ALBANY, N.Y.--Harvard's men's hockey team went 19-for-19 on March 26 against the University of New Hampshire.
Now what could that mean? Harvard certainly didn't have 19 power plays or penalty kills in one game, did it?
Well the crimson (24-4-4 following the UNH game) sent 19 players onto the ice against the Wildcats (25-12-3 final)and all 19 turned in stellar efforts in a 7-1 Harvard rout in the second round of the NCAA tournament, played at the Knickerbocker Arena in Albany.
Four forward lines, three defensive pairing s and the solid goltending of combined to send the crimson to St. Paul for a semifinal match-up against Lake superior state, a 5-4 overtime upset winner over Michigan in another second-round match.
"We have six outstanding defensemen," Harvard Head Coach Ronn game. "But it's not just the defense either--we really take pride in our team defense, and obviously our forwards have to help out."
The final score indicated the way Harvard dominated the game against UNH over the final 55 minutes. Yet the crimson could only garner a tenuous 2-1 lead going into the final stanza.
The Widcats managed just 17 shots on goal and 23 total shot attempts in the game, compared to Harvard's 31 shots on net and 48 attempts, but only senior Brian Farrell and junior Steve Martins could find a way to put the puck behind UNH netminder Ternt Cavicchi through the first 40 minutes.
Harvard broke through on a patented power-play goal 6:49 into the third period, however, when Martins sent a cross-ice pass to captain Sean McCann. McCann one timed the puck into the lower left portion of the UNH net to increase the lead to 3-1.
"[UNH was] getting a little tired, and I was able to get the puck over to McCann," Matins said. "McCann's one-timer is just amazing. I like to feed him lot because I'm almost sure he's going to get it in the net."
Senior Chris Baird and Junior Perry Cohagan went on a two-on-one break on the next shift, and Cohagan one-timed Baird's pass through Cavicchi to up the lead to 4-1 just 36 seconds after McCann's tally.
Then Baird (Harvard's leading set-up man with 38 on the season) got goal of his own on an four-on-one break following a Harvard penalty kill. Farrell fed Baird, who easily beat a shaken Cavicchi, who was then replaced by Mike Heinke.
"That goal by Sean really propelled us," Baird said. "It's been a while since I score--it's a change, but it was nice."
The carnage wasn't over, though. Heinke fared no better than Cavicchi, s he allowed tow quick goals on a deflection by sophomore Jason Karmanos and junior Cory Gustafson to skyrocket Harvard's lead to 7-1.
All told, the Crimson scored five third-period goals in a span of 6:59 to break open a game that had been too close for comfort.
"We were just trying to work hard and put out our best effort on every on every shift," McCann said. "[Our hard work] really paid off in the third period."
Some credit must to a balanced Harvard offense, which consisted of seven different goal-scorers but once tending was the main story.
The Wildcats outshot a nervous Crimson squad in the first five minutes, 5-1, but Tracy made some tough kick saves, and sophomore Tom Holmes was able to clear away a loose puck in front of a vacated Harvard net.
Perhaps the emotional strain of waiting three games and 27 hours to play its first tournament game took its toll on Harvard early in the first period, but the Crimson then found its rhythm.
Harvard did not allow a shot on goal for the next 14 minutes, while to had racked up eight shots and two goals of its own.
First, Martins was railroaded from behind to draw a power play, and on that man-advantage situation, Farrell cut in from the right face-off circle and wristed one over Cavicchi's shoulder 6:51 into the game.
"We relaxed after the first few minutes, and the forwards started winning the little battles," Farrell said. "Each individual player just beat his man and helped the offense out."
Then Martins made one of his famous "how in the world did he do that?" plays when he picked up the puck on a poor UNH clearing attempt and skated in on Cavicchi.
A second later, at the 13:53 mark, the red lamp was lit, and Cavicchi's water bottle was resting on the ice, courtesy of a perfect shot that hit right behind the crossbar.
"It's funny--that puck was actually on its edge," Martins said. "I realized that right after I was shooting, and I was fortunate to get it on net."
But despite the offense's inability to pad its lead until the third period, the Crimson defense completely shut down the Wildcat offense except for an unassisted goal by Dean Woodman 1:50 into the second.
UNH had three power plays between that goal and McCann's third-period tally, but the Harvard penalty-killing units limited that Wildcats to one shot over those three advantages.
Tough backchecking in the Harvard defensive zone and aggressive forechecking once the puck was out of the zone were the keys.
"Our defense has been playing great all season," said junior defenseman Bryan Lonsinger. "We played really aggressive, and we were not giving [UNH] much of a chance to set up. And Tripper played really great. HARVARD, 7-1 at Knickerbocker Arena (3/26/94) UNH 0 1 0--1 Harvard 2 0 5--7
Har--Farrell 28 (Maguire, Martins) 6:51(PP)
Har--Martins 25 (unassisted)13:53
Har--McCann 21(Martins, Farrell) 6:44 (PP)
Har--Cohagan 3 (Baird) 7:18
Har--Baird 6 (McCann, Farrell) 9:51
Har--Karmanos 5(Coughlin, Nielsen)11:43
Har--Gustafson 22 (Body, Coughlin)13:43 (PP)
Saves: UNH--Cavicchi 10-8-1-19, Heinke X-X-X-4-4;
Power Play: UNH--0 for 5; Har--3 for 7