Until last Tuesday night, Danny Bolduc had blended in among the faces in the crowd of Crimson hockey players that as a team was tearing up its opposition en route to the number-one ranking in the country.
Bolduc still had the talent, but it wasn't being used much. His original line with Dave Bell and Kevin Burke, was electrifying crowds with its blazing speed, but coach Billy Cleary decided to spread the wealth. So after Harvard finished third in the Great Lakes Tourney December 28. Cleary broke up the line, and Bolduc ended up with Kevin Carr and Paul Haley, two of Harvard's premier penalty killers.
"We had a good line," Bolduc said yesterday, "and I was a little disappointed that the (Cleary) broke us up. It's tough playing with a couple of guys that are killing penalties, because when they get tired. I have to rest on the bench too. It's hard to score when you aren't playing much, but of course the other reason might be that I stink."
Modesty, then, is another Bolduc trait in addition to his abilities as a hockey player. The scouts are all keeping a close watch on him, and The New York Times has billed him as the "fastest College hockey player in the nation." Art Kaminsky said he will be the next Dave Hynes, which may of may not be a compliment depending on how you look at it.
But despite all this promise, Bolduc hadn't scored a goal since the Colgate romp on January 11, being shut out for ten games. Against the Red Raiders, the right wing from Waterville, Maine upped his season goal total to nine with a hat trick. Last Tuesday in Watson Ring against Clarkson he scored his second trick of the season within 3:22, probably a New England record. Two of those three goals came only six seconds apart, definitely a New England record. He had four on the evening.
It was the perfect type of game for Bolduc's line; the referees called only six penalties all evening, three for each team. So Haley and Carr were reunited with long lost linemate Bolduc and the trio took over, accounting for six of the ten goals.
Bolduc picked up all three of Harvard's second-period tallies to break open a tight 2-1 game, and each member of the line scored a goal between 2:55 and 3:38 of the third period to increase Harvard's lead to 8-1. It was a great way to break a slump.
Tonight, Bolduc, Haley and Carr might not be so lucky. Facing a physical Cornell squad in the second game at Boston Garden will slow the pace and call for more hitting and penalties. Cleary has complained about having the late (9 p.m.) game and Bolduc agrees.
"If you get a huge crowd in the Garden it gets pretty hot and the ice gets soft. We can't really motor like we like to," he said, "We're going to be more tired for the game Saturday night too. It's going to be a tough game, Cornell will really be flying."
So Harvard is off and running toward an ECAC and possibly an NCAA title. And Bolduc is no longer a face in the crowd as his individual effort in the quarterfinals was one of the best of the team this season.
The only time Bolduc enjoyed being simply a face in the crowd came when he was just nine years old and a member of the national champion Waterville Peewee squad. The building star was voted MVP of the tourney that year and his picture turned up in the Sports Illustrated column by that name.
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And now on to the crystal rock gazing. Providence choked with a 5-2 lead last Tuesday in Burlington before a bonkers crowd (ruining what would have been a perfect record) so today's predictions start with:
VERMONT-BOSTON UNIVERSITY--The Catamounts won't amount to much away from the cozy confines of their own rink and the Terriers want another game with Harvard to prove the Beanpot wasn't a fluke. Boston University 6, Vermont 3.
HARVARD-CORNELL--This game will be closer on the scoreboard than necessary, since Harvard must play the late game on slow ice, Harvard 5, Cornell 3.