The Harvard hockey team has scored 27 goals in its last three games--nine of those against ECAC rival Cornell in a 9-1 blowout at Bright Center yesterday. The Crimson is averaging nearly seven goals per game.
Unstoppable. Unbelievable. Dominating. Devastating. It's hard to find adjectives to do the Crimson offense justice.
It's time to talk about the defense.
There's another statistic that's been hiding in the shadow of the big 59 in the Crimson goals-scored column. The number is 19--the number of tallies the Harvard defense has allowed in nine games this season.
That equals just over two goals a game. While the attack is having a party in the offensive end of the ice, somebody has been working overtime out back. The blueliners.
"I have to compliment the defense," Harvard Coach Bill Cleary said. "We don't let [opponents] get too many second shots, or give up shots in close."
Just ask Cornell. The Big Red was netting almost five goals a game before it cameto Bright. Yesterday the Red scoring machineground to a stop.
Freshman goalie Chuckie Hughes slid across thefront of the net to knock away a Chris Greniershot late in the second period. He lunged into anear-split to deflect a Dave Burke slapshot. Hemade a glove save on Trent Andison's short shotwhile Cornell was in the five-on-three situation.
"Chuckie's a great goalie. He makes the playswhen he has to, and that's what we need," seniordefenseman Nick Carone said. "He makes thenecessary saves, then he makes a couple extra."
When Red center Casey Jones barrelled down theice, looking to pass to open linemate Joe Dragon,junior Scott McCormack stopped him dead just overthe blueline. When Hughes left the net open tochallenge a Cornell wing, senior Josh Caplan cameout of nowhere to clear away the Cornell shot.
Harvard's defense was the big question at thebeginning of the season. Blueline stars DonSweeney and Jerry Pawloski had graduated. Only oneof the three top goalies--sophomore MikeFrancis--had any collegiate experience.
No one's asking questions now.
"Our defense right now is way ahead of where wethought we'd be," Captain Lane MacDonald said."Kevin Sneddon has been playing really well, andNick Carone stepped in and has been doing a greatjob. All those guys are playing great defense,moving the puck well, and getting into theoffensive play which has helped."
Carone has been a transition man for theCrimson. Moved back into defense after threeseasons at forward, he has joined freshman BrianMcCormack on the third line to solidify a six-manHarvard defense. A defense that's not content tojust stop the puck. It's looking to score as well.
"We try to keep the scoring down, buteveryone's looking up, always trying to find youropening and score a few points yourself," Caronesaid. "Sometimes we get careless."