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Polishing the Rust: Icemen Capture National Title

Harvard Hockey: Season in Review


On April 1, the Harvard men's hockey team captured the Crimson's first NCAA title in 85 years with a 4-3 overtime triumph over Minnesota in St. Paul, Minn.

The small crowd of Crimson fans in St. Paul Civic Center waved banners aloft and shouted in celebration as Harvard received the long-awaited NCAA trophy at center ice.

But the cheering started long before that April night in St. Paul. In the season-opening game, the Olympic duo of Captain Lane MacDonald and Allen Bourbeau returned to Bright to a standing ovation.

There were many big moments to come: a 5-1 triumph over undefeated and number-one ranked St. Lawrence in Canton, N.Y., a Beanpot, an ECAC regular-season title, a two-game sweep of defending national champion Lake Superior State in the NCAA quarterfinals, and, finally, the trip to St. Paul.

But the cheers just kept getting louder.

Here's a trip through the 1988-89 championship season:

November 11: Claiming that his team was a "little rusty," Harvard Coach Bill Cleary begins his 18th season in Cambridge with a 6-2 victory over Yale.

Bright Center gives MacDonald and Bourbeau a homecoming ovation.

November 12: Playing without an injured Olympic duo, Harvard edges Brown, 3-2, at Bright Center.

John Weisbrod tallies the game-winner with 2:23 left to play in the second period.

The Harvard defense and goalie Allain Roy stop any thoughts of a Bruin upset.

November 18: In the land of the U.S. Military Academy, the Crimson invades Army's Tate Rink and lights up the red.

The five-forward power-play set of MacDonald, Bourbeau, C.J. Young, Peter Ciavaglia and Ted Donato collects two early power-play goals. Goalie Mike Francis is Harvard's shield of defense.

November 19: While the Harvard football loses to Yale, 26-17, at The Stadium, the Harvard hockey team is nearly upset by the Princeton Tigers.

With the score tied, 5-5, the Crimson--led by MacDonald's hat trick and Bourbeau's four-point performance--racks up four third-period goals to trounce the Tigers, 9-5.

November 22: Freshman Timmy Burke sees action for only the second time in his collegiate career and scores the game-winner as Harvard takes a lackluster 4-2 win from Dartmouth.

The list of Crimson goal-scorers expands to 14 as Harvard leads the ECAC offensively with 28 goals in its first five games.

November 25: Boston College enters Bright, ties the game, 3-3, and sends it into overtime. Eagle goalie Dave Littman changes his name to Dryden in the extra period.

Until Donato scores the game-winner with 37 seconds left in sudden death.

Harvard wins, 4-3. Great rivalry, B.C. versus Harvard. Let's do it every Thanksgiving weekend.

November 28: Back to ECAC news. Harvard travels to Providence, R.I., and trounces Brown, 10-1.

The Bruins watch the Crimson skate up and down the ice. Up and down. Score. Score. Score.

Harvard is 7-0 overall, 6-0 in the ECAC. Next victim.

December 2: Colgate at Bright Center. The red light stays on for the Crimson all night. Harvard wins, 8-2.

Bourbeau collects five points. Harvard is still undefeated. Who's next?

December 4: Cornell. What rivalry? Harvard collects nine goals. Cornell only one.

MacDonald and defenseman Nick Carone each score two goals. The Crimson improves its league average to 6.9 goals per game.

December 10: It isn't an ECAC game. That's it.

Playing in Durham, N.H., against the University of New Hampshire, the Crimson almost loses to the Wildcats.

But Roy makes the save of the year with 52 seconds left and the score tied, 3-3, when he leaps up into the air and deflects a Chris Winnes slapshot off his leg.

The game goes into overtime, and Weisbrod nails the game-winner with 56 seconds left.

Harvard grabs the first bus out of Durham with a perfect 10-0 record.

December 12: Oh, we're back in the ECAC? Okay.

Young scores three shorthanded goals in a span of 47 seconds as Harvard blanks Dartmouth, 10-0, at Bright.

Besides his shorthanded hat trick, Young also scores on even strength and the power play.

January 6: Hello, Penalty City, may I help you?

Against the RPI Engineers at Bright, the Crimson needs reservations for the penalty box. But Roy (26 saves) and goals by John Murphy, Weisbrod, Donato and Ciavaglia are enough for Harvard to win, 4-1.

January 7: Defenseman Kevan Melrose breaks a 2-2 tie against Vermont with 6:10 left in the game. Harvard wins, 3-2.

After the game, Vermont Coach Mike Gilligan states that Harvard benefitted from the home calls.

Guess Gilligan wasn't at the RPI game.

January 13: Lost in the confines of Clarkson's Walker Arena, Harvard falls behind, 2-0, to the Golden Knights.

The Crimson mounts a comeback and leaves Potsdam, N.Y., with a 5-3 victory.

On to Canton and the Showdown.

January 14: The nation's only two undefeated teams meet. One plays hockey. One plays catch-up. Harvard runs away with a 5-1 triumph.

Saint Coach Joe Marsh calls MacDonald Hobey Baker. He calls Harvard the best college hockey team since RPI's 35-2-1 championship squad. And he calls his tired team a taxi home from Appleton Arena.

SLU enters the game with the number-one national ranking. Harvard takes it away in the following week's poll. The Crimson heads into exam break with a 15-0 record.

January 31: The Yale Whale springs a leak the week before the game, but it is patched in time for a 3-1 Eli upset.

Goalie Mike O'Neill slaps away 46 shots as the Crimson struggles after a two-week exam layoff.

