Close. Painful. And oh, so fitting.
If you don't think that Saturday night's 4-3 hockey loss to Yale best exemplified a season in which "Lady Luck" and "The Breaks" didn't pal around with the Crimson for more than a couple of games against Brown--well, my friend, you've got the heart of Jack O'Callahan.
It was the 13th one-goal affair the icemen have played this year, and it resulted in their 14th loss of the season, the most in 12 years. It also marked the first time since the 1965-66 season that Harvard has lost twice to Yale's hockey team.
Perhaps the game would have been unique if Harvard had come back from the 4-1 third-period deficit, but without the services of the Hughes brothers and Murray Dea, the game's only uniqueness lay in the absence of Harvard's big guns.
Yale, which won its third road game of the season and upped its final win total to 12 for the season (the most for the Elis since Kingman Brewster was attending classes with my father), was in total command for the first 41-and-a-half minutes, anesthetizing the Harvard attack. At one point the Elis led, 3-0.
That was midway through the second period, after first-period, crease-scramble jobs by Gavin Thurstrom and Dave Harrington had given the Bulldogs a 2-0 lead after one. Weston's Wally Row made it three-zip before Harvard got on the board.
With a minute left in the period and the Crimson working on a power play, defenseman Kevin O'Donoghue ended his Harvard career in fitting fashion with a blazer from the right point that Yale goalie Keith Allain refused to deal with.
Down two goals, the Crimson still didn't play like anything was at stake. Paul Castraberti made it 4-1 at 1:24 of the third in a pretty solo effort.
Harvard then proceeded to turn the game around, and the fans on. It became 4-2 at 15:55 when Bobby McDonald fed a perfect backhand centering pass to Tommy Murray for Harvard's second tally. And 34 seconds later, with 3:31 remaining in the game, it suddenly became a contest, as retread Billy Nolen ripped home Barney Cook's face-off pass to make it 4-3.
The Crimson let it all out in the last three minutes, but Yale and Allain--and for that matter--coach Tim Taylor, held on even when Billy Cleary pulled Harvard netminder John Hynes, and even when O'Donoghue fired a dart on net with two seconds left that Allain steered aside.
It was, in the end, as it has been too often this season, somebody else's game, and it was undeniably somebody else's season.
THE NOTEBOOK: From the "Where's He Been All Season?" Department: Freshman Brett Johnson suited up for his first varsity game Saturday and was very impressive. A super breakaway save by Allain in the third was all that stood between Johnson and his first tally with the big guys.
Harvard Hockey (27-3)Scoring PlayerG GI A Pts Pen P M Lane MacDonald 28 28 28 56 20 4 0 Peter Ciavaglia 30 11 44 55 18 &nbs
Harvard Hockey 22-2 Overall, 18-2 ECACScoring PlayerG Gl A Pts Pon P M Peter Ciavaglia 24 9 34 43 16 32 C.J. Young 24 22 18 40 9 18 La
Harvard HockeyScoring PlayerG GI A Pts Pen P M Allen Bourbeau 14 7 23 30 12 32 Lane MacDonald 14 13 15 28 9 18
How Much Do You Really Know?So, you think you know a lot about Harvard hockey? You wear Crimson sweaters. You call opposing goalies "Black Holes."
Men's Hockey Takes Game 1 of ECAC Quarterfinals With Wild 6-4 Victory Over Yale