Even within the bounds of relativity, it was at best an average year for Harvard sports.
A close loss in The Game and disappointment for the highly-touted laxwomen on one hand, a rebuilding basketball program and the dominance of men's and women's squash on the other. But all in all, if athletic director Bill Cleary '56 turned philosopher and said, "You win some, you lose some," he'd be 100 percent correct.
It's tough for the men's hockey program to accept such logic--everything looked so good for so long, and yet two of the three sought-for championships (Beanpot, ECAC, NCAA) took the concept of overtime and tied it around the Crimson's neck like the Ancient Mariner's albatross.
Such is the burden of high expectations. Success is sometimes over-shadowed by its accompanying failure--not that the team could be said to have "failed" by any stretch of the imagination. But Lady History is a curious critic, and it will be interesting to see what she thinks this time next year about the 1993-94 season.
In any event, before I turn into a philosopher myself, here are my Top Ten things to remember into next season from Harvard's team of the year.
10. Senior "D": "You win with defense" was the inextinguishable mantra of the 1993-94 Crimson. And 12 times last season, Harvard held the other guy to no more than one measly tally over the course of 60 minutes. Seniors Sean McCann, Derek Maguire and Lou Body always led the way, and their departures will hurt Harvard far more than any others next year.
9. Babysitting: Speaking of Body, he gets the "Above and Beyond the Call of Duty" award hands down. Body was responsible for the tutelage of freshman Ashlin Halfnight in his transition from offense to defense, Halfnight having played at forward in high school.
The meant covering for the rookie when he pinched in too deep, at times a frustrating experience--but one which Body handled with the panache and poise of a veteran.
8. Back from the Dead: Fretting about the quality of Harvard's recruits, knowing that gaping holes they must fill? Just remember that this year's title chase came off without two key contributors of year ago: Michel Breistroff and Brad Konik.
7. Playing the Pipes: We know
6. It Sucks to BU: Beanpot upset or not,Harvard wins the bragging rights as Best in Bostonfor 1993-94. BU's Terriers were simply outclassedon the ice of Boston Garden in the Crimson's 4-2Beanpot semifinal demolition, the onlyhead-to-head meeting of the two heavyweights in alightweight field.
5.The Rifleman: If passed, I'd have toguess that nobody cares more about hockey atHarvard than senior Brian Farrell. I'll neverforget watching him hone his game after practice,one-timing passes methodically into a corner ofhis choice.
And 29 times on the year did he beat opposingnetminders, including a memorable goal to tie thegame at St. Lawrence with but four seconds toplay.
4.The MGH line: No, we're not talkingMass General Hospital here. Then again, none ofMessrs. Steve Martins, Cory Gustfson and TommyHolmes could lay claim to the title of "MostGenerally Healthy" either. Each of them has beengrounded at one point during the last 16 monthsdue to the aliment or another.
But when they fly, keep the airtrafficcontrollers at their stations, because they haveas much talent as any line in the country. Martinsaveraged nearly two points a game, and bothGustafson and Holmes showed surprising bursts ofgoal-scoring ability at various points during theseason. Their offensive punch will keep Harvardafloat next year, most surely.
3.The Long Count:Tunney-Dempsey hasnothing on extended countdowns for the Crimson.Given a standard five-minute overtime period towork with, Harvard knew how to finish quickly--a4-0-4 record in overtime is obscenely good nomatter how you look at it.
Alas, keep the clock ticking and Harvard cameup 0-for-2, losing the Beanpot Championship toBoston College and the NCAA Semifinal to LakeSuperior State. I think there's a deeper meaningin there somewhere, but I'd hate to guess what itwas.
2. Yale Bashing: If you're like me, youhate Yale. You despite Yale. You loathe...well,you know. Take heart--Harvard felled the Elis by acombined total of 16-1 in two easier-than-easywins on the season.
1. Hail to the Victors: No matter howdisappointing the ending was, the middle was sweetas honey. Maybe history will longer remember theovertime losses of Beanpot and St. Paul, but forone glorious weekend Harvard Hockey reginedcompletely supreme, and the 1994 ECAC Championshipwill remain justly memorialized in the BrightArena banners forever and ever.
The Crimson's third successive ECAC regularseason championship was finally consummated with apostseason win, and it was truly a masterpiece onice.