Tales of the Streaking Icemen
The Hockey Notebook
The Harvard men's hockey team is on a hot streak. Several hot streaks actually.
After two weekend wins over Dartmouth, the Crimson has now won six straight games this season.
That's one streak.
Harvard has also won seven straight games played on the 28th day of a month.
The Crimson has also disposed of tomorrow's opponent, Colgate, 12 straight times and the Big Green 13 straight. The team is unbeaten in 21 straight at Bright Center, and has never lost a contest in which defenseman Josh Caplan has scored a goal.
There's four more.
Caplan's tally in Friday's Dartmouth game was the second of his two-year Crimson career. It was also his second game-winner. The sophomore was credited with the decisive goal in a 4-2 victory at Princeton last February.
Cream of the Crop: The Crimson is all alone at the top of the ECAC with six wins and 12 points, while St. Lawrence holds onto second place with a 4-0 ECAC record. Following the Saints are Colgate, Yale, Princeton, Clarkson, RPI, Army, Cornell, Vermont, Brown, and Dartmouth, in that order.
On the national scene, third-ranked Harvard is steadily climbing to the top of national polls.
Last year's NCAA runner-up opened the year rated sixth in the country. Now only North Dakota and last season's NCAA Champion, Michigan State, stand between the Crimson and a position at the top of the college hockey heap. Behind Harvard in fourth place is Boston College, which was impressive in a 9-6 win over Boston University Tuesday. Minnesota, Bowling Green, St. Lawrence, Lowell, Lake Superior State, and Maine round out the Top Ten.
Same Time Last Year: With the graduation of Harvard's top two scorers from last year's squad--first line forwards Scott Fusco and Tim Smith--the Crimson expected to spread its scoring burden among several players.
But the scoring on this year's squad has been dominated by the trio of Lane MacDonald, Tim Barakett and Allen Bourbeau. Those three have accounted for 41 percent of the team's points, and 59 percent of its goals. Last year's top three, Fusco, Smith and Barakett, tallied only 34 percent of the points and 41 percent of the goals.
This season's top five scorers have notched 57 percent of the points and 74 percent of the goals, versus 51 percent and 63 percent for last year's top five.
This apparent lack of depth hasn't seemed to hurt the Crimson, however. It has outscored its opponents 34-11 in six victories, while at this stage last year, the 4-1-1 Crimson had only a 35-22 goals-scored advantage.
Not only does MacDonald lead the Crimson in point production, but with nine goals and five assists, he has taken over first place in the ECAC scoring race as well. Tim Barakett's 12 points ties him for second with last season's ECAC Rookie of the Year, Princeton's John Messuri.
Goalie on a Roll: Another major reason for Harvard's success has been the sparkling play of goaltender Dickie McEvoy. The senior sports a spakling 1.80 goals-against average, third in the ECAC, and recorded his first career shutout in a 5-0 blanking of Dartmouth Saturday at Bright.
McEvoy has seen more playing time than had been expected, due to fellow goalie John Devin's knee injury. It doesn't appear that Devin will have a chance to become Harvard's Wally Pipp--whose injury allowed Lou Gehrig to play in the first of his 2130 consecutive Yankee games--because he is expected back in action this weekend against Colgate (8-1 overall, 3-1 ECAC) or Cornell (2-3 overall, 1-3 ECAC).
Harvard travelled north to play these same two schools at the beginning of December last season, and came away with a 7-2 victory over the Red Raiders, and an 11-3 demolition of the Big Red.
The Crimson completed the sweeps of its red-clad foes at home in February, and then beat Colgate twice in the ECAC quarter-finals in March.
These are the first of five consecutive road games for Harvard, which doesn't return to the cozy confines of Bright until Vermont comes to town on January 3.
The Notebook's Notebook: If Harvard beats Colgate on Friday, its 7-0 record would be the best Crimson start in recent memory. Two seasons ago, the eventual NCAA quarter-finalists began with a 6-0 slate, but tied Cornell in its seventh contest. That squad started with an 8-0-2 record, and didn't lose until its 11th game...Philadelphia radio station WYSP commissioned Harvard's WHRB to interview Allen Bourbeau.