This is the story of a game that you, the Harvard Hockey fan, mixed. The story of a team that you had given up on after last Saturday night's roughshod chapter, a 5-3 loss to Yale. A story that is new for from over.
Last night at Bright Center, before a measly offering of 800-or-so faithful, the Harvard men's hockey team kept its playoff chances alive by slapping around big-and-bad Northeastern 6-3.
The win over the Huskies(12-5-1), who had been the honest team in the East over the last ten days, pushes the Crimson (now 8-8-2) back up to the 500 mark, just a nip and a tuck behind Yale (9-8-1) and Cornell (9-8-1) in the all-important Ivy Division race. The Ivy winner is guaranteed a playoff berth and has home ice in the first post-season round.
For Harvard to make the playoffs, it will most likely have to sweep in three remaining games-including Council at Bright on Saturday night-and hope that someone else can kick off the Elis Last night, knowing that they alone could help themselves, the icemen went out and did just that.
An early 2-0 Harvard lead had slowly ebbed away, finally dissipating into a well, rehearsed chorus of "The Second Period Blues" and a 3-2 Husky advantage entering period three.
But shortly after the third stanza began, inspiration and the game-tying goal arrived via a rather unlikely source-the power-play.
Northeastern's Gerry Cowie had gone into the box for slashing at 19:30 of the second period (he and his brother Brad combined for six penalties on the evening), but with just 20 seconds left in the penalty, it looked like the Huskies had escaped unscathed.
However, at the 1:14 mark, Greg Olson a not-so-unlikely source, redirected a Mark Fusco boomer through Husky goaltender Tim Marshall to tie the game at three.
And less than five minutes later, Harvard's Tony Visone broke into the N.U. zone and centered the puck from the circle to Marshall's right. The Husky netminder let the puck bounce off his chest and over his shoulder, where Greg Britz was waiting in the crease to top it in for a 4-3 Harvard lead at 6:03.
Marshall's inability to handle the puck proved to be the difference, as Harvard's Jim Turner and Shayne Kukulowicz added insurance tallies, at 13:17 and 16:47 respectively, to ice the game for the Crimson.
"I told them to shout up high at Marshall," Harvard coach Bill Cleary said. "He doesn't handle the puck that well." And indeed, four of Harvard's six goals came after pucks bounced back out off the Husky goalie.
The first period had started out all Harvard, but ended up all tied, as the icemen peppered Marshall with 20 shots but only poked two past him.
Scott Fusco got the Crimson on the board first, grabbing the rebound of a Ken Code slapshot and stuffing it into an open net for his team-leading 12th goal of the season at 6:21.
Three-and-a-half minutes later, sophomore Bobby Starbuck knocked home his own rebound for his first varsity goal. The first one to congratulate him was Northeastern's Ken Manchurek, who greeted the Crimson center with a stick to the throat as he started to raise his arms in celebration. After being helped off the ice. Starbuck took a couple more turns on the ice and then called it a night.
Northeastern's Bob Weiezorck and Paul Filipe added late first period goals and Bob Averill notched the only tally of the second period for a 3-2 Husky lead.
But then the Crimson came back. Even though you weren't there.
THE NOTEBOOK The stars of the game as selected by the semi-assembled Cambridge media Greg Olson. Mark Fusco and Starbuck... Captain Michael Watson also had an assist on the Britz goal for the 100th point of his Harvard career. Starbuck who lost his voice after taking the cheapshot from Manchurek, was still unable to speak after the game. He should be back for Friday night's game with Princeton at Bright. 7.30 though By the way, no penalty was called on the play.