PROVIDENCE, R.I.--It was midway through the first period of the new season, and Harvard freshman right winger Gary Martin had his head down as he picked up a pass coming out of the Crimson zone. Just beyond the blue line waited Brown senior co-captain Kevin Lovitt; one imagines he was grinning evilly.
"Welcome to college hockey, Gary," the veteran defenseman said, in effect, as he leaned into Martin and sent him toppling head-over-heals with a perfectly timed hip-check.
In all, three first-year front-liners--Martin, center Phil Falcone, and right winger Shayne Kukulowicz--received their introductions to regular season play for Harvard last night, while two others, Jay North and Mikael Sodersten, sat the contest out.
Those five joined five other freshmen including goalie Mark Whiston, and nine sophomores, on what continues to be one of the ECAC's youngest squads. If Harvard's youthful energy and enthusiasm--the silver lining of a cloud of inexperience--is going to pay off in a winning season, the key will be the offense.
"Scoring is really what has hurt us in the past," coach Billy Cleary said last night in the winners' locker room. "It hasn't been defense."
As Cleary's charges awoke from an early slumber and skated to a 5-3 victory. Falcone and Kukulowicz contributed an assist apiece. But more importantly--though they too seemed afflicted by the same first-period malaise--the three newcomers to the icemen's offense gave creditable opening night performances.
Flattening one Bruin into the boards and tangling with another in the corner on the first shift. Kukulowicz showed some of the agressiveness he displayed while playing for the Oshawa Generals in the Canadian juniors. While Cleary said "he wasn't at his best tonight." Kukulowicz managed to get open for several close-up shots on Brown goalie Paul McCarthy.
Falcone, on a line with left wing Jeff Turner and right wing Dave Burke, shunned the traditional first-game jitters and put in a solid evening, staying onsides and handling the puck smoothly.
Martin, from Winnetka, I11.. narrowly missed a second period goal, when, after he intercepted a Brown clearing pass, he banged a wrist shot off the post to McCarthy's stick side.