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The History of Harvard's Commencement, Explained
Last year at this time, the Harvard hockey team held a 4-2 ECAC record, had just beaten the University of New Hampshire by a goal, and was heading into a Saturday night game with not-so-highly-regarded Brown. This year, the Harvard hockey team has a 4-2 ECAC record, has just beaten UNH by a goal and travels to Providence tonight to meet moderately regarded Brown.
Last year, a shocking 3-2 loss in the Brown game set Harvard tailspinning to nine losses in its next ten games, including six ECAC contests. This year, the icemen hope things will be different.
The Crimson currently sports a two-game winning streak (its longest of the season), with impressive wins against the University of Maine and UNH. The 4-2 record is good enough for sole possession of third place in the ECAC, behind Clarkson and Yale. And the best news of all is that the team is starting to skate--a must for success in Bill Cleary's wide-open style. In the Wednesday night game in Durham, N.H., the team went full bore for the first 20 minutes, jumping out to a 3-1 lead, and played a tight checking game the rest of the way to hang on for a 3-2 win.
Brown (1-3 ECAC, 2-4 overall) will look to repeat its destruction of Harvard's season. The Bruins are led by junior forward Frank Carnevale (4-5-9), and co-captains Bryan Price (4-3-7) and defenseman Darrell Petit (2-5-7), the only seniors on the varsity.
In last year's Bruin win, the key to the game was Brown's freshman netminder, Paul McCarthy, who came up with a whopping 51 saves, as the Crimson forwards completely dominated the game from start to finish. This year, chances are that the Crimson will have to face another freshman goalie. John Francosa, who replaced McCarthy after the second game of the season. Francosa's stats are none too impressive, however: a 5.71 goals against and only a .878 save percentage.
On Sunday night, the Crimson returns to Rhode Island for a game with powerful Providence College. The Friars, the defending ECAC champs, also happened to have the best recruiting year of any team in the country, even though they failed to land Bobby Carpenter, the St. John's Prep star who went straight to the pros out of high school.
Four freshmen--Paul Guay (6-8-14), Tim Army (4-6-10), Steve Rooney (4-7-11) and Rich Costello (4-6-10)--have cracked the top seven in the Friars' scoring column. Although the lines have been juggling a bit, a result of the four-game absence of super-forward Gates Orlando (56 points last year), the first three generally play as a line.
The heart of the Friars, however, consists of Orlando, who's back in high-flying form and has 11 points through nine games, and the Kleinendorst brothers--center Kurt (11-9-20), who leads the team in scoring, and defenseman Scott (2-10-12).
Providence (3-3 ECAC, 7-5-1 overall) is a perennial slow starter, and may have the horses to win it all again this season. Harvard should have its hands full Sunday night.
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