeff Bower until almost five minutes into the second stanza. Dartmouth dumped the puck into the Harvard zone and started to change on the fly. It was a truly generous gift.
Junior Brad Kwong took the puck in the Harvard zone and flipped it over to Brian Busconi, who was sitting at the Big Green blue line. By the time Dartmouth's line change was complete. Busconi had skated in on Bower and tucked it through from straight out in front of the net.
Ten minutes later, Kwong teamed with Gary Martin on what looked like a classic Los Angeles Laker fast break. The pair hot potatoed the puck as they skated from center ice to just in front of the crease. Bower committed to stopping Kwong, so Martin got the tally. He leads the team in scoring (eight goals, five assists).
With just 24 seconds left to go in the period, Tony Visone tapped in Kukulowicz's pass from the corner and Harvard led by three.
THE NOTEBOOK: Sophomore center Tim McMohan hyperextended his knee and is doubtful for Saturday's game with Yale... The Harvard power play continued to flounder. The Crimson failed to convert on all six of its extra-man opportunities, bringing its horrendous power play conversion rate to under 10 percent.
H. Brian Busconi (Brad Kwong), 4:52; H. Gary Martin (Kwong), 14:39; H, Tony Visone (Shayne Kukulowicz, Tim Barakett), 19:36; H, Kukulowicz (unassisted), 7-51.
Saves-D. Jeff Bower 19-12-13--44; H, Grant Blair 7-5-8--20