It's only two weekends into the ECAC hockey season, and Harvard already has a reputation.
The Crimson's fast and furious attack has stymied opponents. Most have tried to settle back and play defensively, hoping to keep the game close, then slip a goal past the Harvard defense late in the contest.
Yale failed on both accounts. The Elis allowed Harvard to snare a 3-0 lead in the first period and score both the late-game goals. Princeton kept it close--Harvard led, 6-5, heading into the final period--but let the Crimson go on a three-goal scoring spree in the third for a 9-5 Crimson victory last Saturday.
Tonight at 7:30, Dartmouth Coach Brian Mason will send the Big Green onto the Thompson Arena ice in Hanover, N.H to face the Crimson challenge (WHRB, 95.3 FM). Mason's heard all about the Harvard attack. He knows about the "keep it close and hope for the best" method. But Mason's not sure that's going to be enough.
"We certainly have to keep the score down and slow them up as much as possible," Mason said. "But Harvard has such excellent wings with so much speed they are hard to defend. We have to try to forecheck. We can't just let them keep the puck in front of our net."
With Captain Lane MacDonald and senior Allen Bourbeau--the team leaders with seven points apiece--on a scoring binge that led the Crimson to a 15-goal weekend, Mason's fears are not unfounded. MacDonald's two-game, four-goal performance earned him ECAC Player of the Week honors.
"We do have an offensive scoring punch," forward C.J. Young said. "We are going to score some goals."
"Now we have to make sure our defense is solid," Young continued. "It's not just the defensemen's responsibility to hold down the fort. The forwards have to do some back-checking as well. We can't win if we keep giving up five goals like we did at Princeton."
Freshman Allain Roy (2.0 goals-against average, .910 save percentage) is expected to start in goal for the Crimson tonight, with either junior Steve Laurin (3.0, .906) or senior Tim Osby (4.06, .809) tending the net for the Big Green.
"[Dartmouth] has excellent goaltending," Crimson Associate Coach Ronn Tomassoni said. "Osby and Lauren both have proven that they're top-notch Division I goaltenders."
Bumps, Bangs, Bruises: Army staged a siege Friday night in West Point, N.Y., and though Harvard emerged 6-1 victors, it left with quite a few battle scars.
Sophomore John Weisbrod took the biggest blow, sustaining a severe concussion that resulted in an overnight stay at the Academy's hospital while the team continued on to Princeton. Weisbrod is questionable for tonight's game.
Defensive partners Josh Caplan and Kevin Sneddon also sat out the Princeton contest because of injuries. Caplan will be back on the ice tonight, but Sneddon will remain in Cambridge--as will sophomore Mike Vukonich, out of action indefinitely with a case of mononucleosis.
In addition, junior defenseman Kevan Melrose injured his hand in Harvard's game against the Tigers and is questionable in tonight's lineup.
But if the Crimson went through the wringer on its two-game road trip, so did the Big Green. Since Harvard and Dartmouth are traveling partners in the ECAC, the two teams face the same opponents on alternate weekend nights.
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