Harvard kisses its number-one ranking goodbye.

February 3: The Crimson celebrates a visit from Mrs. Hartje, mother of junior Tod, with a 7-2 taming of the Princeton Tigers.

Bourbeau tallies three points, and senior Paul Howley grabs the limelight by falling on his face twice--but the second time he scores a goal.

February 4: Nine Harvard players net goals and almost everyone breaks some kind of scoring record as Army limps out of Bright Center, victims of an 11-1 drubbing.

The players worry about Monday's Beanpot semifinal.

Cleary worries about the quality of our national defense.

February 6: The third period lasts forever, but Harvard's smallest hockey player is bigger than life as the Crimson breaks a seven-year 'Pot jinx with a 5-4 triumph over B.C.

Goalie Chuckie Hughes is the local hero, batting away 19 third-period shots and talking live on the 11 o'clock news.

Harvard earns its first ticket to the Beanpot finals since 1981--but it's economy class and includes a two-day stop-over in upstate New York.

February 9: Harvard battles fish and other underwater creatures to claim a 4-2 win in Cornell's infamous Lynah Rink.

Mike Vukonich nets the game-winner 16:02 into the second period, and the bus rolls on.

February 10: Welcome to Starr Rink, where Colgate has not lost a game since last season.

The Red Raiders stave off a third-period Harvard comeback, and Craig Woodcroft earns his Eagle Scout badge as he tallies with only 21 seconds left in OT to give Colgate a 5-4 win.

February 12: MacDonald holds the 'Pot aloft. Ed Presz holds the 'Pot aloft. Everybody holds the 'Pot aloft. Everybody smiles. Except the B.U. Terriers, 9-6 losers to the Crimson in the Beanpot championship.

MacDonald wins the MVP award and talks about Bourbeau. Cleary wins his 300th game and talks about MacDonald. Everybody smiles.

February 17: Coach Cleary discovers that the blue line goes to the airport, but not to Burlington, Vt.

Minus several defensemen, the Crimson wins the battle of the Big Macs, 5-3, and knocks one more team off its ECAC checklist.

Vermont's Kyle McDonough gives the Catamounts an early 2-0 lead. MacDonald scores Harvard's first goal before sitting down with a head injury. Young, Weisbrod and Donato finish the job.

February 18: Young is flattened. Josh Caplan is bashed. MacDonald never sets foot on the ice. But Harvard hangs on to defuse the Engineers, 4-3 in overtime, to end a six-game road streak.

Donato scores the winning goal 7:13 into OT. RPI Coach Mike Addesa talks about frustration. Cleary talks about finally going home. And the team talks about going to McDonald's on the way back to Cambridge.

February 24: Showdown II. The Saints march into Cambridge thinking about the ECAC regular-season title. The Saints march out with a 4-2 loss and second place in the league.

Junior defenseman Scott McCormack returns to the ice for the first time since early January and nets a goal only 1:40 into the game. Young tallies the game-winner on the power-play. Harvard nabs its fourth-straight league crown.

February 25: Bright Center rocks as MacDonald nets a hat trick, his 100th career goal and the game-winner. The Crimson (24-2, 20-2) closes the ECAC season with a 7-5 win over Clarkson.

MacDonald finishes the game with five points, and Ciavaglia walks off with the ECAC scoring title.

March 3-4: Playoff time, and RPI's in town. Must mean Young is due for another hat trick.

For the third straight year, Young nets three against the Engineers in the playoffs. Harvard wins, 7-3, to jump ahead in the two-game series.

In Game Two, the Crimson is a gracious host, playing the game by its guest's rules. The penalty box gets more visitors than the concession stand, but Harvard remembers how to skate and score in time.

The Crimson triumphs, 5-4, and starts thinking about a Garden party.

March 10: Turn out the lights, the Garden party's over.

After leading 2-0 late in the third period, Harvard cannot stop a Vermont comeback and loses, 3-2, in overtime as David Browne nets the game-winner.

March 11: Playing in front of a sparse Garden crowd, the Crimson rebounds from the Vermont game and defeats Cornell, 6-3, in the consolation game.

MacDonald's third-period goal, his 108th career tally, sets a new Harvard record.

The next day, when the NCAA tournament selections are announced, Harvard receives better news: the Crimson receives a bye and will host a Western club at Bright in two weeks.

March 24-25: Lake Superior State, the defending national champion, skates into Bright for an NCAA quarterfinal series. After a pair of sub-par performances, Lake Inferior State limps out of Cambridge.

Harvard uses the power play to defeat the Lakers, 4-2, in the opener, and Ciavaglia nets his first collegiate hat trick to power the Crimson to a 5-2 second-game win.

Harvard sets its sights on St. Paul and the Final Four.

March 30: Tonight against Michigan State, Roy rules.

The freshman goalie records 30 saves and frustrates every Spartan at the St. Paul Civic Arena, especially Hobey Baker candidate Bobby Reynolds, who thought he saw the empty net until Roy's stick stopped his shot.

Ed Krayer scores the final two goals of the game as Harvard avenges The Loss and stops Michigan State, 6-3.

April 1: In what will be remembered as one of the best-played college hockey games ever, Harvard edges Minnesota, 4-3, in overtime to capture the NCAA title.

Krayer's backhands a shot past Gopher goalie Robb Stauber in sudden-death to quiet the partisan Minnesota crowd and start a Crimson celebration. Donato is named tournament MVP. Two days later, MacDonald is awarded the Hobey Baker Award.

No one is rusty that night in St. Paul.

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