The Harvard hockey team's 7-1 victory over Vermont in the ECAC Tournament consolation game epitomized the kind of season the Crimson has had.
It was the kind of game Harvard Coach Bill Cleary could wrap up and stuff in a capsule.
Saturday night at Boston Garden, the Crimson did two things it has been doing all season long: bounce back from tough losses and produce a balanced scoring attack.
"It's been a character of the team," Cleary said, referring to the Crimson's resiliency. "They've come back strong when they had to. It's a good sign."
Harvard is used to the comeback. Ever since they erased a 3-0 deficit against Princeton and won the game in overtime, the icemen have had a lot of bounce in their skates.
The ECAC thought Harvard was falling from the ranks during Christmas break when the Crimson dropped three games in a row. After Harvard edged RPI, 5-4, in Troy, N.Y., it managed to win its next eight ECAC games.
When Harvard dropped a home weekend to RPI and Vermont three weeks ago, the Crimson swept a pair of road games from Clarkson and St. Lawrence the next weekend to capture the ECAC regular-season title.
And when Harvard lost to Clarkson in Friday night's semifinal game, it came back against a Vermont team that had defeated the icemen twice in the regular season. Harvard did so by recording its second-highest goal output of the season. On January 17 at Bright Center, Harvard scored eight goals against Yale.
Whenever Harvard dominates a game this year, it always spreads the scoring around. When the Crimson celebrates, it becomes one gala open-invitation affair.
The line of Ted Donato, C.J. Young and Pete Ciavaglia R.S.V.P.'d promptly to the invitation. The trio danced all over the smaller Garden ice and combined for two goals in the first period.
Ed Presz and linemate Craig Taucher cut in during the second period. Then the line of Captain Steve Armstrong, Tod Hartje and Andy Janfaza kept the music playing.
Mike Vukonich and John Weisbrod connected for a three-point bucket from the blue line. The dance was getting crowded, but Coach Cleary kept handing out invitations.
"What brought us here has been the balanced scoring. We lost a lot of goals last year," Cleary said. "We got a number of people on the top of our list, but not too high in the scoring columns. But I'll take a lofty ranking rather than worry about the scoring."
For a team that lost a total of 85 goals in the trio of Lane MacDonald, Allen Borubeau and Tim Barakett, this year's squad has managed even though it did not place a player in the league's top 25 scorers.
"We're not an extra-talented team," Armstrong said, "but we are a group of equally talented hard-working guys."
Equality rules for this year's Crimson. It ruled Saturday night against the Catamounts.
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