Just The Luck O' The Crimson
Almost everyone agreed that Harvard goaltender Chuckie Hughes played brilliantly in his 39-save performance against Rensselaer last Friday.
After the Crimson's 7-3 win, only frustrated Engineers Coach Buddy Powers could assess the game's outcome from a different perspective.
"I didn't know it was St. Patty's Day yet," Powers said. "A lot of shots that hit [Hughes], he didn't even know about. But they didn't go in the net for us, like they did for them."
Evidently, Harvard's "good luck" continued, while the bad luck stayed with Powers and Co., as Rensselaer managed only three goals the following night, tying the Crimson, 3-3.
Crimson netminder Allain Roy just happened to save 42 shots in the Engineers season finale.
* * *
Melrose Returns?: Kevan Melrose, a member of the Class of 1990, was an infamous member of the Harvard men's hockey team.
A defender with some speed, and lots of size, Melrose was known by every player and official in the ECAC for his affinity for the penalty box. He ended his career midway through last season in unfortunately typical fashion, cold-cocking an opponent after the whistle.
In Saturday's game, which was marked by 82 penalty minutes, Harvard hockey fans showed they do have some sense of history.
At the 13:36 point of the first period, Harvard junior forward Jim Coady found something objectionable about Rensselaer defender Dan Vaillant. The feeling was mutual.
The pair threw a few punches as a play in front of the Engineers' net was whistled to a halt. Neither player connected more than once, but the official sent both players to the sin bin for four minutes for roughing.
The Crimson fans, perhaps enjoying the physical play, saluted Coady's efforts with chants of "Mel-rose, Mel-rose."
High-Scoring Zebra: Pierre Belanger now expects to hear the catcalls and the "Three Blind Mice" tune when he takes to the ice as an ECAC official. But it was not always that way.
Belanger's name sits in the ECAC press guide, and not just in the referee listings. In 1967, Belanger scored 12 points for his Oswego St. team against RIT. That is still the single-game league scoring record.
Living and Learning: Freshman defender Derek Maguire opened the scoring for the Crimson Saturday with a screaming slap shot to the upper left corner.
That the puck went in was fortunate, according to Maguire. That its final destination was high in the twine was more deliberate.
"I was just trying to get it up," the freshman blue-liner said. "When Ted [Drury] was shooting, their goaltender [Sean Kennedy] was dropping early."
Of course, Maguire's choice was more than calculated.
"If I get it too high, Vuk [Mike Vukonich] will kill me," Maguire added.
Can You Top That?: Senior center Peter Ciavaglia entered last weekend holding a slight edge over Rensselaer's Joe Juneau in the race for the national scoring title.
Caivaglia led all Division I players with 2.32 points per game, with Juneau following closely at 2.30 p.p.g.
The two-game quarterfinal round proved triumphant for Harvard and Ciavaglia. The Kirkland senior tallied one goal and three assists, while Juneau only managed one assist for the weekend.
Ciavaglia continues to lead the nation, although he has dropped slightly to 2.30 p.p.g.
Toto, This Isn't Kansas: In an attempt to prepare the Crimson for the smaller confines of the Boston Garden, Harvard Coach Ronn Tomassoni has been shuttling his team around Boston.
Yesterday, the Crimson practiced at Northeastern's Matthews Arena, a rink approximately the same size as the Garden. The Huskies surprised Boston College, 6-5, to advance to the Hockey East semifinals this Friday--also at the Garden. The Northeastern team showed up early for its own ice time to observe the Crimson practice.
Today, Harvard will travel to the West Roxbury Metropolitan District Commission Rink, once again hoping to adapt its game to a smaller rink. The Crimson lost badly, 8-2 and 5-0, in its two previous trips to the Garden this year.
Guess Again, Bruce: Rensselaer's feisty forward Bruce Coles predicted that the Engineers would beat the Crimson last weekend on the strength of a balanced scoring attack.
"Putting Ciavaglia, Vukonich and Donato on the same line is putting all of their eggs in one basket," Coles said. "That's where our third and fourth lines are going to beat them."
As is turns out, the Crimson's third line--Scott Barringer, Steve Flomenhoft and Tim Burke--produced more points (three goals, three assists) than Rensselaer's big three of Bruce Coles, Joe Juneau and Derek DeCosty (two goals, two assists) in the quarterfinal round's two-game series