The Harvard hockey team did not dominate the ECAC regular season. But it played well enough to capture its third straight regular-season crown.
Last year, the Crimson was flying alone in the first-class section while the rest of the league overbooked the coach seats. Harvard's 20-2 league record put it nine points ahead of second-place St. Lawrence.
But even though the Crimson wasn't expected to win the title this year, Harvard was only two wins off last year's mark. With an 18-4 record--including two big wins over the Saints--the Crimson repeated as champs.
Many skeptics stressed that Harvard would not produce the offensive numbers like it did last year. True, but this year's 93 goals were only 13 behind last year's mark.
Not bad when you consider that Lane MacDonald, Allen Bourbeau, and Tim Barakett (last year's top three scorers) combined for 55 league goals. And despite the fact that no Harvard skater finished in the league's top 10 scorers, the Crimson still managed to pump in an average of four goals per game.
Defensively, Harvard continued its dominance. This year it allowed only 53 goals (about 2.1 goals per game), only 10 goals off last year's mark. Not bad for a team that lost two first-team all-ECAC defensemen, Randy Taylor and Mark Benning.
The more things change...
Kills Killed: When a streak ends, it ends with a bang. In Saturday's 6-5 win over St. Lawrence, Harvard's string of 57 consecutive ECAC penalty-kills came to a screeching halt when Saint forward Joe Day scored on a power play during SLU's three-goal barrage in the final minutes of the game.
"It's probably a good thing it's over," Harvard Coach Bill Cleary said after the win.
Guess Cleary would rather give up a power-play goal in the regular season than in the ECAC Tournament.
Spartan Olympian: U.S. Olympian Kevin Miller couldn't wait until next year.
Miller donned his familiar Michigan State uniform and helped the Spartans sweep Ohio State in the final weekend of CCHA regular season action. Miller is eligible under NCAA rules to rejoin his college team with out attending classes. Long live the NCAA.
Unlike MacDonald and Bourbeau, who also could have exercised this option, Miller decided not to take the entire year off. Wonder how the rest of the CCHA is reacting to this Friday.
Big John: Harvard goalie John Devin, who led all ECAC goaltenders with a 2.57 goals-against average, was the subject of Bob Monahan's profile on Page Four in yesterday's Boston Globe.
The profile's headline was titled "Simplicity of success." Devin may not be the flashiest goalie in the league, but he certainly is one the most consistent. That's good to know come playoff time.
Bye, Herb: Brown Coach Herb Hammond resigned from his position with the Bruins and will now be assistant athletic director in charge of event management. This year, the Bruins finished in last place.
Hammond is the second ECAC coach to resign this year. Clarkson's Cap Raeder, who has accepted the assistant coach position for the Los Angeles Kings, will take the Knights into the playoffs before packing for sunny, southern California August 1.
Greg's Goals: Princeton's Greg Polaski scored four goals in the Tigers' 7-4 victory over Yale last weekend. Big deal? He scored them all in the final period.