Crimson Stuns Favored Pioneers, 5-2
The Semis: Harvard vs. Denver
Before Friday night, Andy Janfaza hadn't scored in a month.
And before that, he hadn't scored in two months.
And before that, he hadn't scored at all.
Andy Janfaza was a hard-nosed digger, not a famous scorer.
Tim Smith hadn't scored in a week.
But that's because the Harvard men's hockey team hadn't played in a week.
With a team-leading 25 goals on the year--and 11 goals in the Crimson's last 11 games--Smith was a scoring machine.
And when the machine asked the hard-nosed digger to get a goal for him in the Harvard's game against Denver in the semifinal of the NCAA Tournament at the Providence Civic Center Friday, Janfaza, the fourth-line forward, listened.
With four minutes left in the game and Harvard holding a 3-2 lead over the Pioneers in front of 7614 spectators, Janfaza slammed a pass from defenseman Jerry Pawloski past Denver goalie Chris Olson and into the net.
Suddenly a close game wasn't so close anymore.
Smith's third goal of the night--an unassisted blast from 40 feet with three minutes left in the contest--finished off the scoring and lifted the Crimson to a 5-2 upset of the nation's number one ranked team.
"Andy and I have a running little game we play on the ice," Smith said. "Before each game, he comes over and says, `Hey Tim, why don't you get me a goal tonight.' My last eight goals, he's done that. But tonight, I looked over at him and said, `Andy why don't you get one for me tonight.' It worked."
Allen Bourbeau scored the other Crimson goal and Harvard goalie Grant Blair stopped 38 Pioneer shots to give Harvard a berth in the NCAA Tournament final for the first time since 1983, when Harvard dropped the championship game to Wisconsin, 6-2.
"Our fellows really believed, and I think Grant said it in the locker room after the game, `Hey, that's no upset.' The best team won the game," Harvard Coach Bill Cleary said.
"I'm sorry to finish off a fine season with a poor performance," said Denver Coach Ralph Backstrom, whose team won 34 games this year on its way to the Western Collegiate Hockey Association championship. "I guess we were due for a let down. They were awful quick."
The Crimson was forced to play most of the game without Scott Fusco--its captain and leading-scorer--who went down early in the first-period with a knee injury.
Fourth-line center Greg Chalmers took Fusco's place on the first line while continuing to play on his own line.
"We've had injuries all season," Cleary said. "But somehow we've always overcome injuries and things like that. The kids have rallied all year long. And I think it's been characteristic of our team."
Bourbeau began the Crimson scoring with eight minutes left in the first period when his second shot of the night-a blast from 35 feet off a pass from Randy Taylor on the power-play--eluded Olsen's out-stretched mitt.
But Denver retaliated three minutes later.
Pioneer center Tom Moore flipped a pass to Dwight Mathiasen, lurking in front of the Harvard net.
Mathiasen plucked a shot past Blair for his 40th goal of the year.
Both teams scored once in the second period. But while the Pioneers reeled off 19 shots, the Crimson managed but eight.
But a fine period from Blair kept Harvard in the game.
"I knew we were getting a little bit tired," Blair said. "When that happens I like to come up and play solid and keep the game close. I know if I do that over a certain amount of time, we're going to get going again."
Smith got the Crimson going again with 14 minutes left in the game when his 40-ft. blast soared past a surprised Olson.
"I just came across the blue line, and there seemed to be a lot of congestion on the left side," Smith said. "I crossed in front of the defenseman and used the defenseman as a screen. I think I surprised the goalie. I didn't think it was that hard of a shot."
Another Smith goal and Janfaza's third tally of the season concluded the Harvard scoring.
And with 12 saves, Blair made sure Denver didn't get on the scoreboard again.
When asked at what point in the game he thought his squad might upset the nation's number one ranked team, Blair just smiled.
"First shift," he said. NCAA Semifinal
Crimson, 5-2 at Providence Civic Center Denver (34-12-1) 1 1 0--2 Harvard (25-7-1) 1 1 3--5
First Period--1, H, Allen Bourbeau 21 (Randy Taylor, Mark Benning) 12:35; 2, D, Dwight Mathiasen 40 (Kermit Ecklebarger, Dallas Gaume) 15:16. Penalties--Bench, D, (too many men on the ice--served by Tom Moore) 5:05; Tim Barakett, H, (cross-checking) 7:38; Ed Cristofoli, D, (high-sticking) 12:35; Tom Weiss, D, (elbowing) 19:15.
Second Period--3, H, Tim Smith 26 (Lane MacDonald) :08; 4, D, David Hanson 12 (Scott Mathias, Weiss) 9:37. Penalties--Steve Armstrong, H, (holding) 1:18; Jeff Lamb, D, (hitting after the whistle) 11:05; Smith, H, (interference) 11:48; Bourbeau, H, (slashing) 13:34; Lamb, D, (hooking) 16:03.
Third Period--5, H, Smith 27 (Taylor, MacDonald) 6:31; 6, H, Andy Janfaza 3 (Jerry Pawloski, Peter Chiarelli) 16:04; 7, H, Smith 28 (unassisted) 17:05. Penalties--Mathias, D, (interfering with the goalie) 5:02; Benning, H, (tripping) 9:17; Rob Ohno, H, (hooking) 13:30.
Saves--D, Chris Olson 13-6-6--25; H, Grant Blair 8-18-12--38.