In a season that has been a real rollercoaster ride so far, only one thing has been consistent for the Harvard hockey team-it has scored five goals in every game. Against Northeastern last Tuesday, five was not nearly enough. But last night, at the Bright Center, five was plenty.
Combining the much improved play of the defensive unit, a strong game from netminder Wade Lau and excellent penalty-killing, the icemen flew past Boston University, 5-2, in their home opener raising their ECAC record to 2-1 and their spirits to the roof of Bright Center.
The win, coupled with last season's two over the Terriers, makes it three in a row for the Crimson. You have to look all the way back to the 1962-63 season to find the last time Harvard won three straight from B.U. on ice.
The death of the B.U. power play, courtesy of the Harvard penalty-killing squads, made the difference. Five times the Terriers had the man advantage in the first period and five times the Crimson shut them out.
The ability of the Crimson defensemen to clear the B.U. forwards out of the crease and give Lau a chance to see the shots from the point, and the scrambling forechecking of Tommy Murray, Greg Olson, Jim Turner and Dave Burke buoyed the Crimson's man-down efforts.
And after giving up 11 goals in their last outing, the newly tenacious defense keyed the Crimson's win by clearing the puck quickly, checking the Terrier forwards out of play and being just plain consistent.
"We were just felling our way a little bit in the first couple of games," sophomore blueliner Mark Fusco said afterward. "We had been holding the puck too long. Tonight we really cleared the puck.
Last night, after a short two-game experiment at left-point, Fusco moved back to his accustomed right defense position, and paired with Scott Sangster for the first time this season. Fusco's play, reminiscent of his all-Ivy rookie campaign, sparked the squad, and Sangster, Neil Sheehy, and Alan Litchfield also turned in outstanding games.
"We moved people out and we hit more," Sangster said. "Everything worked pretty well. And the forwards coming back and forechecking made a big difference," Litchfield added.
On offense, the Crimson sparkled for much of the evening. The Murray-Watson-Olson line chipped in three of the goals, for a total of seven points.
Murray, behind the net, slid a pass to Watson in the crease just 14 seconds after the opening buzzer, and Watson wristed it past B.U.'s Jeff Weisman for a quick 1-0 lead. Murray converted a drop pass from Olson ten minutes later as Harvard came off a short-handed situation for a 2-0 first period score.
The Crimson then sandwiched two power play tallies in the second period around a goal by Litchfield (the second of his career) and a red-lighter from B.U.'s Mark Fidler to put the game away.
Freshman Phil Falcone, looking better and better as the season goes on, worked a give-and-go with linemate Turner for the first man-up score at 4.44, and Olson blew past the B.U. defense at 19:30, beating Weisman one-on-one for his second goal on the season and a 5-1 Harvard lead. THE NOTEBOOK: Lau, who cleared the puck to safety with his stick and kick saves all game long, finished with 29 saves... Freshman forward Jay North turned in a strong game for the Crimson at both ends of the ice-on borrowed skates.
Harvard 5, B.U. 2 at Bright Center
Period 1: H, Mike Watson 2 (Tom Murray), 0:14; H,